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Old 08-14-2007, 10:18 PM   #1
SloNEZ OP
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Mayberry, BRP

Hey, who doesn't like the Andy Griffith show?
Well, at least the ones with Barney in 'em!
I am a fan of the show, and was deciding where to ride. I was torn between Quebec and its environs or heading south. I decided to head south (into the record-setting heat, as it turned out) since I had always wanted to visit the towns of "Mayberry" and "Mount Pilot" from the show. Plus, my younger brother recently moved to Nashville, and I had a chance to stage up there on the way to and from for free - "free" is one of my favorite words!
Some new tires (Metzler Marathons) and an oil change later, and I was ready to pack up and ride, Baby!

Here's the bike ready to go at about 7:15 AM on Wednesday morning (Day 1):


I'm finally on board and ready to head south at about 7:30 ...


I took straight slab for the long haul from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Nashville, Tennessee. I didn't bother to take any pix of that trip except this one. It shows what seven pounds of ice looks like after about two hours in the saddle bag with 100+ F heat ... nothing but HOT water.
Not cool, not warm, but HOT.
Amazing.


Arrived in Nashville after about 10 or 11 hours. Took a while to get down there 'cause I had to cool down at every gas stop! Soaking myself with cold water helped for a bit ... a soaked doo-rag helped some, too. No real way to beat that heat, though. Thank God for Motoport Kevlar Mesh.
Hot, hot, hot ride. Dang near not even any fun anymore.
I even know a couple of girls that cut their rides short because of the heat!

My bro hasn't had time to decorate much, as you can see.
That's Buddy, his Great Dane. What a sweetie!


This is Buddy with his beer bowl ... evidently he has a taste for the suds.
He looks bigger in person, let me tell you!


After a good night's sleep on the new bed and such that Chris had thoughtfully just purchased, I left the next morning (Day 2) for Mount Airy, North Carolina. This is Andy Griffith's home town and the loose model for the town of Mayberry itself. Turns out Andy Griffith's boyhood home is available for rent - well, sign me up!
Here's his old homestead:


In case you're ever interesting in renting the place yourself:


After taking those two pictures, I unloaded the bike and promptly locked myself out of the place. I had to hike down to a store and call a cab to get a ride over to where I could get another key. Duh.
Cost me twenty bucks.
Here's a picture of my savior ... probably the largest cabbie I've ever seen!


Once back inside, I took a few pictures of the interior. It was hard not to imagine little Andy running around inside and out in the nice back yard.
Dining room:


Dining room looking back toward the front door:


The family room:


Mr. and Mrs. Griffith's bedroom where I did what Opie Taylor called "Adventure Sleepin'"


The kitchen:


Believe it or not, this little "closet" was Andy's bedroom until he left for college! It's about 5' X 8', I'd guess. Before this, when they were staying with relatives and he was real little, he slept in a dresser drawer.
Humble beginnings, indeed.


Here's the back room that leads out to the back yard ... since converted into a bedroom.


Looks like Andy himself made a return visit back in 2002!
He hadn't been there since he moved his parents out in 1966.
Pretty cool.


After snapping those pictures (the first of the day since I had to slab it from Nashville again), I rode down into the "Mayberry" part of town and walked around a little. Just a little, since it was still about 98 F out even at 10:PM! Nothing was open, and I was hungry, so I was kind of looking for someplace to eat. I happened upon two town drunks ... I found Otis! Twice! I named the Oti (?) Otis 1 and Otis 2. Otis 1 was actually able to give me coherent directions to the McDonald's. I took it back to Andy's and watched the A&E Biography about him while I had a fine dinner of a cheeseburger, fries, apple pie, Ranch Doritos, and Budweiser (I'd had the cab driver stop earlier so I could pick those last two items up ).

I noted that the Snappy Lunch (the diner mentioned by name on the show) opened up at 6:AM, so I was there bright and early right after they opened for the start of Day 3:


After a delightful breakfast of two scrambled eggs, two big biscuits with sausage gravy, ham, and lots of sweet tea (all for about four bucks!), I wandered around town some more until Floyd's Barbershop (yep - just like in the show) opened up at 7:AM. Here's Floyd's place:


Saw these T-shirts at the Five and Dime - I made a point to go back later and buy a couple for the kids. Mayberry Choppers ... sweet!


Note that Floyd's and the Snappy Lunch are right next to each other. The old boy approaching from the left had a seat on the bench ... I went over to chat, and he told me that "Floyd" was just having breakfast at the Snappy Lunch and picking up his paper, and that even though the sign said "closed," the barbershop door was open and I could go inside to wait. I did for a bit, but it was actually hotter in there (no mean feat, let me tell you). I ended up leaving my maps of Virginia and Tennesse on that bench later. Dang it.


While waiting back outside for Floyd, who should happen to walk by?
Otis # 1, that's who!
Turns out he's an early riser.


