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Old 06-13-2016, 02:03 PM   #1
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North Carolina for nearly free.

We decided to go east instead of our usual westerly direction. Specifically, we decided to go to SW North Carolina. Several of us had been there before and knew there were great roads. I think of NC as Arkansas with tighter turns, different kinds of trees and cheaper motels. An added benefit would be seeing our long lost friend, Bobby, who moved out of Texas and to Georgia. There were seven of us total, our five core riders, Bobby and Danny. Danny rides a BRZ. He had a lemon sized cancer removed from his brain and sudden movement makes him dizzy. He can still ride a cruiser bike at cruiser speed, but felt like his BRZ sporty car would be a better option.

I belong to a woodworking forum and every Christmas they have an auction to benefit someone. The past few years, a week in a house in Highlands NC has been donated. I bought it last November for $850. It “sleeps” nine. Five bedrooms, two baths, living room, LARGE Den, fully stocked kitchen and a deck with a hot tub and a grill. It doesn’t look that large, but 3 bedrooms and the large den are downstairs.



One of the first pictures I took was the tow vehicle which is also the shop’s tow vehicle. Lucky me. I lost my micro SD card in a parking lot in South Carolina. Someone found it, saw the number on the side of the van, called the shop and sent it back. 32 gig of pictures and video. Lucky me!!!!


Deck with the separate hot tub deck on the far end. I believe that’s Mark sitting at the table drinking a beer while the rest of us unload the trailer.


No need to bring your dog, this friendly dog came by several times a day. One of the permanent residents told us his companion dog had recently died and he is lost. He got lots of attention and quite a bit of food from the 7 of us.


The Kitchen came fully stocked, including a full gallon of ice cream, canned goods, several partial bottles of liquor, coffee and dishes. We consumed all the ice cream and liquor as well as 2 liters of Jim Beam, a liter of Jim Beam Rye and some beer.


One of the reasons I like North Carolina.


Go north out of Highlands, through the town of Cashiers and then turn left at this field of flowers. Between this turn off and highway 28 are miles and miles of great roads, half not even on the Butler map.


My friends admonish me to quit stopping to take pictures of flowers, but when we get home they all want copies of my pictures


Three of us went on a ride Saturday afternoon. We had left College Station late Friday afternoon and drove overnight. The other four decided to stay at the house and consume as much of the free booze as possible while enjoying themselves in the hot tub.
Ray and Mo at the first waterfall we saw. I like waterfalls and North Carolina and Georgia have hundreds. The view from the road.


I hiked down to the bottom. Ray and Mo decided not to because of the abundance of poison Ivy.


Our second waterfall. Paved hike down so we all went. Both of these waterfalls were beside highway 28 which we rode many times so we visited them often. This one is called Dry Falls and Bobby told us that the water is much higher in the early spring or after a heavy rain.


More later. I'm getting ready for a trip to Colorado, but I think I can finish this tale before leaving this Saturday.
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:09 PM   #2
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Thanks for posting. More, more!

I have visited this great area although sadly, not on two wheels. Great to see pix of it.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:00 PM   #3
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

I'll explain the nearly free title later.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:03 PM   #4
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Wait you bought it for $850? Wow if so that is the deal of the century. Or is that the weekly rental amount? I like the flower pictures myself. Took a dozen or so when we went to Colorado last year.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:52 PM   #5
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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Wait you bought it for $850? Wow if so that is the deal of the century. Or is that the weekly rental amount? I like the flower pictures myself. Took a dozen or so when we went to Colorado last year.
"a week in a house in Highlands NC has been donated. I bought it last November for $850." I did buy the house, but just for a week. $850 is still a bargain for housing for a week for 7 people. You're an English teacher, right?
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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"a week in a house in Highlands NC has been donated. I bought it last November for $850." I did buy the house, but just for a week. $850 is still a bargain for housing for a week for 7 people. You're an English teacher, right?
Yes that is a super deal. Was not my intention to set you off,just a question. Thank you for the job offer but I am not willing to relocate at this time.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:43 PM   #7
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

You didn't set me off. I took it as a joke and replied with a joke. At least I thought it was a joke. It's hard to convey tone with the written English language.
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:54 PM   #8
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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You didn't set me off. I took it as a joke and replied with a joke. At least I thought it was a joke. It's hard to convey tone with the written English language.
Your right. No harm no foul. One of my favorite places to eat is in your town. The Longhorn. Wonderful chicken fried steak and sides. I really enjoyed your flower pics hope you have more to post.
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:20 PM   #9
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

I'm headed out to the Asheville are for a week, the first part of July!! Just myself and my best friend from Mount Pleasant Texas!!
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Old 06-13-2016, 06:53 PM   #10
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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I'm headed out to the Asheville are for a week, the first part of July!! Just myself and my best friend from Mount Pleasant Texas!!
Don't go unless you like curves!! I highly recommend going to the Biltmore House. I know it's costly, but well worth it. The largest private residence in the US.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:03 PM   #11
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

The next day all seven of us went for a ride/drive. We wanted to do the Tail and Cherohala, but it would probably be busy on a Sunday. Instead, we went back to the flower patch north of Cashiers and turned left. As I said, there are lots of roads between 64 an 28 that need to be ridden. We came upon this private roadside park. I’m fairly certain it’s private, not only because of the Ten Commandments plaque, but because there would be no need for a rest stop on such a small lightly traveled road.


