Asheville, NC, June 21- 25th, 2000 - CONTINUED
That night after the show ran us out, we went back to the hotel, looked at all the information we obtained, and planned strategies for our next day's outing. We had several rides in mind, with one of the key items being the Taylor Ranch bar-b-que on Thursday night, the fabulous Deals Gap (LINK) ride which has an 11 mile stretch of two laned mountain roadway with 318 turns !!! Of course, the roads in and out of Deals are also very twisty and scenic, but Deals Gap is the "Mecca" of Crotch Riders and Motorsports enthusiasts everywhere.
This ride is not to be missed! I could write several pages on this alone, and maybe someday I will. Along for the Deals Gap ride besides Jim and myself were Tito Lopez (a Suzuki rider from our Hotel who had been on the road for two weeks and decided the Hoot sounded like fun and fell on by!!!) and a couple brothers (Jason and Bobby Jones from Denver) we met along the way at a gas station, and they said they were headed for Deals Gap, and we decided to ride on together, the more the merrier!!!
We had a total blast. Boy could Bobby and Jason ride! I had one heck of a time keeping up with them, my best bet was to stay in front and try to hold them back!!! Bobby had one of the best looking tricked out Honda Aero's (big 1100 V-twin, solo set-up) and Jason had an awesome Jade and Black Valkyrie tourer. That's the one that got away from me. I was 20 minutes late from buying that same bike when I got my Cream & Crimson standard. A day late, a dollar short as they say. Well, my bike colors are the same as my Alma Mater (Indiana University), so it isn't all bad!!!
We also found that the Deals Gap store/Hotel and Crossroads of Time owner would be retiring this summer, and had to stop in and get a few t-shirts! Only gas station around too, so, if you go, you'll be filling up here to get back to wherever you came from! Gas was $1.799/gal. when we were there (regular!). More on this run at another time. The ride back was disturbing too. I won't go there now.
That night we had a special show of fireworks over downtown Asheville. What a great time, as the whole town was out for this street fair. The parade of bikes running through town was something else to see, but the sound of the big twins and other bikes with straight pipes had was thunderous, even in comparison to the blasts in the air!!! I met so many Valkers from all over, and even a few from just a few miles down the road (Jasper, Indiana, Indy and other Hoosier Valkers were there!)
We had great rides and times at Deals Gap and the Taylor Ranch bar-b-que, and on Friday we ran with another group of riders from Georgia (Jim B. & his wife, Jim, Doug and his lady, Tiny & his wife), and Jason and Bobby were there again, and we ran up to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi! What a view! Temperature ranged from 93 in Asheville, to 63 at the top of Mt. Mitchell. Beautiful scenery and spectacular roads.
The ride back was much better, as a local shop (Flickes in Asheville) had a Chatterbox rep on hand and they replaced Jim's power cord and that solved his problem. We had great communications for the rest of the trip. On the run back, we dodged rain clouds the whole way. Every time the sky got dark, we turned into the open sky and sunshine! Just the way the road took us!!! My Magic Rain Suit had done it again!!! Jim loaded the bike back on the trailer, and hauled it back home. Nothing negative about the trip other than the cost of gas and the bump in hotel room prices from Wednesday and Thursday to Friday and Saturday (doubled the price).
Jim had also dodged a semi (see the front page of the VRCC website) Air Horns Saved My Life. That was Jim & I on the trip out of North Carolina!!! We really felt that the city enjoyed the bikers being here. I plan to go back here with the family and make the trip through the Biltmore Estate and a few other local scenes in Asheville that I opted not to see this time through.
I am planning on making the Hoot again, and next year it will be almost 2 hours closer in Knoxville, TN for the first time. If you haven't done it yet, make plans to go next year. We may have a big group of Hoosier Valkers making the trip next time, and I'll keep my photos with me next outing we have if anyone wants to see the originals of any of the scans posted here.
Keep in mind our Hoosier State ride on the 17th of September to Madison County. We'll post more as we have details available.
Keep the shiny (painted) side up!
Paul Weber Bedford, IN, VRCC #370