Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Map! 5 Classic Rides Around Maggie Valley, NC

5 Classic Rides Around Maggie Valley, NC, maps the most popular rides surrounding the hub of great motorcycle riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Maggie Valley, NC. I've selected the best of the local favorites - rides we do over and over again as they are just that good! Each of them offers something unique. Spend a week and do a different ride every day.

5 Classic Rides Around Maggie Valley, NC is a departure from my standard map format. It focuses solely on these five great rides. Each is color coded and boldly highlighted to make navigation simple. This is a two sided map to cover the extensive area encompassed. Mileage, points of interest, and gas stations are included. Arrows indicate turns onto new roads. Some are loop rides, others out-and-back trips.

The map details routes which lead from Maggie Valley to the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap and Hellbender 28, the best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the scenic ride to Hot Springs, the ride through the gorges on Thunder Road, and a loop through the Pisgah Forest on the Devil's Triangle.

It's all for the standard price of $5.00 - that's $1 per day of superb and memorable riding. For the time being, shipping remains free (as long as I can sustain it, place your orders now).

Also included on the map are icons of my standard maps which go into specific detail on the areas covered. They will guide you to hundreds of miles of additional roads when you discover how much you enjoy each area and reveal the hidden secrets most visitors miss.

The first run is coming off the printer right now and most of them will be gobbled up by local merchants, lodgers, and restaurants, though I am setting some aside for online sales. Joanne at the Mountaineer Restaurant / Riders Roost has a good supply of them, as will the Maggie Valley Visitors Center.

Get your copy now and discover the amazing wealth of great motorcycle roads around Maggie Valley. It's one of the most affordable places to visit with so much to offer the motorcycle tourist. Check into the great all-inclusive motorcycle packages available at
All Roads Lead To Maggie.com.

>> Order info and details here


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This Bike Nite Will Be Hard To Top!

Photo - Bikes at the Mountaineer Restaurant / Riders Roost

Wow! Joanne at the Mountaineer / Riders Roost in Maggie Valley pulled out all the stops. What started as a social ride turned out more social than ride, but what a party! Only a handful of us enjoyed a fabulous cruise in the evening sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway just up the hill. The action kept most at the restaurant.

Photo - Bikers Always Welcome at The Mountaineer / Riders Roost

The handful of riders expected turned into a crowd of 50 or more. The place was full and lively. There was mountain music to liven things up. Some of the crew from Ghost Town in the Sky came down in full costume. Joanne had extra staff on hand to handle the crowd. Food, drink, music, entertainment, it was not surprising most stayed put.

We're off to a good start. It's going to be tough to top this show, and quite honestly, I'm happy just to make the rides. The timing is ideal. It's cooling off, the sun is low and golden, the day traffic is gone, it's a perfect time to be out for a spin.

Photo - Live Mountain Music Entertained The Crowd

It's nice to be off to a great start. These Wednesday evening rides are open to all. I can't promise we'll always throw a party this good, but we've got some talented and resourceful people involved. If you're in town or nearby please come by and get to know the people in Maggie Valley who really welcome and appreciate the motorcycle tourist as much as the local. We've got some special deals for you, discount cards to help your dollar go farther while your here, and information on the best rides in the area.

Photo - Happy Diners At The Mountaineer

Look for the flyers, ask at the visitors center, e-mail me, or visit
All Roads Lead To Maggie.com to find out what's happening each week. There is a group of people, growing and expanding, that are working overtime to insure you have the best affordable motorcyle vacation found anywhere. We've built all inclusive packages that include, meals, lodging, tours, discounts, entertainment at prices you won't find elsewhere. It's all possible because we are surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of miles of the best motorcyling roads found anywhere, more than you can see in one, two, even three trips. You never run out of great riding.

Every day is a motorcycle rally in Maggie Valley. The only thing missing are the noisy crowds. They're too busy spending evenings on the porch in a rocking chair. Ride all day. Kick back in the evening. Now that's a vacation.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Day, Good Motorcycle Tour, Great Guests!

Carolyn and Larry G. from Granger, IN., enjoy one of my secret waterfalls

Paperwork is all done, bikes in the barn, time to crack open a cold one. A good time was had by all, especially me, but that's not hard when you're out riding in the mountains. Thanks to Carolyn and Larry for treating me to breakfast and dinner - somehow we were having so much fun we missed lunch. My fault, I didn't know it was some kind of secret Latin holiday and all the Mexican restaurants on the route would be closed today. The pizza was good enough.

