2009 East 50 motorcycle trip
Day 5

September 8

I was a little extra excited when I woke up this morning. We were going to a couple Honda shops to look around. We would be finishing the Blue Ridge Parkway. We would be at our cabin tonight, and I've been especially looking forward to that.

I had initially thought about skipping breakfast again but after packing my stuff I walked a couple doors down to the dining area. Mike was finishing his breakfast and watching TV. I had a toasted bagel and some orange juice. There's no rain forecast for today but it is semi foggy.

Our first stop for the day was at Mr. Motorcycle. The guy walking into the store is Craig from the Kawasaki Vulcan forum. I checked out their jackets. They had some but not the one I was looking for. Mike checked out some leather jackets. They had some nice bikes...a Voyager, Venture, ST1300, Concours, etc. Eventually we both bought a pair of rain gloves and I also got some fingerless gloves.

The girl who checked us out said Gatlinburg was hosting a hot rod show/cruise-in this weekend and the place would be packed. Hmmmmmm. Sometimes people say Gatlinburg to generically include Pigeon Forge, and it would be nice if Pigeon Forge wouldn't be super crowded.

It was still a bit hazy as we headed down US25 to Hendersonville to visit Schroader's Honda. When we got there the first thing I noticed was about a half dozen trikes sitting outside. They didn't have much in the way of jackets, so we checked out the bikes.

They had a bunch of Goldwings with various levels of chrome and accessories added. Some had a big, thick seat that I didn't understood how someone could ride. They also had an airbag model.

Not really finding anything to buy, we headed north on I-26 back to Asheville.

Asheville, NC. 11:24, mileage 37,385 - On the NC280 cut across to US25 we stopped for gas and ate at the attached Arbys. The first Arbys we ate at had regular french fries. This place didn't so I got potato cakes. I don't much care for the curly fries.

A short jaunt up US25 and we were back on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I've ridden this section to US276 twice so I was enjoying the reunion. I think the North Carolina part of the parkway is the most enjoyable.

There are lots of tunnels and you do more riding along the edge of the mountains. There were a lot of motorcycles out today. More than I'd figure for a work day.

We pulled over at the Graveyard Fields pulloff and watched the low clouds drift around. We had just passed a waterfall, and wandered if there was a path to see it. There was, but it was 1.6 mile hike. There were several cars parked there and you could see people walking off in the distance. The gnats that have been harassing us the last couple days seem to have disappeared.

Since the clouds were low and plentiful I was hoping we might drive through some more and once we got back on the road I wasn't disappointed. I didn't lose Mike in the mist. We passed Cold Mountain and Devil's Courthouse.

We pulled over for a picture at the peak of the parkway.

At 14:43 we reached the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the completion of another goal. We pulled over just up the road at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center for a bathroom break and to stretch. A couple Goldwings went by headed north. A couple hot rods pulled into the parking lot near us.

Check in time for the cabin was 15:00, and it was a little after that so we decided to take off. We still had to ride over the Smoky Mountains and then to Pigeon Forge. The traffic wasn't bad and the speeds were consistent. In 2007 we rode this in the pouring rain so I am always thankful to ride it in nice weather.

40 miles and 1:37 hours later we were at the offices for Fireside Chalets. I had to check in and get the keys. In the past I've used Patriot Getaways and their process is a little more automated. You just call and get a code for a key lock box on the cabin. I do like having a real key like I got today.

Angels Nest cabin.

With check in complete we headed for the cabin. Having stayed next door twice I knew the route and that we'd have a steep climb. Mike would be in for a surprise. We turned onto Walden Creek Road, then Goose Gap, then Bluff Mountain Road. Bluff Mountain Road is fairly curvy and fun to ride on bikes. We turned onto Foxwell Lane and began our ascent of the mountain. At 16:33 we arrived at the cabin.

For the first time since the trip began I ditched the trailer. We unpacked, lounged around, and relaxed.

The view from the porch was as beautiful as I remembered it to be.

A little after 6 pm we decided to get something to eat so we took the backway into Pigeon Forge. The back roads are curvy and generally in great shape. Without the trailer my bike felt extra nimble. When we got to town we decided to eat at Logan's Roadhouse. They weren't very busy and we got right in. I had steak and shrimp. Excellent.

After a good dinner we rode up to the next stoplight to Walmart and picked up some groceries and cabin supplies. We strapped the stuff to our bikes and headed through Pigeon Forge as the traffic wasn't too bad.

Walden Creek, TN. 20:33, mileage 37,535 - Gas, then up the mountain in the dark. We spent the rest of the night lounging. I sat on the porch picnic table and watched the twinkling lights of Pigeon Forge for a long time. I wish I could get my girlfriend down here once. Despite being a "lounge at the pool in the hot sun on vacation" kind of girl I think she would like the peacefulness. At least a little bit.

Everytime I fire up my laptop on the mountain I hope some entrepreneur has installed wireless internet on one of the many cell towers in the area...and everytime I am disappointed. This time is no different. I keep thinking I'll set it up to use my cellphone as a modem, but I never have. I should look into it more seriously now since they now have 3G service. In light of all that, I called ISP.com and set up a (gasp) dialup account.

Mike attempted to use the hot tub but it was very hot. He turned the temperature down so hopefully it'll be better tomorrow. I like this cabin. It's maybe 10% smaller than the one next door. The bar chairs are a lot more comfortable. I like the picnic table and swing on the porch. Just right for a couple guys on Goldwings.

Day 5 pictures

184 miles.

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