Monday, May 13, 2019

Beckley West Virginia to Maggie Valley North Carolina

Since we only had a short way to go today, we started in a leisurely fashion, not checking out until 8:50 AM. Imagine my consternation when the girl on the desk with laryngitis remembered taking my call last week asking about HBO. She still insisted that they had it despite the fact that it was not in the guide or able to be found on the TV. After all, she said had worked there a whole month, while the clerk last night who said they did not had only been there four years. No point in making a scene now that the damage was done.

I did meet a family from Peterborough in the lobby. Mom and Dad were bring the kids home from a week at Disney World. I spoke to them because he was wearing a Harley Davidson of Lethbridge shirt.

After a quick stop at McDonald's in the pouring rain, we hit the road. The West Virginia road construction continued right up to the East River Mountain tunnel into Virginia. On the other side of the mountain, there was some blue sky and $2.45 gas.

 Happy to not be on a motorcycle right here

 Construction right to the state line

 Welcome to Virginia

 Blue sky coming our way

 Best gas price so far

 Traffic light at Big Walker Mountain

 Heading southwest on I-81

We exited I-77 for I-81 at Wytheville (pronounced Withville) Virginia. Before Abingdon, we stopped at a Petro and found they only had semi parking out back and single parking spaces in front. There was nowhere to put a trailer or RV. Screw them. I went to the Shell station across the road.

At Abingdon, we exited I-81 and took Va 75 south across the Tennessee line. I discovered this route years ago looking for the back way to Bristol Motor Speedway. It also cuts out the local Bristol traffic or long way around to the start of I-26 if one is going to Johnson City.

 Old barns

 Narrow roads

 Big houses

 The start of US 421 (The Snake)

 Weather permitting, we will be back next Monday

 These power lines at the Speedway back gate are new

 Some day, we will come down for the drag races

 The world's fastest half  mile

In Johnson City, we connected with I-26 (sometimes billed as the future I-26) south. We stopped at the small Walmart in Unicoi, Tennessee to pick up some necessities. I had been razzing Sandy for forgetting some items we always take when she suddenly asked me if I had packed our folding chairs. Face palm. They had inexpensive chairs here, some cheap golf balls and a bunch of food items including Vanilla Orange Coke Zero. On the way out, we saw an exhibition of parking skills that made me glad we would not be sharing the road with these two.

Friends don't let friends park drunk

We drove up over the ridge into North Carolina without incident. In fact, we were commenting how familiar every part of this road has become. I stopped before Asheville to walk around for a few minutes and clear my sleepy head.

 The lookout at the summit was empty

 Sam's Gap - we are entering the home stretch

 It's good to be back

 We have lots of pictures of runaway truck ramps - here's another

 Maybe we can have supper here one night

 Arriving just after 3:00 PM

Gabi gave us the key to Room 15, our usual. I unloaded the bike, parked the trailer and got the luggage into the room. There was a group of BMW riders here from around Toronto and we compared notes for a while. Then Sandy and I took the car out to fuel up and stopped at an ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) store where I got a small bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon. Back at the motel, we met another riding group from all over. One from Colorado, one from West Virginia and two from Texas.

 The Toronto BMW group

Bill, Laura and Deb pulled in towing the GoldWing trike behind Bill's one ton Ram. He unloaded the trike, which was having a problem with a stuck four-way hazard flasher switch. Boomer and Shannon had arrived while Bill was unloading and, between Boomer and I, we took enough of the bike apart to disconnect the switch.

 That's one powerful tow vehicle

 Can't have too many tie downs

 It's a nice trike

 Bill and Boomer - mechanical experts (sort of, maybe)

 Sandy and Deb

 The ladies

A goat

Boomer and I had a taste of the Woodford. Sandy and I toured the distillery a few years ago with some WARB friends. I was looking for Buffalo Trace bourbon but the lady said they couldn't keep it on the shelf. This did fine. I had another drink and talked to two fellows from Georgia up on an overnight run. Then Sandy and I talked to Deb for a while before going to bed about 10:30.

Today's Route (263 Equinox/trailer miles):

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