OK, I know - Del Rio, again??? Hey, it's a great destination for a day's ride from western North Carolina. There are so many great routes to follow when that's your turn-around for the ride - the Paint Rock/Brushy Creek route, the Max Patch/Round Mtn. route, the Hot Springs/Hwy. 25 route, etc. etc. etc.
Anyway, after muddying up Jon on a ride through the Smokies and up through Harmon Den a couple of weeks ago, I talked Al into accompanying me on this one. Heck, in for a penny, in for a pound, eh? Instead of cutting back to the east from Max Patch like Jon and I did on our Smokies/Harmon Den ride, I decided to push on across Lemon Gap and over Round Mtn. to Del Rio. My original plan was to add in the Brushy Creek/Hurricane Gap extension to the ride, but by the time we reached Del Rio, Al was starting to look at me funny and was mumbling something about murdering some crazy S.O.B. Well, 212 miles turned out to be enough for the day - by the time I reached I-26 north of Asheville, my butt was so sore (my kingdom, my kingdom for a comfortable seat!!!) that I was spending about half my time standing on the pegs. Try that at 80+ sometimes...
Al by the stream in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What a fine, fine day for a long ride!
We remembered to stop by the Ingles deli in Waynesville before heading into the park, so we had fried chicken, chicken wings, salad, and for me, a big ol' dill pickle for lunch. Then Al dozed off in the shade for a nice after lunch snooze. I finally awakened him when I noticed that his face was taking on a strange orange glow.
We take a break on Round Mountain, below Rattlesnake Gap, high above Del Rio, TN. Though there was a near zero chance of rain for the day, I managed to round up a passing cloud to sprinkle a little rain on us as we coasted the next 7 miles down into the valley - the coasting off of Round Mtn. has become a traditional way of entering the valley for me. It's fun, and it's quiet after a long ride.
It's getting late, and I have a ride planned for - oh hell, 8:30 with Jon again. Better turn in. There's more pix if you follow the link above. I had a great ride today, dodging storms as I put in about 170 miles in the Henderson County region of western NC.
From the ride that Jon and I did a couple of weeks ago - might be a hint of what we'll face... later today.