I met up with Jordan and daender at the Tail of the Dragon on Friday afternoon. Fun was had and I went for a surprisingly car-related hike in the woods before heading home on Saturday.
After meeting up in the afternoon at the North Carolina end of the Tail, Jordan and I spoke at length about his new car. You may have heard a bit about it. Eventually we did a fun drive to the Tennessee end of the Tail, passing daender on the way. He turned around and met us there, and we all spoke for a while there. We then ran it back to North Carolina and went to get dinner. Several fun cars were present at the Tapoco Lodge while we split a pizza.
After dinner it had gotten dark so we headed back through the Tail of the Dragon again. I was in the lead and much more cautious since even with my active headlights I couldn’t look far enough ahead to be comfortable and I don’t quite have it all memorized. This meant that daender was dogging me. It didn’t help that I should have pointed my side mirrors down as his headlights were a distraction as I navigated corners. He also got to see what was coming as the follower.
Jordan took his time following us, which was quite sensible given the unfamiliar car in the dark. I should have been more sensible. At least I kept traction control on, and didn’t have any close calls. The Charger sporting police-issue steelies kept going in the other direction.
The guys left from there, and I took a fairly relaxed drive back to the Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort, and spent a couple of hours talking with my motel neighbors who were from Memphis, and who were riding adventure bikes (a Triumph Tiger 1200 and a Polaris something-something).
Tangent: They were possibly going to do a bit of the Trans-America Trail the next day, which made me start thinking about a 4Runner again, since I’ve been interested the TAT previously, and although getting a dual-sport would be fun, my wife’s stress level wouldn’t stand for it, and I don’t want to do that to her. I worry that newer 4Runners might be too wide for parts of the TAT, though.
Saturday morning I got up relatively early and did a round trip on the Tail of the Dragon at 7 a.m. when there was little activity, my favorite time. Kind of spooked by someone parked roadside in an all black Expedition with a roof rack, but otherwise pleasant. Packed up, went to Fontana Dam.
I put on my hiking gear and proceeded to take the Lakeside Trail in the Smokey Mountain National Forest. This turned out to be a relatively level-ish trail (compared with going up the mountainside on the Appalachian Trail, my other option) with several nice views of Fontana Lake, and also a number of car shells presumably from when the area was logged or when the dam was built.
After my 3 hour hike, I got in my car and headed home. As usual, I wanted to somehow signal to every oncoming sporty car to let them know that, “I know where you are going, I’m one of your people, and you’ll have fun, too!”