Most guides or tour companies won't mess with just one bike or day tours. It's the same amount of paperwork, liability, wear and tear on the bikes, and us guides don't work cheap. The more sensible thing to do is run groups, preferably on multi-day trips. But then most companies have to cover hundreds of miles to get enough quality sights and scenery to make a trip rewarding. Not so here. As soon as you leave the barn you're in the heart of it.

As should be the case things ran like clockwork. I waved at Larry as he was picking up his rental Harley from Gryphon Bikes in Maggie Valley. They met me for breakfast exactly on time at the Mountaineer Restaurant. I'd urged them to take their time and not leave too early so the mountains would clear of morning clouds. The last vapors were dissipating from the high spots at Waterrock Knob when we arrived - right on time.

That hearty breakfast from the Mountaineer stayed with us and we chose to skip the lunch stop at the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not accustomed to a Harley, the parkway was the ideal place to get a feel for the bike on the comfortable curves. By the time we were ready to go in search of waterfalls he was ready to tackle the twisties.

As the day evolved we progressed from the easy roads and waterfalls to those more challenging and off the beaten path. Though the first couple times the floorboards scraped on the sharper turns were unnerving for a flat-lander, I assured Larry the rental agency would consider this "normal wear and tear" for our mountain territory (it is). I saved the best for last with a collection of my "secret" waterfalls, a few I don't reveal on my maps.

The weather was pleasant, just cool enough and a little breezy up high. It was hot but not stifling down in the valleys. The clouds threatened just enough to heighten awareness of the good fortune we had with no rain. Even the bathrooms appeared at just the right times. We ended the day by returning the rental Harley with 25 minutes to spare, bellies full, and all ready to spend some quality time riding the rocking chairs on the porch. Nothing like a good tour.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trooper Shawn Blanton Memorial Ride

Photo - Troopers were well represented (I kept a low profile)

Even with mesh pants, a mesh jacket, and my visor open, it was hot. Another heat wave hits the mountains. It hit 89 degrees on my thermometer at home, though it was surely much hotter through town. I know Al Gore has something to do with this but I just can pin him down on it. Not the best of days for a memorial ride from a comfort standpoint, but at least the frequent rains of late held off.

Generally I'm not much of one for charity rides and such. There's one every weekend somewhere, and quite frankly, while I do hit a few, I don't need an excuse to validate my going somewhere on the bike. In this case, I felt participation was mandated. This ride memorializes the one year anniversary of the death of one of our homeboys, Trooper Shawn Blanton.

It's a story almost so scripted it's like something that came off the Lifetime Network - but in this case it gets to me. It happened just a few miles from my house. Trooper Blanton, a relatively new officer was slain in broad daylight, shot down with his own gun as witnessed by many local passers-by during a routine traffic stop. He had a newborn child, premature and struggling for life in neonatal intensvie care who died shortly thereafter. His wife, young and of stunning beauty, was suddenly left alone losing all she held dear. It is truly a tragedy.

He was Cherokee. That alone is a story of his success to become a state law enforcement officer. And while the story starts with tragedy, his widow has taken what was left and devoted her efforts to several charitable causes, a testimony to her nobility and strength. We couldn't miss this ride.

It started from three separate locations, all coverging at Cherokee High School on the reservation. I don't have official numbers, but I counted hundreds of bikers. The streets of town were lined with those paying their respect. Sometimes, the cause is so worthy you have to participate. This was one of them.

God Bless Trooper Blanton.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Virginia Maps Are Coming

Photo - Jackie enjoys the country roads of Virginia

You know the story - excuses, excuses. Where the heck are the Virginia maps? I've got them started. Two scouting trips have narrowed the focus. They are not going to be ready as soon as I'd wished, but that's usually the way it goes. Business has been booming and it's been difficult to get away. Lots of activity, particulalry related to Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

I do have a new map about to be released of the 5 most popular rides surrounding Maggie Valley. It was supposed to be a custom job, but you know, it's turning out so nice I may just make it public. It includes Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon, Thunder Road, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Hot Springs, and the Devil's Triangle. All of these rides are fairly well known. All of them are classics. Some take just a few hours, others are an all day excursion. It's easily enough to give you a ride a day for a 5 day visit.

