Monday, August 04, 2008

HSTA Rally in Erwin, TN

The weekend of August 1-3 I attended the Nolichucky Valley Rally HSTA event in Erwin, TN. I left home Friday morning and rode I-26 to Hendersonville, NC and then took US64 E to Chimney Rock and then Highway 9 N to Black Mountain. US64 offers some really nice sweepers, and Highway 9 offers some nice tight twisties. I enjoyed some fine barbecue at Phil's Barbecue Pit in Black Mountain before completing the journey to Erwin. Very good food and very friendly staff. It's on the east side of Highway 9, just south of I-40.

At an overlook just south of Erwin:

I camped at the Nolichucky Gorge Campground right on the Nolichucky River. It's only a couple of miles from the host hotel and was just $9 per night - much more attractive than $80 per night at the hotel, and the weather was perfect for camping (Erwin is much cooler than Columbia.) I went there and set up my tent upon arriving in Erwin, and then I headed over to the hotel to hang out with the fellow attendees for the afternoon/evening.

Nolichucky River at the campground:
A few shots at the host hotel.

Dedicated motorcycle washing area ... sweet!

155,000 miles isn't too uncommon for a car, but it's very rare to see a motorcycle with this many miles.

Couple of shots behind the hotel; it'd be really sweet to live in the house up the hill.

Three generations of VFRs: 6th generation 2007 25th anniversary edition; my 5th generation 1998; a tricked-out Ducati; a 4th generation 1994.

About 65 folks ended up making it. Friday evening we had a catered meal of barbecue; I'd had that earlier in the day at Phil's, but I can certainly handle barbecue twice in one day! :-) Headed back to camp after hanging around visiting for a while and called it a night. I awoke the next morning (a bit chilly, actually) to find two more motorcycles and tents near me; a couple of rally attendees had arrived in the wee hours of the night. One was Steve from Indianapolis; he has ridden over 1,000,000 2-wheeled miles in 20 years:

We headed over to the hotel for a bit of breakfast and to break off into riding groups. There were six recommended routes, so everyone sort of picked a route and formed small groups. Mine was comprised of Steve and Dave, my fellow campers, as well as Warren, Randy, and Andray. We rode a counterclockwise loop northwest of Erwin up to Sneedville, TN. Had a great day of riding and camaraderie at our stops. We covered about 250 miles for the day (which is about what I rode on Friday getting there and Sunday going home, making for around 750 miles for the weekend.)

We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon of tire-kicking and visiting, leading up to another great catered dinner - this time roast beef and chicken, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, and peach cobbler. We then had a conclusion meeting to thank everyone and to draw for door prizes. Some really nice stuff was given out as well as a lot of little trinkets, so most folks ended up with something; I got an HSTA can coozie.

Shortly thereafter we three campers headed back to camp, where we got a fire cranked up and sat around and visited for a couple of hours while enjoying some well-hopped beer that Dave had picked up at the Blue Ridge Brewery on his way down.

Sunday morning we packed up camp and stopped by the hotel for a bit of breakfast and to say our farewells. I rode a portion of another of the six routes to start my journey home; it, too, was tasty, though the roads had a lot of gravel in the corners, so I had to take it easy, but it was still fun and scenic.

It was a bit foggy Sunday morning as we headed home.

Couple of shots along the way home.


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