Sunday, May 29, 2005

Taming the Dragon!

Our long awaited vacation began to seem real as we worked into the early AM hours after a hectic Friday the 13th. Saturday found us both too excited to notice any lack of sleep. We got away about 8:30 and spent well over an hour at the Cracker barrel in Ocala, but we were committed to continuing our "enjoy the journey" mode that we have come to love. We left Florida and climbed Georgia with the Road King attached to the trailer following our every move. Our Yahoo map took us through all the scenic backroads and towns such as Helen, GA and Hiawassee and Hayesville, NC and on through Palmer and Murphy toward our cabin. We realized that this route would take us right over the Dragon - at night, in the rain, towing our bike....After safely maneuvering the 318 turns, we began to look for Happy Valley Trail and we looked for over an hour and drove by it at least 3 times - finally getting to our gorgeous chalet at 12:30 AM - tired. We awoke Charlie and unloaded the truck and heard tails of Charlie's 2 trips over the Dragon looking for the same road. Sunday was rainy early and that put off the Dragon. We went into Maryville for breakfast and a trip to the new Smoky Mountain Harley dealership - awesome shop and nice people. Charlie would have to head back to Ft Campbell early in the afternoon, so we were glad he had got lost and met the Dragon the day before. I rode with Charlie about 12 miles down to the closest gas station and watched him head back west toward his latest home - I still get a kick out of watching him. He is REALLY enjoying his harley!!! Linda and I kicked back and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the QUIET - oh so quiet!!!! It was wonderful. Relaxation became the mandate of the day! We made a fire in the fireplace, laughed and played - and fell asleep early with anticipation of the day to come. I was up early on Monday as usual, made the coffee and headed down to get the bike ready! We left the cabin after breakfast about nine and within 5 minutes we were meeting the Dragon head on! The "tail of the Dragon" is an 11 mile stretch of US129 on the Tennessee/ North Carolina border that sees thousands of bikers and sport cars drive from all over the country to challenge the 318 curves. It is everything it is advertised - it is not for the weak at heart! It will challenge your abilities and hone your concentration skills. I truly enjoyed every minute of it and Linda seemed much more relaxed on the back of the harley than she did in the SUV. We made our 1st pass and stopped at Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort for a breather, a bathroom break and some pictures. We headed off again down the NC side of 129 and aiming for the Cherohola Skyway about 20 miles away. The scenery and the clean air was beyond my ability to describe - we stopped several times just to stare at the water and the mountains! A stop at wheelers Performance Center found us with multiple Dragon souvenirs and on we rode toward the 5400 ft high Cherohola! Once again, it was mile after mile of beauty beyond description, cool, crisp air!!!!! There were observation points almost every mile on the way up and each one was unique and just as awesome as the one before... At the top, we sat and admired the handy work of our Creator and we were both very thankful to be there - it was 20 degrees colder, there was no leaves and it was brown - a big contrast from the bottom. We headed down and continued to be in awe of the continuous picture book scenery we rode through! An hour later we were sitting at Applebee's in Alcoa, TN very hungry and tired. We had rode 140 miles and had stopped about 8 - 10 times over the past 6 hours....Tuesday I got up and Linda stayed at the cabin while I took on the Dragon alone twice. I picked up the pace a little without Linda on the back and had a thrill all the way through - I MUST COME BACK - MANY TIMES!!!!!! What a major league rush! I drove back to the cabin feeling more content than in many years. We packed up and left our beautiful chalet - promising to return as soon as we can. On to Nashville and the "Great Surprise".... At the chalet, we were so far in the Smokey Mountains that we could not even get any cell phone service - so we got our messages as we headed out and Tom, my brother had left 3 messages wanting to know how it went and when we would be there...I called him back as we were heading west toward his house and told of our great adventure and all the beauty;I remember telling him that if he ever got into motorcycling, he had to go there because it was beyond words. When we got to his house, he was not there, only his wife. She said he would be there any time and he was driving an old classic and she wanted to get some pics. We head out to the driveway and notice Joan is pointing a video camera at us. As I turn around and look up the driveway, Tommy is pulling in on a new Harley Davidson ElectraGlide Ultra Classic! W O W !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They really fooled us! He had bought it 6 weeks ago and had hid it when Charlie came to visit so he could surprise me and all the folks in Florida - HE DID!!!! GREAT JOB BUBBA!!!!!!! Tom and Joan looked awesome on the bike and you could tell that Tom was more excited over this than anything in years - he deserves it! The rest of the week was riding and playing and visiting with Charlie - the best vacation ever. Linda got a surprise at the old place we used to eat - Mason's Motel. Jenny has another customer that is a Celiac and she fixed Linda 2 of the best meals she has ever had!!!! We picked up Charlie's bike on Friday afternoon and headed back to Florida.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Puppy Updates

Harley turned 8 months last week and weighed in at 82 lbs.
Lilly turned 6 months and is 57 lbs.
Both are turning into incredibly beautiful Labs.
They are both doing awesome in obedience classes and we are enjoying it all.
They are both sweet pups and the whole pack has jelled together as a close group.
Harley and Lilly are staying out of their crates now during the day and so-far, so-good.
YES - they have stolen our hearts!

Harley and his halo Posted by Hello