Tennesee: Old Baldy
Kinda hard to keep up when riding all day. What day is this??..... I've lost track already. All but one of the five cabins at base camp were full. A group of retired military riders gather every year for a ride. This year it was in TN and based at the lodge here. Last year they rode to Alaska. In fact, they were there when Bill, Graeme et al were in Alaska and they mentioned meeting up with a group of riders, two whom were on Stroms. Small world, aye? Two of these gentlemen were on Harleys, two on KLR's, and don't recall what other bikes were in their group. Their only real complaint was the constant rain on that trip, We also had a retired military man from Holland in our midst: Louie. He was by far the most colorful character I've met on the road in a long time. A long-time Moto Guzzi fan and involved in the European/International MG group, he bought this gem in Arkansas and loaded it up to ride around the Eastern US until he flies back to Holland at the end of this month. He is a veteran (in both senses of the word) to riding in the US. He and several MG buddies from Europe have several times shipped 15 bikes to a container, overseas to Houston, flown in, and loaded the bikes to tour the US and Canada. This time he was riding solo on his new-to-him MG California and will store it in Arkansas, available for any time he takes a whim to ride in the US. Here is Louie rolling a morning smoke, and getting advice over a map from a fellow camper. These two riders rolled in late, set up camp and were getting ready to roll the next morning. They are on a quest for waterfalls. Speaking of waterfalls..... We geared up and got ready to roll. Today we would be riding the fire roads in the national forests south and north of the Cherohala Skyway. We turned south off the Skyway and rode along the Tellico River (FR210). I love this road, even if it is paved up to the falls. The narrow road winds along the river under tall tree canopies, under jutting ledge and babbling river. Ed caught sight of a beaver hiding in the ferns that border the road and the river. First thing I noticed was the water level was much higher than when in '07 (when we were here last). We came to the bridge that spans the river and overlooks Bald River Falls. Lot more water there, too! Here is where Bald River converges with Tellico River. I climbed down the ledge to get closer to the river and falls. This is a favorite spot to visit, and because the road is paved (but narrow) to the falls, many bikes are usually here, too. We ran into this group and met a woman on a BMW cruiser. I've never seen one before; it was beautiful! We exchanged chit chat and then geared up again to continue on east where the road turns to gravel and the fun starts. I will finish our day ride in the forest later. But first, I've got to get ready to go ride more gravel. Jack has his DR ready to roll after putting on a larger gas tank.