Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Outrun the heat to the top of the mountain. One High Ride

Summer is fully upon us, and this year mother nature seems to be in a particularly bad mood. We seem to either be having Biblical storms, or bake your biscuits in your saddlebags heat.  Personally, I can handle riding in the heat better than taking my chance with a tornado, so when I got the chance last Sunday I headed for higher ground, and cooler temperatures.

I toughed out the heat on I-40 and zipped up to Maggie Valley,(avoiding the skillet like asphalt and traffic of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg) and headed straight for the Blue Ridge Parkway. As soon as I left I-40 I could feel the temperature drop. After riding the incredible 70 miles from Maggie Valley to Asheville on the Blue Ridge,  I was havng such a good time that I decided the best thing to do was to ride about 50 miles more to Mt. Mitchell. Besides, I needed some more pics for the website.

There are only a few place to get grub on the Blue Ridge Parkway and one that many people don't know about is the restaurant on Mt Mitchell.  It was closed by the time I came through, so I can't vouch for the food. I can tell you that it is a really cool looking building, and the view off of the back is incredible.

My on-bike Thermo-meter usually reads about 2 degrees warm, and it was showing 62 refreshing degrees on top of Mt Mitchell at 8:00. Hard to believe I left 94 degrees in K-Town. The other cool thing besides the temperature was that I was the only person on top of the mountain.The parking lot was empty, the roads were empty, the restaurant was quiet.

As the afternoon turned to night on top of Mt Mitchell,  the clouds that were hugging the tree tops on the south side of the mountain began swooping up and over the deserted parking lot like swift moving ghost before dropping quickly off the other side. The only sound to hear was the wind.. .I just sat there for a while and listened, and thought about how glad I was I rode the extra miles.
The next time you want to ride, but don't want to cook on the bike, think about heading for higher ground. That's one of the great things about where we live, there are mountains to climb that are surrounded by cooler air, and there are great roads that get you there. Don't forget to take some time to enjoy it when you get to the top.


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