Tues, July 15th: Here we are in lovely
Roanoke, stuck really. Yesterday evening we pulled off the road and found a small
motel for the night. As we were lubricating our chains, Chris discovered he had a
pin hole leak in his front brake line. Well, we couldn't go any farther, especially
not on the twisty Blue Ridge Parkway, until we got a new one.
Luckily, a company called Cycle
Brakes in California was able to get a new Galfer line sent out to us, which should
arrive tomorrow morning. The one-day rest is not unwelcome. This whole area,
West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina is very lush and green, densely
packed forest. Reminds us a lot like the forest of the Amazon.
Wednesday, July 16th: The brake line arrives in the morning and Chris makes
quick work of changing it. We are back on the road by noon and heading south on the Blue
Ridge Parkway enjoying the solitude and twisties of a mid-week ride. Notorious for being
bumper to bumper traffic on weekends we are thankful to have it to ourselves now. There is
the occasional motorcycle passing by but little else. Farmers are out cutting their grass
to make hay, while horses with their ponies chew lazily in the fields.
Late in the afternoon we run into a thunderstorm and take shelter in the national park
visitor's center with several other riders. When it finally passes we find the nearest
camp ground and set up the tent for the night.
Thursday we take our time packing up in the morning and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Later we stop frequently along the parkway to enjoy the view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
There are deer around every turn including lots of babies with their white spots. We even
see a big fat ground hog nibbling the fresh grass on the side of the road. That night we
stay again in one of the many national park campgrounds.
Friday, July 18th: We arrive in Asheville, NC around lunch time and load up
with groceries for the weekend. Our friend Sean calls on our cell phone to say that his is
broken down outside of Knoxville and he cant make meet us for the weekend. His CDI
unit on his Transalp has gone bad. We are disappointed but sympathize with his situation.
But Roger Coffey, who we also met at the Charleston rally meets us later that day at the
famous Blue Ridge
Parkway Motorcycle Campground in Cruso, NC.
We arrive at the campground and are immediately impressed with it all. There is a
narrow wooden bridge across a river that must be crossed. A sign hangs over the bridge
that says "motorcycles only beyond this point". Once across, there is a
small camp store, snackbar/game room (for rainy days), a dining area next to the kitchen,
about 20 small cabins, well situated camping sites, and even a fully stocked trout pond.
There is a big campfire in the middle of it for story telling after dinner and the
occasional impromptu musical performance. We were lucky enough to experience both!
Roger arrives around dinner time and brings 4 bottles of very good wine. Two bottles
and several tall tales later we call it a night.
Roger knows the backroads around here better than most people and helps us plan a route
for Saturday. After a long breakfast and fiddling with the bikes we set out on quiet and
winding country roads. This is some of the most picturesque farm country weve ever
seen. As we are winding our way over the highest pass in the east, Erin's odometer
reached 6,750 again after more than 4 years -- we've now crossed the
100,000 mile mark on
Around noon we find ourselves at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
near Cherokee, NC. Cherokee is on Indian reservation land and is quite the spectacle with
every other shop a souvenir store, roadside Indian dances and photo ops to take your
picture with a "real" Indian. It is so crowded with people and vehicles that
its like Disney World in the summer. The national park is the complete opposite,
offering quiet and solitude.
That night back at the campground we have a wonderful southern dinner of fried catfish
and turnip greens. Another two bottles of wine later and we are sitting around the
campfire listening to bluegrass on a guitar and "pony" banjo. There are some
contemporary songs we know (like John Melencamp) and can sing along with, and others that
are old-time folk songs handed down through the generations to the folks in this area.
Sunday, July 20th: A huge southern breakfast of pecan pancakes and
eggs with biscuits and gravy is a great way to start the day. Later, after the tents
are packed and the sleeping bags are stuffed we say goodbye to Roger and the nice folks at
Its a two day ride for us to then get to Wilmington,
NC where my parents live. As we pull into town on Monday the local NBC TV news van meets
us at the entrance and films us coming in, all the way to my parent driveway. My mom had
called them a few days earlier and set it up. I got all choked up as I listened to my
parents describe their feelings about our trip to the reporter, Heather Higgins. Next
Heather interviewed us. That night we saw ourselves on the 5 oclock, 6 oclock
and 11 oclock news! My parents were the local celebrities around town and on the
golf course for the whole week we were there.
Wednesday, July 23rd is my mothers birthday (the big Six-0) and we
will have a big party at the house on Friday with all their closest friends. We spent a
wonderful week catching up with my parents, playing golf, getting to see my uncles
new Swan sailboat, the Gypsy, that is docked nearby, eating lots of good southern food,
seeing old friends, and bonding again with our two cats, Toby and Tabasco. The poor cats
were complete strangers to us after 4 years and it took much of the week to get them to
come out from under the bed!
Our old and dear friends from New York, John and Elaine Andrews, live in Wilmington and
own the fabulous South Beach Grill restaurant on Writesville Beach. They have two
wonderful children, John (7) and Emily (5). John Jr. is Chris Godson and they
both grew by leaps and bounds since weve been away. The Andrews success in the
restaurant business had grown by leaps and bounds too. They now have a nice big home and a
nice Sea Ray speedboat called the Emily J. The speedboat saw lots of action that week as
we spent a few days on her wake-boarding and navigating the channels. It was good to see
our friends again and spend good quality time with them.
Finally, on Monday, July 28th, we tore ourselves away with only a short time
left before returning home. There is another old friend that lives in Raleigh, NC, Lisa
Darrow. We stopped in for the night to see her and her children as well. We got the same
shock when seeing how grown up her children are and how well she are doing are doing.