Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A RIDE UP BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY-----AGAIN

It seemed lately that everything was closing in on me; stifling me. I had to get away. People, the dogs, bills all of it. I needed an overnight on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Up there everything would be alright. Up there, out of the heat. And it was beautiful. I started at the bottom of the Blue Ridge Parkway and worked my way North toward Ashville and a motorcycle campground. No cars allowd. A great, cool night in one of their mini cabins set everything right. The next morning I slowly pulled out of the campground and eased up the winding road that leads to the parkway. It was cool and a jacket was necessary. Hard to believe that folks were facing a hundred degrees down in the valleys below. As you can see, I used a different bike for this trip. This machine quite possibly may be the ugliest motorcycle on the planet. Although I have been told the Yellow Harley was. I do not find it beautiful in any way. But it is superbly functional. This "Bug" is an engineering wonder and is capable of cruising dirt road and broken pavement with ease as well as touring the big highways. It is more than capable when negotiating twisty roads with tight corners and glorious sweeping curves. Just enter the corner and roll the power on slowly and lean and lean. There seems to be no limit to how far this "Bug" will lean over to either side. There is of course. But it negotiates curvy roads with ease. It loves challenges. It is a Buell Motorcycle with a 1203cc Thunderstorm engine. It is powerful and it is forgiving in its driveability. It is form with function. The further it leans into the corners the bigger the smile gets on my face. There is no luggage attached for this trip as none was available in time. But it will be installed this week. For some of you who understand a bit about mechanics, the engine oil is located in the rear swing arm and the gasoline is located in the huge frame members on either side of the false fuel tank. It may not be pretty, but it is capable and very functional. You will see more of this "Bug" in the future. It made me happy on this trip.
Could anything on the planet be more gorgeous!?
One can seem to see for ever........
Yet another motorcycle shot taken in front of the 6053 FT sign. I've lost count of the bikes I have photographed in front of this sign over the thirty five years I have been stopping here.
This campground is located just off the parkway near Bovard, North Carolina, I believe. It is motorcycles only. No cars. The little cabins contain two beds each and are very comfortable. And its quiet there! And they have coffee in the morning!!!
This pond is in the campground. It is full of huge trout. Machines are located in the building where fish pellets can be bought to feed them. They are monsters. I threw saltines in the water and they ignored them. As the crackers became waterlogged and sank; the trout would suck them in. Once acclimated to the white cracker, they would strike viciously at the floating pieces. Great excitement. Well, for me it is....
There are many tunnels on the Blue Ridge. Fourteen I believe. I have travelled this road for thirty years and you would think I would know for sure. The stone work is fantastic. Quality meant something back in the twenties and thirties.
I thought I would take a side trip up to Mount Mitchell State Park. I love it up there. Quiet and clean. Everything is sweet.
View from the parking lot just below the observatory at Mt Mitchell
The Blue Ridge Parkway viewed from the road leading up to Mt Mitchell
Mt Mitchel. Note the dead and dying trees. Spruce I believe. The moisture holding clouds cling to the mountain top and saturate the trees with caustic pollution. This pollution is killing all the trees. And that is not an over generalization. Ozone is getting the ones the pollution isn't. Auto emissions are the main culprit. Millions drive the Blue Ridge and visit Great Smoky Mt National Park each year. Millions! And they ain't walking.
View from road to Mt Mitchell just off the Blue Ridge Parkway