Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, forest northern TN
Sunday June 17
Daily Miles: 225
Accumulated Miles: 5,650
PHOTOS ARE THUMBNAILS - CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE LARGER PHOTO
Another good day. At the suggestion of another rider, the riding day began before 8:00 am. The reason – the tourist are starting to come to the parks, and there is only one lane and nowhere to pass. As is was, I was almost alone on the road. Air was cool and crisp – it felt and smelled good.
Once a person arrives at a viewpoint, it is apparent why they are named the Smokey Mountains. Apparently the topography creates a situation, no unlike Los Angeles, where an inversion layer develops that restricts air movement. Hence – air pollution. One of the local people told me the sources of the air quality are from man made as well as from natural sources. The area was very picturesque, with valley areas and 5,000 foot mountains. To learn more about the Smokey Mountains go to:
After riding the Smokey Mountains, I stop and had lunch. The greatest buffet ever is located in Cherokee, Tennessee. Great assortment and everything tasted soooo gooood. Needless to say, I pigged out for $8.98 plus tax.
Blue Ridge Parkway
After lunch I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance is very close to the end of the Smokey Mountains Park. This parkway is about 500 miles long and runs NE at about a 45-degree angle across Tennessee and Virginia, ending to the north about 1 – 2 hours from Washington, DC. The scenery alternates from trees on both sides of the road to ridges with vista views. About every 40 – 50 miles there are access points for the communities that close the parkway. I enjoyed the ride, but the road has a 45 mph speed limit and for a road that goes through the mountains, has almost no tight turns. I got bored with it after 150 miles went searching for a country road. To learn more go to:
After leaving the Blue Ridge Parkway, I headed north in the rural areas of Tennessee, the vastness of the forest is not any greater that what is seen in the western US or western Canada, but the difference is there is no visible clear cutting to scar the view. The mountains look like they are covered with broccoli – no visual breaks.
At a local view point, on a major highway, I encounter Tiny. He is a local person, who was just enjoying the day at the summit. I asked him a question about the local trees, his response was, “what the f…k you talking about boy.” I immediately knew he was going to be my newest “best friend.” We talked for a while about this and that and then he suggest that I stop at an even more spectatuar view point up the road 5 miles. We bid our adues and I head toward the new view point. I arrived at the new view point and started taking pictures from the ridge, as I returned to my bike who is standing there - Tiny. Sooo, I told him I had just meet a fellow as good looking as he is back down the road a piece. He seems quit amused with that - thank gosh, no more expletives. He then noticed that the safety reflective tape on the back of my bike was coming off and said he had a roll of it at his house, and if I wanted to go there, he would replace it for me. I would have gone, but I was late in the day and I did not have a motel room.
I then asked him if he could suggest a two-lane road that would take me to Johnson City. He suggest route 89, four exits up the highway. Soooo again we said our goodbyes and I drove off heading for the fourth exit. Halfway there, I look in my rear view mirror what do I see – Tiny was following me in his van. Hmmm, I say – this is getting scary. When I was at the stop sign of the off ramp, he was still behind me, but signaled a right turn, I was going left. As he moved off to the right we both waved and said our final goodbyes. My guess is he is just a lonely guy that wanted human contact.
Tomorrow off to Blacksburg, Virginia