Todays mileage: 247 miles
Up and out of the hotel by about 9:30.
Breakfast was a watchmacallit from a convenience store. Figure since I was in the town
I live in when I was 8, might as well eat what I ate when I was 8 as well.
There happened to be a Suzuki/Kawasaki place across the street, so picked up
a cable lock that I had forgotten to pack.
While there an older guy came up and said “I used to have one of those”. So
I asked “what year?” expecting to say something from 60′s. He answered “a
2005, just wrecked it last weekend.” So we talked New Bonneville stuff
stuff a little bit. He showed me pictures of the wrecked Bonneville. Apparently
a truck side swipe him. The pictures showed it wedge under the front of an
f-150. Kind of an ominous start of the evening. He pointed out the exhaust
pipes were blued, and made some upgrade suggestions (many which the
bike already has).
Drove around Gastonia a bit, snapping some pics now that it’s daylight.
Decided to eat lunch at the mall. Again, what would I of done when
I was 8. Plus I needed some table space to check out some maps
to figure out where I was headed.
Decided I was going to head up to chimney rock/lake lure, then through
Hendersonville, then Brevard, then though Pigsah forest via 74, then
down though Natahla Park in Georgia via 28, then into Sumter Park
in South Carolina, then back up north to somewhere.
Headed though Gastonia down 74? into Shelby. Made pretty good time that
way, aside from all the traffic in Shelby, of all places. As soon as I
turned off 74 to head towards Chimney Rock it started raining. Eventually
pulled into an abandoned gas station under the canopy, and started
talking to some other folks that had done the same (this seems to
be the biker equivalent of water coolers).
One of the guys mentioned that the pipes were blue (again, a recurring
theme, the guy in Asheboro mentioned this as well.) One of the
folks recommended something called Blue-Away to get rid of it.
Another mentioned ordering stuff from Chapparael-racing.com with
After waiting it out a while, and putting on the rest of any rain
gear we had, we headed off towards Lake Lure when it looked like
it had stopped. Only made it a few miles before it was raining
pretty heavy again.
At one point, the road side drainage had gotten clogged and now
water, mud, and debris were flooding out onto the road for
a few hundred feet. Flashbacks to riding dirt bikes across
and though, and occasionally up streams and creeks.
The group pulled over at another abandoned store and pulled the
bikes up under the awnings there, and waited it out a bit
he Lake Lure area was interesting, not having been around there
in ~25 years. But an awful lot of cars and pedestrians right on
top of the road, esp when riding in a downpour. It did however,
eventually stop raining about this time though.
I met up with one of the folks I ran into at the gas station here,
and pulled over to chat and take off some of the rain gear. He was headed
towards Hendersonvile, and I was headed though Hendersonvile, so I
decided to follow him.
Chimney rock area was a lot like Lake Lure, as far as roads and traffic
goes. But they pretty blend together, so thats no surprise. Momentarily
thought about going in to Chimney Rock park, but decided against it.
Maybe if I hadn’t lost so much time waiting out the rain.
Road to Hendersonville is nice, if crowded.
64 through Brevard seemed like a nice ride. I didn’t see any white
squirrels or music school students though. So all my expectations
of Brevard were crushed.
I stayed on 64 from Brevard through Pigsah Forrest. At some point I
stopped and put the rain gear back on, because it had started raining
again of course. But even with the rain, and surprisingly heavy traffic,
the ride though Pigsah Forrest was great. Lot of twisties and pretty
decent road conditions. This included Lake Toxaway, Highlands, and
Cashiers. Really need to go back up some time when it’s not raining.
It might be an interesting road trip to take 64 all the way across
North Carolina at some point.
At some point, I decided I should run down though Georgia and South
Carolina, since there were right there so close at this point. So
I Highlands, I took 28 south towards Georgia.
That was an excellent decision. About that time, the rain
cleared up pretty nicely. Since not many of the “places to
ride” lists mentioned 28, I didn’t expect much. But it
was excellent. 55mph speed limit, lots of twisties, smooth
(and dry) roads. Especially once you got into Georgia. The
road starts in Nantahala National Forest, then changes to
Chattahoochee National Forest around the border, then to
Sumter National Forest in South Carolina.
My stay in Georgia was short, but one of my favorite parts
of the trip. I was starting to feel a bit stressed, being
kind of in the middle of nowhere, with no idea where I
was going to stay, and still a bit wet from the rain. Then
I pulled over at a random overlook. At first, I couldn’t see
the point of it. Just another random mountain overlook. But
then I noticed a huge waterfall tucked behind some trees
about a 1/4 mile away. I just kind of stood and watched the
waterfall for about ten minutes. I think one car passed the
time I was stopped. Then as I was about to leave, I noticed
a huge stone faced mountain that I had apparently been driving
around the last 20 minutes or so.
After I got back on the road, feeling a lot more relaxed, I
ran into something I didn’t expect. I came around a corner, and
about 50 feet in front of me was a young black bear. I’m no
bear expert, but I’d estimate it was probably a year or so
old. Maybe 3 feet tall at the shoulders. It just kind of
meandered across the road and disappeared into the woods.
Back to more riding, till I spotted a road side restaurant that
looked open. I hadn’t really eaten correctly all day, so I stopped
in. Had some good country ham, corn nuggets, hush puppies, and
a bowl of banana pudding complete with nanna wafers to top it
More riding, into South Carolina. The roads started getting
a bit rougher around here (mostly storm debris), so slowed
it down a bit.
After getting mostly out of the mountains, I decided it would be
a good idea to head back north for the night, as waking up in
Greenville or Spartanburg didn’t have much appeal to me. I think
I took 28 to 183 to 11 to 25. Most of this part of the ride was
pretty boring, but the speed limits were higher so I was covering
some miles. Eventually hit 25, and decided to head north to
Hendersonville for the night, figuring getting a room would be
easier than in Asheville. Blasting up 25 to 26 in the dark at
~70 mph kept me alert.
Checked into the hotel. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the
desk guy was hitting on me. “Wow, you smell like leather. That
smells great.” Or he was just weird. Hard to tell.