The crew, without me, but including the back end of Danny’s BRZ at the roadside park. The *** of his car is prettier than me anyway.



The crew including me. Some water crossing.


Everyone except Phil and Mark. They decided to lead, not knowing where we were going. We stopped to let Danny see Dry Falls.


Behind the falls


Typical N. Carolina scenery. This happens to be on the way to the Cherohala Skyway from Highlands.


We have a friend named Ryan. He died in turn 9 at Texas World Speedway in 1999. His number was 19. Four of us have an endurance team. Our endurance team is Team 19. Ryan rides with us on every ride. When we saw this sign, we knew we had to get a picture. I didn’t see the cemetery across the road until I got home and started going through pictures. Kind of eerie.


More typical NC scenery. This time, close to the eastern start of the Cherohala.


This “warning” or as we called it, the start of a toll road that we’re willing to pay extra to ride. Actually the beginning of the Skyway. There is no such warning on the Tail of the Dragon, a much more dangerous road. ???????


The Bald River Falls are about 10 miles down River Rd from 165 on the western end of the Cherohala. I decided to climb to the top of the falls to see if I could get a good picture. The rest rode down River Road another 10 or so miles. They didn’t want to get exhausted by climbing with me. I made it to the top and back down and was still able to see them drive down the road. No exhaustion. Mark didn’t go with them because his fuel light was blinking and it was still another 15 miles to town. I then decided to get a better picture by getting to the middle of the river at the base of the falls. If you go there, you will see a rock sticking out of the water about 4”. It’s right in the middle of the river. Other rocks will get you close to the ideal rock in the center of the river. The last jump is about 4 feet. If you jump, your feet will not stop when they land on the rock because the rock is deceptively slick. If you lead with your left foot and have your Canon camera in your right hand, you will twist right as you fall into three feet of water. Camera first, of course. Immediately remove your camera battery since the display is blank anyway. When you get back to civilization, put your camera in the oven set at 100 degrees. Leave it overnight with the door slightly opened. Put battery back in the camera when you wake up in the morning. I’M LUCKY.



The lone car driver in the group. There is a high chance of rain tomorrow and the next day. North Carolina is all about the curvy roads. Curvy roads are not as much fun in the rain. Danny and Bobby decide to go to some old city and look at some old houses. Three of us decide to drive the van to see waterfalls. Two Yahoos stay at the house to insure that the Busch Brewing Company remains profitable.


Three of us hike to a waterfall. It’s all downhill. Sissies in matching tennis shoes are happy.


The underbrush opened up to allow me to take a picture of the 60% rain.




Still happy. I’m wearing my tennis shoe matching rain coat mainly to keep my camera out of the oven.

Worth the walk.


Flowers beside the trail. We first saw individual flowerets on the ground. They looked artificial. Look at the upper bloom. If you saw the center floweret by itself, wouldn’t it look artificial?


Last of the 3 part waterfall.


Walking out. I’m not sure how much of the frown is fake and how much is last night’s beer.


Next waterfall. Short walk. Ray on a rock. If it was me on that rock, all you would see is my feet sticking out of the water.


As close as Mo wants to get to a slick rock.


Whitewater Falls. Short, easy walk. My puppies are happy.


Unobstructed view of Whitewater Falls. I wanted to hike down, but the rain has failed to come and the motorcycles are waiting back at the house.


More NC scenery along 64.




These roadside flowers were along every road. It seemed some were wild and others carefully manicured.




These were also fairly abundant. Bobby said that both were indigenous to NC. They did brighten up the road side.
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Last edited by humanrace; 06-13-2016 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:24 PM   #12
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Again, there was a high chance of rain. Two still in an old city looking at old houses. Two keeping Busch happy. Three riding the Blue ridge parkway. We did see a park ranger today. Two for the whole trip.
-

The owner of this bike asked me to take a picture of him and his bike. I did and he let me use his bike as a prop for my picture. Going to be my bike when I get old.


The road ahead.


It’s like this for miles along the Parkway and Shenandoah, nearly 500 miles. We didn't ride the full length, but I have in the past on my way back from the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial.


I had hunting dogs as a teen and found this interesting.


Scenic view along Foothills Parkway.


