Day 13
October 13th, 2001
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground
Cruso, North Carolina

                                                                                                                                                                                                             I slept late this morning.  The raindrops on my tent keeping me in a deep trance.  Not a breakfast eater I was able to pass on the gathering in the pavilion for some extra sleep.

The rain, was slow and steady.  How depressing.  Clouds clung to the surrounding mountain peaks. It did not look to be a promising day.

I spent the morning hanging around the campground, talking about bikes, and routes.  I found Sal Landa and he informed us Max showed up about 11:30pm last night.  Max negotiated the Parkway on a dark, rainy ride.  He had a helluva ride getting here, but seemed no worse for the wear.  I was awed.  I know how bad the Parkway was in the daylight, I can't imagine how it rode at night.

Max joined our little group, and the 4 of us met in the pavilion to make plans for the day.  I told the guys I was getting cabin fever, and needed to get out.  Sal said it might not even be raining on the other side of the hills.  Fortified with that wisdom, we made plans to ride into Waynesville for something to eat.

Gene Fabinzer gave a rider briefing shortly afterwards.  They were going to lead a group to the other side of the county for lunch.  We passed on the longer ride, and stuck with our plans.

I estimated 20 or so riders attending the rally.  Down from the 50 something of last spring, but the ones that counted were here for me.  

Ron, myself, Phil, Sal, and Max met up at 11:30 to ride into Waynesville.  Not that we were all that hungry, but we wanted to RIDE.  We left the campground in a light rain, and headed for town.  

We tip toed down US 276 among wet leaves and slick roads.  We came into Sal's curve, and brake lights lit up. Sal rode behind me saying "I will stay out of trouble behind you."  "yeah I know, whenever I am in the front I tend to ride too fast, so I get in the back".  We rode out of the campground valley, into dry weather.  The rain was trapped in the valley.  We escaped.  We rode into Waynesville over dry roads and warm temps.

We rode through town and found a nice cafe.  In New England they are diners, in the south they are cafes. We find a nice table near the window, and place our order. The service was friendly and prompt, and the locals were glad to have us.  Motorcyclists spend a lot of money in this area, and the locals know it, and treat us like the big spenders we think we are.

I had a chili dog and fries. Tasty.  It was a fun time at lunch.  Something about hanging out with guys on a big adventure makes me feel 12 years old again.

We scan the skies, and decide it might not be raining to the west, so Phil breaks out the map and plots a course.  Despite having covered over 4000 miles the last 2 weeks, I was in the mood to RIDE.

We have to say good bye to Michael Moore (the Maxpower).  He says he has to get back north.  We wish him a safe ride, and remind him to stay in touch, and we will see him on the ST BBS.

We follow Phil out of Waynesville, and soon find ourselves on a great road.  I take the number 3 spot, and the road is dry.  I failed to note the route number on this great road, but it twisted its way among the mountains.  I watched  Phil and Ron up ahead.   They would slow, lean, accelerate out, set up for the next curve.  All the while in a forest decked out in full fall splendor.  I can remember one series of Esses- left, right, left, right, as if on a slalom course.  No wonder so many guys, ride so many miles, to ride this area.  The pace is fun, but not aggressive, just right.  

Our bikes blew up fallen leaves like leaf blowers when we jetted by.  We stopped at country store for a butt break, and talked about a good decision it was to go for a ride.  I had peanuts and Mountain Dew.

Shortly after our butt break, we passed a volunteer fire department on the scene of a fully involved house fire.  I stopped to watch, but was unable to tell if it was a training fire, or the real thing.  My group was leaving me, so I could not stay long.

All too soon we were back at the campground. It was a great ride.  Other riders were coming back in from other rides.  We gathered around and swapped stories.  It was a great atmosphere.  A ugly day turned out to be great day.  Like Mr. Gump use to say, "life is a like a box of chocolates."

We spent the afternoon under the pavilion with the other riders.

It will be our last night on the road, so we decide to do it up right.  We are going to ride back into Waynesville for a steak supper.  Sal says he knows a good steak place.  I said, "count ME in."

Supper at the campground will be a all you can eat fish fry- for 13.99.  No thanks.

I walk over to the showers about 5pm and get ready for supper.  I was looking forward to a great meal with my friends.

In the waning light we ride back into Waynesville.  It was another great ride.  I have always enjoyed the ride to Waynesville from the campground.  We meet several south bound riders on their way in, and wave.  The ride through the valley to supper was another memorable one.

We find the steakhouse and have a 20 minute wait.  That's ok, we have plenty of time.

We are seated at a big booth and a very efficient waitress takes our order.  They are OUT of NY strips, so I will just have to suffer and order a T BONE.  Its my last night, it has been a great trip, and I am with my brother riders, noway do I skimp.  

We make a toast to safe riding and good friends.  My steak was just right, fitting end to a great day.

We stop at the Exxon station on the way back, and top off our tanks for the trip home.

We ride back across the valley to the campground in full darkness.  We make a short detour on a dark side road.  I wanted to check out Ron's H4 bulb.  I recall the headlights of our 4 STs, lighting the valley floor as we rode to our destination.

Back at the campground we tried to make a fire in the pit, but the wood was wet, and scarce.  This was the last weekend for the campground before closing for the season.

I used the phone and left a message at home, I wanted home cooked spaghetti for supper Sunday night.

I went to the dayroom and checked the weather for the run home.  Rain tonight and tomorrow.  I shared that news with the others, but we were in such a good mood, the news failed to make a dent.

I went to bed about 11pm, but soon awakened by gusting winds and rain.  My tent bucked and rattled.  I feared it was going to blow off me.  It was raining. HARD.  Noway I could sleep.  Wind blew through the trees, and any minute I thought one would snap, and take me out.

I did not sleep more then a few hours all night.