Discovery awaits as Chessie goes on a 3 state, 5 hour, 126 mile journey!
How many of my readers can say this? I live in an area where riding in and out of three states in a matter of a few hours is the norm. These three states also happen to sit inside the Appalachian Mountain Range. It’s such a wonderful region with mountains, mountain streams and of course the trees and floral fauna of the Blue Ridge. Around here that translates to the Catawba Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, assorted pine, hemlocks, cedars and not to mention about 50 more varieties of trees.
The weatherman was predicting temperatures nearing the century mark as
I left home with the sun beating down on my shoulders. By 10 AM, the mercury was soaring into the high 80′s. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt, and as I always do these days a pair of black pants so I was cooking. The humidity was quite high and my body was heating up sitting astride the engine of my little Sportster. It was then I made my mind up. I was going to the Mountains. No, not a Bush commercial, I was really heading for the mountains! My ride would take me up into the area of Watagua Lake and into the town of Butler where every year they celebrate “Old Butler Days”. As I’m closing in on that little town I remember to slow down and pull over in order to read the history sign that I’ve managed to pass by for three years without stopping. Because of this sign I now have an understanding of what they are celebrating at “OLD BUTLER DAYS”! I think I might ride up there August 8th and help them celebrate. I’ll let you read the sign yourself. Here ya go!
Moving along from there (I was sitting near the town of Butler on Tennessee 67). A few miles past Butler I spy an off shoot road known as Tennessee 167 North. Leaning into the turn for this northbound asphalt I’m smiling. I was remembering some old buildings on this road that I’ve been meaning to photograph. But until I find them I have some mild twists of the road spiced with views of rocky pastures on my right and stark rock bluff faces on my left. There were shallow shouldered quarries on the right interspersed with rock crushing machinery and land moving Cats climbing the steep un-natural “road”. They were zigging up the rock faced mountain side breaking off shale and granite for the rock crushing machinery below. I didn’t stop to photograph these because of the traffic building behind me but I was able to pull off the road safely for this shot of a great old farm house.
Still further along Tennessee-167 I run across an example of bad luck. This family was burned out.
I crossed into Virginia still on Route -167. It’s beautiful as always, so green and lush and the homes are of the cabin variety making them photogenic in addition to being full of stories that only the weathered grain or the cracked panes of glass are able to tell. If only they could.
Before long the road “T”s into North Carolina 88. What? When did I weave into North Carolina? I honestly don’t know, but I was happy to find myself on 88. I knew I hadn’t been on this far West on 88 before, but I have been further east. I turned left and headed east. I got as far as Warrensville before I decided to turn around. I was hungry so I stopped at The Whistle Stop Cafe: A small 12 table eatery on the side of the highway featuring a gravel parking lot, 1 waitress, 2 sheriffs eating and me busing a table I wanted to sit at. The poor waitress was taking orders, busing tables, serving and playing cashier. It took a very long time for my “super hamburger” and side salad to arrive. I was forced to ask the poor harried girl for my iced tea. She admitted to forgetting. My burger arrived at my table and she apologized for the delay. She whispered they ran out of hamburger meat and had to run to the store to get more. I’ve run a small town restaurant like this one before so I had no problem understanding her predicament. Besides, why be in a hurry when you’re out going nowhere?
Oh, I love this place! The front yard was full of used cars for sale. The out buildings were covered in porcelain or metal signage. This was located on North Carolina-88 near Warrensville. There was an auction business across the street and I suspect the owners of the auction business also owned these out buildings.
How many of you remember when ESSO became EXXON?
I liked this view, so I stopped and photographed it. I don’t have the proper lens to capture it correctly, but it still offers an inkling of how stunning the view is. There was very small generating station hooked up to this little dam.
On North Carolina-88 in the middle of nowhere I found an older fire truck and some out buildings that are covered in hubcaps and license plates.
I’ve completed the loop. I’m on my way home, I’ve run “The Snake” and I’m on Tennessee-91 in Carter County. Every time I run past this place, I swear to myself I will stop and take photos. I DID STOP ON THIS RIDE! YAHOO!
Here ya go as I take a final look at my surroundings.