Friday, October 24, 2008

Heading home Sept 16

Woke up this morning to a rough day weather wise, both here and at home. Hurricane Ike swung around and hit Cincinnati with high winds that did a lot of damage and our neighborhood got hit hard. Ann is without electric and has been for several days so I decided to call it quits and head for home to rescue the love of my life. Kent and Sloan dropped me off in Asheville and on the way back to Little Switzerland I stopped at Lowe's and bought a generator as there were none in Cincinnati to buy.

Kent had pretty much gotten over his cold, but Bruce was not getting better so with the rain and all I thought it better that he didn't need to ride in more rain. So I picked him up and loaded the bikes and headed home.

It seems like every time I leave on a trip something happens at home. On my cross country trip we were going through a drought that caused Ann to work her butt off trying to keep things alive and I owed her big time on that one, which I thought I was caught up on, and now this so I'm back to square one. Not really, as I was a hero who brought electricity with me! The neighbors also appreciated it as I ran the generator around so everyone could get a hot shower once in a while as we were without electricity for exactly a week.

So that was the end of yet another great trip and am looking forward to the next one. So the totals were 415.52 miles with 34,652 feet of climbing! Woohoo!

Mt Mitchell Sept 15

What a day! We all rode Mt Mitchell and had a nice time under beautiful weather. That is until we got to the top of Mt Mitchell which was socked in fog, but just while we were on top. It was a hard ride and I felt good, but tired. We made it back to the Lodge just in time to shower and hit dinner. We were afraid we might be late and possibly miss dinner and life would not have been pretty as I might have had to eat the lodge dog! Everyone did well and we tried to talk Sloan in to riding tomorrow, but she informed us that her season was over and she would not be riding.

So the next morning they are heading to Ohio and Bruce and I are heading to Asheville. So today was 55.5 miles with 6628 feet of climbing, great day!

Little Switzerland, NC Sept 14

We were close to Asheville where we had started so Kent and Sloan decided to ride back to the car and drive to Little Switzerland and meet us there. I think Sloan was getting tired as we had doing a lot of climbing and Kent really wanted to ride Mt. Mitchell. So we spit up and they headed to Asheville and Bruce and I headed to Little Switzerland. Kent is thinking about renting a road bike and ride Mt Mitchell with Bruce and I.

Bruce and I had a beautiful day to ride a hard ride, but at least we had a tail wind! Tailwinds are great, but if it's as hot as it was today you don't get the breeze to cool you off so it was hot. We came to a closed section of the road and took a 5 mile detour on a gravel road. We stopped a MBer and he said the road wasn't too bad so off we went and it wasn't too bad as I just took it easy and didn't have any trouble. Then after we rejoined the road a couple said that the closed section was going to become a bike trail as they weren't going to reopen the road, and that we could have rode that section. Oh well. So we arrived at Big Lynn Lodge and had a nice two days there. They had a list of rules that was extensive and one of the rules was that they don't allow bikes in the rooms. This worked out okay as we just locked them up outside and they were basically out of site and it wasn't a place that I was worried about anything happening to them. Dinner and breakfast were included in the price and we even had set times to eat and assigned tables. The people with seniority get the tables closest to the windows, which offered a nice view. We got a window table. Woohoo!

And then to our surprise Sloan said that she would ride Mt Mitchell with us! Life is good and I was glad to hear it. So tomorrow is the big ride! Today was 43 miles with 3391 feet of climbing.

Black Mountain, NC Sept 13

After another rest day we rode to Black Mountain. The rest day was rainy and miserable so I spent the day resting, after all, it was a rest day, and cleaned and lubed the bike. I was tempted to ride back up the descent that we flew down yesterday just so I could do it again, but this time stop and take a lot of pictures. But after looking at the bent all nice and clean I just couldn't bring myself to get it all dirty again, so it was kind of a boring day with not much to do. We went to two bike shops so all was not lost. :>))

We got a little late start under cloudy skies, but it soon turned in to blue skies and a nice day. I thought today was the easiest day so far and the next two are going to be two of the hardest, bring 'em on! It got very hot today. Bruce and Kent both have colds and I'm doing my best to keep from getting it. So bruce is napping after a stop at Wendy's, Taco Bell, and McDonald's. Makes you wonder how we manage to stay so slim! ;>)

So we rode 55 miles and climbed 3439 fet.

