October Anniversary Trip to VA – Day 1

A good omen the night before our trip

A good omen the night before our trip

My hub and I had planned a Retirement Test Ride (RTR) for September of this year, but that didn’t work out due to changes we encountered with my mother, so we decided to wait until October, when Mom had gotten settled, and take a bike trip to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.

Bikes ready to roll!

Bikes ready to roll!

Riders ready to roll!

Riders ready to roll!

We got an early start in the dark, but I had a new Klim Latitude jacket, so I didn’t think I’d need heat. After the first turn, we hit 48 degrees. Burr. We got to the gas stop where we met our friend J who was riding with us to Virginia. I put my heated liner on, hooked it up, we continued on our way, and…no heat. We rode through Cleveland and Clarkesville, then up Historic Highway 441 and stopped at an abandoned gas station. We removed the passenger seat bag, then the seat, checked the wiring; YES, it worked! Put the seat back on, two miles down the road, again no heat. We made it to Clayton, for a scheduled breakfast stop at the Rusty Bike Cafe. The cafe is very biker friendly and serves a great breakfast. After eating, we removed everything again and this time checked all the fuses; everything looked ok, and the heat came on.

No heat stop #3 - at least we had a great breakfast!

No heat stop #3 – at least we had a great breakfast!

Not five miles up the road, again no heat. My temper was heating up now, but not my gear! Our route took us up to 3000 or so feet, and although ‘heated up’ with frustration, I was very cold. We decided we would try the motorcycle shop in Waynesville, to see if they had heated gear accessories, since it was on our route. If they didn’t, we would call Eurosport BMW in Asheville to see if they did. The shop at Waynesville did not have heated gear or accessories, but we removed everything one more time and this time, Hub noticed that the bar which allows seat height adjustment was out of its bracket, and fixed that. Problem solved – Finally! My hero. ❤

No heat stop #4 - 4's the Charm?

No heat stop #4 – 4’s the Charm?

Our plan was to take highways to a certain point, then follow the squiggly roads. We dropped off I-40 at Old Fort, NC and took US 70 to NC 80 north. Whew, squiggly we got! In addition to technical curves, the asphalt provided entertainment with frost heaves and cracks, and we rode through beautiful valleys, and along icy looking streams. The autumn color increased as we rose in elevation and approached the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). We took a break just before the BRP, and joined several other motorcyclists in stretching our legs and catching our breath following that roller coaster ride!

NC 80 Looking at the BRP

NC 80 Looking at the BRP

Looking south on NC 80

Looking south on NC 80

A teaser mountain view

A teaser mountain view

Hwy 80 was a bit gentler on the north side of the BRP, but we continued to enjoy rolling curves, hillsides covered with Christmas tree farms, and shades of gold, red and purple decorating the landscape. At one point, a doe ran across the road, probably 25 feet in front of my bike. Hub was right behind me, and it was a heart stopping moment for both of us! At the end of 80, we took a quick jaunt on US 19E, then headed up 261 in Tennessee to Roan Mountain. 261 was narrow, just barely wide enough for two cars to pass, but so covered in leaf debris as to appear almost abandoned. We only saw one other vehicle on the road, which added to the eerie feel of being in the middle of nowhere, and we created great flurries of leaves as we passed. Approaching Roan Mountain the massive expanse was aflame in fall colors! Unfortunately, the road was tight, and the shoulders were steep, so those images will have to be retained in our memories rather than on film. We paused for a photo op atop Roan Mountain, at the NC-TN state line and elevation 5512 feet, where it was a brisk and windy 36 degrees! I could see my breath as I posed for my first photo! At this point, we were worried about our friend J who had to be freezing, since he had a heated gear wiring issue that couldn’t be solved at roadside.

Looking from TN back into NC at Roan Mntn

Looking from TN back into NC at Roan Mntn

Seeing my breath while posing

Seeing my breath while posing

Freezing selfie!

Freezing selfie!

Roan Mountain parking lot on a cold October day

Roan Mountain parking lot on a cold October day

We took a well-deserved break in Elizabethton before heading north on TN 91. This amazing two-lane starts out mild and then tightens into corkscrew curves, before descending back down into Shady Valley. Shady Valley is best known as the home of ‘The Snake’, a lesser-known sibling to the infamous Tail of the Dragon. But more about that in a future post. We headed north on US 421, past Holston Lake, and were treated to a gorgeous autumn display of color. We bobbed and weaved with the cracked pavement, then turned east on TN 44, which turned into VA 75 toward our destination of Abingdon, Virginia. As we marveled over the lavish farms and homesteads on the rolling hills, we saw a gray fox trot across a small bridge toward one of these mansions. Soon we arrived at our home for the next three days, The Martha. This town and hotel deserve their own post, coming soon.

PS: Blogging on the road, with a net-book, is not for sissies. I have massive new respect for my blogging friends who manage to bang out a post every evening, while making long mileage days.

You can read the next installment, our thoughts on Abingdon and The Martha, here.

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20 thoughts on “October Anniversary Trip to VA – Day 1

  1. Love this, Roby. Queen & I heading for Borneo tomorrow to celebrate 20 years married and her 1 year anniversary of her breast cancer beating mastectomy. Looking forward to those other posts, hope I can get them overseas. Keep the shiny side up. Cheers Red

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rd, thanks for stopping by and the reminder of your Borneo trip! A huge congratulations to you and your Queen…for both anniversaries! Celebrate them in fitting fashion, and I look forward to hearing from you again when you return. Hugs to you both! Roby

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ooooooo thanks for the ride! You picked a pretty ride to start your retirement. I got a chuckle out of your closing. When DH and I rode together there was no room for a hair dryer. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, Lynn, we still have a couple of years before retirement but must do at least one trip like this per year to keep our sanity till then. Yes space is at a premium even with our two bikes, I can’t imagine how couples do it on one bike. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  3. I never thought I’d say this but…you’ve actually got me thinking that a motorcycle road trip *might* be fun. I say that, of course, and would likely shit my pants with fear the second the rubber hit the road (literally). Still, I like the idea of leaving at night when there’s less vehicles on the road. The deer crossing in front of you thing would have done me in. :-S

    Please be safe! Can’t wait to read about the hotel!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Holy smokes, what an exhilarating, gorgeous trip!!! And look at you two all snuggled up in the cold looking so adorable! I give you MAD PROPS for riding in the cold. Wow. But I’m sooooo glad you had fun!
    and whaaaat? Loving your blog’s new look!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am so tangled by where you rode. (Cool talk for bikers, right?) or that second glass of wine has hit home, I need a map. Whatever. So good to see you on the road celebrating your anniversary. And I never knew that you could heat up your clothing. Isn’t that cheating??? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shelley, this day was North Georgia to Western North Carolina to Eastern Tennessee to Southwestern Virginia. All incredibly beautiful areas, especially with the fall color. And we seek out the curviest possible roads, of course!

      To be able to ride year round, heated clothes are a MUST! And if that’s cheating, so be it! 😀

      It was a wonderful trip and lots more posts to come!

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