Thursday, April 5, 2012

Waterfalls, Mountain Views and Riding Motorcycles

Spring is officially here of course.  The salt is MOSTLY cleared from the roads, and the warmth of spring has forced open the lilies, caused the trees to awaken from dormancy pushing forth their new Spring colors like a fashion show in Milan.

It's also caused the 2 wheeled motorcycle public to drag out their own drowsy machines, give em a good spit polish and cruise up and down the boulevard, by-ways and back roads.  It's spring fever time. Those of us that can...DO.

My Lil Girl is not running happily. Something is wrong. AGAIN...I hate this carb. It's the CV carb style that comes stock from the factory. I've had major problems with it for years.  Oh, yes I know, some years I will have no problems, the the next year I will drop in mileage until the problem is tracked down and solved.  This year my mileage has dropped from 50 miles a gallon to somewhere around 43 (depends on the type of driving I do.)  So now, with my new saddle bags, I carry an extra gallon of gas with me.  How convenient. (Sarcasm read here please.) I've only carried gas with me one other time, and that was when I was riding out west with fuel stations few and far between out in AZ, NM, and CO.  I hate feeling like a rolling bomb.

This spring is not one of those beautifully explosive springs that hit after a long, hard, cold winter.  This winter was hard to call a "winter". Sure, we had a couple inches of snow, but it didn't last. It was gone the next day in the lower elevations where I live.  Going into the mountains one could find the snow still lingering on the shady side of the giant rock masses, but where the sun was able to linger, one could find bare patches of ground and rivulets of melt-stream dripping down the rock face near the roadway.  Of course it was still colder than spring or summer, but if you hankered for a ride all you had to do was bundle up, plug in, and ride.

This spring, the color started to arrive as early as February. Because of this, there was no fantastic orchestra of of unrestrained joyous awakening of hard sleeping foliage.  They were all kind of in a twilight sleep, where they were out of their heads, but still awake, still sprouting color when they should have been sleeping.

No matter though. It's warm. The salt is gone from the roads, the birds are singing outside my bedroom window long before the sun is up, the bugs are thick as thieves in the Sudan.  No matter, I wanna ride.

So ride I do.  Here's the map of where I've been.

Driving up to Roan Mountain and Carver's Gap is a ride meant to bring you closer to happiness. I made the drive feeling very good. I ran to very little traffic ahead of me, and made great time as I drove through the state park to the pinnacle of Roan Mountain.

The Appalachian Trail runs through here and I've read the Gap provides an excellent view of the valleys surrounding it.  It's a short hike to the Bald where no trees grow and an industrious motorcyclist in riding boots can get to without killing herself and snag some fantastic photos of the views.

I begin to climb the trial to the top of the Knob, it don't look like much of a walk when you see it like this, but it meanders left and right up the hill, through woods and around boulders.  It's a wonderful walk...even in biker boots.

This is a very popular part of the trail. Many tourists hike this small part of the trail in order to see the views.  They've had to install barb wire in some places in order to keep the idiots from taking "short cuts" to the top.

A small portion of the trail runs through this cute little forest.  It's very nice indeed.

After leaving the forest, it is still a bit of a walk up to the top of the mountain, but once you get to the bald, this is what greets ya.

There's so much more to this part of the world. You have to see it for yourself!

I left here and headed for Bakersville in N.C.  I decided I wanted to grab some photos of an old mill that is back in the woods there.  I did get the photos, but that's for another blog post.  As you can see from the map, I had a great ride visiting the mountains of North Carolina, Linville Falls, and The Snake in Shady Valley.  Loads of photos for y'all. Keep an eye out for the good stuff. It's coming. I promise!