Talk about dedication, on the afternoon of Thursday, October 10th Steve flew back from the West coast and rode down to the 2013 Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival with Dan. Of course it wasn't all heroics, it was practical as well; can you imagine gettinng up early on Friday to ride over there when your body is on West coast time? Ugh, no thanks mate ;-)
They took 411 nearly all the way down, only dropping onto i759 and i59 for the last few miles to save a little time as night had drawn on. Their two powerful adventure bikes were laden with camping gear and the all important collapsable chairs, for to collapse into after the long days perusing and oohing and aaghing over the phenominal collection of classic two wheeled machines that adorn the race track perimeter at this festival.
A Case of Trial and Error!
At 9am on Saturday morning the trio headed off to the trials park, leaving Robert's Harley holding the parking spaces by the tents to ensure parking on return despite the anticipated record attendance by cagers.
The trials riding was excellent and, unlike the 2012 festival, the bikes were all classics. What a mixed bag they were too from vintage British singles to vintage Japanese that I remember and rode in my teen years.
Section 1 was deep in the wooded area and like all trials sections comprised two course; one for novice and one for more experienced riders. Maybe Steve and I will actually have running Ossa's for next year, so we can give the trials a crack.
On Friday afternoon, October 9th, five riders (Bob K, Larry, Mark, Robert, and Steve) ignored iffy weather forecasts and gathered at the Chevron in Ball Ground for an overnight trip to Maggie Valley, on the edge of the Smokies. A sixth rider, (Dan) joined them in Blue Ridge for dinner, and later provided overnight accommodations in his cabin – special thanks to Dan!
While at the Chevron the five enjoyed talking bikes and thoroughly making their new friend, Danny, proprietor of the Chevron, envious of their pending adventure ( they wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on a bike and joining their next ride).
Wonder of Wonders, they got on the road to Alabama ahead of schedule. OK it was only one minute early, but probably a record of sorts. The early-bird seven (Dennis, Steve, Robert L., Larry, Mark, Abby and Bob S.) were headed for De Soto Falls, the Little River Canyon and Cave Springs. They picked up Paul in Rydal, while Dan, on his new Triumph Tiger, rode with the group a while, then turned back at Crystal Springs to prepare for a flight north.
The route took them up through Summerville and Menlo Georgia, then turned south at Mentone, Alabama onto a narrow county road (89) that passed by the back yards of Lookout Mountain mansions that have an outstanding westward view of the valley below.
Sometimes it pays to be optimistic. This past Saturday was one of those days.
At a quarter to seven, just after dawn, the riders poured over the weather reports and radar images for the intended route for the days ride. It didn't look good. Around Franklin N.C. the radar showed a mean looking orange and red blob that the forecast confirmed meant a 50% chance of thunderstorms before noon. The way up through Tennessee was clear but that would mean truncating the trip and probably foregoing the ride on Wayah Road and up Wayah Bald.