2009 East 50 motorcycle trip
Day 8

September 11

When I finally got up and moving around I went outside and sat on the picnic table enjoying the view. There was a slight chance of rain today and there was a mix of clouds in the area. I sat there drinking a Coke and pondering the events of 8 years ago and enjoying the vacation. Somewhere there is a winning lottery ticket with my name on it.

Today we plan to do some traveling...both on the bikes and on foot. I think we're gonna ride the River Road then walk around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

The bikes warming up.

We were in no hurry this morning. It was slightly past 10:00 when we finally raised the kickstands.

I had a hankering for pancakes so we took the backroads to IHOP. I had pancakes, eggs, and ham. Just enough to feel full but not enough to feel miserable. Mike really enjoyed his IHOP experience...so much that we'll come back here tomorrow.

Walden Creek, NC. 11:30, mileage 37,943 - The traffic in Pigeon Forge was evil so we took the backroads to get gas and to get to US321.

We headed south on US321. The roads were damp but we avoided any rain...again. We saw lots of hotrods headed for Pigeon Forge.

Low clouds on the mountain tops framed Wears Valley. In 2007 we stopped at this woodcarving place in Townsend. It's worth checking out.

Using my mapping software I had plotted a course through Townsend that would link up with Cades Cove Road. Cades Cove Road is some nice riding but I hate to ride down and just turn around. The ride through the country roads was nice. We passed Tuckaleechee Caverns and the road afforded nice views of the mountains.

As happens with mapping software sometimes there are surprises. As we neared the national forest boundary the road turned from pavement to washed out gravel. Crap! Time to turn around and take the standard way to the River Road. On the way back to US321 we passed a Dalmation dragging a chain and a nice lady who waved at us.

Passing back south through Townsend we took TN337 towards the River Road. There are businesses along the road until you get to the official forest. It was nice seeing lots of fellow motorcyclists out and about today.

The River Road is a nice 2-lane road that snakes between the mountains of the forest following a stream bed. There aren't any real tight turns or large elevation changes to speak of. Just many miles of relaxing road with plenty of pulloffs to stop and take it all in.

We stopped at Meigs Falls for some pictures for our girlfriends.

There was a group of bikes there enjoying the falls as well.

Down the road a little farther east we stopped at Sink Falls. Several warning signs have been posted since I was here last year. Something must have happened.

The River Road eventually ends at US441. We headed north into Gatlinburg...driving around a little while and finding a place to park on Airport Road. We walked northward checking out the shops as we went. There were lots of bikes going through town to look at. When we ran out of shops we crossed the street and headed in a southerly direction. We visited the mall area where I looked for jackets and Mike checked out the sunglasses. We stopped at Baskins Robbins. I had an orange sherbert shake and Mike had an ice cream cone. The temperature was a little warm with the walking.

I heard sirens and watched a fire truck go by which made me a little homesick. We walked all the way to the end of the strip and headed back to the bikes. In all we spent over 3 1/2 hours in Gatlinburg and walked almost two miles.

When we got to Pigeon Forge traffic was s-l-o-w. We got off the main road and found a place to park behind a gas station. We started walking west. After about 1.75 miles we turned around and came down the other side. I didn't take a lot of pictures.

I did like these bikes. I like Heritage Softail Classic and I like the apehangers on the Roadking. I also like the tail trunk as a backrest.

After all the walking we'd did my feet were ready to get back on the bike and my stomach said it was supper time. We avoided the main drag by riding down Teaster Lane. By now the sun was going down.

We cruised northward looking for somewhere to eat. We eventually got onto US441. We pulled into a mall and looked around. We had the choice of chinese or Shoneys. Mike chose Shoneys. Once again I ate like a king. No strawberry pie tonight though.

Back at the cabin it was pretty much a repeat of the night before. Tomorrow we'll ride a few of the places we haven't covered this trip.

Day 8 pictures

88 miles.

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