It seemed like the week had flown by. Here it was, already the last day of SEVROC. Our 129th VROC gathering since 1999 was drawing to a close. And, after getting through a nasty winter without contracting a cold or bronchitis, I spent the whole night coughing and hacking. On the plus side, one more beautiful day dawned over what has been an unusually dry week.
The weather just doesn't get any better than this
A few of us decided to make the traditional trek over to the Everett Street Diner
in Bryson City for breakfast. There is nothing better than riding the winding US 19 to Cherokee and then following the more sweeping stretch to Bryson. Sandy & I, Willie Wonka & The Lovely Carlene and Wild Rose, followed by Zeke and Hang in their car, rolled out at about 9:00 AM.
Willie & Carlene are ready
So is Wild Rose
Flip bidding us goodbye
I led as we headed up over Soco Gap and wound our way down into Cherokee. To avoid traffic and construction, I took the Southern Draw Bypass of Old Mission Road followed by Olivet Church Road to US 441. Skipping the second half of the bypass, we followed 441 north back to US 19, where we turned towards Bryson City. We waved at Blain and Kathy, who were sitting on the porch of Two Rivers Lodge as we went by.
US 19 descending from Soco Gap
An old tree on Olivet Church Road
A strange thing happened as we arrived in Bryson City. Traffic was packed turning onto Everett Street. It seems we got to town at the same time as all the people taking the scenic train ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
. With a seething mass of vehicles all trying to get parked by the station, Everett Street was jam packed with cars going nowhere. Not knowing what the situation was further down the street, we took the first spots we found and walked.
Parking on Everett Street
And yet, just a few spaces down....
Zeke parked on the bridge
Not your typical redneck car
A fine group of diners at a fine diner
The owner greeted us and had a table for seven set right away. Our server was a very attractive and competent young Cherokee lady whose personality was just bubbling over. Coffee brought and orders taken, the owner introduced a newlywed couple to the assembled multitude. Later, he asked us all to congratulate another young lady on her birthday. As usual, the food did not disappoint.
Table for seven
Sandy's fruit plate and muffin
My meat lovers omelet with rye toast and hashbrowns
After breakfast, we decided to go for a ride. Sandy's back was still hurting, so she caught a ride back to Maggie Valley in the van with Zeke and Hang. Willie & Carlene and Cheryl said they would follow me, as usual. There were no pictures of this ride because my photographer bailed on me.
Leaving Bryson, we followed US 19 to US 74 to NC 28 North. After going through Stecoah, we took NC 143 to Robbinsville. At that point, in a total fit of disorientation, I turned north towards Deals Gap. My followers stayed with me, although Wild Rose did tell me when we turned around that she wondered just where I was going. Back on track, we followed US 129 south to US 19/74. From there, we headed back through the scenic Nantahala Gorge. There was a great photo op of the scenic train and rafts in the gorge, but no camera. Traffic was busy but moving at an acceptable pace. I was going to stop at the Outdoor Center, but there was nothing in the way of parking, so we motored on. After fueling, we pulled into A Holiday Motel about 1:30 PM.
We spent our last afternoon visiting. When things were quiet in the parking lot, I put the big suitcases in the Equinox, hooked up the trailer and loaded the bike.
Angie and Jax
The caterer arrived at 5:30. Although this was earlier than expected, Sandy managed to be right at the start of the food line like always. And, as usual, I was off talking to someone so I ended up further back. It was a fine meal with lots left over for seconds. Many thanks to Southern Draw and Cheap B for organizing this.
Sandy at the head of the line
Even Mikey (Georgia) stopped selling tickets for a bit
Wompus and Saint Montene (Georgia) digging in
Willie and Carlene (Southern Illinois)
Paul (Connecticut) and Laura & Bill (Arkansas)
Phillip & Caleb (Kentucky) and Kudzu (Canuck transplanted to NC)
Fork you, Caleb
Tanja (Mrs Kudzu) and her reprobate spouse
The Godfather (Georgia)
Plus tables full of happy eaters
After supper, Mikey sold a few more tickets and then it was time for the raffle.
Ready for the draws
Everyone looking comfortable
Kudzu and Cargo
Six Pack Jack
Before the formal drawing began, Southern Draw dedicated his rendition of Vince Gill's Go Rest High On That Mountain
to members we have lost, especially Lucky Al and Gambler a couple of months ago.
Southern Draw - Go Rest High On That Mountain
In memory of absent companions
Following this touching tribute (there were more than a few damp eyes), Susan ZMean1 presented Jax with a gift basket and plaque recognizing his efforts from 2006 to now in organizing SEVROC. It has been a mainstay in the VROC calendar and his work was greatly appreciated. There was a collection taken up among the regulars and the leftover cash was added to the 50/50 proceeds to be donated to the Waynesville PD K-9 Unit.
Now that Jax will be in Texas, we are pressing him to put something together in Hill Country next April.
Susan presenting Jax with a gift basket
And a plaque commemorating his leadership
Finally, it was time for the raffle. Tickets were drawn by Angie and prizes from Kawasaki, as well as various members, were distributed.
The Texas girls (Vickie, Debbie and Kay)
Locals Southern Draw, Cheap B and Wanda
Heather and Jan in the background
Wrong Turn Jim and KT
Angie, Jax, Mikey and TICKETS!!
Stockbridge Richard, Blondy and Six Pack Jack
As the draws were complete, officers from the Waynesville PD K-9 unit stepped up. First, they drew the winning 50/50 draw ticket. Carl (Dirtdigger) of North Carolina, brother to Lonnie and brother-in-law of Six Pack Jack, won. The officers then accepted the 50/50 donation, augmented by the surplus from Jax' gift collection. The sergeant thanked us for our ongoing support, which allowed them to obtain necessary equipment for the dogs' welfare, and then they gave us a demonstration of dog obedience and skills.
No, it is NOT a raid
Thanks from Waynesville PD
Dirtdigger Carl wins the 50/50
Congratulations to Jax and Angie on their engagement
This is a drug dog???
Rapt attention to the demonstration
Susan, Badger and Sandy
We spent the rest of the evening saying our goodbyes. With Sandy's back problems and my continuing cough, we decided to skip the Virginia riding on Monday and go straight home. Bearing the HBO SNAFU in mind on the way down, I contacted the Hampton Inn in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania and confirmed they had the channel. I would be able to catch the final Game Of Thrones episode live tomorrow night. Since this would be less than an eight hour drive, we could hang around for the Country Vittles breakfast in the morning.
There was time to get the photos of the day sorted before turning in about 11:30 PM.
N.B. - VROC gatherings have traditionally been known for less than ideal WiFi connections. While A Holiday Motel had some issues in the early years, making it hard to connect from our end of the building, I have to say that they have done great work in this area. The signal was strong and the bandwidth was more than adequate for photo uploads. Thanks to Gabi and Rob for their continuing attention to improvements.
Today's Route (122 motorcycle miles):