December 31st, 2008
Campsites on Avery creek were occupied, parked the furthest up creek yet. Cold & clear night.
Plan is to drive back into TN to Ocoee & Talasi trails. Ocoee was the kayak venue of the 96 Olympics.
Route 64 is another twister. These western NC roads are very mountainous: narrow, no shoulder, twisty, snakey. Lots of upper body work out.
River @ kayak course has been robbed for hydro electric & maybe no runoff. River flow was an issue I’m sure like Spokane River for the Falls is becoming.
Drove to Ocoee RS seeking info. Volunteer filled me up. Said Hanging Rock XG at the Tanasi TH has 4 tent sites and is free. Concern that only 4 sites available with the beautiful weather and reputation of trail system would mean full up. I argued w/ him asking for other sites in case. Drove back up river to XG. Empty.
Walked up the downhill trail aways. Going to be a fun ride. Trail tread appears to be smooth but lines will be high speed fun. Machine cut trail but played with slope: nice control point ups b4 a corner. Not outsloped. I cut thorn vines away from edge of trail.
XG is across river from highway. Traffic noise ove rthe roar of the river h2o dropped back into river downstream of generator. if you can steal the h20…. .
Only rig around. Drank a bit of moonshine listening to Springsteen on XM radio. Old concerts from ’70s.
Won’t make the dropping of the ball.
Forecast for tomorrow is another good day.
Enjoy the snow you folks in Spokane.
December 30th, 2008
Last night drove out to “my” spot & found an RV wedged in sideways. The first spot w/o XM was full of liter. Drove to 3rd site & somebody was tent camped off in the trees. Picked 4th spot right beside & received XM, actually a deeper pull off the road spot.
Chilly w/ heater on low.
Reading Confederates in the Attic in which the author interviews Shelby Foote who was prominent in Ken Burns Civil War series. Learning more about the Civil War.
Beautiful blue sky day. Frost on the downed leaves. Drug my feet leaving as I wanted to ride on h2o & not ice. Grocery shopped then drove to Dupont Corn Mill Shoals parking lot. Just a few cars in lot. A guy came up to me and said that he met me the night I camped out off road 1206. I couldn’t place him at first but he was the guy following me and he stopped his van to talk to me. It rained that night and he said that he was totally rained out on his ride. I hooked up w/ him for a short ride here as he had other plans.
I rode Cedar Mtn 2x because I missed a junction. But what a great ride. Ride up the rock: all rideable & the downhill was sweet rolling & dropping over rocks. Same route I rode w/ SORBA guys.
Crisp in shade but in sunlit patches it was almost summer time warm. Just great. Oh, & not a cloud in the sky which was a deep blue.
I encountered 2 guys w/ accents I couldn’t place joined me to trail to river. I sat down & pulled off my socks, rolled up my leggings, & put my shoes back on all the while answering their questions about the riding on the other side. I crossed but they decided otherwise:
Those who stayed on the other side
No ice on shore this time.
I put dry socks in wet shoes but hey, the mud from Issaqueena was gone. I recalled the SORBA ride exactly & returned to the river xing. As I arrived a 3 generation family arrived. Some of the elders watched as I removed my socks etc. I shouldered my bike and waded across. The current was strong enough to pull my bike downstream. I made it to the last step up onto the shore when my h2o foot slipped out from underneath me splatting me on my back side. I went thru several gyrations before I finally hit rear end. The bike stayed up right. The grandfather grabbed my bike & helped me out of river. Even though I was dripping wet I was not cold thanks to wicking properties of shorts & leggings & wonder of wool long underwear top. Put socks back on. Watched a woman walk across in her socks which she said gave more traction than the hard plastic soles of our bike shoes.
Back @ TH that was now plugged w/ rigs: hikers & bikers. Just a beautiful day. Chatted w/ several riders. Van w/ Mtn Biking the States attracts attention.
Shower @ laundromat. Bought propane. Guy told me I need to bleed air out of tank before I fill it because the air won’t allow propane to enter. Randy, this is the same story w/ our lighters.
Entered store where beautiful woman works. A big friendly smile but no connection to our first encounter. Her shift was ending and she made zero effort to chat. She was gone. Smile was just a customer smile, nothing more but I made more of it.
Talked to Sam @ The Hub and learned more about bikes. Kona has a new suspension design that you need to see to get an understanding. 32# bike but climbs like a 5″ travel but descends like a 7″. Shimano brakes stop on a dime and give change back. More powerful than my Formulas. The bike is too much for me as I still walk stuff that my 5.5″ Turner will handle.
Fixed dinner @ Dollies again before heading back to woods.
Forecast for next several days is clear but getting closer to 30 deg w/ snow/sleet forecast for New years Day.
I am very sore all over tonight. I am modifying my riding style to keep a constant spin going instead of my pedal rest pedal rest method. Takes work. Road riding will help.
December 29th, 2008
Fist camp site was occupied again last night leaving my # 2 open. I wonder what attracts people to the first 1 & not the second? Second one is good for XM reception.
Beautiful cloudless blue sky & again warm temps.
Entered ride location of Tsali near Bryson City, NC into gps. Route took me over rt 276 past Cradle of Forestry, the first school of forestry. 276 is an over the mountain twisty windy bite your tail turny road just like it was going down to SC.
Found Tsali which is on the upper shoreline of Lake Fontana another US Army Corps of Engineering marvel. Drought years leaving h2o way down steep shoreline. Trail left parking lot and passed thru a recent forest fire burn. No info to learn if it was controlled or accident. Trail basically flat w/ small elevation changes sometimes. Same forest type. Some mud bogs.
Lake Fondana thru the trees, Yea Army Corps of Engineers
Started hearing something clicking on rear wheel about 3 miles into ride. Checked 1 thing, rode a bit, sound still remained. Finally spun rear wheel spokes & discovered a broken spoke that was causing the sound. No trail side fix other than bend the broken ends around adjacent spoke to keep ends out of trouble & carefully ride back babying the wheel over any bump or downhill.
Trail left me emotionally flat as in flat disappointing trail. Nothing technical about it other than mud bogs. 3 miles out & back were more than enough. It was like skiing on groomed XC trails or groomers. Boring. Won’t add this one to my wish list. Heck, if it were in my back yard I would still avoid it. DuPont is way more fun. Pisgah is some white knuckles.
wheel chair ride
Recovery plan was to drive back over 276 to Brevard to Sycamore Cycles to replace the spoke. Back in Brevard. Gave excuse to ride Dupont ride of Christmas eve & find this beautiful woman with a warm smile.
At bike shop replaced broken spoke plus 2 others that were bent, possibly at same injury. rear hub is fine. And learned of rides elsewhere
Found info on woman for tomorrow. I just want to bask in her warmth.
Forecast is for more sunshine but slightly cooler temps. Still no snow shoveling. Ride here a few more times & then head to Chat, TN.
You westerners who tsk tsk East Coast mtns don’t know nothing until you venture in to the Western corner on NC. Don’t know if the roads get snow, if they do, look out Chester here comes the big drop off. On the Waynesville side houses are built way up on mountainside. They are miles of twisty secondary road to town. Commanding view. It is very mountainous.
Back to Avery Creek for night.