Here's your humble author in the chair ready for a haircut from Floyd. I even went for the shave ... with a straight razor!


The "After Picture" with me and Floyd. Shave and a haircut: thirteen bucks! Too bad he doesn't do liposuction.

While I was getting my cut and shave, an old-timer walked in through the back door with an electric razor that he said didn't work. Floyd looked it over and told him he should return it. After the dude left, Floyd told me that the guy has Alzheimer's and comes in with that shaver every day.
Only in a small town.


Thought this place was pretty cool. Lots of pedal-power!


I've got Farmall Fever:


Went back to the Five and Dime for souveniers and a Grape Nehi.
While the clerk was ringing up the items, he gave me a furtive look that I've seen before. Sure enough, he slipped an extra five dollar charge into the total. I was having such a good time that I just let it slide. I don't mind telling you that there would usually be an ass-beating involved for an offense like that ... but, hey, I was on vacation.
Those Nehi sodas are pretty good, BTW.


Yep - that's an Ohio plate on that Honda Helix. It showed about 37000 miles on the clock. Ride on, Brother.


Here's the squad car they use for tours. I could hear it everytime it pulled up: Ford V-8 with dual exhaust makes for a nice, low rumble.




Wally's Fillin' Station:


Time to leave Mayberry for the nearby town of Pilot Mountain (AKA Mount Pilot as they called it on the show). As Floyd was wont to say, "if you want a good suit, you've got to go to Mount Pilot."
Here's a view of Pilot Mountain taken from the town of the same name:


The start of the AWESOME road that leads up Pilot Mountain:


A shot of the road itself:


A view from the main overlook. Notice how it goes straight down from here!


A couple views from the main overlook:




A couple views from a little farther up including a look at the knob:




I hiked up this cool path for a better shot of the knob:


And here it is:

If you look closely, you can see a wooden walkway leading up to the base of the knob ... it was too darn hot to consider it, though.

Here's a look to the left of the knob showing some of the other rises in the area:


Heading back down the road.
Boy, do they mean it!


Hmmm ... decisions, decisions.
I had no where to go today, really. It was still early, and I was OVER slab.


I ended up taking 52N back up to Virginia to the town of Fancy Gap (the same town mentioned in the 1965 episode "The Arrest of the Fun Girls") for lunch:

It was so hot that I even took my neck roll off for a while. This is the only concession I'll ever make to the heat, and I regretted it. See, I had two beers left over from Andy's house the night before. I put the neck roll into my right-side saddlebag with those beers. The beers later EXPLODED in the heat and the foam in my roll soaked up the hot beer. I rinsed it as best as I could, but I had a stale beer odor wafting up for the rest of the trip. Serves me right, I guess.

I hit Fancy Gap around lunch time, so I gassed up and got some chow.
I decided to eat healthy, so I had the tuna salad plate with some fruit:


Then I broke down and had some coconut cream pie, too:


Fancy Gap is, of course, right on the Blue Ridge Parkway. So, I decided to take it all the way down through North Carolina until it ends and then go over the Smokies back into Tennessee. Lots of views like these:




It was actually tolerably cool up here!


A view from "the top:"


There were a lot of bicyclists on the BRP ... STUDS!!!!!!!!!


I had noticed the night before (in Mayberry) that my low-beam was out.
So I spent the night in a hotel in Ashville, NC even though I wanted to stay at the hotel at Pisgah ... I was afraid if it was full, I'd really be out of luck, and that I'd better take the sure thing in town. The desk chick at the first place I saw assured me that her rate (119.00) was the cheapest I'd find on a Friday and that she only had two rooms left, so I took one and paid up. I then rode down to a restaurant for some dinner with my fog lights on and, not a block down, I saw the Thunderbird Motel for 69.00 a night.
Dag Nummit!
A guy turned left into the same restaurant parking lot RIGHT in front of me (darn fog lights), but I figured he just couldn't see me and didn't make an issue of it.
Dinner was good - I met a local (the same guy that almost ran into me!) who said I could've stayed in his guest room for free. Sigh.


The next morning (Day 4) found me back on the BRP. I took some more of the "Gaps" since they are such nice little detours. They are very challenging roads, however. One detour had a sign about a Masonic Marker. Since I am a Mason, I chased it down. Pretty cool:

It's made of stones from all over the world!
I was pretty dehydrated at this point, and a guy hanging out by the marker gave me some fluids ... I wanted to include his picture in my ride report, but he said he avoids having his picture taken. He has my thanks anyway!


The BRP ends at a "T" intersection right at this river:


Why, this just happened to be an ol'-fashioned swimmin' hole!


Complete with rope swing!


The water was perfect and I had a nice, cool swim.

Apparently, the water was a little low ... I noticed a lot of places where the levels seemed to be lower than they looked like they should be. Dry summer. The farmers down here started out with a frost that caused some damage, then the drought kicked in, and now it's hotter than you-know-where. Tough growing season this year.


