Thursday, 22 August 2013

Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge campsite to end

Well  that's it for the first group. The final few days are over! All the riders have just left the port and I am sat in the port office (kindly given a desk for an hour while I wait for my lift).  All the lovely New York accents around me as they send and receive freight from the busy Newark shipping lanes. They are all so kind here. A family run business, the father, who calls me dear as he sits me at a spare desk in the thankfully air conditioned office out of the searing Newark heat, reminds me of a character from Cagney and Lacey!

 Wonderful. I sit drinking my ice tea from the vending machine, listening in on daily life and writing the final chapter (part 1) of my Incredible USA trip- from the ass end.

From Nashville we went to Blue Ridge Motorcycle campsite through the smoky mountains and home of 
Cherokee Indians. I cannot recommend this place enough. The roads to it are stunningly beautiful and of course twisty, although expect fog (they’re not called the smoky mountains for nothing). As we made our way through the forested hills and Indian villages the rain came down HEAVILY. It was torrential, but warm and so, tired by the 8 hours driving that was behind me I decided to stop the truck and just walk for a while. I was drenched in seconds and loved it! Life felt good right then. Of course it may not have been so much fun for the riders but the rain didn’t last long and the beauty could not be missed whatever the weather.
The campsite was situated in the heart of the hills and designed just for bikers. With only a few cabins sprinkled along the river, and only the sound of the crickets, it was the perfect spot for a relaxing night and some great food.
Phil, the owner, is a lovely host and could not have been more helpful. A biker himself he was attentive to all our requirements.
The rain came down again after dinner and that night, after sitting in one of the rocking chairs with the guys, listening to Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, I lay in bed slowly drifting to sleep to the sound of the rain on the roof of the cabin. Perfect.
In the morning we waited for the rain to stop and headed out on a 365 mile trip via the Blue Ridge Parkway to Waynesboro, Virginia. Not a particularly eventful day I must admit.
The penultimate day from Waynesboro to Harrisburg took us over the Skydrive. 100 miles of lovely twisties through the mountains and teeming with wildlife. For this reason the speed limit is SLOW so don’t do it unless you plan to take it easy. Speed limits are heavily enforced as some of us found out to our detriment! Some of the guys didn’t do the run due to the fog and chose, instead to take the Interstate. I feel they missed a wonderful day as those of us who took the road were rewarded with the site of several black bears, one mother with cubs who came right out in to the road about 10 feet away from us!
It was a special moment for me, Willie and Andy who all got close up and personal with mummy bear!
That night we all had dinner together, although I must admit it was a bit of a strange night. Not what I had expected. I think everyone was tired and with mixed emotions at the end of an intense 3 weeks it's not suprising we weren't all at our best.

So with 14 police stops (roughly), 8,000 miles, 28 states and one continent crossed TWICE, we end up back at Newark port where we started from 22 days ago.
Although I am tired I am very sad to see the guys go! We have worked through problems together, supported each other and experienced new things together. We all made it back in one piece and with 176,000 miles covered between us it is a pretty amazing feat so be able to say no accidents, no permanent breakdowns and no lasting mental health problems!! That is testimant to the riders. America? Tick!!!!
Now i have 5 days rest over at my friends in Massachusetts and then I start all over again! Another 8,000 miles at the ass end of a Nick Sanders Incredible USA tour! From there to Peru to check out Adventure Motorcycle Peru and then 24 hours in Amsterdam before I finally make it home at the end of the summer! First things first. Time to wash some clothes!!


  1. steph you did a fantastic job for us all your a great tail end Charlie ( most of the time lol)
    Hope all goes well for you in the future trips / adventures.
    Thanks from David & Julie

    1. Cheers guys. Hope to have the pleasure again some day xx