Spring Fling is always the mark of the new riding season for us. For the first time in 3 years we had ideal weather for our trip down to Pigeon Forge Tennessee. On Wednesday, April 20 we took I-75 south to exit 76, Berea, in Kentucky. Followed SR 21 east to 421 south. Then we picked up SR 11 south to 25E in Barbourville. We picked up 11w and then took 92 to 411, then to 441 in to Pigeon Forge. We left Middletown at 7:30 AM, stopped in Kentucky to meet up with Ron & Connie Walters, and made it to our hotel around 4:00 PM.
Thursday we decided to go on a ride lead by Jay & Jeani Brewsaugh. Wow, what a ride it was. We started out by taking 416 (past Dollywood) to 321 north east over to Big Wally’s for breakfast. After that we went back down 321 through Gatlinburg, and over the mountain in to Cherokee. Our plan was to take the Cherohala Skyway, so we took ST 19 to 28 to 143 in to Robbinsville, then north on 129. If you keep following 129 that will take you to the infamous Deals Gap where you can attempt to sleigh the dragon, but I think Cherohala Skyway is a better ride, so we turned left on 143, and rode it in to Tellico Plains, and had lunch. From there we took 360 to 411 then 72 back over to 129 turning south back towards the dragon, but turned left and rode the Foothills Parkway. Then we went back to 321 and back to Pigeon Forge. Right about 300 miles, and a wonderful day ride.
Friday we decided to go to the rally and visit the vendors. Since my Wing is new I had a few things to purchase, then back to the hotel parking lot for the installations. We got hit by a strong thunderstorm, but nothing too bad.
We also learned of the changing weather forecast, and it didn’t sound good. A cold front was blowing in with rain, snow and dropping temperatures. Some of our chapter members never made it down because of the weather, but I was thankful I had at least 3 days of playing. Tom Young ended up coming down in his car, and brought his mother from Colorado with him. They were supposed to ride the wing, but rain and snow didn’t sound like fun to him. Darlene and I decided it would be best for her to catch a ride with Tom in the car on Saturday, and then I would ride the wing home on Sunday.
Saturday I said goodbye to Darlene, Tom Young, his mom, and Jeanie Brewsaugh as they headed home in the car. So, since we have another day to kill, the weather seemed “ify”, so about 8 of us decided to take our chances and go for a ride. We headed through Gatlinburg, and up the mountain again. As we climbed the mountain the temperature started to drop, and so did the precipitation. It got as cold as 30 degrees with sleet and snow. We were going to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, but decided to pick a route with lower elevations so we took 19 in to Maggie Valley, then picked up the wonderful twisty scenic route 209 in to Hot Springs. From there we took 25 up to Newport, but picked up 73 just before Newport to bypass around it, and get back to 321. Then eventually back in to Pigeon Forge. Another great ride lead by Jay Brewsaugh. Thanks Jay, and I’ll never doubt your bypasses again.
Sunday was a cold, windy, snowy day, but we all made it home safe and sound.