Kimmie Lou, “I need to get a few things straight before we start back into gravel roads again.” Santeetla Gap forms the junction for Hwy 143, Joyce Kilmer Road and the Cherohala Skyway – Forestry Road 81 is 25 feet along Joyce Kilmer (just behind signs)…..you barely finish your right turn onto Joyce Kilmer and then you make a left down a brief paved stretch onto Forest Service Road 81.
We settled into the Beehive nicely….maybe it was too nice. Our last minute cancellation rate was scarcely more than camping rates and it turned out this place was lakefront with a hot tub and a paddle boat for guests. “They know…..this is too good to be true!” “I think everyone here is just very nice – Southern Hospitable, Earnest Workerbeesiacs, so far I have not detected another Alien presence besides Angle.” “Yeah, but you know they’re around right? Maybe not at the Cafe or here at the Beehive but somewhere nearby.” Ridicu was right, they never worked alone – always in pairs or teams of some sort.
Breakfast back at Pop and Nana’s cinched it for us. “Oh, Angle will be sorry she missed you – she told us you called her the Dance Bandit.” “Well, things do get a little wobbly around here when she does that twist.” This very nice lady at the counter looked perplexed then replied, “She sure can tear up the dance floor at Harrah’s!” We all chatted for a while, it was Angle’s day off and she was also known for being quite the Angler. “She unofficially caught the largest catfish ever around here, outta Fontana Lake. She didn’t tell nobody at first cause when she cut it open,out popped a Midnight Blue FLH with its Rider, license plate and serial #s digested clean off…..she’s just about got it restored – you’ll be seeing her riding around town any day now.” Typical, Aliens almost always ride Harleys. We also never told her we named the last Blog “Dance Bandit”…..we are about a month behind on the Blog so one of her crew must of time jumped recently. It is no coincidence that everybody is “hearing” about our handle for her……she wants us to know that they know and more importantly, that they are watching us.
So far the trips most spectacular breakfast: Fried Baloney, Egg & Tomato Sandwich on Texas Toast – on par with any Baloney Sandwiches we grew up with in Northern Ontario (note to self – look into importation regulations for Texas Toast into Northern Ontario). One odd thing is that we have washed our hands at least ten times since we got to town and just can’t seem to move Wanda’s toolshed dirt out from under our fingernails….it’s starting to get a little embarrassing – how grubby we must look.
Outside we snap a few shots of Kimmie Lou and discuss the various rides available to us in the area – we know it as The Lair of the Dragon because just a little North on highway 129 you encounter the Tail of the Dragon. Eventually we discover that folks refer to their neck of the woods as the Lair of the Dragon from places as far away as Charleston or Nashville……that’s how cool this road is and we soon discover that most of it’s surrounding rides are pretty awesome as well. We have lingered a while this morning and our plan is to ride the Dragon early and hopefully miss the usual surge of midday traffic. Today seems perfect for another dirt road, we will return to then Beehive and organize a light bag, Kimmie Lou is all sporty and frisky without our usual load of gear. “Take me off the pavement boys!”
We swap gear and ride out Snowbird Road (same area for doing the Trail of Tears)….basically you just head West from Pop and Nana’s past Robbinsville’s Courthouse and you are on Snowbird and it is a great ride out to Santeetlah gap – lots of twists and variations (sound familiar?). Another photo at Santeetlah Gap and Kimmie Lou decides we need to update her some more. “I understand that they know that we know, but why aren’t they doing anything like zapping us with a death ray or something.” “Aliens can kill you anytime – it is no more a task for them than turning a doorknob……the only reason they keep people around is if they find them interesting.” “And you Morons are interesting?” “Well sort of….and when you go back far enough we have all dated the same chicks.” “Some of the same guys too, hey Ridicu can you remind me to pick up a nail brush when we are back in town – this dirt under our fingernails is starting to drive me crazy!”
Kimmie Lou is trying hard not to laugh, small burps of compression squirt out her exhaust and then finally she settles down. “That isn’t dirt…..Wanda tattooed black strips under everyone of your fingernails.” “WHAT!” We both cry, “awe crap, the Hospital Handwashing Police are just gonna love this.” “She said maybe you should think about a career change.” “Do you think she knows we just dated a Nurse for a while and then laser copied her credentials when she was out one afternoon?” “Probably, I told you we shoulda went to Nursing School, forging credentials always comes back to bite ya in the end.”
Ride Report: Forest Service Road 81, Robbinsville, North Carolina
Forest Service Road 81 is a hoot and very well maintained, we suspect something like clay in the soil keeps the road bed well compacted – the bends and switchbacks are a little overgrown but the edges have been (recently) well graded. SWAT (Some Where Around Ten) miles in we are faced with a choice. The road forks…..it really is never a choice Ridicu always decides to go left and I have learned it is just easier to agree with him (Always bring a flashlight, matches etc and top up on fuel before you go riding into the bush with Ridicu). By the cooler temperature we know we are getting higher. Our left turn takes us up and to a locked gate, Ridicu takes Bugs Bunny’s cautionary words “I knew I shoulda taken that Left turn at Albequeque” very seriously.
On the way back down to the fork we discuss continuing on (the road will keep climbing until you go under the Cherohala Skyway). We have some extra gear to wear for the cooler ride out, (especially if we jump on the skyway) but we elect to go back the way we came…..this way we will have SWAT miles of gravel rather than just a couple more – then blacktop (and it is pretty cold). The scenery was fantastic on the way in and we see more stuff coming back.
This is RidicuRyder’s first ride report…..hope you liked it, it felt a little too factual to us, but we suppose this is how they are done (only better by most other Moto – Journal Types).