The day started slowly. I finished a blog entry and posted it while Sandy packed the bags. Then we went down for breakfast before taking all the gear out to the truck. We finally hit the road at 9:40, following I-26 north to I-40, stopping at a rest area to check the tie-downs on the bikes.
Our little drove convoy across I-40 and got off at US 74. On the far side of Waynesville, we stopped at WalMart and did some shopping. The skies were clear and it was getting really warm. I got a couple of large boxes of 5-Hour Energy bottles (much cheaper than home) while Sandy got socks and a bathing suit. She tried to find running shoes but, once again, nothing fit her small wide feet.
We continued on US 74, aka the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, to the exit for NC 72 at Whittier. This little cutoff road goes across to US 19 but I have never used it before. It is narrow and winding but we only were on it for a couple of miles. When we reached 19, Two Rivers Lodge was visible on the left.
We arrived at the lodge about 1:00 PM and the housekeeping lady told us that the power was out, possibly until 4:00. They had expedited cleaning our rooms. Once we got the bikes unloaded and the bags in the rooms, we checked out the pavilion by the river. It had a fire pit, tables, swings and benches. Then we sat on the porch. The cleaning lady asked if we drank beer. It seems that the last group left some cans so she put them in Gary's fridge.
After a bit, we decided to go to lunch. On the way out,we saw US 19 was blocked towards Bryson City. This was the location of our power outage where a tree had fallen and brought down a power pole.
The unblocked direction took us to Cherokee. On the far side of town was Granny's Restaurant. We always pass this but it doesn't open until 11:00 AM and we are never that late going by. Today it was open and the lot was packed. It had slipped my mind for a moment that it was Father's Day. Granny's is an all buffet place. The lady at the desk took our name and said it would be twenty minutes. In fact, it wasn't that long.
The lady at the next table got talking to us. Her group was from Franklin and they were taking Uncle Logan out for Father's day. He will be 92 on July 3rd and used to be a mica miner. We talked about places and things. Very enjoyable and typical of the friendliness of the hills. The buffet was good at a reasonable price.
Since dessert was extra at Granny's, we stopped at the Dairy Queen in Cherokee. A small S'mores blizzard was excellent. Sandy had a vanilla ice cream sundae (ice cream in a dish). Then we went on out 441 to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Oconaluftee Visitor Center. They have a nice place with exhibits of the history of the area and the culture, not to mention the wildlife. I picked up a CD by Roscoe Holcomb, a mountain musician who inspired the term "high, lonesome sound".
We got back to the lodge about 4:45. Still no power but there was a third trailer in the yard and two faces staring out from one of the rooms. Biker and Cheryl had arrived, but were out shopping.
While we waited for the power, we sat outside and visited. Blaine, the owner and VROC'er Pappy's brother, came by. An open trailer from Mississippi with two Yamaha's on it, pulled in. Sam and Victoria will be staying around the same amount of time that we will.
The power came on about 8:00 PM, just in time because the light was fading. I tried to call the gang in Wytheville, trying Nepper's room at 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM. The last time, the desk lady tried two other rooms but no one was home. She confirmed that there was a group of motorcycles from Ontario and that they were hanging out in the parking lot. That was good enough for me. I left a message for Neppeer saying we would see him tomorrow.
The rest of our group wandered off to bed while I stayed up a bit later talking to Blaine and watching fireflies. Still, it was only 10:45 when we said good night and I went back to our room. Sandy was asleep and, soon, I was too.
Today's Route (75 Avalanche miles):