Finished up with breakfast just after the rain stopped, so I suited up for a ride. From Iron Horse, up 28 to 143, stopped for Real Gasoline then run up 129. Had a mostly unimpeded run, the few cars and trucks I encountered pulled aside to let me by. The group of Harleys running at -10 didn’t, so I took them two at a time on the inside of corners with good sight lines and all was good. From 129, caught 72 to 360 (fast, but not all that interesting) over to Cherohala. Cherohala was just a constant stream of sweepers with great scenery, quite enjoyable until I got into the cloud. I slow way down; rocks hide in clouds! Eventually came out the other side, and had a good run down back to 129.
Stopped for lunch at Carolina Kitchen, which earns the coveted “avoid” recommendation. No joke, I think I might have been better off next door at McDonald’s. The pulled pork was dry and flavourless, the fries were dead ringers for the store brand ones from the freezer section, the baked beans were clearly from a can, and not hot, and the BBQ sauce from a jar was barely more than ketchup. Most disappointing meal I’ve had in a very long time.
After “lunch”, topped off with more Real Gasoline (48.5mpg!), and started off on a route to include some roads that had been recommended. 129 down to 19, over to Wayah Rd. The plan had been to cut up Otter Creek Rd, paved and twisty looking on my map, to trim some miles off of what was becoming a very long day. Otter Creek Rd started in poor condition, with more patch than pavement and a lot of loose gravel, then turned to crushed stone just short of the looks-great-on-the-map section. Went about 100 yards into the crushed stone section before deciding to turn back. Wayah Rd was fun, anyway, and my short cut would have cut out the best parts, so I was OK with the change.
There was a downside, though, as the route change caused me to miss my planned connection to 28. 441 had been strongly recommended, though, and I found it easily enough. I spent most of the next hour trying to figure out what insult I had given the people who recommended 441, which was practically interstate except for the slow parts through towns. Eventually I got to the “good” part, which was very pretty, but the constant stream of cars running 25 took all the fun out of it that late in the day. Much like Skyline Drive, I can see how it would be a great ride two up on a Harley, or a Goldwing with a trailer, or a big trike. Just not a good sport riding road; no challenge even at x2, for those brief periods between waiting for a chance to pass.
If I’d been smarter, I would have given up on 441 sooner, and cut 74 to 19 back into the land of good riding, but I didn’t. Instead, I stuck with it all the way up to Little River Rd., which was more of the same. Eventually made it through to 337 and 321, then over Foothills Parkway (fun, but wet pavement and an unidentified critter sighting kept my speed down) back to 129.
Had a brilliant run on 129 until I caught up with a pack of no skill, tiny dick, big ego Harley riders I’m calling the Penisylvania Rolling Roadblock. Even running at -10 to -15, the four of them were managing to use the entire road, deliberately blocking every passing opportunity and refusing to use the pull outs. They finally pulled off at the NC border, not to let me by, but because the skies had opened up and they needed to hide from the rain. Fucking Assholes, the lot of them.
Visibility was shit, and in places the stream of water on the road was an inch deep, so the last half hour took almost twice that, and I arrived at the lodge soaked, but in time for dinner. Had a quick shower, enjoyed my dinner, then found the laundry machine to put a load in.
States: NC, TN
Tomorrow, either down to GA for Warwoman Rd, or up to “the snake”.
No picture today. I’ve got some video I was going to post, but the connection here is slow enough it’d take all night to upload, so it’ll have to wait. If you can’t do without pictures, here’s a gallery of me on US129, with all the luggage yesterday, and looking bored waiting for an opportunity to pass the Harley pack today.