Monday, August 29, 2016

129: Unbelievable!

This was just an extraordinary day! We started early again - in fact, the new moon was just rising before the sun when we went back to our room after our continental breakfast at the hotel.

It was cool this morning - so much so that I thought briefly about donning my shell - and it stayed cool for most of our ride. Starting early really is key to getting in before the shake-and-bake part of the day.

We got "bonus miles" today when we ignored these signs ("Road Closed to Thru Traffic"), and proceeded on down to the end of the road, where we found these other signs ("Road Closed")! What is it that makes one think you can get through even when the road is closed? No way to get the loaded tandem around that barrier.  Ah, well. We needed those miles!
Road REALLY closed!
Smoky Mountains are just over yonder

Golden wildflowers abound
The route was just so lovely, and we were in shade a good part of the morning, so we felt all energized and spunky and made good time as we climbed up around the northern foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  We had rolling hills for the first half (through beautiful country), and then we entered Tennessee (our 20th state or province!)

There are wonderful wildflowers blooming everywhere. These fuchsia ones are really great when they mix with the golden ones in the fields. It gives everything a warm, rich feeling, like an old tapestry.
Similar to butterfly weed, I think
We passed lots of cows on small farms. Seems like everyone here has a couple. We usually "moo" at them, and today we managed to start a stampede of about a dozen that got spooked when Roger bellowed at them.

The woods were full of rhododendron. In the spring, it must be just gorgeous to ride through here. We had a pretty stream adjacent to the road for quite some time as we headed up the mountain.

We had a long steady climb for eight or ten miles, then a bit of a push to a nice valley and a steady 8% for about a mile and a half to get to the top of the mountain. For the first time since the Adirondacks, we were over 3000 feet. And then we had just an amazing downhill through the woods!  I would have taken some photos, but I was hanging on for dear life, and grabbing my disk brake to boot!  It was the kind of road that they use for car commercials - up and down, twist and turn, canted this way and that.  It was as if someone poured ribbon candy on the mountain side. And all this in a thicket of trees with sunlight dappling through - ahh!  It was just gorgeous!  Put this route on your bucket list.
Beaverdam Creek
The day's report:  Marion to Elizabethton, 68.5 miles/6176 to date

Check out this ride!
The canopy of trees gave us a nice shady ride

Can't stop smiling today!

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to the most awesome state in the union!


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