There’s a magnificent place on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s called Gatlinburg.
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to get invited to go and spend a weekend there with a friend of mine. Looking back I’m so glad I said “yes”.
Our trip began on a Friday morning. We both decided to take a vacation day so we could get an early start. It was a good thing too because we stopped and did some sight-seeing along the way. We arrived at around 3pm to our little chalet and unpacked before heading out for a short ride through the town and mountains. There’s just something so unexplainably wonderful about riding a motorcycle up and down mountain roads. The smell of the fresh mountain air. The winding and curving of the roads. The way the air cools under the shade of the trees and then warms up in the sunshine.
We had a delicious dinner at a place I can’t remember the name of before heading back to the chalet for the evening. Most of the chalets have pool tables and jacuzzi’s overlooking the valley. We played pool and drank some crown and coke … laughing and talking of days gone by. I’m pretty sure I kicked his butt at pool but that could be the crown talking.
In the morning we got up, geared up, and headed out to a place called Deals Gap, also known as The Tail of the Dragon or simply The Dragon. Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest with no intersecting roads or driveways. It got its name because it’s 318 curves in 11 miles. That’s not a typo. It is America’s Number 1 motorcycle and sports car road and one of the Top 5 rides in the world! It was a phenomenal ride! We rode back and forth a couple of times before calling it a day. If you’re a biker this should absolutely be on your Bucket List.
The ride back to the chalet was quiet and peaceful … stopping a few times to take some pictures and just enjoy the moment and all the beauty around us. We stopped for a bite to eat somewhere.
For me, spending the day outdoors like that is Heaven. As wonderful as it is, it’s equally wonderful to take a nice long shower after being outdoors all day sweating under a helmet. I’m sure I had bugs in my hair! And teeth!! And even though you’re sitting, it makes you tired. Maybe it’s not tired. Maybe it’s just relaxed, happy, content. I know I didn’t want to go out anywhere!
We spent that night sitting out on the back porch of the chalet listening to music, sipping wine and dancing in the moonlight. I kept hoping to see a black bear walking around in the woods below us but didn’t. Oh well.
There are some pages in everyone’s Book of Life that jump off the page. For me this little trip was one of those pages.