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Sunday, August 17, 2008


Day 5: Waking up on this last morning of our vacation, brought with it a feeling of disappointment that our fun in the Smokeys, has reached it's conclusion. I lifted my head up off the pillow and looked around the hotel room and thought, "Good grief!" It looked like we had two weeks worth of laundry scattered around the place. I closed my eyes again, prolonging the dreaded task of re-rolling all our crap so we can get it all packed on the motorcycles. It's funny how each morning prior to this, I was up like a jack in the box, ready for the new days adventure. This morning I was dragging! I guess because today, I know I go back to reality.

After a couple of hours, we all were repacked and ready to head toward home. Our plan was to take Hwy 28 south to Franklin, then connect to Hwy 441 and take that all the way to I-85 just north of Atlanta. We mounted up, pointed our Harleys south, and fell into line with each other as we made our way along the scenic path that would take us away from our bikers playground. We were still in the Nantahala National Forest, so we were able to enjoy the thrill of riding the twisting pavement one last time. It was almost as if the road was bidding us a final farewell. As we got further south, away from the forest, the road slowly straightened back out and was producing fewer curves. We understood that the thrills and chills of riding were behind us now, but we gained some great memories and experiences that will stay with us always.

We pulled into this little diner in Otto, NC so we could enjoy one more meal together. The only reason I even mention this place is because it was probably one of the best restaurants we ate in while on this trip. It was around 11:30 and they were serving breakfast and lunch, and they also had a buffet set up. We all got a little of everything and it was delicious! I ordered a club sandwich and got a Flinstone sized serving! Holy cow! Three people could have dined sufficiently on this masterpiece. They were very friendly folks too! I highly recommend this Country Cafe if you ever find yourself traveling through Otto, NC. You won't be disappointed.

Getting back on the motorcycles from this point really went somewhat uneventful, until we got close to Atlanta. We were on I-85 south, approaching the city of Atlanta and somehow we missed the warning signs that said "Paving...down to three lanes". We should have taken I-285 around Atlanta, but we didn't. We rode head on into the mother of all traffic jams. From what I understand though, this is normal and usual for Atlanta, even though we did not encounter this the other day when we came through here. This was my second dose of reality that vacation was coming to an end.

For about 20 minutes, I didn't get out of first gear once. We would creep forward about 10 or 15 yards at a time, then stop. I noticed my oil light kept coming on. I mentioned this to Harley, and he told me to keep my RPM's up, or cut it off if I get to a place that will let me coast a little. It's a good thing I have a talent for multi-tasking, because I felt like I was trying to do ten things at once. Here I am balancing..., creeping..., clutch in..., reving..., turn it off..., coasting..., turn it on..., creep again..., clutch in..., reving..., still balancing..., turn it off again! Another 1o minutes go by and we are still snailing across the heat intensive asphalt. My left hand is feeling spent right about now. Reving some more..., coasting some more! WTF! My big beautiful girl (dare I say the oldest) was hot, hot, hot! She was starving for the cool air she most desperately needed!

By this time, the heat of the asphalt combined with the intense heat our bikes were producing, were making us feel like pieces of bacon, sizzling and popping, in a hot skillet! Did I mention what a beautiful bright sunny day we were having? While I was totally consumed with coordinating my actions, trying to not fall over, and keeping my girl from getting to her boiling point, I noticed a nice looking woman next to me in her car, watching me. She gave me a wave and a smile, so I smiled back and nodded my head, as my hands were busy clutching and reving. I noticed her windows were rolled up tight and her shoulder length hair was actually blowing around, apparently from her air conditioner vent blowing full blast. I had only one thought at that moment. BITCH! I couldn't help myself. I was dying here and all I could think of was how cool her car must feel! "Snap out of it", I chastised myself. Being a biker, you can't always control the elements, so I've got to take the bad with the good. This may have been my third dose of reality today!

Since, it didn't look like we were making much progress, we pulled off on the left side of the road under a shady overpass. There were two closed lanes between us and the creeping traffic, so we felt we were not in any harms way while we sat and let our bikes cool off. Within five minutes, a big lime green rescue unit came up to us and pulled over. Since it was my bike that forced us to take this break, I went over to explain to the man and his partner why we were stopped. Thinking they would be relieved to know they didn't have to work on someone, I was quite surprised when this nice gentleman proceeded to scold us and tell us we can't be here. His quote was,"We are a distraction to an already congested area." Huh? I almost pulled a B. B. here, and responded with a smart ass remark like, "What do you mean, we're not showing titties or anything?" I didn't understand why he said we were a distraction when all we were doing was standing by our bikes, letting them get cool. We told him we would be gone within 15 minutes. They relaxed a little bit and asked us if we needed anything. After they kindly gave us some cold bottles of water, because we looked like we needed it, they pulled out to go see if there were any other rebellious motorists that needed correction.

