Ozark’s to York PA 2016 Day 13

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ June 8, 2016/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, New Orleans to Ozarks to York 2016, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Boone, NC

Time: 07:40

Weather Conditions: 62

Daily High Temperature:85

Destination: Cleveland, TN

Arrival Time: 19:34

Daily Miles Logged: 422

State Visited: North Carolina, Tennessee

And then there were three… Today marked the final miles to be shared with our friend Jon who has been responsible for the intricate daily ride plans that we have enjoyed for the past 13 days.  Although his departure this morning was a few days early, we are all grateful for the time we had and for his efforts in making this adventure everything that it has been.

We rolled from the Fairfield hotel in Boone, NC a few minutes late, but still reasonably on time for a bunch of guys on vacation.  After a quick prayer, we set our sights on Tennessee’s “The Snake”  with it’s 489 curves, 3 mountains, and 1 valley packed into 33 miles!  Located in Johnson County, TN, it is a more challenging and faster paced ride than the more well known “Tail of the Dragon.”

After the first half of the snake, we stopped in to the Shady Valley General Store to pick up a few souvenirs and then we hit the second half with the determination to get Jon to his breakaway spot so that he could make it back to Nashville in time for his daughters sound check at the CMA Fest.

Signs like this can be found throughout the store and outside of the store

Hey… where do you stick your credit card?

Jon sharing with Matt about the significance of this building. I don’t remember, but I think it had to do with a race…

Our spot for saying our goodbyes was in the parking lot of some race track that seemed to mean something to Jon and Randall.  Apparently, there is a race that happens here every so often that they watch and get excited about.  Seems like a big wasted space to sit unused except for a few times a year…

From the race track, we began our ascent towards Roan Mountain.  We were treated to some rapid climbs and tight corners as well as a nearly 25 degree differential in temperature form the valley below. We arrived at the peak, which was just over 6000 feet in elevation to see the site where an old hotel used to stand.  The Cloudland Hotel was completed in 1885 and only operated for 20 years.  It was completely demolished and removed from the site in 1914 for some unknown reason.

The sight where the Cloudland hotel used to stand…

Our next destination was the Fontana Damn and resort area which would serve as our conduit to Deals Gap.  Jon mapped out a new way for us to connect to Deals Gap from Roan Mountain which allowed us to ride on several roads that we have never experienced before.  With each thrilling turn, we were treated to a different view of the river and damn area. Before we knew it, we were parking our bikes at Deals Gap and looking for a short break.

By far, the prettiest bike at Deals Gap today!

After a brief discussion and a reevaluation of our destination for the evening, we determined it in our best interest to forego riding the Dragon and heading straight to the Cherahola Skyway which would set us up for our hotel in Cleveland, TN for our overnight stay.  We all have ridden the skyway several times, so we did not stop for any photos, although it has never looked the same to me.  I have ridden it in the fog, the rain, while it was under construction, during the color changes in the fall, and now, today, in pristine clear skies and crisp cool temperatures.  Perhaps we should have stopped for a photo or two.

Tomorrow, we will make the final leg of our journey home covering approximately 550 miles.  I am anxious to see my family and to sleep in my familiar surroundings, but a piece of my heart will forever remain on the open road.  She is a cruel mistress, ever calling out to me with her soft voice, whispering my name in a way that I cannot refuse.  I have come to realize that one of the great homes to the human soul is the open road…

-Steve

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