06 June 2011

Trip Report: BRP Trip Day 3

Saturday 21 May 2011:  
Black Mountain to Horse Cove.
Mileage:  About 185 miles

The night before, we decided not to see how far north we could get and instead chose to return to Robbinsville and camp beside the river.  For some reason, the almost 300 miles the day before had been really tiring and neither one of us wanted to risk getting to fatigued again. After looking at several options, we decided to re-trace our steps back down the BRP.

We got a fairly early start and planned to go to Mount Mitchell so see the highest point east of the Mississippi River.  Cruzman's initial plan was to Camp there instead of Black Mountain but it was full for the weekend.  The second morning getting up and getting going was a lot easier than the previous and I suspected the last morning would be even easier.  It was cool when we woke up and we both layered up for the 3K+ foot climb up from Black Mountain campground to Mount Mitchell.

It was a beautiful morning with perfect blue skies.  Our first stop was a gas station.  I knew that going to higher elevations than where I lived would make the bike run differently, but I wasn't sure how much.  My gas mileage was not as good as Cruzman's; I usually had to add .2 more gallons than he did and he says my bike always smells rich.  I think after this trip I'm going to get a full dyno to see what I need to tweak my jetting so that it's perfect.

I was thinking about this all the way up to the restaurant on the top of Mount Mitchell.  We got there a little after opening and rushed in to have a good meal.  They'd just refinished all the wood and the place wreaked of fresh lacquer but the back wall offered a full view of the park so we that's where we decided to sit.  There was only one other family dining when we arrived and the waitstaff was quick to provide service.

I ordered off of the breakfast menu and Cruzman ordered from the lunch menu.  (I don't think Cruzman likes breakfast that much!)  While we waiting, we looked over the gift shop goodies and I picked out a new hat that had the slogan "The Mountains are Calling" on it.  Our food was almost ready by the time we returned to our table.  It was pretty good too!  I think if I'm out that way again, I'll definitely stop in.

After we ate, we explored the park a little.

While we were taking pics, a group of bikers arrived and we swapped pics.  Here's our picture taker
The Pink Camera is Cruzman's.  He said it was in the Burgundy Box.

And the picture he took

The closeup

Their turn

"One, Two, Sportbikes Rule!"
They were a great group of guys.  They'd been at the Dragon a day before and one of them said he'd straightened one of the curves when he went down.  The Harley shop didn't have the parts to fix his bike so he'll be riding a wounded pig until he gets home to Florida.

After we left there, we went to see what the campground looked like.  It wasn't pretty and we were both glad we ended up a little farther down the road at Black Mountain.  The park was beautiful but we didn't stay long.  We had miles to make and didn't want another marathon like day.

approximate Day 3 route
As long as there isn't too much traffic, I think I could ride BRP every day.  We were doing pretty good just sharing the road with bicyclists and a few other motorcyclists until we got closer to Asheville.  Then it seemed everybody wanted to be out on the Parkway.  A guy in a truck even backed into the road in my path as we were coming down a hill.  I guess he didn't want motorcyclists in front of him and I decided to fall back to give him all the room he wanted.  You don't need to try to kill me twice before I get the message.

Cruzman was kind enough to warn me to be careful when I passed him but since we were so close to Asheville and I expected enough traffic to keep me too close to him for comfort, I decided it'd be best to keep him in front of me where I could see what he was doing!

It didn't matter because he wasn't in front of us for long, taking one of the exits into Asheville and leaving us to the BRP.  As we got close to Mount Pisgah, the heat made me pull off and rethink taking BRP back to the end.  I was surprised we'd reached it so soon when it seemed to take us much longer the day before.  We took the opportunity to peel off some layers and catch up with family since it was the first time we'd had any cell service since the same time the day before.

By this time, we were down to our base layers and it was getting time to fight the real heat.  In the higher elevations, the temps were very comfortable but as we dropped we found the heat the would be our constant companion from then until....well it's still hot!

The traffic thinned out again after we left Pisgah but picked up a little after we passed 215 so I decided to take the next exit and the Great Smoky Highway.  At least we could go faster and have the benefit of the moving air to refresh us.  But even that got too hot and when I saw the sign for US 19, I took it.  We gassed up near Bryson City and headed toward Hwy 28.

Fully loaded or not, I was going to take the opportunity to ride it.  I had my cams with me but never took any video.  I should have going north on BRP and again on 28 but at the moment, my camera setup takes too long.  I have some ideas to solve that but nothing was implemented for this trip.  Cruzman told me to take it easy because we were fully loaded.

I was grateful, but I didn't need the reminder.  We took 28 south towards Franklin to the bridge then turned around to go towards Fontana.  Even loaded, it was a nice ride.  We reached our campsite well before sundown and went into Robbinsville for dinner at the Mexican Restaurant.

It was a good day!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

In the parking lot near the Mount Mitchell Elevation sign

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