Friday, June 22, 2007

Sheltering Tree

"Friendship is a sheltering tree;
Oh, the joys that come down shower-like!"
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Today we headed for Concord/Charlotte, over 300 miles roundtrip. We got there driving backroads from Fairview, past Lake Lure. The country roads on 27 to Lincolnton were pretty and rustic. Once out of that cute town, the heat sizzled in. The ride turned miserable as we caught Charlotte traffic congestion, construction dust, and 96 degree temperatures. We are so lucky to live in the cooler mountains!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Waterrock Knob (Mile 451)

Here is our panoramic view from the parking area at Waterrock Knob where you can see North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. Mountains and mountains and endless blue sky....

Bear Pen Gap (Milepost 427.6)

The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous and we rode south through Steven's favorite part of the parkway, the Shining Rock Wilderness area. He said he likes the rugged, natural terrain. This overlook celebrates the area's large population of black bears.

We rode through ridge after ridge of beauty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Looking Glass Rock

Carved by water and weather, Looking Glass Rock is Pisgah National Forest's striking landmark. The 3,969-foot granite dome rises magestically. Named for how the sun reflects and shimmers its surface, the sculpted monolith is part of the Whiteside Granite body of igneous rock formed 390 million years ago.

On Top

We made the 6.2 mile (round trip) hike up to the top of Looking Glass a couple of years ago. Through forests and laurel up to the spectacular view of Davidson River Valley.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mighty Oak

"Storms make the oak grow deeper roots." ~ George Herbert

Our last stop of the day, the Folk Art Center, east of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 382.

We relaxed under a gigantic white oak tree. Lying on our backs, we looked up at the rich green branches that reached toward the sky. Steven remarked on the beauty of the tree and said, "This is over 100 years old. Look at it... Hard to believe it began with an acorn."

Rhododendron A-Bloom...

"You do not photograph with your brain, but rather with your heart." ~ Ernst Haas

We traveled through the sunshine and fresh mountain air. We had a drizzle of rain in Burnsville, enough to cool us down.

On the parkway, Mt. Mitchell (at 6,684 feet, the highest peak east of the Mississippi) and Craggy Gardens were covered with pink, white, and purple rhododendron. A spectacular firework display of flowers!

Mt. Mitchell was named after University of North Carolina science professor Elisha Mitchell who climbed the rugged Black Mountain range.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Taming the Dragon

"The substance, the essence, the Spirit is freedom."
~ G.W.F. Hegel

Yes, from the Foothills Parkway we headed over to "tame" the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap. The road on Route 129 has 318 curves in 11 miles at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line. Many consider the Dragon the No. 1 road in America for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Little Tennessee River

"To get to heaven, turn right and keep straight."
~ Wesleyan Methodist
Secret spots, we discover by accident reveal that in life we have to keep searching for beauty and goodness.

On the Rocks

"A picture is like a prayer; you’re offering a prayer to get something, and in a sense it’s like a gift of God because you have practically no control—at least I don’t." ~ Harry Callahan

We grabbed US 441 through Clingmans Dome (6643 feet), winding through the Great Smoky Mountains. We were treated to breathtaking mountain panoramas, but there was way too much traffic for me.

Here I am on the rocks, near a quiet, crystal-clear mountain stream.

Heading For Cherokee

Steven and I headed toward Cherokee first thing this morning, riding up HWY 441. We stopped at a roadside market and picked up fresh and hot boiled peanuts, authentic pork rinds, and the most delicious tomato.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

View From Craggy Gardens

"I don't think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains." ~ Anne Frank

With all the beauty around us, we rode a 220-mile day together.

We started by heading North on the Blue Ridge Parkway, toward Mt. Mitchell. We stopped at the Craggy Gardens overlook and Steven had a voicemail from Dana, his friend from work. We met Dana and his wife Eva and rode more.

North to Erwin, Tennessee, road 107 took us along the Nolichucky River, which drains the WNC Blue Ridge and East Tennessee. Just a gorgeous drive. Give me a ride next to water and I’m in heaven.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


"Whoever is happy will make others happy, too."
~ Mark Twain

I am very happy.

We took a great ride to Chimney Rock and Lake Lure this afternoon. Beautiful back roads. We stopped for a snack at Malarkies, just across from the lake.

Lake Lure, North Carolina

Always nice to visit this shimmering lake and quaint town, just southwest of Asheville. Chimney Rock towers nearby. Scenes for the film Dirty Dancing were shot here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Blooming Mountain Laurel

We had a great ride yesterday evening.

We stopped at the Cradle of Forestry Overlook where there were beautiful, thick bursts of pink laurel bloom. I am amazed at all the beauty.

Best View

On the back of the motorcycle, I have the best view.

While riding home on 151 I looked up and watched the sunset dance through the canopy of leaves. I was mesmerized. Looking at the trees, some lying low enough to touch, others rising higher to the sky. There was a celebration of white light and kaleidoscope of greens. The rocking of the bike around the curves added to the experience. It was exhilarating.

Peace Resonates

"With that wild open country in our eyes
And those romantic dreams in my head..."
~ Bruce Springsteen

On the parkway, we rest for a bit. There is poetry all around. Peace resonates.

Can the sky be any more beautiful?