Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cumberland Gap Rally

This past weekend I participated in the annual Cumberland Gap Small Bike Rally in Middlesboro, KY, hosted by a group dedicated to 250cc motorcycles, most of which are Honda Rebels. Fifteen folks were in attendance, including several Rebels, a couple of 500cc and 750cc Shadows, a couple of bigger bikes (a Honda FJ1100 and a Yamaha Venture), and my friend Tom Frundle and I on our Ninja 250s. There were riders from Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. I saw some old faces that I'd met at a rally a couple of years ago and met several new ones; not a bad apple in the bunch.

I got into town Friday evening in time to mosey around and meet everyone, and then we headed into the town of Cumberland Gap, TN for dinner at a little country restaurant, where I enjoyed a great meal of roast beef and veggies while listening to some good live bluegrass. We headed back to the motel and hung out in the parking lot, and Tom arrived around 10:30.

Saturday morning following a lackluster breakfast at Dairy Queen a small group of us rode to the Pinnacle Overlook at Cumberland Gap National Park. What a gorgeous view we were treated to! Upon arriving back at the hotel, the entire group embarked on a leisurely 100-mile loop over Highways 33 and 63, east of Middlesboro. When we got back to the hotel, Tom and I were thinking the same thing: we had a jones for some spirited riding, and I knew just the road: Hwy 190, known as Witch's Knuckle, which connects US25E with TN90; I had ridden it when I had gotten into the area on Friday afternoon, so I knew it was a good road. I led us down, and Tom led us back. We rode at a pretty brisk pace, thus satisfying our need for speed. :-)

We wanted some beer for the evening, which proved to be a bit of a challenge; our county in KY was dry, so we stopped at a grocery store on the other side of the tunnel in TN, but it turned out they were dry as well, but fortunately the store manager and neighborhood drunk directed us to the nearest store in VA, where we successfully found not only beer, but the good stuff; we returned to KY with Sam Adams and Guinness in tow. :-)

That evening everyone did their own thing for dinner, so Tom and I visited a Mexican restaurant. Nothing extraordinary, but pretty good. The server was a bit over-ambitious, refilling our glasses after just a sip or two. I guess that's better than no service at all.

We enjoyed a nice evening of bike talk and Sam Adams and Guinness, opened with the pliers from my Ninja toolkit, as neither of us brought a bottle opener, and no respectable beer features twistoff caps. :-)

Sunday morning most folks headed out pretty early, but Tom and I and a couple of others were in no great hurry, so we had another lackluster DQ breakfast (didn't know of anywhere else walkable), and then we all headed homeward. I took 25E/25 to Asheville, and then got on I-40 to Hwy 9 at Black Mountain; I rode that until I hit 64, then took that to Hendersonville. They were great roads, but unfortunately 9 had a lot of gravel in the corners, so I couldn't ride at a real bright pace, but it was still fun.

Me standing simultaneously in KY and VA



Yours truly at the overlook



The Pinnacle Overlook

View from the side of the road west of Middlesboro

Clinch mountain overlook off 25E

Clinch mountain overlook off 25E

Tom and me at a roadside stop

1 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 20, 2006 8:55:00 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

Payne,

As always, your blog proves to be another wonderful read.

Had a fun weekend!

Tom

 

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