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|
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|
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.
Check out this ride!
|The canopy of trees gave us a nice shady ride|
|Can't stop smiling today!|