You Meet The Nicest People…

Though I would love to tell you that I failed to write a blog entry yesterday because we had such an amazing day that I was too exhausted afterwards to write, that was the exact opposite of what really happened. We actually spent the whole day at the hotel with Dwayne feeling awful and unable to get out of bed until after noon. Thankfully he was feeling much better by the end of the night, and this morning he felt normal again.

Today, however, WAS an amazing day! We started off by having breakfast at the sister restaurant of the place we had dinner at on Monday night (Foggy Rock), which is named Sunny Rock and serves breakfast and brunch. I got the “Crosby, Stills, and Hash” which was pulled pork, sweet potato, and grilled onion hash with two fried eggs and a BBQ drizzle, along with a side of fruit and toast. It was sooooo good! Dwayne got the biscuits and gravy, which he claimed was also very good.

After we were sufficiently (and maybe a bit over) stuffed, we trekked back to the hotel and got ready to hit the road. It was 67 degrees and sunny when we left the hotel, and our first stop was for fuel before we left town. Luckily the station did have regular fuel, though they were out of premium.

Our intentions were to hit 221 out of Blowing Rock, then hit the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we accidentally misses our turn, so we just went ahead and hit the BRP out of Blowing Rock instead. There was very little traffic, and it was a beautiful 63 degrees with a light breeze on the parkway. If you’ve never ridden (or driven) on the BRP, it is just absolutely beautiful. The curves are mostly nice sweepers, and the road is very well paved. There are tons of beautiful overlooks, and picnic areas, as well as some neat tunnels and viaducts.

We stopped at an overlook to take some pictures when an older gentleman with his wife and her two sisters pulled up in a Nissan pickup, and he came over and offered to take a picture for us. We started talking and it turned out that he rides a Honda Valkyrie and his wife rides a Can-Am Spyder. We exchanged stories and chit-chat for a while, before heading on our way. I was once again reminded of the old Honda slogan “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” and though I think they were definitely onto something with that, I believe in actuality the truth is, “You meet the nicest people on a motorcycle.”

We continued on the parkway until we got to the exit for 226 and 226A through Little Switzerland. We took the latter, and enjoyed the beautiful, twisty ride through Little Switzerland. There was a bit of road construction going on, so we had to wait patiently for a short time about mid-way around the loop, but it didn’t take too long, and it wasn’t hot, so we didn’t mind too much.

After we looped back around to 226, we followed it South to Tom’s Creek Road, which took us over to state road 80, which we took heading back North towards the parkway again. This stretch of 80 was an absolute blast! It had beautiful scenery, and it was incredibly fun with tons of curves ranging from quick sweepers to tight twisties.

Once we made it back onto the parkway, we continued West towards Mount Mitchell, and then enjoyed the ride up to the top of the park there.

As we were nearing the top, we saw two motorcycles coming up behind us, and when we parked and they went to park a few spots down from us, we saw that they were also from Indiana. One was on a Yamaha Super Tenere, the other was a on a Suzuki V-Strom. We struck up a conversation with them, and it turned out they were from over around Evansville, and one of the men’s son lives in the next town over from us, which we ride to a lot. I am constantly reminded of how small the world really is when we are on these trips. It seems we always run into someone with ties to home.

To make things even more ironic, they had left for a West Coast trip the same day that we left for ours earlier this summer, though their itinerary was a bit different than ours, they had mostly went to locations that we went to on our trip two years ago, but we definitely could have been very near one another at different times during our trips.

I wish I had taken a picture of their bikes and the awesome setups they had, but I didn’t think of it until after we had left. They had canisters attached to their engine guards that could carry rags or maps or whatever else you could fit in them, and they had two gallon-sized water coolers attached to their side cases. I was highly impressed with their ingenuity.

We spent at least 30 minutes talking to them, and could have spent a lot longer if the pavement weren’t beckoning for us to hop back in the saddle and continue on with our adventure. We really should have exchanged information with them, as they were really fun and easy to talk to, and I think we would have enjoyed staying in touch with them. Maybe we will cross paths again sometime.

After saying goodbye and wishing them safe travels, we hopped back on the parkway and went in search of the next road on our map. Unfortunately roads are not always well marked on the parkway, so we ended up going 9 miles past the road before stopping to consult Google maps to find our mistake. We weren’t too upset over the detour, however, since the parkway is beautiful and fun the entire way, so it was an enjoyable ride back to the intended road.

Once we finally found it, we were surprised to see that it was a gravel road. Surprised, but not disappointed 😉 We stopped and put the bikes in off-road mode, and continued on our way. It was a beautiful, winding ride down the mountain, and we stopped to take pictures at a beautiful little creek that ran under the road, but the lighting wasn’t right, so the pictures didn’t come out very well.

Eventually we ran back into pavement, and we went to our next road which was 197 out of Barnardsville. We were surprised once again when it turned to gravel as well, so we stopped once again to out the bikes back into off-road mode. It was another beautiful ride back up the mountains, and eventually the road turned to pavement again, which led to our next surprise when we hit an absolutely gorgeous area with cute, well kept homes, and the road turned into tight back and forth hairpin curves, with beautifully groomed landscaping between each section. It was so neat and unexpected. After that section, there was a fantastic little section with multiple chicanes, which is always a blast.

At the end of 197, we hit 19E at Burnsville. We were planning to hit some other mountain roads, but after finding that Burnsville was out of fuel, we decided to head back to Blowing Rock instead, and save those roads for tomorrow. I used Google Maps to find a route back for us, and it failed us. The road that it recommended that we take to get back to the blue ridge ended up being blocked off about a 1/4 of the way in when it turned into a private drive, so we had to double back and find a different route.

We finally made it back to the parkway and took it back to Mile Post 305, where we exited onto 221 to ride the section we had intended to ride this morning. It was AWESOME!!! It was beautiful, and had endless curves. The only negative was that there were a lot of sections where the road had fallen and they had fixed it by repaving those sections, so the right half of the lane didn’t quite line up with the left half of the lane, but it wasn’t too sketchy, so it didn’t take away from the fun. I definitely intend to hit that section of road again tomorrow… Maybe even twice!

When we made it back to the hotel, we ventured back down to Foggy Rock for dinner again, and this time Dwayne got the Trout I had ordered on Monday night, and I got the Bourbon Bacon Pork Chop which was delicious! This time we split the Apple Struesel Coffee Cake with brown sugar cinnamon ice cream, caramel drizzle, and whipped cream. It was awful, just pure awful, so bad that I want to go back for seconds!

Since we missed out on an entire day yesterday, we’ve decided to stay an extra day and not go home until Friday now, so hopefully tomorrow will be just as incredible as today was!

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