Saturday 4th May 2013 Miles Today 116. Total 2403
Last night we stayed in the Sylva Inn and went into the town of Sylva to eat at a place called Bogarts, both of which we would recommend.
We left there and headed back into “The blue ridge mountains of Virginia, on the trail of the lonesome pine”. The day was dry, overcast, but we decided we just hadn’t had our fill of the awesome beauty, and I wanted to see more bears. We stopped at about 5800 feet and looked back down over the route we had travelled.
At mile marker 469, the end of the trail, we stopped to re plot the next bit of our route. There was a wee bridge where all the debris from uphill had collected, and the rest was just very pretty and different from the wooded areas we have passed through so far.
Pic 225,228 232.
Our ultimate aim was to get to a place called Deal’s Gap, which is a biker friendly motel, as it is on a motor cycle route famously called the Dragon. We had two choices, easy, fast and according to Ray, boring, or go play on a single track road, followed by a bit of off road, according to Ray, not boring. I am only the passenger, I loyally follow him where ever he goes.......
It started off gently enough, we flowed along with the river.
We then changed scenery again and there was a lot of flat land and meadows,
and we saw this little chap. He looks like he is losing his winter coat.
Then everything stepped up a gear and we saw these chaps. I make no apologies for several pictures, but you are getting off lightly, I have hundreds more, where these came from.
We had got off the bike to see these guys, apparently a mother and three cubs. Already a park ranger was on scene and keeping people back from getting too close. She passed on a lot of information about the bears and their habits and it was all very interesting. There was one daft guy, who kept trying to push it too far and just couldn’t grasp that it was for safety more than spoiling his fun that the ranger kept shouting at him, she actually threatened to have him thrown out of the park. Now that, I would like to have seen.
Anyway, Ray dragged me back to the bike, as his fun was still to be had. We came off the tarmac road and hit the dirt trail.
Unfortunately, the rain started coming down and I had to put my little camera away, but I have to say that Ray was in his element, and it was fun where I was too. We put the “go pro” on the front of the bike and although we can’t put it on the blog, it wasn’t bad. We had a couple of moments, one when we hit a stone and it pulled us toward a small ditch, but it was well saved by Ray, and then a second time we did get pulled into the ditch. That was harder, because it is a heavy bike to try and push out in the mud, but triumphant again, we then became rescuers when a 4x4 got well and truly stuck by a fallen tree which left him loads of room. He had sent his passenger out, bare footed in the freezing water to assist with his poor driving. We lept off of our trusty beast and directed them through it, and never saw them again.
The rest of our journey was very pleasant, although damp. We hit “the dragon” and did about 4 miles of this incredible road. We had our picture taken by a professional photographer from “killboy.com”, both us looking like drowned rats, with great big grins and a huge wave, so hopefully we can get that tomorrow.
We are now safely ensconced in the motel at Deals Gap, which because of the weather, is pretty much deserted. This rain is due to last all of tomorrow as well, we are actually expecting 4” of rain in the next day or so.
Sunday 5th May 2013 Miles Today 0 Total 2403
Today it rained in biblical proportions as expected with only a couple of 10 or 15 minute breaks. Altogether we have had about 6” of rain in the last few days. So, we had a totally chill day just doing nothing, well almost, I had a couple of maintenance jobs to do an Wallace, namely, adjust the headlight, adjust the gear lever and re solder a relay in, to turn the microphones off manually, (so I don’t get Karen’s singing in my ears !). I had cut it off previously, wrongly thinking it was faulty. Aside from that we just watched TV end read.
Monday 6th May 2013 Miles Today 313 Total 2716
A much better day. The Sun had finally come out to play and so did we. We packed up and set off for a semi dry run back and forth along ‘The Dragon’. It was amazing and we got our photos taken again. We await the result of that !
On arrival back at Deals Gap we stopped and had a bite to eat and filled up with ‘gas’. Wallace was getting a lot of attention, being loaded like a camel and completely different from all the zillions of Harleys and Sports bikes visiting the place.
We took some piccys in the sunshine:
|The resort bar and accommodation in the background.|
|The first obligatory tourist picture...|
|Ana the second one. Bits of crashed bikes are hung from the @Tree of Shame@|
It was then off towards the Atlantic coast of South Carolina. A 400 mile trip that we intend to do in 2 parts.
The road for the first 150 miles was just a very tiring series of sharp curves and hairpin bends that followed several mountain rivers. Spectacular but knackering.
|This stuff gets everywhere.|
|View from the above bridge. A swolen muddy river from yesterdays rain.|
|These were everywhere.|
|These ugly critters were sat by the side of the road. Black Vultures.|
|This was just funny.|
The above picture tells a story. This part of America seems to be particularly badly hit by the recession. We passed hundreds of failed businesses, including petrol stations, cafes and stores. The number of dilapidated houses and plots for sale gave the area a ghost town appearance.
We eventually stopped at a small motel, again run by Indians, in a place called Barnwell, about 100 miles from the Atlantic.
Our intention tomorrow is to go to a nature reserve at a place called 'Hunting Island State Park' a salt marsh wetland area on the coast.