Sunday, June 05, 2011
Today was our last ride of the Tandem Rally. We opted for the longer 33 mile ride that left from the hotel.
This is our youngest rider. She is 4 and they rode the long rides everyday. She logged over 120 miles in 3 days.
We rode together more today than on most days. The route was not as hilly, but the humidity was killer!
Once again, the scenery was beautiful and the roads were good.
About half way through, we stopped at a store for a short rest. I managed to get a picture of our youngest rider and his trailer (he did wear a helmet, it is in the trailer). Glad I didn't have to pull him up the hills, but they are younger than I am.
Back on the road before our legs get too cold.
And arriving back at the hotel with 33.4 miles, and no mis-adventures today. What a great ride.
A short rest in the room, then off we go for home.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about our wonderful week in TN. I have certainly enjoyed sharing it with everyone. I will try to respond to everyone as quickly as I can. My little netbook that I travel with is a pain to use, so I wait till I get home and have my good lap top to do most of my posting.
Life is good.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
And what an adventure we had today. We opted for the long ride (54 mile)
to lunch today. The day started nice and cool as we left the hotel.
The scenery was beautiful and the roads were great.
We took an unofficial rest stop at a little store along the way (note the barn quilt block on the front).
Cycology Bike shop provided a rest stop with snacks and water at mile 29. Thanks so much guys, it was muchly appreciated.
Then we crossed paths with another group ride. They had painted out some of our turn marks on the road, which led to some interesting "adventures" and several U-turns. We were then forced to depend only on our cue sheets, and not the marks on the road. The day was warming up "nicely", but the ride was still great.
We made it to lunch at Pearson Springs Park with 61 miles, very hot and tired. Lunch was catered by Rothchild Catering and was so very welcome. Lots of salad and fruit, pasta, and lemonade.
Music at lunch was provided by the Blue Grass band Timberwinds. They were really good, almost made us want to dance, but we had more ride ahead of us.
Alex Nutt also brought several mountain bike tandems for us to try out. DH and I passed since we already have one.
After a nice rest, we opted for the short route home (surprise!!) but decided not to take the planned one. There is a greenway bike path that went back part of the way to the hotel, so we rode it since it was nice and shady.
But then we had to join the regular route back on the hot pavement.
Made it back to the hotel, hot and tired. Put the bike back in the van, then jumped in the pool (clothes and all) before going up to the room. Several glasses of water and a nice rest later we got cleaned up and ready for dinner at Sullivan's Downtown. Sullivan's is in an old J.C. Penny's store and still has the old wooden floors,
Their salads are to die for, and the grilled chicken was fabulous.
We got back to the hotel just as the sun was setting behind the airport. We were very tired, but went to the unofficial social for a while before going to the room.
Tomorrow will be our last ride, then we must head home and back to regular life. There is one more tandem rally in September, but it will be in Raleigh, NC. That will be a long drive for us, so we are still thinking about it.
Good night all, life is good.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
I wrote this last night, but then it vanished into Cyberland, so here goes again.
We had a remote start from a local high school today so we could avoid the traffic around the airport.
The weather was great, started in the 60's with low humidity and the roads were great.
We rode a nice shady road to Townsend, then into the National Park and through School House Gap.
Leaving the park, we rode through Townsend before heading back.
We rode back the way we came, and what a beautiful road it was.
Arriving back at the school, the van was still there which is always a good thing (don't ask).
It was 85 degrees, not bad at all, and we got in 36 miles before lunch. We picked up a salad on the way back to the hotel, and did nothing for a awhile. There were snacks and drinks in the hotel for the afterride get together.
We went to Cracker Barrel for dinner, then met the group for the dessert social. What a great way to spend the day.
Tomorrow is a 54 mile ride to a park for lunch, then the option of 27 or 4.5 miles after lunch. Guess which one we will be doing ....
Life is good!
