Good ride with Jenny, Jon, Neil, and others last Sunday over near Hot Springs, NC. We found some mud, lots and lots of mud, a few dusty backroads, a truck on the wrong side of the road, and some good twisties between the Parkway and Hot Springs. Excellent ride with one major exception. Hope that all is well with the Beemer - that's the only Beemer that I ever think that I'd like to have.
We met at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville on a perfect blue-sky day and headed north to Bull Gap. From there we cut down the mountain and over to Banardsville, passing the Vance birthplace historical site along the way. Just outside Banardsville, we picked up the Beech Glen road and rode over to Mars Hill where we picked up old Hwy. 19/23. I have a favorite route from 19/23 over to Hot Springs that twists and turns through some good back roads along Big Laurel Creek.
Here's a shot from last fall from alongside the Big Laurel Creek road. I'd like to get the group back on that one to set up some good riding shots.
Neil, when we turned off the Big Laurel Creek road at the church to climb over the ridge towards Hot Springs, the pic above shows what it looks like if we'd continued going straight towards Walnut Creek and Marshall. That's a good ride in its own right, with a big climb and some great smooth sweeping turns. The downside is that it comes out right at Marshall instead of linking up with the Hot Springs region. I use that route sometimes when I'm coming back from the Erwin region of Tennessee and I'm in a hurry to get home.
A few miles east of Hot Springs, we turned off onto the Hurricane Gap road (the start of that one is at the cutoff just below the point where the Appalachian Trail crosses Hwy. 25 east of Hot Springs.) The Hurricane Gap Rd. travels over Rich Mtn, crossing at the Gap where the AT also passes by. Descending the other side of Rich Mtn., we dropped down to Paint Creek. There is an intersection there - going downstream, a small paved lane takes you down to Paint Rock by the French Broad River below Hot Springs. Going straight puts you on a tiny paved road that leads you over to Hwy. 107 on the Tennessee side of the border. I think taking that one was what might be considered a 'fateful decision.'
Been covered up this week and haven't had much time to get a report together, plus I found some missing pix from the wet ride that Jon and I did a couple of weeks ago. Gonna slip out between storms now to get in some miles down in the Green River area, but I'll try to get some more stuff together later today.
Neil, have you ever ridden the Pigtail down into Green River Cove below Saluda? There is a terrific loop to be ridden using that to connect on the lower end of the Cove near Lake Adger with the Holberts Cove road that brings you back up the mountain to Saluda. Or... instead of the Holberts Cove road, you can ride on over through Mills Springs to Columbus (great TexMex restaurant on Main St. there) and then up the Skyuka Road for some great high views of the Cove that you just rode through.
I'm going to hope for enough dry road today to get some photos down in the Cove and up on Tryon Peak - that's great riding at this time of the year.
Jon running the bogs on Rich Mtn., not far below Hurricane Gap on the Paint Creek side of the mountain. I think that it was somewhere on this stretch that his fender extender fell off - luckily, sharp-eyed Jenny saw it bouncing away and snatched it up and saved it for him. The mud packing beneath the fender probably squeezed it off the fender.
Here's Neil wondering why I'm stretched out in the weeds beside the road on Rich Mountain...
I have some more pix from the trip here -
Hey Jon! The green Vee in this pic look familiar? That's your ride on the day that it was un-crated at MR, waiting for you to take it home. Anybody know the guy on the red Vee? He's an Asheville rider and convinced me to make the Vee my next ride. You can see my old red Ninja over towards the end of the line of bikes.
Hey, anybody that is unhappy with the seat on the Vee (as I am) should check out the mods that Neil made to his. He did the work himself and having had the chance to sit on the new seat, I've decided to make that my next big project. I put some links into some detailed tips about do it yourself seats here -
Having seen what Neil did, I know now that it can be done, and it can be done without spending the big bucks for an aftermarket saddle.