On the way over the Smokies, I took a detour that goes to the top.
Here are some views from On Top of Old Smokey!













A shot of the road heading back down the Smokies:


Gatlinburg for some gas:


Then I took the Foothills Parkway (I think) over to Townsend and then north and west. I really wasn't ready to get back onto the Interstates, so I put it off as long as I could ... but I also did need to get back into Nashville before it got too dark (what with my low beam out and all).
So I ended up hitting I-40 west of Knoxville and taking it to N-Ville.
Here's a shot from the road as I was "Chasin' Sun."


I managed to roll in about as it got dark. My bro and I went downtown - I missed a sweet pic of the "Bat Building" with two spot lights shining up from downtown and another of the stadium all lit up (there was a Titans game going on) 'cause I forgot my camera. We had dinner and drinks at the Wildhorse and shot some pool. Nashville is pretty sweet!


When I woke up the morning of Day 5 (Sunday), my brother had made me this:

That's corned beef hash with hash browns mixed up and fried with some melted cheese and country gravy on it. Plus maple-flavored sausage links. And scrambled eggs. Dang! I ate some of it Sunday morning and most of the rest Monday morning ... I ate it for two days and never did manage to eat it all!


Went for a short ride on Sunday. This is the site of Johnny Cash's old house. I guess he was going to make it into a museum, but it burned down first!


A pic in the Nashville National Cemetary:


Here's Chet Atkins' old home site ... supposedly, the locals did NOT want it torn down to make room for the new Home Depot, so the crew snuck in after midnight and bulldozed the house.
They did save a couple of outbuildings that they plan to do something or other with:


I just hung around my brother's place for the rest of the day.

I was back on the road by 8:AM Monday (Day 6) ... that's 9:AM Michigan time, and I had to be at work by 9:PM ... yep, another day of slab.

I have a 4.2 gallon tank. Yikes!


Cheapest gas I saw on the trip. It was 2.89.9 when I got back to GR.


Whazzup!


Took this pic on the Bluegrass Parkway (?) off I-65 ... it's the only detour I took on the way home.


I had a stiff north wind right on the nose for much of my ride home. Even at the leisurely speeds shown below, I was only averaging about 32-33 mpg! I usually get at least 37-38 even with the saddlebags on. Noisy, too. Dang.


I did manage to get home in time to hand out the presents (the T-shirts plus a genuine Bowie knife for my son and a stuffed monkey for my daughter), take a shower, and get to work on time. Cool.
Awesome trip - would have been MUCH nicer without the heat, though!
Six days total, with five days of real riding ... total of 2234 miles (about 450 miles per day average).
I wonder if I can still squeeze Quebec in this summer?????????????
It's worth a try!

SloNEZ screwed with this post 08-22-2007 at 04:10 PM
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Old 08-14-2007, 10:47 PM   #2
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Interesting.
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:00 PM   #3
deej
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Awesome man, that town looked like pleasantville Oh and I hear ya on the And Griffith show, I loved that show especially the ones with Ron Howard and Don. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Thumbs waaaaaaaaay up!!
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Old 08-15-2007, 06:43 AM   #4
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Quebec or BRP?? I think you made the right call.... great pics and report

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Old 08-15-2007, 07:47 PM   #5
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Nice!

I was expecting something different... bigger / older maybe - about Andy's house.

We hit some of the same roads on our trips. Sorry we couldn't make a get-together happen.

Gatlinburg on Thursday was 102 degrees. Too damn hot to be riding. I feel (felt) your pain...
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:00 PM   #6
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All of a sudden, I can't get the Andy Griffith theme song out of my mind.
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:44 PM   #7
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Old 08-15-2007, 09:50 PM   #8
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awesome ride/report
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:01 PM   #9
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Cool trip report! I want to do the Andy tour myself some day, after growing up & watching the show all those years.
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:14 PM   #10
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Great report!

We stopped down in Mount Airy last year on our BRP trip. Even stopped into Wally's to fill up. Ok, just for the photo op. Nothing makes a road trip like a bit of corn thrown in!
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Old 08-18-2007, 05:53 PM   #11
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Nice detailed trip and pictures. I even see you got pictures of the dead pines in the upper elevation that the pine beetles and acid rain are killing.

Damn chemicals and bugs!

Now you know why I love NC and have never left! I love living in the mountains of NC. I hate you did not get a Porkchop Sammich!
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Old 08-18-2007, 06:16 PM   #12
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Awesome trip report and nice pics/view of detail...just made me grin from ear to ear...

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:05 PM   #13
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Good stuff!
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Old 08-19-2007, 05:35 AM   #14
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Nice report. Thanks for sharing.

"Oti"

All the best,
Chris
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Old 11-29-2007, 06:53 PM   #15
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Man, that was a FANTASTIC ride report. I am a big AT fan and would love to go see all that. You don't happen to have a GPS route of your trip do ya?
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