Rain, Curves, and Friends

Bill Austin, SP604

Thanks to everyone who helped with the latest SSR event.

This run was in my own backyard, but the roads never grow old to me. From my house to Knoxville is only 165 miles. To make it interesting, and 1070 miles total, I left Middle Tennessee at mid- day on Tuesday and ran down to Atlanta to Jerry Witt's. Early the next morning, we were off into darkening skies. In North Georgia, as we hit the foothills of the Appalachians, we ran into ever increasing rain. Tops down, it's not too miserable as long as you are moving!

Our Lunch Stop was at a restaurant in a gas station in Franklin, NC, you know the one that prepares grouper sandwiches in used motor oil. Well, Hal and Mike arrived in good shape about an hour and a half past the appointed hour. We ate lunch and talked cars to everyone with questions. Mostly, I bailed water, about 3 inches out of the drivers side, while the passenger side was only damp. (?)

We headed back toward Tennessee, dry roads, on Hwy 28, what a great drive. This is where the grouper first began to take it's toll on Mike Stenhouse. Just like US129, but with longer curves and straights. We arrived at Deals Gap took a brief rest to look over the bikes, (lots of Triumphs), shop in the junk store, and then headed off across the dragon and back into the torrential downpours! Then, after we gave up and put the tops on, the rain stopped of course and on to the hotel in the dry. Our favorite saying in Tennessee is, "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes, it'll change!"

What a great welcome at the hotel. Hot food and cold beer! Some really thoughtful people in this group.

Two more great days of driving on the back roads, through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, two different National Forests, and miles and miles of crooked roads!

As an aside, on Wednesday morning, that fellow in Townsend that stood out front of the gas station and yelped and hollered the whole time we went by, well I know him and he's that kid that played the banjo in Deliverance...all grown up, two teeth and all.....

Friday afternoon after the Cherohala Skyway, I decide to head back toward Middle Tennessee to Murfreesboro, just South East of Nashville. In Tellico Plains (Hal, it's Tell-i-co not Tel-le-co), I pointed Hal and Mike in the general direction of US64 that would take them toward home. I guess they thought TN68 out of Tellico was the road to Purgatory, it's probably just as crooked as anything we had driven all week. Drops off into deep dark hollers with steep mountains for walls and streams for music. Very beautiful.

I've known Mike a long time, but never new he was once an Enduro rider. We swapped tales for hours, rode all kinds of motorcycles, and even found out we had once owned the same bikes. Sometime, get him to tell you about the New England Enduro that ran through a nudist colony! What a hoot!

I found TN39 on the East side of Tellico and headed toward I75S. My plans were to run South to Chattanooga then head home East on I24 toward Nashville. As I neared I75, I couldn't endure the thought of spending three hours or more on interstates, plus risk hitting Chattanooga at rush hour! So, at Athens, TN I took the back road home, TN30, through my old home town of Pikeville and then just 110 miles home to Murfreesboro. Arrived home at 7:30 PM, in time to catch up with my wife and son at his soccer team's victory celebration! I didn't make the game, but I didn't miss the meal!

What a great week, too many people to thank...everyone did a great job. Great hotel too. Even if they were a little bit anal about the pool side bar and the TV's.

Jerry's incident aside, the is the best event I have attended yet. It was fun to put faces with names here on SCOF, plus meet old acquaintances, and further build friendships.

Bill Austin, SP604