Friday, October 29, 2010

New Long Shoals Road Bridge (NC 146)

"Change is the only constant."
~ Heralclites

Amazing change in the neighborhood!

After over two years of construction, the new Long Shoals Road bridge over the French Broad River was dedicated today to the memory of Sgt. Jeff Hewitt, a Buncombe County sheriff's deputy who died in the line of duty in 2004. His wife said Hewitt drove over the old bridge and fished underneath it regularly. ( More on Hewitt)

The incredible 266-foot curved steel plate girder bridge is part of a new $54 million Long Shoals Road (NC 146)/Interstate 26 interchange project which has transformed the area near Biltmore Park.

The traffic flow has improved with the new interchange. Getting on and off I-26 is a breeze and with the bridge and road widened and completed, there is less congestion, less backups. Driving is a breeze.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hominy Valley Maple

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
~ Henry Ellis

Hominy Valley Maple, holding on to (letting go of) its last leaves... Still so very beautiful...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall colors, NC-151

“Far away, there in the sunshine, are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they may lead.”
Louisa May Alcott

Looking up while riding down from the Parkway on NC-151. Caught the sun... and my heart.

"Punkins 4 Sale"

Incredible clear, blue sky...

And "Punkins 4 Sale" off of Raccoon Road in Waynesville, North Carolina. Charming.

So many sights to capture and remember, all within a half hour drive from our home. I never get tired of riding around Waynesville and soaking up the heavenly, panoramic scenery.

Waynesville is located just outside the Pisgah National Forest between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, about 30 miles southwest of Asheville. Most of the town is between 2500 and 3000 feet above sea level.

Sentelle's for Seafood

We stopped at Sentelle's Market, a small family store in Clyde that we discovered on one of our rides, for some fresh seafood. Great selection of seafood. Sunburst Trout on the grill for dinner tonight. mmm mmm mmm.

Nothing Lacking

"When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." ~ Lao Tzu

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bull Creek Valley Overlook

Lunch stop north on the Parkway and Steven is happily enjoying this perfect fall day on a secluded bench... "This is some sort of resort we live at," he said.

Could the sky be any more blue? Or the view more delightful?

Here we are getting ready to ride more, after a pleasant pause on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at the Bull Creek Valley Overlook, Milepost 374. (A sweet visitor from Georgia stopped and offered to take our photo.) Another splendid made-to-order day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Acorns and Leaves

"Life is a magic vase filled to the brim; so made that you cannot dip into it nor draw from it; but it overflows into the hand that drops treasures into it..."~ John Ruskin

My Simple Treasures: Acorns & Leaves. Everywhere I look, a surprise.

Chasing the Sun...

Even in the middle of a forest, I still chase the sun…

Roan Mountain, TN

After a private lunch in the beautiful forest, there is time to contemplate the next road, the next adventure. Together we explore and discover... Surrounded by trees and love.

Lake Tahoma, NC-80

“Life is a series of surprises.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Surprise! Three deer cross NC-80, near Lake Tahoma, just north of Old Fort, North Carolina. The trio scurried into the nearby woods and I nearly missed the shot.

My Pink Helmet

Here is my motorcycle helmet... Steven polished it this morning until it glowed. I guess I chose the pink color as a tribute to breast cancer awareness. Because it's mine and it is special, I added the aloha decal.

The helmet gets a lot of attention, people comment on it all the time. In life, I believe you have to enjoy the total experience. The details have always mattered to me... and I certainly enjoy riding with this little detail atop my head.

If you see me on the road, please wave. (And stay off your cell while driving.)

Harley Roadglide, '07

Roan Mountain Forest

A blue beauty, glistening with the sun through the trees.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Excellent Schoolmasters

Biltmore Lake, Asheville, North Carolina

"Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books."
~ John Lubbock

Friday, October 08, 2010

Candler Cows

Every road trip begins with us passing this farm along Reeves Cove, Candler, North Carolina. The farm's wide open field and distinctive red barn are nice to see and fill the heart with good feelings. Today the cows were grazing in the warm sun and one of them stopped to notice us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, NC

Here we are at the Jockey's Ridge State Park, Nags Head, NC, catching the gorgeous sunset through the trees. The park is the largest natural sand dune system on the east coast. We had to hike through this beautiful area to get to the dunes.

According to the park's website, the amount of sand making up the 420 acres of Jockey's Ridge is equal to about 6,000,000 dump truck loads!

“I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life.”
~ Albert Einstein

Sunrise, Sea Oats, & Steven

Wonderful way to start each day... walk along shore and sunrise...

I fell in love with the sea oats that grow wild along the dunes and shoreline.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cape Hatteras Motel

Our second floor room has a lanai with a window to the ocean...

Our Cape Hatteras Motel is right on the ocean, with a magnificent view of the horizon. Hurricane Earl made the ocean swell and churned the water. The result was a spectacular display of nature: the sound and feel and smell of crashing waves and white foam.
And a full moon!
Steven is overjoyed.
"Honor the ocean of love."
~ George De Benneville

Cape Hatteras Ferry

With full bellies and light hearts, we caught the free picturesque ferry ride from Ocracoke to Cape Hatteras. It was an enjoyable 40-minute ride.

