We retired early yesterday because we wanted to get up early today and beat the weekend traffic to the gap. Worked too. We left the hotel a little after 7, so we got to the official start of the dragon at about 7:25. All the motorcyclists were still in their tents at the Crossroads of Time when we flew past. Didn’t really keep track, but I figure we made 7 of the 11 miles unimpeded before we had to slow when we caught up to a couple of pickups. While we were at the gravel lot on the other end the only vehicle that went by was truck loaded with house trusses. We knew he would take a while so we waited about 15 minutes before starting out. We sailed up the hill and took another break at the dam overlook. While we were there a Suburban went by, so we waited another 20 minutes or so. When we did leave, we made it all the way back to the NC state line before we caught the Suburban or about 10 miles at speed. The CoT was open when we got back and some of the cyclists were stirring. We went inside and looked at the T-shirts and stickers and such and as we shopped John noticed out the window a semi with a wide load escort go by headed into the gap. We all breathed sigh of relief that we were already through. Here are some photos of trucks in the gap on the Tail of the Dragon site.
From there we headed to the corn maze in Andrews. I have to admit it was more fun than I thought. It was real study in human nature. The guys all huddled around our maps trying to keep track of where we were and we ended up just following Karen, she used “women’s intuition” and led us right out.
We were scheduled to meet the Battles at a restaurant in Telico Plains at 1:00 PM. Because there aren’t many ways to get there we thought for sure it would take too long for us to get there from where we were and we would miss them. Made good time and arrived at Cardin’s about 1:15. As we pulled into the lot, John and Barbara came in from the other direction. The setting is magnificent and the food is good, but service is lacking and what there is, is slow. Donna had to eat her soup with a teaspoon, our waitress came back after rechecking and said she couldn’t find any soup spoons. My and John Haff’s sweet potato fries were cold (at least they took the price of them off the check.) Next year we’ll have to find an alternative lunch location.
After lunch we all drove together back to Robbinsville along the Cherohala Skyway. We did the 10 mile side trip to ogle the Bald River Falls and because of that we missed the 5:00 PM closing of a pottery shop that Karen had requested a visit to on the other side of the pass. To make up for it, we visited a pottery place in Robbinsville, probably not as nice, but it was the best we could come up with.
By now it was after 5:00 PM and after covering more than 200 mountain miles since 7:00 PM, I was toast. Kurt and John hadn’t enough, so they headed off to run through the dragon one more time.
Purchased Today: $12.00 in gas
Money spent since 03/03/03: $1148.59
Started up, went down, went up, still up.
Top Transitions since 02/02/03: 222