DuPont again

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
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.

The ride that fizzled

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
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
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.

Back in Brevard

Yesterday I drove down to Clemson, SC for issaqueena ride today.

drove to bike shop downtown but it had moved. Asked store keeper next door, a cigar smoking shop, for skinny. He gave me directions that i followed, only the shop that was on site was named Clemson Cycles. Same shop, different loc. Hung for awhile chatting.

Town visually supports Clemson Tigers are there are tiger paw prints on the roads, t shirts sold everywhere.

Searched out shower from entry Health Clubs in the Yellow Pages. 1 club said for free but it was 22 miles away in Piedmont. Started in that direction but passed Golds Gym and decided to give them ago even though they did not answer their phone when I previously called. Got in for $5.00 shower.

Walked across the street to a FoodLion grocery store. Empty parking lot but opened. Found an empty parking lot to the side of store & under a large oak tree. Traffic noise but in small mall was Beef O’Bradys, a family sports bar where I planned to watch a bowl football game and interact w/ people. Midwest selection of bland beers. I made a Yuengling lager last for almost an entire half of football. Life is too short to drink bad beer.

Started raining during night. Same rain experience under a bare tree: Branches consolidated the rain & dropped on roof in irregular intervals and intensity. I knew better but I wanted that exact parking spot for its advantages.

By AM rain had stopped. I just needed to drive about 8 miles to TH. Route 133 not signed  at intersection. Drove extra miles. Stopped @ a gas station & asked the female attendant where I was on map & how to get to where I said i needed to go. Stumped her as maybe making change for a dollar.

Figured route out via gps map. My destination lacked a street address for the gps to find but the route showed. Arrived @ TH just before John and it was raining & wet. We kibitzed a bit and made the move to change for ride. Wet gear jacket on. Temp way upper 50s so getting wet wouldn’t be the last thing I would endure. Places where hard packed red surfaced. Firm, not wheel sucking deep glop. But places where standing muddy h2o, like chocolate milk mud, lay. Gunked up our drive trains & disc brakes. Raining off & on but enjoying the ride. Drive trains started making louder grinding sounds. Rode back to a creek and rinsed off as much grit as would release. Decided to head back because we were trashing gear. Still 10 miles & 1124 feet.

SC is lower elevation than Brevard.

Big h2o impoundment N & S of Clemson and they have been in a drought also. Dam flooded lots of creek drainages that were now exposed like Glen Canyon. Boat docks were high & dry. Shoreline was steep grounding the aground docks @ a steep pitch.

Back to Golds to scrub out the mud from my beard. Then to find a laundromat and wash my bike.

Rinsed mud off bike shorts & leggings before putting in waser. Rinsed bike off of free mud. Noticed that rear brake pads are almost toast. Will soon replace them w/ Jagwire pads that were not reviewed well.

Diesel fill up in SC for $2.19/gal. Might have been a biodiesel. Hope it is compatabile w/ engine parts.

Windy twisty and now foggy road over the mtns to get back to Brevard. Slow driving & a lot of upper body movement around turns.

Back X street from Dollies writing this because there were 2 rigs in lot. 1, a car appeared to be the setting for adult parking.

Skies are to clear tomorrow. Plan is to ride Tsali up near Smokeys then over into TN again. I think I will hang in this NC, TN, N GA area for month of Jan. Feb work further W on coast states, March into AZ & NM, movong N in April as snow melts out.

Bitch is to drive S to Florida. Maybe a zig zag across GA, AL, & MS.

Van smells from wet clean clothes drying.

Sitting on balance ball again. Posture muscles are sore.

Lowered seat to height John said it should be. Right knee pain was gone. Left knee mostly pain free.

John, from Greenville who guided me @ Paris Mtn & Issaqueena, was an Army ranger stationed @ FT Lewis. When he & 2 buddies left service they thru hiked the PCT. First person  on my odyssey I have met that hiked the PCT. Here it is all about the AT. Interesting: On AT thru hikers discover a trail name. Neither of us were aware of trail names on the PCT when I tried in 78 & John did in 88.

Temps in lower 60s.

I found it difficult to leave Brevard because I had established support connections that were familiar & worked. Traveling is all about uncertainties. When i am moving all the time I am in a groove for connections. Chris Smith, an Alaskan bush pilot told me that as a pilot he always identifies possible crash landing spots. I cruise the roads looking for camping spots almost regardless of need.