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.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
We are home from another great tandem rally in Macon, GA. Roger and Eve did a great job again this year. We had 106 teams (mostly doubles, but a few triples). The routes were good (if a bit hilly) and the social activities were great.
We skipped the Thursday ride and arrived Thursday evening and checked into our hotel. Dinner and first social mixer was at the Fish N Pig restaurant.
They were a bit overwhelmed when 106 tandem teams showed up for dinner, but the wait wasn't bad and the food was great. The social mixer was on their deck so there was plenty to do while waiting for your table.
Friday was a remote start from a church about 8 miles from the hotel and started a bit later than we like to. The rider's meeting was at 9:30 so it was already warm when we left.
We chose the longer 57 mile ride in spite of the heat and were glad we did. It took us through Byron
and through some beautiful pecan groves and peach orchards
with a quick stop in Knoxville
then back to the start.
Dinner was on our own Friday, so we went to a Thai Bistro (Lemongrass) downtown (great food). Macon is having Friday Fest this summer and we were entertained by bands. We skipped dessert because we were having an ice cream social at the Georgia Music all of Fame just down the street.
This is the year of the 13 year cicadas, and we found them everywhere, and heard them on most of the rides.
Saturday was even hotter than Friday, so we set off from the hotel on the 46 mile ride. The 56 and 66 mile rides went through Juliette (movie set for Fried Green Tomatoes) which I wanted to see, but really didn't want to ride that far today. We left before the rider's meeting so we could beat the heat and all was going well. Lunch was being served 11-3 at a church about 4 miles away from the hotels, and we were in great shape.
But somewhere along the way we crossed paths with the 56 mile route and ended up in Juliette anyway.
Back on the road and heading toward lunch at Mt Zion Church. We got there about 2 (later than intended) and really enjoyed it. They were very hospitable, thanks so much.
We ended up with 62 miles and got back to the hotel about 3, cleaned up and went to the margarita social before dinner.
Happy hour and dinner was at Wesleyan College just a few miles away. What a beautiful campus and great place for a dinner.
Sunday we slept in a bit, but still headed out early. Ride options were 28 and 41, we chose the 28 so we wouldn't have to get a late check out. The morning was a bit cooler (YEA) and the roads were much smoother today.
One quick stop for some Gatorade at 19 miles
and back to the hotel
A quick shower, change of clothes, and we were off for home.
What a great weekend, and I do hope we can make it again next year.
Friday, May 06, 2011
DH and I were fortunate enough to get to go to the Florida Bike Safari again this year.
We drove down on Friday, set up our indoor camping (bugs were just too bad for me to sleep in the tent), met some friends for dinner, met some more friends for after dinner chit chat and riders meeting. There were 629 riders for the 3 day option at Live Oak, and 260 for the 6 day option which traveled to Cherry Lake.
Saturday was our first official ride. There were 36, 54 and 66 mile options. Since I was riding my single and not the tandem, I went with the 54 mile and it was great!
Dinner was great as always (thanks Dixie Grill). After Dinner dinner we had a presentation on "Tips for Safe and Fun Paceline Riding", "ER Bike Fixes to Finish Your Ride", and music by Gilberto.
Sunday started out much warmer than Saturday. The ride options were 34, 51, 65, and 100 miles. Once again I took the 51 and was certainly glad I didn't pick a longer one. It warmed up quickly, and I don't do heat well, so I was struggling by the end.
Took a nice shower and a nap when I got in. There was a band (Silverado) for our evening entertainment, and once again dinner was outstanding. Had to re-pack since Monday is the ride over to Cherry Lake for the rest of the week.
Monday we got up early and put our bags on the truck and started the 58 mile route to Cherry Lake early so we could avoid the heat. The routes at Cherry Lake are more hilly, so we took the tandem.
Cherry Lake is still as beautiful and relaxing as I remember. After setting up our camping area we hit the kayaks and did the 4 miles around the lake.
The bald eagles are still nesting there and were fishing.
Another wonderful dinner followed by an astronomy presentation by Tony Delia from North Florida Community Collage. He brought telescopes and set them up on the pier so we could look at the stars.
We had some fun with the props in the auditorium, too. Guess we are all kids at heart.
Tuesday started off cooler, so it was in the 60's when we started, which is perfect for me. Our options were 44, 52, 62, or 100 miles. Since DH wanted to kayak again, we went with the 44. It was a beautiful day and a great ride to Quitman, GA.
A great dinner, followed by a talk by the Madison County History and Ray Charles Home.
Wednesday was even colder, which was ok with me, but DH prefers it warm. Our options were 35, 45, 60 and 70 miles. We chose 45 and were glad we did. It was terribly windy, and on the tandem it was a tough (but beautiful) ride.
And of course, being a glutton for punishment, we took the kayaks out again. The wind was just as bad on the lake as it was on the road.
Silverado played again in the evening, then we had BBQ, and ice cream bar, and man was it good! Then we had to get ready for the ride back to Live Oak Thursday morning.
We took a different route back to Live Oak, and it was just 50 miles. I was tired and ready to get it done, but the weather and road was wonderful.
I rode 311 miles in 6 days, that is the most I have done this year. There is a small group of riders that ride 5 centuries every year. I will not be part of that group, but I have a wonderful time and look forward to the Safari every year. The Florida Freewheelers do a great job of organizing and marking routes and things run very smoothly. A big thanks to all the organizers and volunteers who make the week possible. You are very appreciated.
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