After all our years here, why had we not found Clyde's before? The food was excellent and the prices were reasonable. The only complaint I had was that their tables needed to be bigger. I had two scrambled eggs, a large piece of country ham and two big biscuits with very nice gravy. Sandy had two eggs, two sausages, two pieces of bacon and two huge pancakes. I got to taste the pancakes when she wasn't able to finish them because, as my mother told me, children are starving somewhere. (Starving children, as Allan Sherman once said, have made me fat.) Linda insisted that I capture her chocolate chip pancakes for posterity.
When I was checking the way to WalMart in Google Maps the other day, I saw a route that went right over the ridge. After breakfast, we tried it from the Waynesville side. It went past a beautiful golf course and some very nice homes. Then Eagle Nest Road went up and up, through the morning clouds. Even where there were no houses to be seen, there were fire hydrants fed by a large water tank on top of the ridge. The switchback curves would have been a challenge on a bike. Just as we reached the top of the ridge and Eagle Nest Road changed to Gaddis Branch Road, we found our way blocked by a closed gate and a Private Road sign. With heavy hearts, we turned around and retraced our steps back down to US 74.
We got back to the motel just in time to wave goodbye to the group heading for lunch at the Tiki Bar in Lake Lure. SEVROC was held there at the Geneva Inn from 2001 through 2005. The weather was OK, notwithstanding the damp pavement, but was forecast to be changeable through the day. As a result, we decided not to join the pilgrimage.
Kudzu arrived from Charlotte for a brief visit. I took some time to get some more blog work done, although the activities were causing me to fall further and further behind.
The new Elevated Mountain Distilling Company was now able to sell product, so we wandered over for a tour. It cost $5.00 if you wanted to participate in the tasting and get a souvenir glass, but was free if you just wanted the tour. We got little mason jar shot glasses to go with our sampling. A young man served as the tour guide but the samples were set out by the owner. Under North Carolina law, the glasses were small but we were allowed six of them. They will not have any true bourbon until September of 2019 due to ageing requirements, so we have something more to look forward to.
The Purchase Knob Corn Whiskey had a bite to it and the Hurricane Creek Corn Vodka was good but different. Sandy liked the Raymond Fairchild Root Beer White Lightning and the Shining Rock Peach Pie Moonshine. On the way out, we bought a bottle of the Root Beer to take home.
There was a hot rod show across the road, so we walked over but they didn't have many cars. Butch Patrick (Eddie Munster) wasn't a big enough draw to get me to pay for admission. Good thing because that was when it started to rain.
We decided that another ride over to the Dairy Queen in Cherokee for ice cream was a good idea, so we started watching the weather radar. It told us that the last of the rain should be gone at 2:40. Zeke & Hang and Linda & Billy Bob took their respective cars and headed out before the rain started.
The motorcycle contingent, consisting of us leading, Boomer & Shannon, Phillip and Caleb, Huffy & Elaine plus TBone left a bit earlier than we planned as well. The light rain started just as we approached Soco Gap, so we descended the other side gingerly due to wet pavement and occasional gravel on the winding road. The rain stopped as we got to the bottom and the sun came out as we reached Cherokee.
We rode back over the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rain that we had not seen on the radar projections started just 1.9 miles from Soco Gap and ended as we reached the bottom of the hill in Maggie Valley. It was heavier than before but not enough to get us really wet.
On the way back, we stopped again at the distillery and picked up a bottle of the Peach Shine. We would be allowed to bring two quarts of liquor back to Canada duty-free.
Some more people had arrived at the motel while we were away and some had returned from their day rides.
A couple of evenings ago, a large group descended on Frankie's Italian Trattoria here in Maggie Valley. Despite the surprise, the staff rose to the challenge. We went to Pasqualino's in Bryson City that night, so Zeke made reservations for the four of us at Frankie's for tonight.
Frankie's put us in a second dining room all alone at first, but other people came in while we were there. Because Zeke was driving, I had a margarita. Then, because it was good, I had another. I had veal parmigiana, something that had been missing from the menu at Pasqualino's. It came with a house salad and I ordered sauteed mushrooms to go with it. My whole meal was excellent (I don't think it was just the tequila talking) but Sandy preferred her chicken parmigiana at Pasqualino's. I guess we will just have to do both the next time around.
After supper, we took a drive up Gaddis Branch Road to see what this side of the Eagle Nest private road we tried yesterday looked like. We didn't get nearly as far before we encountered the gate on this side. This one was open but had warning signs and cameras, so we turned around and returned to the real world.
Back at the motel, the festivities were mellow and varied. This was typical of VROC gatherings over the years. Beverages were imbibed while friendships were enjoyed.
The ladies held their traditional celebration complete with jello shots and black Russian pudding cups prepared by Shannon. Then they attacked Brandon in his room. Finally, some of us male types got to share the pudding and Jello. Every time the bag of shots started to look depleted, Shannon would disappear for a few moments and then return with a renewed supply. It was like an alcoholic version of the loaves and the fishes. They were very good and Shannon was christened Shotz.
It rained between 9:00 and 10:00 PM but the roof over the walkway in front of the rooms plus the tent on the grass made it virtually unnoticeable. Sandy and I turned in about 11:00 PM but enjoyed the sounds of old friends outside our window as we drifted off to sleep.
Todays Route (38 motorcycle miles):