The AAA set us up with tickets at a $15 discount (each) and the lady at the counter showed us what she considered to be the highlights to look for. She was also thrilled to find someone from Northern Ontario because she was a huge Shania Twain fan. She was extra pleased to find out I did a lot of growing up in Timmins, Ontario. I was happy to find someone down here who had heard of Timmins.
Clutching our tickets, we rode back towards Biltmore but stopped at the MR Motorcycle shop, which was along the way. Stewey was looking for a cord for an old style J&M headset cord. Ronda's cord had a broken wire, a not unusual occurrence. MR didn't have the right type of plug so we moved on.
We turned into the Biltmore and followed the three mile drive to the parking lot. The speed limit was 20 MPH but some slug in a pickup truck held it to a spritely 15. When we reached the staff member directing vehicles to the appropriate lots, unlike the cars we were sent to B-1. This appears to be for handicapped people, season pass holders and motorcycles.
There are regular shuttle buses picking people up in the lots and ferrying them to the mansion. I was interested to see that they used the Ford E450 chassis and that the dash was just like our RV. Except that they have more cup holders. After giving us a short story about the estate, the driver dropped us off at the big front doors.
We didn't get any pictures inside the house because photography isn't permitted. Suffice to say that the structure, built by George Vanderbilt between 1889 and 1895 and considered the largest private home in the USA, is impressive. It features 250 rooms over 175,000 square feet and you would have to see it to truly appreciate it. Add in 500 year old Flemish tapestries, priceless sculptures and rare paintings and you have a unique place to explore.
Leaving the estate, we took I-40 to I-26 south to Schroader's Honda in Hendersonville, where Stewey found the old style headset cord. He was also surprised to see six yellow GoldWings on the showroom floor. I suggested they were there because no on wanted to buy a yellow motorcycle. I picked up some helmet lock extenders and a can of mystery Plexiglas cleaner.
Leaving Schroader's, we caught a quick bite and then rode out of town on US 64 to where US 276 started. This is the Pisgah Forest Road which twists and winds up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Once on the BRP, we headed southwest, stopping again at the Cowee Mountains Overlook so Stewey, official wedding photographer, could scope out the future scene of the crime. While there, an older couple in an AC Cobra Replica with the 427 stroker motor pulled in and took a moment to talk to us about their car.
Today's Ride (152 motorcycle miles):
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