In what will become a frustrating pattern, I hardly slept at all last night. Despite the luxury digs, I was cold and uncomfortable through the night even though the temperature was in the mid-60s and I've got a good sleeping bag.
As I sat on Rick's deck in the pre-dawn sounds of birds and dew dripping off the leaves, looking out over the space which has housed countless good times, I snapped this pic.
I was awake well before sunrise and despite my best efforts, was unable to get back to sleep, so I decided just to get up early. Today was my first "real" day of travel. Yesterday was just a mileage buster.
Back down the gravel hairpins which make up the driveway.
Since it was barely after sunrise and the museum doesn't open until 9am, I killed a couple hours by looking for a geocache. My dumb ass forgot my camera when I went for the hike, so I just got some bad iPhone pics.
I never did find the cache. I think it may have been vandalized since there was some recent tree cutting in the area. Nonetheless, I was glad to take the early morning walk in the woods. I wasn't feeling well at all.
I headed for the 9am opening of Wheels Through Time museum. When I arrived, I was the first one there.
The above pic was taken several hours later on my way out.
What an amazing facility, and as has been pointed out by numerous people, the owners and volunteers there are top notch. One volunteer, Skin, came outside and asked me about my bike and where I rode from and really took an interest. You don't see that everywhere.
Inside the museum, it's very hard to take pics, but here's a few I got.
Matt told us about riding this Henderson cross country. He reported no mechanical issues and pointed out that it likes to cruise about 50-55 mph, though it'll run up to about 70.
Later, Matt invited us outside to see his reproduction track bike.
According to Matt, the engine and wheels are original. As he said, he couldn't imagine racing and risking a piece of history. He claimed this was only the second time it's been started since the rebuild.
Notice that the bike has no clutch and no brakes. It's direct drive and when the engine is running, the rear wheel is turning. Matt was prepping the bike for an upcoming race. From his blog a couple weeks later:
Because the boardtrackers have no brakes and no clutch, we do a rolling start similar to a NASCAR race. The main difference is that there is no "pole position" assigned to each rider. If you want a position, you better get there, and have the guts and awareness to stay there while others try to take your spot. It usually takes 2 laps or so for everyone to gather, and once we all come out of turn four together, the starter drops the green flag and we're literally off to the races.
And here's the bike in action at the race, again from Matt's blog:
Here, Dale starts up his 1918 (1919?) Indian. It was really loud. That's the exhaust pipe you see just in front of his toe.
Immediately afterward, he fired up a WWII-vintage Harley and drove it out of the museum, proclaiming to the gatherered crowd, "I'm going for a ride."
I had contacted TreeStrom on the Tent Space list a couple weeks ago and Ricky met me in Asheville, NC at the REI.
Ricky led the way up the Blue Ridge parkway, then we got onto some twisty roads.
I wasn't feeling good. It was wet out, and cold, and I felt feverish and achy. I couldn't wait to sleep in a comfortable bed.
We went through some amazing gravel roads just before arriving to his house, where his wife and some friends were waiting around a fire with hotdogs and other camp food. Ricky's wife made us hobo pies, which was two slices of bread with pie filling heated over the fire. Very warm and delicious. I was exhausted and didn't take a single picture.
Despite a comfortable bed in the guest room, I again didn't hardly sleep at all. Tossed and turned all night.