Why do vacation weeks fly by and work weeks seem to drag on forever?? Kinda sucks if you ask me :-).
We enjoyed our time in Knoxville and at Wing Ding. Sunday we took a long ride with friends and rode the "tail of the dragon". This is what they call 11 miles of US 129 near the Tennessee/North Carolina border. The road has 366 curves in those 11 miles and riding it is on most bikers bucket list. We have ridden it before so knew what to expect. Some intrepid entrepreneurs have set up camera stations along the route and photograph everything going by and then post the photos on the Internet for purchase. Pretty cool idea and they probably do a pretty good business since there were three seperate companies doing this.
Monday we decided to be lazy and slept in We did venture out to Wal Mart for some grocery with Rob and Jany Runion. We took their truck which turned out to be a good decision as a fairly large storm blew up and we got some lightning and rain while we were out.
Tuesday we did some more riding and eventually found our way to the convention center to pick up our arm bands for the rally. There was not a lot of action there today but that will all change tomorrow when the rally kicks off at 8am. We ended up going to the local zoo which was open late for the rally attendees and we got in free by showing our arm bands. The zoo was nothing spectacular and a lot of the "areas" were under construction. We were both disappointed in it.
Wednesday morning we were up really early. We had all volunteered to man the registration table at the rally. We arrived there and starting working shortly after 7am handing out packets for the the pre-registered members. We were steady busy all the up until our relief showed up at 11am. I had packed us a lunch to avoid the high costs at the rally and Rudee and I found a nice quiet table and took a long break and enjoyed our lunch.
The rest of the day we explored the rally checking out the vendors. The place was pretty crowded since this was the first day so we decided to head back to the 5th wheel and save our shopping for another day.
Thursday we wanted to do some more riding so headed for The Smokey Mountains National Park. Once we made it through Knoxville we were able to stay off the interstate and enjoy the scenery entering the park through the "backdoor" in Townsend Tn. The park road between Townsend and Gatlinburg follows a winding creek with some great views. The temperatures were pleasant and we had a nice ride. Once we got to the main park entrance I turned right and we headed over the mountain to Cherokee North Carolina 30 miles away.
The road climbs and twists for the first 15 miles and then you drop twisting and turning into Cherokee. The ride was great but we did run into some wet roads. We were lucky though and always seemed to arrive right after the rain had quit so we didn't get wet, just got the bike filthy dirty. :-(
Friday we spent our last day attending the rally. The crowd was not as bad and we were able to take our time and browse all the vendors. We ended up buying a new cover for the bike and a couple of small trinkets for each of us. We did walk to a nice Mexican restaurant in a neat area in downtown Knoxville called Market Square. There were several restaurants to choose from and we were lucky to get a table at Soccer Taco because shortly after arriving the line was out the door! We soon found out why. The food was really, really good.
Seemed like every day around 2pm the dark clouds would build and today was no exception so we made a quick retreat to the 5th wheel to beat the storm.
Once back at the campground we loaded the bike back onto the semi for the trip home and settled in for the night.
Saturday morning we hooked on and pulled out. The campground was right off the interstate and we were quickly headed North towards Indiana. We had driven about 10 miles when we heard the news on the CB radio that both lanes of the interstate were closed ahead of us due to a bad accident with a hazardous material spill and we would be diverted onto a very twisty 2 lane road :-O. Not good! Rudee grabbed the map and started planning an alternate route to the detour. The back up on the interstate was about 3 miles long of stop and go traffic we were directed off an exit and onto the 2 lanes. Leaving the CB on channel 19 to listen to the truckers we heard of a better detour than following all the thousands of people taking the "official" detour so off we went following a couple of semis in front of us. I have to say the CB paid off in a big way because shortly after leaving the crowd we heard of a big mess on the detour route where a semi had run off into the ditch and now it was closed as well! The route we took was a very nice 2 lane road with very little traffic that eventually put us onto US 25E and through the tunnel at Cumberland Gap before returning to the interstate far enough North to avoid all the chaos. The bad news is our "little" detour added about 3 more hours to our travel time. We decided to spend another night at the casino parking lot and continue home Sunday.
We slept a little better boondocking Saturday night than we did the week before and woke up refreshed and ready to go. I still want to get a generator so we can enjoy some of life's little comforts when we do this boondocking thing :-)
We made it back home and set up at the KOA shortly after noon. We both had a great time and are looking forward to our next trip.
Monday will be back to work for me and Rudee will be at her parents house helping out but hopefully we can stir up some excitement later on in the week. I'll keep you posted.