Article and Photos provided by Blake Scharine
Its that Time of year again! Our group is just a little smaller going South to Blairsville, Georgia in the Smoky Mountains. We have another contingent leaving next week to tent camp for a week at Sturgis and the Black Hills in South Dakota. Our group to Georgia, once we hit Georgia, will consist of 12 bikes a truck & 19 peeps.
Blake & Kim Scharine
Jeff & Kathy Foreyt
Scot & Joan Klabunde
Mark & Marge Knudsen
Chris Antzak & Tammy Fischer
Cliff & Patti Storlie
Ed & Lane Engel
Russ & Mary Rogers
Tom & Kathy Hamlin
We met at Jessica’s as is tradition at 6:30; a big change this year is traveling with a trail vehicle, driven by my lovely bride Kim. Lane will accompany her to Blairsville during their 1st few days as Eddie will be catching up on the bike when he leaves work on Friday. Ya, Kim has one passenger now but wait for rain & the cab will be FULL.
Our journey begins avoiding tolls thru Clinton, meeting Steve and and saying farewell to a biker friend Mike Odell who accompanied Steve. A 550 mile ride today, so we will make a little time on the interstate to get south of Champaign, Illinois and grab lunch. After about an hour delay south of Rochelle, we awaited the Storlies, as Patty had an emergency dentist visit that morning. OK, we are all back together and heading South. This is par for the course. When we pulled off the interstate to get fuel, we found the gas station closed. As were looking on the GPS on the roadside, a lady sporting a Harley Davidson sticker on her window, pulls up tells us where to get fuel, where to have lunch, and then proceeds to help serve food at the bar-and-grill that we overwhelmed. After lunch but not too far south of Champaign, we ran into some bike trouble with Steve’s engine. We spent a couple hours trying a number of different things with no success.. Mark and Marge make the decision to stay with Steve overnight and see what they could do at a local bike shop just a couple blocks down the road in the morning. Yes, not so amazing if we’re gonna have bike troubles God puts us next door to a bike shop.
Meanwhile the rest of the group continued to head south we had a long ride to Winchester Kentucky East of Lexington.. Taking highway 36 East And then heading South on interstates hoofin’ it right along to make up some time to get to Winchester at an exhausting 12:20 a.m. Fortunately, that will be our highest mileage day of the trip. Good night!
Day 2: we sleep in!! Departure Time is 10:00 a.m…nice. Food in our bellies and fuel in the tanks and off we go staying off the interstate as best we can. My route takes us on some lesser known 3 and 4 numbered highways. On our way south, as we head towards Maggie Valley, I come up to the intersection that my planned route is telling me to turn. Its a very narrow bridge with gravel scattered over the top of some pavement. I double check with the group, they’re stopped behind me and well… we decide to go with it. It looked good on the computer 3 months ago! I think all of us thought as we headed across this bridge onto this narrow paved road on the edge of a hill that it might have just been someone’s driveway but we continue down with no dead signs and there were private drives. We’re good, whew!
After about a 12 to 15 miles off a 12′ wide paved windy hilly road we reached another numbered highway. The road was called Jake’s heavenly highway. I haven’t Google it yet but I encourage you to. By the way, this is a great road for motorcycles but I kind of forgot we have a trail vehicle this year. Awesome for bikes, but for a truck it was a little nerve wracking wondering if there would be any oncoming traffic around all the curves sorry Kim. (Luv u. 🙂 ) God’s provision: not a single motorcycle or vehicle coming the other direction for nearly 30 minutes of riding the heavenly highway!
Some more incredible roads in Kentucky kept us entertained as we moved towards our next destination: Maggie Valley North Carolina. We arrived in Maggie Valley’s about 6:00 p.m. got settled into the Ramada and walked down to Brickhouse Pizza next door for some grub.
Update on Steve’s bike: so the engine was in fact trashed and Mark & Marge and Steve had spent all day Thursday searching the Internet for bikes for sale in that area of Illinois. At 10:00 p.m.Thursday night, I received a picture of Steve on his new bike. They will be back on the road to join the group as we hit Georgia! Before our group leaves Maggie Valley we are going to head to wheels of time motorcycle museum supposed to be an exceptional exhibit and every bike can be started and ran in the museum one of the largest collections of functioning memorabilia. It should be awesome and with only about a 100 miles to Blairsville. We will have some free time to explore and maybe get lost a little bit.
Until my next installment, we’ll continue getting in “miles under the Son.”