Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We departed Newark, Ohio mid-morning Saturday, May 17th with cloudy skies that cleared the further south we traveled. The clearing skies were welcome but along with them came high winds - 25 mph out of the WSW with 35 mph gusts. I literally had to stiff arm the bike for nearly 2 hours just to maintain a straight line.

Day 2 of the journey started out wet and stayed that way for the next 4 hours or so. My shins felt like they were being pelted with sleet but I realized that hitting rain drops at 70+ mph only feels solid. The rain travel was almost entire Interstate highway so that made the travel easier.
The most memorable part of the trip was when we traveled through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The temps in Pigeon Forge were right around 70º with forecast highs near 78, so I opted to wear only my jean jacket instead of my leather.

We took the detour to visit Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the mountains with an elevation of about 6,600 feet. Being from the the Midwest, it didn't occur to me that the temps would be drastically different at the higher elevations.

When we arrived at the dome, the temp was 48º and Teresa snapped this picture of me wondering why I didn't dress warmer and looking into North Carolina!
During the entire trek through the park and across the mountains, whenever Teresa couldn't see the other side of a curve she would tense up. I could feel her knees squeezing my hips as we negotiated some pretty awesome turns. But when she saw this sign, she not only tensed up, she vocalized her tensions and asked what the devil it meant.



She calls it the "P" curve and the road spirals downward and through a tunnel before continuing a long left hand arc. I said, "Awesome!" Teresa didn't share the same regard for this section of road.

I don't want to bore anyone here with all of my vacation pics, but if you want to see the online album, click here.

Alas, we did not visit Deals Gap, NC or ride the Tail of the Dragon. We were warned that the NC state troopers were ticketing riders without DOT helmets and a quick inspection of Teresa's head protection didn't show a DOT sticker. (The box it came in was marked as DOT Approved, but there's no sticker.) Curious. So we chose not to ride that section of US 129.

Cherokee was beautiful. Gatlinburg was busy (except for the arts and crafts loop). Pigeon Forge reminded me of Myrtle Beach without the beach. But travel a half mile off the main highway in any direction and you're knee deep in wilderness, sort of.

It's easy to understand why this area is a favorite vacation destination.

Ride Safe.

Doug C

4 comments:

Earl Thomas said...

I don't want to bore you with wet vs. dry adiabatic lapse rates lest I sound like a total nerd, but back in flight school, we were taught that, on average, for every 1000 feet that you climb, the temperature decreases 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit. You get pretty intimate with those temperature changes going up and down out here in the Rockies.

I haven't been to that neck of the woods yet. It looks inviting.

P.S.- I'm not that big a nerd honest! It's just what they taught me.

Doug C said...

During the recent holiday cookout, an in-law informed me of about the same temp variations. He rounded the temp decrease off to 3º per 1000 feet but 3.5º works out closer to what we experienced.

And I bet you thought you'd never use that piece of information!

Learnt somethin' new, I did!

Conchscooter said...

I wonder if they forge pigeons there or if they have handy little forges that pigeons use?

Doug C said...

Conchscooter: I wondered the same but figured I was the last person to do so. Alas , I did not see a single pigeon dressed as a smithy nor find any pigeons to make certain they were authentic. :-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_Forge#History