Logging 1,000 Miles

Our last few days in Cherokee were spent riding. All told, we logged close to 1,000 miles and Scruffy logged them all with us! The Cherohala Skyway was our longest ride, we rode all the way to Tellico Plains, TN and enjoyed the entire 43 mile, scenic drive back. The road takes you through the Nantahala National Forest and the Cherokee National Forest with amazing views all along the way. A much easier ride than the Dragon.

Clingmans Dome

Each day we set out in a different direction, and by day five, we thought we had our sense of direction down. Well you know what they say about Murphy’s Law? Whatever can happen, will. So needless to say, heading out that morning in route to Clingmans Dome, we headed in the wrong direction. Really, we did. Guess how long we rode until we figured it out? A little over an hour. Really. After a little cussing, we decided to press on and continue. Clingmans Dome was one of the main reasons we chose this area. So we ate our picnic lunch back in Cherokee, regrouped, and headed on. As with previous rides, the time spent getting there was just as beautiful as the destination, but this day was just not meant to go as smooth as we had planned. When we finally found parking in the busy visitor center parking lot, we headed towards the steep incline leading to the dome with Scruffy in tow. We were stopped at the base by the attendee.

NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE PATH!
What? Really?

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NO DOGS ALLOWED? Everything I had read/printed about this place never called that out, and if it did, I skipped over it somehow. So me, stubborn as I am, decide I have to walk to the dome and ‘see’ what we came here for, leaving Scruffy & hubby to fend for themselves near the visitors center. Half an hour later and only half way to the dome, I really didn’t think I was going to make it. When they say steep grade, they mean it! But stubborn me kept pressing on for what felt like hours, and I finally  made it to the top.

 I had the dome in sight, and then my fear of heights started to kick in. The ramp to the top was right in front of me but I really had to push myself to climb it. I did, but halfway up, my fears started to kick in overdrive. Having pushed this fear of heights to the breaking point before, I knew that was as far as I was going to make it by myself. So, Clingmans Dome was left undefeated by me, and I began the hike down, which by the way, is much easier than up!

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Clingmans Dome #1 – Me #0

I could tell by the look on hubbies face the minute I saw him, that something was wrong. Murphy’s Law is real. The campground had called while I was hiking up the path to the dome, saying our smoke alarm had been going off all morning. He tried to call me a number of times, but I didn’t have a signal. A phone call like that is not the best feeling when you are several hours away, and having to wait an additional hour, because you have to wait for your wife to climb back down the mountain is worse. Thank goodness we didn’t know we couldn’t bring Scruffy up that path. We might have decided to leave him behind in the camper. I would have been completely paranoid all the way back. As it was, we were both picturing total devastation the entire ride! No worries, everything was fine. I had planned a delicious dinner for the crock pot, knowing it was going to be a long day, placing it directly under the smoke alarm. The steam from the roast had set it off. Who knew! We sat down to our delicious Mississippi Pot Roast supper with great relief.

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Mississippi Pot Roast

Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway was one of my favorites, stopping at many of the milepost markers for photos. Yes, I had a list of them I wanted to get along the way, and I was able to capture many of them. With so many overlooks to stop at, everyone of them seemed to be more breathtaking than the last. Although we didn’t, you could easily pack a picnic and pull off at any one of these to enjoy lunch with a view. Water Rock Knob at milepost 451.2 had incredible 360 degree views, we spent some time there throwing the Frisbee with Scruffy, not too far though, didn’t want to throw it off the mountain. Just kidding! They had a trail to hike to the summit there, but after my experience at Clingmans Dome, I opted not to make the climb. We had a really ambitious itinerary. I never imagined we would be able to fit in all that we did. I am not disappointed! Our goal for the trip was to ride, and ride we did.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Logging 1,000 Miles

Our goal for the trip was to ride, and ride we did.