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nadredrum 05-16-2014 11:33 PM

Smoky mountain escape
First off this will be my first ride report, so please bare with me.:lol3 Secondly my progress will be a little slow since I returned home I am now working 6 days a week 13hrs a day :cry but no fear I should be back to normal hours by the 4th of July, well hopefully. This is my farthest trip on a bike to date, full of ups and downs.
I took off for The Smoky Mountains on April 29th, a week where strong storms were covering much of the good old U.S.A.. My trip started out several hours late after being talked into waiting on my daughter to get home from school. So I just headed to Dayton to visit with some friends, clouds overhead and strong winds. I made it to Indy before I hit the rain not to bad, so I stopped to grab a quick bite to eat put my phone in the hand warmer pocket on my jacket. Got back on the bike and jumped on I70 and headed east, issue one leaving your phone in a hand warmer pocket is not a good idea it came out somewhere down the road while I was moving along at a pretty fast pace. :eek1 Got to my friends visited for a few hours and then went to bed, as he had to head to work at 4am.
The next day started out looking pretty good, warm temps and light wind all the way to Lexington. Then I hit the monsoons, I would have stopped to take a picture of all the water running down the rock faces and out of them but the camera is not water proof and it had to be raining an inch an hour or more. This rain continued all the way to Knoxville and then cleared up till later Wednesday night. On a bright note the Rev It Legacy GTX jacket I bought from revzilla for my birthday last year is definitely waterproof, I have rode in the rain a ton of times but seldom for 4 plus hours, and was completely dry when I arrived.

nadredrum 05-16-2014 11:56 PM

Wednesday I ended up staying in a hotel on the south end of Pigeon Forge that I got for about 30 bucks, the room normally goes for 120 a night and I regretted paying 30 for it. There were holes in the walls cigarette smoke rolled out of the door when I opened it, impressive for a non smoking room, and the mattress was collapsed.:huh Really should have just went and got the camping spot and dealt with the rain my tent is quite water proof.
But here are a few picks of my first day down there, and yes I checked the park out and rode the tail of the dragon before I found a place to stay or a new phone. Sucks having to get the new phone but the new Galaxy s5 is a sweet phone, just cut into the vacation funds a little, but no one to blame except the idiot that dropped the old one.

cleanerman 05-17-2014 06:07 AM

The rain sounds like a bummer but you sure picked the right area.

nadredrum 05-17-2014 10:19 AM

I would also bet the rain kept the crowds down, especially on the more popular roads like the tail of the dragon. I rode that one twice and only saw 3 other people total, and that's the way to ride the tail of the dragon.

nadredrum 05-17-2014 10:39 AM

Thursday the clouds were still hanging around when I got up, but I tossed the rain gear on just incase. I headed north to the local motorcycle dealership Mountain Motors to get a lighter pair of riding gloves as I had forgot my warm weather gloves. Sitting at the intersection waiting to turn to go up the hill to the dealer I hear some loud clanging and banging just behind me. Turns out that the construction company that was working on the road that went up the hill had just had a large equipment hauling trailer come unhooked from a truck, roll down the side of the hill across six lanes and into the ditch :eek1. Amazingly it managed to not hit anyone, but the guy in the semi sitting next to me rolled down the window and ask if I had seen that too.
Next I was off to find a spot to camp, I picked the Elkmont campground which is on the road that takes you to Cades Cove. I got a nice spot right on the river, and found out that the black bears had started making their way down from higher elevations, I actually saw two full grown and two cubs less than an half mile from my tent.

Vinbowie 05-17-2014 01:54 PM

Very nice.
I did the Dragon last September.
My family and friends can't believe I camp
in the woods by myself without a high powered rifle.
They believe that bears want to kill you, period.
Of course they could but they really don't.
I saw a bear once while riding and it was hauling ass
away from me. Seeing one at all is kind of rare really.
Anyway, thanks for the report.

nadredrum 05-17-2014 02:45 PM

I have seen tons of bears on my travels, the ones out west make the little ones I have seen in the Smokey mountains look quite small in comparison. I find if you are respectful of them they will leave you alone. Most attacks happen to people who don't fallow the rules of bear country. I ran across a small, probably year old bear right off the walking path to Clingmans dome. It was just flipping rocks and digging up food in the grass, and people were walking with in 10 feet of him and he never moved an inch. The only wildlife I had any kind of issue with on this trip was a raccoon that climbed up on my bike at the camp sight and knocked my mirror out of adjustment. This pic is not really zoomed in, I am really that close.

bobw 05-19-2014 05:19 AM

Fun trip other than the lost phone. I love riding in the rain as long as it doesn't come with severe weather and the Bear photos are great. I had a similar hotel experience that firmly confirmed my preference to sleep in my tent with critters for neighbors, gotta love flea bag motels.

Thanks for the report.

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