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Today was a lazy day. We slept in late (7:30 local, 6:30 our time), ate breakfast then hit the trail. Today we are hiking the West Prong trail, or at least part of it. Unlike the Middle Prong trail which is an old railroad bed, the West Prong is much more "intimate" (please read narrow and uphill). At least it goes uphill at the start when we are fresh (riiight). So off we go on our adventure
After about 1/2 mile of climbing, it levels off and rolls a bit. In places it is barely as wide as your foot, but not too bad. We passed large rock outcroppings, deep hollers, trees that have had a hard life
There are steep places where the tree roots form steps
We are past the spring blooms, but a few were hanging in there
The wildlife was much smaller today, too. There was a crayfish in a creek (pic didn't come out) and many centipedes of various colors (no snakes or bears today).
We hiked a little over 1 1/2 miles to a little stream and rested a bit. Then headed out. Just so I could prove I was there, DH took a picture of me
We ended up with 3.1 miles (and lots of calories burned) then headed back to the hotel to clean up and head for Alcoa, just up the road. We wanted to see a movie along the way and DH had looked up movies and found one with "table seating" so we decided to eat lunch there and make the 1:30 showing. Welllll, he forgot the name of the theater, no problem, we have GPS.
Look up theaters.
Found one he thought was it, got there, but it was closed up and for rent.
On to the next closest, only old movies showing.
On to the next one, not even a building resembling a theater in the area.
Ok, lets just get lunch and check into the hotel. We had lunch at Applebee's and had the sweetest waitress, so we asked where a theater was. Sure, one just 10 minutes away. Finished lunch, off to the hotel, checked in, got settled, and off to the movie. Got there with 2 minutes to spare, only 5 of us in the theater, and they forgot to start the movie. Had to go ask twice if they forgot us. Movie finally started 25 minutes late. But we got to see Pirates of the Caribbean and loved it. Not that it is a great movie, but the characters are so over done they are amusing.
We are back at the hotel now and chilling in our room, still full from lunch and movie popcorn (I know, shame on me, but I am on vacation). Rally check in is at 7 in the morning and the first ride is supposed to start at 9:30, but we may head out early to beat the heat. There is also an afternoon ride, but we won't be doing that one.
Good evening everyone, more tomorrow. Life is an adventure!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
We drove to Townsend TN and arrived last night. The first glimpse of the Smoky Mountains was wonderful.
On Wed and Sat mornings, Cades Cove is closed to cars till 10, so we got up early and took the bike to the cove. The sun was just coming over the mountain tops as we began our ride.
We saw MANY deer everywhere
We forded streams
As the morning progressed, we saw the fog burn off the mountains
We rode to Abrams Falls trail head, but alas, bikes are not allowed on most trails
So we rode on around to the Cable Mill Historic Area
Continuing our ride, we found a copperhead in the road (he was dead so don't worry, I'm not crazy)
and there were a lot of turkeys. But I didn't get a good picture of them. We finished our ride with 22 miles and went back to the hotel to clean up. And true to form, just as I got in the tub, the power went out. So didn't get to dry my hair, but who cares, I'm on vacation.
We had a great lunch at the Apple Valley Cafe
Then shopping at Country Elegance. They sell quilts and local craft items. I did purchase a small quilted purse that DH said looked just like me.
After lunch and shopping we went for a hike on Middle Prong Fork trail.
More snakes, (these were not dead, perhaps I am crazy)
Lots of butterflies, everywhere butterflies
We walked 2 1/2 miles, then took a break and dipped our toes in the creek before heading back to the trail head.
And stopped to watch a waterfall along the way
Back to the room to clean up and get ready for dinner (yup, we eat a lot) in Gatlinburg at the Great Outpost Steakhouse.
I had the Moonshine Chicken with pineapple (to DIE for) and DH had the Pecan Crusted chicken (good, but not as good as mine).
Then stuffed, we waddled to the car, drove around town a bit, then headed back to the hotel to beach ourselves for the night. Won't have to eat for a week now.
Tomorrow we have another hike planned for the morning, lunch, movie, then on to Alcoa for the Tandem Rally rides beginning Friday.
See you tomorrow.
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