Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Southern Rivers, Dragons Tails, Moonshiners trails: Eastern Tennessee

Bob is a having some great adventures down south!  I'm going to try to do his stories justice.   

First off, Bob arrived in the Cherokee National Forest and noticed the following: Wifi is pretty much nonexistant.  He's working off a cell phone with 2 bars at most.  It's very mountainous where he is and he cannot count on an internet connection.  He picked up a few movies from a Red Box only to realize when he wanted to return them, that there were no freakin' Red Boxes anywhere near him!  So he had to drive back to where he got them in Cleveland, TN. I also had to ask about the weather, and the temps are still pretty mild with 70's in the daytime and cool in the evenings. (my bet is he is still cranking the furnace at night!) hahaha

His first camp spot was along the Ocoee River.  He stayed in a campground of the Cherokee National Forest.  Camping cost about $12/day with electric.  In his first leg, he spent about 3 days mountain biking on the trails.  The terrain was mostly steep mountains and no flats.  You were either going up...or going down. 

River Time.  Next up, Bob hooked up with the PA area folks on the annual Southern Rivers trip.  It's pretty hard core and Bob said he took a bit of a beating!  A week of paddling all day long followed by driving to the next river at night, setting up camp and hitting the hay only to wake up and do it all over again.  And these rivers aren't lazy.  In fact, it is very technical whitewater in class IV-V.  He said he is still sore from his week of paddling.  The rivers he hit were the Cheoah, Tellico, Little, Chatuga (sec III) and the Watauga.  I will have some pics to post in the near future.

When the northerners packed up camp and travelled home, Bob decided to head back to the Ocoee area.  This time he found some free camping on a lake.  He is not far from the paid sites he stayed at originally and found that he can bike on over for a shower since the free sites are pretty rustic with only pit toilets.  Now he's ready to get out his motorcycle that he has trailered with him.  This section of the country boasts many awesome routes for cyclists and draws them from all over.  So far, Bob has biked the Tail of the Dragon twice and plans on hitting it again before he leaves the area.  The Tail of the Dragon boasts 318 turns in 11 miles!  Bob says it is amazing!  The cool thing is that professional photographer's snap photos of everyone as you go up and down so we were able to score some action shots!  I was able to find him by description of bike and colors, but confirmed by spotting the PA plate!  :)  Sweet bike, Bob!

Another run Bob is looking forward to before he leaves the area is the Moonshiner (Rte) 28.  100+ miles from Tenn to Georgia which was an actual moonshiners trail!  Read more about it here:

Bob would like to be in Florida in another week for a Dual Sport bike ride, but he's not sure at this point, if he will make it down in time.  We will have to wait for the next update to see if he made it!

He has not complained about any issues with the van, however, his motorcycle gave him a run for his money.  Died on him about 20 miles from camp.  He had some nice folks come by and gave him a lift back to his camp after which he packed up and went to rescue the bike...he had hid it in the woods!  He spent about 3 days trying to figure out what was going on and thought the worse...he blew the engine.  Finally, he figured out the carburator was blocked and was able to get it fixed.  For a while, he was thinking he'd have to turn around and head home rather than trailer the now useless bike all over and he relied on the bike to get around without breaking camp.  So after that scare, he's happy to being fully operational once again. 

It was good to talk to Bob and hear his stories!  He will definitely be missed this summer around the campfire!  I'm glad he is planning on keeping up with the phone calls!  Stay tuned for the next update!

-Malissa, keeper of Bob's Blog.