In Gatlinburg, we called the two guys at the house and they decided to meet us at Deals Gap. When they got there, four of them left me to fend for myself at Deals Gap while they rode up and down the Tail. There was an old bike convention going on at the gap. This rip snorting 2 stroke 500cc triple made about the same horsepower as a Ninja 500. In its day, it was awesome. A friend let me ride his 1970 model and it was nothing like my 250 Yamaha.


A 90cc racer. Remember, they used to have world championship races on 50cc and 80cc bikes.


Nice looking RD 400.


350 Bridgestone. Bridgestones were famous for mounting their tanks backwards.


I thought this sticker on the left was appropriate. Looking closer, I saw that it was copyrighted in 2000. I guess things haven’t changed that much.


I like the one on the right. Non specific.


No caption needed. Be careful out there. The rider was luckier than me.


This is Paul. He rode up just as the rest of my crowd pulled in the parking lot. He was wearing a new first Gear Kilimanjaro jacket and I mentioned that I had the original leather version from the late ’80 or early ‘90s. He then mentioned that he had just bought it and didn’t like it. “Wanna trade?” “Sure.” Notice he’s now wearing a new Fly jacket and I have a maroon and grey Kilimanjaro. Whoop.


Scaly Mountain ski area, used as a slide area in the summer. $15 for two hours. Five runs is all I could handle. If you hit the side of the trough, and you will, you will spin rapidly while speeding down the hill. I get motion sickness so I stopped and watched Mo and Ray.



Mo had to be in Austin Friday. We rode double down to Atlanta while the rest of the crew loaded bikes in preparation for heading to Birmingham to see George Barber’s museum and race track. Friday morning I went to the Georgia Aquarium and then took a couple of curvy road that parallelled I-20 until I met them in some town close to Birmingham. Along the way, I was riding this nicely paved 2 lane road when I saw a sign I didn’t recognize. I was going about 70 around a curve marked 40 when suddenly the pavement ended mid curve. Alabama pavement ends sign https://www.google.com/search?q=alab...6Ns7EvwZO_M%3A

End of ride. Going to Colorado in four days for a much needed two week vacation with 20+ members of my family. For a man with no children, I sure am lucky when it comes to family, Lost SD cards and wet cameras.
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:33 PM   #13
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

North Carolina for nearly free. When we go on these trips together, we all pitch in a predetermined amount of money. I had paid for our lodging so I knew I would get a rebate when we returned. Cost for the five that rode in the van was $240 each for transportation, gas and food eaten at the house which included breakfast and dinner. We ate lunch away from the house and dinner in a restaurant one night. That amount as well as eating along the highway and entry fees for the slide, aquarium and the museum as well as personal gas for the bike brought my total to less than $400 for 9 days.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:02 PM   #14
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Great trip!
Glad the weather cooperated.
and glad you were only going 70 on that curve when the pavement ended. we all know you could have been going much faster.
Thanks again,
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:54 PM   #15
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Fantastic! Thanks for the glorious photos from your oven-free camera
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Old 06-14-2016, 10:36 AM   #16
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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Fantastic! Thanks for the glorious photos from your oven-free camera
I was very lucky with the camera.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:08 AM   #17
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Dang, you got lucky for sure. Thanks for the appetizer of what I get to sample starting this weekend.
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:49 AM   #18
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Thanks for sharing. Some new places for me to check out.
The pink flowering bushes are rhododendrons. Evergreens that like shade and creeks.
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Old 06-14-2016, 12:30 PM   #19
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

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Dang, you got lucky for sure. Thanks for the appetizer of what I get to sample starting this weekend.
Have fun. Take some unknown roads. They may lead to a pleasant surprise.
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Old 06-14-2016, 01:17 PM   #20
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Re: North Carolina for nearly free.

Wow. Those pics bring back so many awesome memories. I think I have almost all the same water fall pics! Some of my all time favorite roads are the little paved/unpaved roads around Franklin, Highlands, and Cashiers. Sadly, some of the unpaved ones have been getting paved... Still though, they are GREAT fun!!!

Renting a house/cabin for a week is a great way to stay there for very little money. On our first trip back in 2000, we rented a house in Maggie Valley. It was $125/night. It had three large bedrooms, a huge living room, and downstairs a giant entertainment room with a hot tub, pool table, ping pong, several Lazy-Boys, a "big" TV for its time, and more. It had a full sized garage for the bikes as well. There was a nice large deck outside with a big grill. It was so much better than being in a hotel.

On one of our trips we rented a cabin just North of Franklin. It sat up on the side of a mountain. The views from the deck were incredible. The road going up was not for the faint hearted though. Right before we got there, the owner put down several inches of new gravel!! Even with knobbies, the ride up and down each day was an adrenaline inducing event. It was worth it though!

For straight up technical paved riding, this area is hard to beat. The Tail of the Dragon, also called Deal's Gap, has become kind of touristy and quite crowded. There are SO MANY other great roads!! NC takes real good care of their roads too, nice and smooth with incredible traction.
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