Ocracoke Island

Delicious Alaskan Opilio Snow Crab Legs...

Great seafood lunch at Howard's Pub, Highway 2, Ocracoke Island. Steven had his raw oysters. I shared my crab legs (of course).

Riding Ferry to Ocracoke Island

Blue sky and even bluer ocean. Seagulls and birds everywhere. Boats. Not a care in the world.

Ocracoke Island, where the pirate Blackbeard roamed, is accessible only by water or air. It is only 16 miles long and anywhere from 3 miles to less than a half-mile wide.

We reserved our ticket for the ferry ahead of time online from the NCDOT website. Our motorcycle was the last to board, along with four other bikes. Steven and I were on top of the world. Enjoying the sun on our 2.5 hour boat ride to the southern village of Ocracoke, the gateway to the Outer Banks.

Waiting for the Ferry

Waiting to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island...

Cedar Island Bay

Waiting to catch the ferry to Ocracoke Island, I caught this lovely photo near the Ferry Landing at Cedar Island Bay. We rode via US 70 and NC Highway 12 from Morehead City through brackish marsh and a wildlife refuge to get to this spot.

"Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind
listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody."
~ Eubie Blake

Emerald Isle Sunrise

Ah, once we got past Camp Lejeune, life became lighter. We took Hwy 58 to Emerald Isle and caught a pretty sunrise as we rode over the Causeway.

Camp Lejeune

What in God’s name did we do? Tell me we did not go along the Camp Lejeune Marine Base Main Gate at 7:15 in the morning, joining the hundreds of lined up cars trying to get to work on the base. Hwy 24 goes right along the Main Gate. What a mess. And with a fully-loaded Harley I was so worried that Steven would drop the bike with all the stop and go traffic he had to maneuver.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Surf City, NC

Ugh. Jacksonville, NC was a congested mess of way too many cars. We rode to Surf City at sunset and moved up and down the narrow barrier island through blocks of beach rentals. Near the end of HWY 50, we stopped near Topsail Beach and had dinner at Home Port Restaurant & Pub.

Bland's Restaurant

Here's our meal...
What a great find!

We rode NC 24 through the middle of North Carolina, a direct shot to the ocean. It was very congested in Fayetteville. Hot, hot, hot, miserably hot. We passed through Clinton, then Warsaw. Before Kenansville we found a great southern cooking restaurant called Bland's. We had great service and an authentic and tasty meal.

Uwharrie National Forest

Gorgeous new day. Here we are traveling east on NC 27/24 through the Uwharrie National Forest. Only 50,189 acres, the Uwharrie was first purchased by the federal government in 1931 during the Great Depression. Created from an ancient chain of volcanoes, the 1,000-foot hills of today were once 20,000-foot peaks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Free Falling

Tom Petty Concert

Come on. Let's Go In!

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers!

ZZ Top!

Just a perfect night to see Tom Petty in concert at the Verizon Ampitheater. There's a premium concrete spot for bikes near the box office, so parking was beautiful. Traffic afterwards was a bit hairy, but not the worst. We had excellent seats, about 13 rows from the front. Both ZZ Top, the opening act, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were great.

Tom's Setlist:

Listen To Her Heart
You Don't Know How It Feels
I Won't Back Down
Free Fallin'
Oh Well
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Kings Highway
Jefferson Jericho Blues
Good Enough
Running Man's Bible
I Should Have Known It
Learning To Fly
Don't Come Around Here No More

Runnin' Down A Dream
American Girl

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heading to Albemarle, NC

Heading east on the rolling hills of NC-182 to Albemarle, NC, where historically cotton, then textile manufacturing were the small town's primary businesses.

Albemarle is about 30 miles east of Charlotte and we thought we'd get a good jump on the day if we stayed here after tomorrow's Tom Petty/ZZ Top concert.

Millingport Corn Maze

Gorgeous Highway 73 road. What a great ride!

Along highway 73 East, we passed a Corn Maze in Millingport, about six miles west of Albemarle. Interesting, life-sized "puzzle of paths." That was pretty remarkable to see.

Dirty Dancing

Today we begin our vacation to the Outer Banks! Here we are in Lake Lure, where they are having an inaugural Dirty Dancing Festival. Cars and congestion, but a lovely blue sky day, perfect for a celebration. Event features music, food, and a dance competition. (Did you know that the film was named the “#1 Most-Watched Film by Women” in 2009 by the BBC News?)
"Nobody puts baby in the corner..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rinehart Pipes

We've been talking about getting Rinehart pipes since we bought the bike three and a half years ago. Today we finally got them. What a difference these dual chrome babies make on the ride! Looks great, sounds great, and improves performance. Steven has a big smile, which makes me feel wonderful.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Construction on NC-191

To help with the congestion, they're widening NC Route 191 (Brevard Road) from two to four lanes. The road is an important Asheville artery that connects I-26 and I-40 and leads to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Truck Full of Apples

It's apple harvest time in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Here's a truckload...

Lake Lure, NC

Just a pretty day at Lake Lure. Here's Steven posing with his blue beauty.