Man, what a great weekend! Party Boss Rick did a heck of a job putting this one together and the turnout was great, with riders coming in from as far away as Ontario and Tampa.
It would be hard to find a better locale for a rendezvous than the rolling hills and mountains of eastern Tennessee. There are literally hundreds of miles of tight, twisty paved and dirt roads winding through the countryside. No matter what your particular poison is, chances are it was possible to find it on one of the group rides at the rendezvous.
Did I mention the beer truck?
That's Neil enjoying the brew - draining the kegs was a tough job, but we were a determined lot...
Versys Corner at the rendezvous.
Stroms might have been the most common bike at the gathering, with Beemers running a close second. I only saw the 3 vees - Neils, Jonathon's, and my own.
Ferocious guard dog... nearly beat me to death with its wagging tail and also tried to lick the skin off of my hand.
Riders gather on Saturday morning for the day's dirt bash - I ran into one fellow over near Hartford that was sitting by the road, alone. When I rode up, he flagged me down and whipped out a camera.
"Hey man, look at this!" Looking at the camera, I spotted a bike, laying on its side, way up on top of a high bank. "That's mine! I lost it, big time!"
After his crash, he decided to go solo and get back into a more comfortable zone. Good decision - I understand that they had one bike that ended up in a tree - up the tree, actually, and another that had to be hoisted back up the side of the mountain after getting airborne over the edge of the trail. Waist deep mudholes, baby head rocks - all the goodies!
Waterfall by the Paint Creek Road, west of Hot Springs.
Along the road between Del Rio and Hartford, TN.
Entertainment was furnished on Saturday night (along with more beer and a BBQ feast) by one of the best local blues bands that I've had the pleasure to run into. They were really, really good and kept the music going into the wee hours of the morning.
Storm clouds gather over Fiddlers Roost, where the Saturday night hooligan party took place - all hell broke loose right after dark, with high wind and heavy rain continuing through the night and into the morning's light. No matter - the party must go on!
I woke up around dawn on Sunday morning to the sound of pouring rain and the roar of the wind pushing my tent sideways. I staggered out into the tempest and started piling gear onto the bike and into the panniers. Years of backpacking have gotten me used to loading up on stormy mornings, so I was one of the first riders out of the camp. Just getting out of the meadow was a trip - it was really, really slick and muddy, and I had to wedge the bike between a row of tents and an electric fence with no room for error.
I like riding in the rain when I'm prepared. I had on plenty of layers for warmth and the Frog Togs kept me dry as a bone. I stopped for breakfast at the Slab (Del Rio was originally named Slab Town) and talked to some of the local farmers while scarfing down bacon, eggs, grits and toast. Turns out that one of the gentlemen used to own the land where the Meadow Creek Resort is now located and where the rendezvous was held. He lives one valley over now in Happy Hollow and still farms a big spread.
The ride back to North Carolina was made in pouring rain, but it was still pleasant with fog-shrouded mountains, swollen rivers, and light traffic. It was a great 3 days of two-wheeled fun in a beautiful place with some great company. Can't wait until next year...