We kept our promise and within 15 minutes, we were mounted back on the bikes and merging into the moving parking lot of vehicles. Fortunately, we were only creeping along for about 10 minutes, when things started moving a little more steadily. Apparently, we had pulled off where the five lanes had completely merged into three, so once we started moving, the pace picked up dramatically. Within moments, Atlanta was in our rear view mirrors and we were once again cruising southwest toward the Alabama state line. We were relieved to be in the wind again.

Our buddies, the Lone Ranger and the Beav would be peeling off, a few mile up the road, just past Newnan, GA, to head south toward Panama City. As we approached their exit, Harley and I moved up along side of them to bid them farewell.

Waving goodbye to our friends was a little bittersweet, as it means the end of our wonderful journey together. I know there will be more great adventures in the future, but for now I'll just have be content with the memories we've made while on this trip together. This experience will feed my soul for days to come, as this was absolutely the best vacation I've had in a long time! The Smokey Mountains should be on the "Top 1o" list of beautiful places to take a motorcycle trip. I can assure you, won't be disappointed!
As I bring my vacation post to a close, I also want to thank you all for letting me relive my 5 wonderful days of motorcycle bliss one more time! Sometimes, we do everything we can to prolong the fact that we're... back to reality!

Lady R


Big Daddy said...

I had a absolute blast on that trip!!!
And I didn't even gat to go.
Thanks for the vivid words that allowed us to 'ride along'

Dean "D-Day" said...

Thanks for sharing your vacay and all the great pics!

mrs rc said...

I am having a moment of "back to reality" myself. After 2 months off, I am headed back to work bright and early tomorrow morning--to start teaching a bunch of little urchins some Algebra. :-(

I feel like my riding season is only halfway over (with 2 more overnight trips on the schedule), but alas, it will be nice to start collecting a paycheck again!

The end of vacations is always bittersweet. Thanks for sharing yours with us.

B.B. said...

Oh, that made me so sad! Ending vacation is bad enough, but to have to go through all that crap to get home really sucks.
How dare you distract non-moving traffic! ;)

"Joker" said...

I enjoyed going to the Smokey's with you as much as I hope you enjoyed going to Maine with me last month!

The pictures were great. The shot of all the traffic is perfectly placed - sort of 'rams home' that unpleasant reality check. I swear I felt the same as you did on that final morning. Looking around and taking it all in, knowing you have to leave soon. The only thing that made it easier for me was that as much as I had enjoyed my vacation, I was looking forward to getting back into my own shower, and my own bed!

Glad you had such a great trip and that you all made it home safe.

Ann said...

Glad the trip was a success! Thanks for taking us along with you. :)

Lady Ridesalot said...

Big D...I'm glad I was able to bring you along. The more the merrier!

dean...it was my pleasure! Hope things are going well for you.

mrs. rc... unfortunately, "back to school" means different things for different people! I know some moms right now who are jumping for joy!

b.b...now we just have to plan the next one. The trip home will never take away from the joy this trip generated!

Joker...I like going on my blogger pal's adventure's, as much a I like sharing mine with them. You can't be everywhere and do everything you want, but this helps fill in the gaps. You meet the nicest (and strangest) people while blogging! LOL!

ann...maybe we can go somewhere together for real some day! That would be a trip!

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Going home is like 8:00 P.M. on a Sunday Evening to me, when you know what's in store for you the next morning. Work and reality.

Glad you bike made it through the heat, and you all made it home safely.

Nice of the water boys to give you a drink in the heat too.

Lady Ridesalot said...

mr. m... yeah, all good things have to come to an end sometime. Getting back into the swing of things often takes a valiant effort. It's times like this I wish I were independently wealthy! LOL!


We live North of Atlanta and that is the WORST fear of all bikers in this area...The heat and the fumes are torture. Welcome back to reality. We are about to escape it for a while, but there is always that moment when you dread going home but at the same time can't wait to take a shower and sleep in your own bed.

Harley Sharly said...

Hi There! Just found your blog and will check back regularly! We have a lot in common - Harley, long marriage, no kiddos and love of pets! Visit our blog sometime :)

Your trip looks awesome!!

Lady Ridesalot said...

harley sharly... what is your blog address? I clicked on your name and it did nothing. I will be happy to come by and visit!

Harley Sharly said...

Oops!! Sorry about that!!


There is a lot of cat content, but the bike is in there, too! :)