Brevard, NC Sept 11

Today was seven years after the ^%T*($^ destroyed the towers. We're staying at the Holiday Inn where we will stay another day as tomorrow is another rest day. We left Waynesville under cloudy skies and a threat of rain and climbed a long 19 miles to the highest point on the BRP. What a beautiful ride this is! Steep, long, foggy, and raining, but enjoyable (relative term) none the less. After the hard climb we enjoyed a great descent to a waterfall that Kent had told us about.

The descent was along a fast running stream and I was torn between wanting to stop and take pictures and not wanting to ruin the descent as it was so sweet, but I did bite the bullet and stopped once.

After a great day of good riding and fast descents we arrived at the Holiday Inn and after getting cleaned up we devoured everything at the salad bar! And then called Ann and Mom and let them know we were all safe and sound. I was thinking about the bike trips and the advantages of solo or group trips. It's nice to have people along to talk to and share the experience with, but then it is also nice to go solo and not be on a schedule. So there are advantages to both sides and I enjoy them both. I like to camp, which no one else is in to, but I enjoy both.
Good ride.....Sloaner bonked! We rode 58 miles with 4810 feet of climbing.

Waynesville, NC Sept. 10

Yesterday was a rest day, but we rode to the bike shop so we were on the bikes for a short distance. We rode to Waynesville today and stayed at the Best Western. Kent and Sloan made all the reservations, which was nice since I didn't have to. The roads were nice and we were paralleling a very nice stream so we took our time. Everyone is playing well together and life is good.

Bruce was a little concerned because Kent and Sloan didn't stop very often for food. Kent has lost some weight since riding more after not working and needs to eat more often, reminiscent of Jerry on the tandem. Today's ride was only 47 miles with 3724 feet of climbing. They were calling for rain, but we managed to stay dry for yet another day.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Franklin, North Carolina Sept. 8 2008

We're staying at the Hampton Inn tonight after riding the long route. Kent and Sloan had a hilly and scenic ride as did Bruce and I. We had a 25 mile climb which was hard, but was well worth the effort. Bruce climbs faster than I do on the recumbent, but when we hit the down hills I smoke him so it evens out in the wash.

We rode along the Nantahala River and it was beautiful as was the forest, stopping at the Nantahala center to see if anyone was kayaking at the moment. We didn't see anyone and after unsuccessfully trying to get a sandwich we headed on out towards Franklin. We got to the Hampton about 3:30 and after a shower we headed to KFC for their buffet, which turned out to be pretty good, but everything tastes pretty good after 63 miles and 4433 feet of climbing!
They are predicting rain tomorrow and tomorrow is a rest day so it might be good to be sitting in a motel room, but I don't do well on rest days, which I found out on my XC trip.

Bryson City, NC BRP

We survived another beautiful day on the Blue Ridge Parkway and we're at the Relaxation Inn drinking a beer and relaxing after another hard day of riding. It was hard, but the scenery is spectacular and the descents are some of the best I've ridden, and I do love the descents! It's the main reason I go up hill so much.

The day started out foggy so we got a late start and today we reached the end of the BRP and continued on back roads for a figure eight ride.
The scenery is just superb! The views from the BRP are awesome! We had ridden the northern portion of the BRP on previous trips so this will finish the BRP. I would go back down there and ride again as it was that nice.
Tomorrow is a short day and Bruce and I may ride the longer option as 28 miles is pretty short, but in these mountains with long climbs it's a lot different than a 28 ride in Ohio.
We all went to Anthony's Italian Restaurant for dinner and had a nice meal and we discussed tomorrow's route. Kent and Sloan will do the 28 mile route and Bruce and I will ride the longer route.
The descents on this trip are some of the best, if not the best, that I've done and I do like my descents. I like climbing, but mainly because they lead to great descents. So I rode 46 miles with 3735 feet of climbing. It was a good day.