With the heat and humidity we all agreed it would be nicer to head out early and decided on an 8AM meeting point about 30 minutes from my house. Eight? Back up the clock here:
- 30 min to get there
- 20 min prior to lock the house, water the dog, gear up
- 30 min prior for showers and dressing and dashing around the house to gather clothing and gear
- 15 min prior to make sure the dog is up, fed and pilled in time for her morning constitution to take place so we don't have presents on the carpet
I woke up sore and a little stiff, but the warm shower worked that out. The really good news was that the tush didn't quell at the sight of the saddle. And for once I didn't need fuel immediately, so that meant I wasn't suiting up with that fine layer of sweat as lubrication to ride a mile down the road to half undress to fill the fuel tank. Then fighting with gloves to convince them they needed to cover all of my hand, not just fingers and fleshy part where you are stuck because I am so sticky!!
No. I was able to suit up with the requisite sweat and hit the road to try and cool off. We reached the meet location and filled up there and we were soon underway, heading to points Northeast. For speed and time we took the highway up and veered off to start the waterfall trail on some baby twisties.
I was doing good until the point we turned off the main road. Mr. Oilburner asked if we needed a break and since I never really answered he took it as a sign to go forward. But what actually happened was another 10 minutes down the road my legs started to feel cramped and were screaming at me to stretch them. But it was too late. We had hit the beginning of the twisties on these tiny little roads and Mr. Oilburner and Alex were off at a gallop. Being a little befuddled and completely out of sorts I was approaching everything slower. I was expecting some tiny farm animal or another to come bounding out of some yard or field at me. And the turns? Kudzu was covering the white lines of this tiny, barely two lane road. Every turn showed me that I was working my way through this area at a turtle's pace compared to the two hares in front of me. (I will use hare's because it isn't polite to say what I would really like to call them.)
So here I am, finally on Warwoman Rd. And absolutely no opportunity to stop and document me...on Warwoman Rd!! And the two knuckle heads are racing farther away by the second. Then I realize I am on these wonderful roads in a gorgeous valley with great lighting. Something Scooter in the Sticks would completely take advantage of. Now I am losing ground AND missing out on this great opportunity to take pictures of my motorbike!! Grouchy doesn't even begin to convey the mood that I am in.
Almost completely through the best part of the valley I decided to pull over and finally switch the GoPro on. But it is really too late. I still started the camera and continued on, but the scenery and lighting wasn't nearly as nice.
Grouchy feelings and ignoring querying over the scala Mr. Oilburner rightfully deduced that I was completely out of sorts. Which kinda spoiled the road and scenery for a ways. And it added nothing to the mood that the waterfalls were proving difficult to find. One just could not be found. And the other one was only spotted by me, after passing. To be fair, it was difficult to see and regularly had to be trimmed back for viewing. But having to park in someones driveway was annoying. Especially when they wanted out!
You can only see this thanks to the trimming.
Avert thine eye's grandmother. Here I am in one of my cranky moments. Mother, you can look since you taught me this when I was 4 y/o. :)
Giving my best FYYFF pose and showing my feelings.
I know that I was a royal pain in the ass and appreciate that Mr. Oilburner and Alex put up with my bad temper admirably. After a few minutes of walking around and seeing the fabulous
waterfall I was a mite better and we continued on. Only a couple miles down the road is the wonderful artsy town of Highlands, NC. One of those places that tries to showcase local stuff with this wild flare and charge outrageous prices. This did result in another dismount only minutes after sweating back into our clothes, but Mr. Oilburner promised me ice cream.
Once I was happily working my way into a scoop of coconut ice cream (YUM!) we started trolling the shops along main street. We did all the window shopping we desired, with some strange looks from the proprietors. See, this is supposed to be a nice, rich, vacation area and they expect people to dress appropriately. We are these clean cut people walking along the street in riding pants and boots and helmet hair. Oh well. They'll get over it. There wasn't too much we were interested in, or could afford, anyway. Alex and I were enamored by the balancing metal yard art, but felt the 4 foot, metal pole wouldn't do well to transport by motorbike.
Now that I am stuffed with ice cream and mad at myself for giving in and eating it in the first place, we head back to the bikes to continue on. With parking at a premium in this town motorbikes will tend to congregate together and we found this parked next to me...
Search and Rescue Harley Davidson. No, I will not comment on what they might have been "searching" for...being that it was a Harley.
Just down the road is our second waterfall. Well known in these parts, Bridal Veil Falls, actually spills over the roadway, giving vehicles access to drive behind the falls. Of course, this makes for much lolly-gagging and gawking. In my mind I had always pictured the fall on a side street or turn off from the main road. In reality, it is right on the road with just a little lay of pavement to make the detour behind it.
Lots of cars/people and I didn't want to mess with it. This is the best shot we could get. Mr. Oilburner didn't want a picture.
We hopped back into the groove and made our way to the next fall, Dry Falls. No, they weren't dry. But we didn't go see it owing to the new large decking and steps. We assumed it was going to be a bit of a walk/hike. We were not up for that in our riding clothes and the day was turning out to be warm. Heading towards home later in the day I discovered that there was a jut to the walking platform that probably gave a good view of the falls that was within steps of where we had parked. Just goes to show you how annoyingly impatient and stupid we can be.
On the road again... This time to our final lookout of Cullasaja Falls.
One of the best parts of these falls/this area is the road. Tiny, narrow, shear rock walls on your side, baby twisties out the wazoo, long views into tree-covered valleys.
Beautiful valley dead ahead.
Sheer rock cliffs hugging the road, and narrow lanes.
Just to give you a little scale of these rocks.
We did pass the falls parking area. Not a problem considering the size of the parking area and the blind curve just ahead. It was only a mile or so down the road and we were able to turn around. Check out this deteriorating parking pad that will accomodate about 2.5 cars.
Parking pad for the falls.
Unless you wanted to be a billy goat for a few hours and attempt the [illegal] path down to the falls there wasn't much to do here. We sat around on the rails, stretched our legs, posed for the camera and just chatted and laughed. People came and went and we waved to the myriad of bikes and bikers on the road passing us by. Time to suit up, though, and a family with young children had just stopped. The boys were about 5 and 7 and more enamored with the bikes then the falls. One just wanted to be part of the scene and wished us a "good ride" as he hopped back to their car. Cool kid.
The jagged heart and shininess caught my eye.
I later comprehended the leaf being strangled in the background.
We suited up and determined it was hot and time to point the bikes towards home. But there were many good roads between here and home; including the border hwy between North Carolina and Georgia of 246/106. This isn't one that you can easily speed on since there is slower traffic. But hairpin turns and 10% downhill grades can make for some fun. I was actually able to capture a little of this on video.
The roads were wonderful all the way home. We took most of the ones less traveled and were regaled with some interesting sites of summertime redneck activities.
The one bridge that did not post signs of "No Jumping or Fishing from Bridge."
So what do people do? Jump from the bridge, of course.
There are a few more pictures that can be viewed on flickr.
1 extremely grouchy BeemerGirl early in the day that didn't take many pictures
many baby twisties to play in, only one car on my side, this trip