15 June 2011

Trip Report: FZ1OA Rally, Day 2

10 Jun 2011:  The Dragon and The Road to Nowhere
Min of 137 miles

HWY 28 in front of campground
I woke up early but I didn't know what time it was.  With no cell phone coverage, I chose to turn my phones off to conserve their batteries and I was too lazy to turn them on just to find out the time.  I used my ears instead.  No one was really moving around the camp ground and I debated getting up and disturbing the serenity.  I knew eflyguy was supposed to be coming to the campground but I had no idea when, just the vague "before the squids are out" was my last recollection of a possible meeting time.  Since I stayed there last year, I knew I would hear him when he turned onto the campsite road so that's what I listened for as a sign to get up.  In the meantime, I put my clothes out and contemplated going to the bathroom to brush my teeth or doing it at the campsite.

It wasn't long after I got my shirt on that I heard efly on the road.  It didn't take much longer for me to get ready after I discovered my pants were dry from the rain the evening before but the jacket was still damp.  My boots, on the other hand, were as wet as they had been when I took them off.  I was worried they were ruined and glad that I had some waiting for me at Cycle Gear.  
eflyguy's view of my campsite
eflyguy cheerily announced the power came back on not long after I left and all of his gear was now dry.  Good for him; I put on my very dry tennis shoes and contemplated getting a pair of steel toe boots while I put in the liner so my shirt wouldn't get wet.  Our first stop would be Deals Gap Resort for breakfast and discuss what we wanted to do for the day.

Rocknfzroll was leading a ride to the Devil's Triangle that we were considering joining but after getting soaked the evening before, I really wasn't in the mood for a long day in the saddle.  That ride is about 2 hours from the Dragon and after hearing about the sketchy road conditions and knowing weather had likely been in the area, efly and I decided to just hang around the area and ride the dragon until we were sick and tired of it.  After that, we'd look for something else to do.

The day's ride
I decided to get the Dragon Slayer breakfast for some reason I still don't understand even now.  Mine was bacon, hash browns, biscuit with gavy, and eggs.  I washed it down with a cup of coffee.  Just seeing my food made Bocephus hungry.  He joined us just as the rest of the guys were leaving for the Devil's Triangle.  I know efly got bacon because he said it was the best bacon he ever tasted.  I think the smell of gas fumes and sound of roaring engines were getting to him.  The bacon is good, but it wasn't the best I ever had.  I didn't have the heart to tell him I broke a tooth while eating it.  I just nodded and agreed, he was in a Rally Stupor that no one should interfere with!  After that, we rode the Dragon.  eflyguy took off before I was ready then I got engrossed talking to Motoed, MarkByrd, and jpgrfan.

I was supposed to meet him at the lookout but by the time I got on the road, efly was passing me headed towards the store!
Courtesy US129 Photos
Courtesy US129 Photos
Courtesy US129 Photos
On my run up, I got stuck behind a couple of older goldwings.  When I caught up to them, the guy in the bike got the bike wobbles.  He wobbled going into every turn that I was behind him.  It was so bad, I passed him because I thought maybe I was causing his wobbles.  I could see the bike ahead seemed to be doing okay but as soon as I got behind him, he got the wobbles too.  I didn't stay behind him as long.
I hung around at the lookout hoping to catch up with efly but the Dragon Slayer breakfast had my insides a bit shaky so I headed back to the store.  About half way down, I lost all of the good flow I had and it was a fight back to the store.  I just couldn't get comfortable and after a trip to the restroom I was pretty certain why the breakfast was called the Dragon Slayer.  It slayed me so I stayed close to the bathroom and listened to MarkByrd and chatted with jpgrfan until eflyguy got back and announced he was tired of the Dragon, what's next?

Hwy 28 and then the road to nowhere.
Have I ever mentioned how much I like that road?  I like it more than the Dragon and can definitely ride it more often than that road.  I was a little sad when I got home and learned I got no video!  eflyguy was really doing some things that would surprise everybody who's every ridden with him.  He likes to say he's slow but after following him around during this trip I can say he ain't slow no mo'!  The thing that makes him slow is stopping to take pics, but I actually liked that even more after I found my charged battery in the bottom of my tank bag.

The day warmed nicely, almost too much but my new summer gear performed well.  I was comfortable all day long and never once missed the perforated leather jacket I've been wearing the past two summers.  I did miss the zippers on the all season mesh pants at stops though.  I guess I need to find some place to repair them!

We left the store heading south on Hwy 28 with the plan to get gas then go south on 28 until the bridge and turn around to go to Bryson City and get lunch.  There's an overlook on 74 that I've always wanted to stop at and knowing efly's love for photos, I stopped!

efly very happy to finally have contact with civilization
My camera was still drying out!
For the first time, I stopped and saw what was on the other side of the bridge on Tellico Rd where I always turn around.
The Little Tennessee River

From there we went North on Hwy 28 back to 74 then into Bryson City.  It was a lot closer than I thought it would be.
HWY 19 going into Bryson City

fastnfurious7 told us about this place yesterday so when we rode through town and couldn't find a place on our own, I remembered it so we ate there.  We got the special, a steak sandwich with potato salad and the ruben they are apparently known for, and split it.  efly read my mind while I was studying the menu trying to figure out how to get both sandwiches!  He said, I have an idea and I started nodding right away pleased that his idea was the same as mine.

The Filling Station is now on my return to list the next time I'm at the Rally or in that area for more than a day. I wanted the ruben because I've been reading the Dexter books and that's all he talks about and I wanted the steak sandwich because it smelled so good when we came through the door.  I was glad to have both.

The Road to Nowhere runs outside of this restaurant and into the national park.  When they flooded the area to create the Fontana Dam, they promised the people they'd build a road between Bryson City and Fontana but it was never completed.
"Build the road" bumper sticker on the truck
I got in efly;s pic!

This is behind the barricade where the road "ends"
Going back through the tunnel.  It's really dirty in there!

efly going back through the tunnel

one of the overlooks on "Fontana Rd"
We decided to have a short day and headed back to Fontana's after this.

At Fontana's, we saw they were setting up for our gathering and ran into jpgrfan who took this pic for us:

I left efly at his cabin and went back to campground where I saw 82packer and got a ride with him and his clan back for the gathering.

For Saturday, efly and I decided to ride the part of the BRP that he missed then 215 to 64 to Franklin where we would meet the main group for lunch.  He seemed happy to have a plan, I remember being that way.  I also suspected he'd try to talk me into going back to the Great Smokey National park since he mentioned it more than once in our discussions.

The vibe at this gathering was so much different than last year.  I don't know if it was because it wasn't my first time and everyone that I'd met before seemed genuinely happy to see me or if it was because there were only 30 or so people coming and they were just happy to see anyone!  Either way, I am grateful for the treatment.  It made for a very pleasant gathering that I hated to leave.  Tomorrow would begin very early for me!

thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer
Courtesy dipps:  Roadrashed


  1. I always enjoy reading your trip reports. Really awesome that you have a couple of good friends to ride with, I'm a little jealous!

    And you're looking mighty squidly in those tennis shoes!

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of the trip

  2. Thanks! I felt squidly with the tennis shoes but I couldn't force nice dry feet into the cold wet boots that morning. On the way home, I picked up a new pair of boots (that I ordered before I left but they didn't arrive in time for the trip) that didn't arrive until Friday.

    The people on the FZ1OA board are great! Even last year when some were being snooty, I still had a good time. This year I wasn't ready to leave.


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