Monday, April 11, 2011


Day 1 of a 3 day tour:

packed and ready to roll
 Mike Keeley has been talking about doing a road tour for a while.  He also like to use the word epic a lot.  So put together a route that could have easily turned epic if conditions degenerated.  

We headed down the river from Asheville with Erwin TN as our goal.  Mike does not camp so he took care of the lodging,  a bed and breakfast.   I had sketched a map on some paper, in the spirit of exploration and adventure and willing to make some wrong turns.  I figured our route would cover about 86 miles on day 1.
Marshall, NC city limits
 We arrived in Marshall after a late start, 9ish and it was time to eat, as we would not be passing through any more towns that I knew of for a while.  I told Mike that we should eat, and after a bit of surprise and reasoning, he agreed,  we both had bacon, egg and cheese bagels at Zuma coffee shop.  The service was great and the food fresh.  We sat outside watching the small town traffic and chatting with Alfie, who knew he had lived in Rutherfordton for 3 yrs, but did not know which road he lived on.  He did tell us that in Rutherfordton when an ambulance goes by, everybody goes out to the street to watch it. 
grinding up to TN
 We headed out of Marshall, and spent some time on 25/70 which was not so fun due to traffic.  About 30 minutes later though we were on a quiet back road, riding along a creek and telling stories.  The weather was perfect and we were feeling good.  We rode along at a touring pace and were excited about the trip.  At one point, we came to an intersection that was not marked on my map.  I was pretty sure of the right direction.  At this point in the trip, I relinquished my navigational duties to Mike, who pulled out his cell phone and promptly found out exact location on a GPS map.  So much for adventure! 

At the NC-TN state line we stopped for some photos and then headed down the other side.
Mike is a speck in the distance, headed into TN
After the decent into TN we plodded up and down rolling hills for a few minutes.  When we crossed a large river, something told me we had missed the turn that we wanted.  I recommended we pull over to figure it out and Mike again pulled out his pocket sized atlas of the world.  He started poking and rubbing the phone until the magic genie, gave him directions.  So we backtracked for about 1 mile and then spent the next several hours zig-zagging through some very pretty country side on back roads, rather than fighting traffic on 107. 

As I checked the time and odometer, our mileage grew.  The new route had added mileage which was cool with me.  If I had arrived at Erwin with 86 miles,  I was determined to ride another 14, being so close to 100.  We rolled up to a stop sign after a long fast stint and the sign said Erwin:7.  I looked at the Odometer and it said 97 miles.  Sweet.  We stopped for a snack,  Mike had a Yoohoo, and I had a Coke with some Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles.
The B&B
 We finally rolled into Erwin.  I felt good and Mike was whipped.  I felt like I could keep going which is a good feeling.  After showering, finding out rooms and getting cleaned up, we decided to have Mexican food for dinner.  We stopped to pick up some chocolate ice cream before heading back.  When we walked in the hostess had made fresh brownies.  Awesomeness:  fresh brownies chopped up and mixed with chocolate ice cream.
part of what I ate on today's ride
 I have not done a road century since my trip to Roanoke last Thanksgiving.  I made sure I ate and stayed hydrated.  Riding time was just over 6 hrs.  Cool.
the hostess
We spent the rest of the evening relaxing on the couch, chatting and reading before heading to bed.

2 more days to go with the big climb over Roan Mt tomorrow....

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