Strom Rally East Days 2 & 3

5/15/2010

Worst-case hemlet head: Hitler Hair

I tired of writing in too much detail, but to post my other blog entry out of sequence would be bad form.  In summary, Saturday I joined a group of 5 for a ride over the Cherahola Skyway to Tellico Plains, TN.  And back.  With a detour along scenic TN 360.  Caught some heavy rain at the tail end of the day.  But otherwise a good day of swapping stories and riding tips with some seasoned riders.

5/16/2010

Cherokee NC: Indian Chief "Muffler Man"

Sunday we went our separate ways.  My first quest was to find the Muffler Man in Cherokee.  This one is actually the Indian Chief variant, but based on a series of fiberglass 25-ft tall muffler-wielding auto-repair advertisements that adorned the byways of yore.  The Cherokee Chief is still standing, alive but not so well.  He graces the front of a closed tattoo parlor, and is in the shadow of the new Harrah’s parking deck.  I would be surprised if he lasts much longer, with all the new casino development in the area.

My next quest was to find some scenic roads to ride.  I had already plotted a course to Hot Springs, and thought I had plugged it in to my GPS.  According to the Garmin site, my unit should accept multiple “via points”, but I soon discovered that it only remembers the last one keyed in.  This mistake got me lost on a boring, grungy highway headed straight for Asheville.  But not after a few miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where I encountered elk.  They are like deer, but bigger than horses.  They were right in the middle of the road.  I stopped and began fumbling for my camera, but they wandered off before I could get a shot.  Dang gloves.  Elkskin gloves, at least.  Formerly native to the area, the elk died out in the mid 1800’s, and were reintroduced to the region in 2001 and 2002. The initial herd of 55 has grown to 100+.

The Italians keep good company

I finally made my way down to Highlands, by way of Chimney Rock.  By now it was mid-afternoon and I kept getting caught in rain squalls.  The best road of the day was mostly dry.  Highway 28 (once again) from Highlands to Clayton GA via Warwoman Road is the most perfect combination of everything you would want in a motorcycle ride.  And virtually no traffic, compared to the more well-known cycle roads in the area. This road is the “back door” to Highlands, so most tourists take the more direct routes, leaving Warwoman/28 pristine.   My next trip will have to be clayton-highlands-clayton-highlands….

The home run down 985 from Clayton was interrupted by some rain storms that forced me to pull over more than once.

Rain stop, Cornelia, GA

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