Wednesday, September 22, 2010


click on photos to enlarge
It's not often that any of us get together for a ride due to the work requirements we all have.  Today, however, three of us were able to meet and enjoy a great Tennessee day.  We would ease on up over Route 129 (The Dragon) to Calderwood Lake and then on to Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest.  We really were not planning to do much at Joyce Kilmer but, instead, it was a destination located in some of the most fantastic forests and mountains in this state.  We started late morning and picked our way through a fantastic two lane road that winds through a place called Happy Valley.   We drove on past Abrams Creek Campground Ranger Station Road to Route 129.  A quick left turn at Chilhowee Lake onto the Dragon Road and we were off.  The ride through the perilous Dragon was uneventful and finally arrived at Calderwood Lake for a cool drink of water and a couple of photo's
Tha'ts Shaun in the picture above.  He is driving a 2007 KLR Kawasaki 650.
James is on the blue bike.  He is operating a 2008 KLR Kawasaki 650
James is demonstrating to Shaun how to dismount from the wrong side of the bike.  Nice touch James!
 Calderwood's waters were silky smooth.  This was perfect canoe water.  I just may drive up tomorrow with the canoe for a paddle around the lake.  You might notice that all the motorcycles are KLR 650 Kawasaki s and they cover years 07, 08 and 2009.  That's kind of unique I think.    They are a perfect machine for getting into those places larger machines dare to tread.  Of course, today we're just riding through the mountains;  nothing special in mind.  A nice day with good friends.  A dog would be neat.  OK; enough!
We stayed at Calderwood long enough to listen to the thunder over the mountain where the Cherohala Skyway lay.  Then we took off for Joyce Kilmer.
I always enjoy riding across the road that connects Joyce Kilmer Memorial with Route 129 and the Cherohala.  It is always dark and cool along that road.
We finally found the Joyce Kilmer parking area and decided to take a short hike to look at a few trees.  The place is a reverent one.  I understand what inspired Mr. Kilmer to write the poem "Trees."
A well manicured pathway leads us up the mountain toward some pretty incredible trees.  Look at the root system on the tree below.
Using Shaun as a scale;  check out this old, old Shakespearean relic.  Note the terror on his face as he backs against the monster.   One never knows about ancient trees and;     old men......
This is a small tree compared with whats up the trail.  Can you imagine what our forests would look like today if the logging industry would not have slain the old growth timber?   Some trees in this memorial forest are 400 and 500 years old.
From the bottom up....  A difficult task it is to photograph vertically.  Note the straightness of this monster.
A short break is due.
Below is my favorite shot "tree" from the day.
The sun penetrated through the canopy and struck the tree perfectly.  The old, majestic monarch stood tall and prominent in the darkness and it's projected enormity rendered myself to the most infinitesimal denomination.  I was humbled in it's presence.
The word humble is a simple word the application of which encompasses a wide range of emotions.  In my case it simply means I realize how small and insignificant my presence is here in this, the aged oak's domain.
It's amazing how small we humans are, and yet, how much power we have over the natural creations of the earth we live on.  I wonder why the natural "realm" is so tolerant of us.  Me thinks a comeuppance will occur one day when the earth says, "enough is enough."
This is a beautiful place.  The next hour was spent searching for the parking lot and another drink of water.  We would ride the Cherohala Skyway back across the mountains to Tellico Plains and home.
The day was perfect.  Slow and easy in the company of good friend, both of which are very motorcycle savvy with years and years of experience in the saddle.  Thanks James and Shaun for sharing your time with me.