July 22, Travelling with the boys and doing the Diamond Back
|Awwwwh. The first morning, Greg had picked a flower for me. How sweet are my new traveling companions?|
Up and at 'em, and off we went, Greg, Doug and I, to finish riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping to take photos, looking at beautiful scenery, commenting on the green grass coming right up to the edge of the road. It's a ribbon of pavement running through the woods.
|One of the overlooks we (Doug, Greg and me) stopped at ... there was still some fog and haze out there. The Blue Ridge Mountains are named for the blue haze that hangs over them naturally.|
|The fog mostly cleared and we had a beautiful ride with some memories that will last forever. It doesn't hurt to have them on the camera either since I can't even remember what I had for lunch yesterday.|
We stopped at the Moses Cone Visitor Center, which was a mansion, and beautiful. We just stopped in, but they have tours if you want to do them. The building itself was a jewel set in the middle of the trees and I had to wonder how people got all the materials to a place like this and what they did, how far away from other things they were. It was so totally isolated.
|Moses Cone Visitor Center. Named for denim king Moses Cone who made his money in textiles, the 3,500-acre country estate sittinig at a 4,000-foot elevation, was his turn of the 20th century home. It's spectacular.|
|This tree was by the center and was just so unique.|
Greg had heard about a place called Little Switzerland and wanted to stop. It caters to bikers and some of the places to stay have garages to park the motorcycles. I saw an ice cream shop and that was all that mattered. But it was a nice place, and what I did not know at that point is that there's a ride (in North Carolina) called the Diamond Back (Route 226A), after a rattlesnake. It's about 190 curves in 12 miles. I figured why not? When we were done with that ride, we all agreed it wasn't as challenging as we'd thought it would be, but still a nice ride.
We saw turkeys, which I thought was kind of cool, since I don't ordinarily see them on my travels. Greg is a good spotter, he sees the deer and the turkeys. I see some of it. But I don't spot so well.
|The view from the top of Mt. Mitchell. The visitor center is down below and our bikes are parked there.|
There was another side trip off the Blue Ridge to Mitchell Mountain (Route 128), the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River. A grand total of 6,684 foot elevation. But it's certainly better than some of the elevations I've seen. Ha!!!
|Yep, I'm standing right there.|
We had walked up the quarter-mile trail to the observation deck, to look out over a spectacular view of the area … 360 degrees of it. The summit is encased in clouds 8 out of 10 days (kind of like our Mt. McKinley) so we were quite fortunate to see it all. The Rev. Elisha Mitchell, for whom the mountain is named, is buried there. I've seen that twice now, with the other time being in Trinidad, Colorado.
|Rev. Mitchell's grave.|
|Yep, here we are, at the highest point east of the Mississippi.|
|There are so many beautiful overlooks on the Blue Ridge that it's hard to stop at all of them.|
|And there are lots of tunnels. Tunnels and bridges are two things I really enjoy riding through and over.|
|Another spectacular view. There really are so many roads and so little time. The Blue Ridge starts in North Carolina, and you can get to it from Skyline Drive. It ends near the Smokey Mountains and a Cherokee Indian reservation.|
|Stop!!! Don't bother. Photographer at work. Greg taking the perfect photo of Doug at the high point on the Blue Ridge Parkway near sundown.|
|The highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway.|
After all our looking around and riding extra rides, we were at the high point of the Blue Ridge when sundown came. There was still about 30 miles of the parkway to complete, but we decided it would be better to get off of it and find a place to stay. Best Western works.
|The sunset was incredible over the mountains. There are so many photos, but I only can share one.|
Pizza delivery also works when on the road, and that's what we did. I had the order placed before we'd even finished the registration for our rooms.
While we were eating pizza and sitting outside, I finally had to wonder about the rocket scientist. Yep, that's exactly what Doug was, for real. He'd worked for Lockheed-Martin, and I'm told if he shared what he worked on he'd have to kill us. Guess I don't need to know that bad. Don't suppose I can use that old rocket scientist line anymore; I'll have to be more respectful.
Greg is president of a company called Car-Mate Trailers. They make trailers for hauling behind cars and truck trailers, race car trailers and landscaping trailers. Their motto is “trailers that work for a living.”
One of our discussions revolved around Harley shirts. Doug talked about his, Greg talked about his. I did not talk about mine. Mine is an addiction, and I have to get a shirt from every dealership I visit. It's not a wardrobe anymore; it's a collection. But I would expect the Harley-Davidson company loves me as I have supported their business immensely through motorclothes purchases over the past 20+ years. And that doesn't even cover the motorcycles and accessories. That's a different addiction.