Unlike my other maps, this map is exclusive to just these 5 rides. None of the hundreds of miles of great surrounding roads are included. The usual mileage, gas stations, and a few of the most obvious points of interest are included, but to get the full detail and all the best surrounding roads you'll need to get one of my normal detailed maps.

We'll see how it goes. I like it so far. I'll put it out for testing and review. Let's see what others think and maybe, I'll have a new map availabe within a week.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Report on Blue Ridge Parkway Construction

I've been curious about the construction on the Blue Ridge Parkway since the road reopened north of Asheville, NC. This section of the parkway has been closed for more than a year due to a landslide. The detour around it took more than an hour and access to the highest mountain in the east, Mt. Mitchell, was limited. It reopened May 15, though there are still delays. It's not so bad after all.

Now that I'm on the road again, I checked things out. The parkway advisory makes it appear much worse than it is - at least when I was there. 16 miles of the parkway are being resurfaced. It definately needs it. The road has deteriorated from Mt. Mitchell south. The southbound lane is in worse shape than the northbound lane. Expect some rough roads in this area if you're headed south. North is much better, though there are a few places most easily described as "potholes" that are really spots where the road has subsided in large deep dips. Be alert, they are marked with orange paint, and you'll avoid them.

The actual construction area is quite short though you may encounter construction vehicles and activities through the area. They appear to be doing it in small sections so the really bad stuff is limited to very short portions of the road. You may want to snap a photo (as
I did) of the rare appearance of traffic lights on the parkway. Delays are relatively short, you'll cross a section of unpaved road, then all is well again.

Honestly the detours to the north around Boone, Blowing Rock, and into Virginia are much more inconvenient. There are a couple of bridges being repleced in these sections and the detours route you close enough into the cities to experience some traffic.

I expect to be in the area again soon and am confident there are better detours than the Park Service provides. Once I discover them I will map them out and offer them as free printable downloads at my America Rides Maps.com web site as I did last year.

In the mean time, be sure to include Mt. Mitchell as a stop on your parkway ride. The new observation platform is completed so you can enjoy the views if you're willing to take a short hike up the trail. Don't forget there is also the opportuntiy to eat at the highest restaraunt in the east just a mile or so down the road in Mt. Mitchell State Park.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Saturday, June 13, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 12

Day 12 - IT'S OVER!

The unexpected has happened. I did ask the officer at the hearing if my conviction could be appealed, and was told it would be reviewed, but was I surprised when the letter arrived. The suspension of my driving privilege has been lifted and I have been granted probation instead! Provided I behave myself, I get to keep my license during the 1 year probationary period.

I was off to the DMV in a flash. A quick signature of agreement to the terms, $50 reinstatement fee, a new photo, and my fresh drivers license was in my pocket in no time.

I'm back in the saddle again. All I've got to do is behave myself for a year and all is well. Now, back to business as usual (at a much slower pace of course).

Time to wash the bike!


>> Go To America Ries Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com/

Friday, June 12, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 11

Day 11 – Rainy Day Bliss On The Bikes

The rain continued on and off through the night and we awoke to a gray wet day. Up and out early, we headed for breakfast at Mabry Mill just down the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were first in line for a heaping plate of pancakes and planned the day over breakfast.

After riding some of Virginia’s back roads yesterday, Jackie was eager to experience more of the same. The parkway was nice, but it’s a little tame, and we’d already seen those sights. That Euro-BMW rider “weather be damned” attitude had taken her over. It’s raining, so what? I assured her I could lead her all the way home on some great two lane twisties.

We exited the parkway as we crossed into North Carolina then worked our way back up into Virginia on the back roads. The rain came heavier as the morning progressed. As I knew the way, it was my turn to lead. While the scene in the photo never happened, it constantly hovered in the back of my mind.

I had one close call as we passed a slow car only to crest a rise and find a trooper at the roadside with his radar on. We’d picked up two riders who were tailing us and I’d really gased it to insure everyone could make the pass in the short section of dotted line. We were still scrubbing off speed as we flew by the trooper and my heart jumped when I saw his brake lights come on as if he was going to give chase. Maybe it was the rain but the blue lights never appeared behind us as he let us go. Phew, close call!

It was a full on deluge when we entered one of the most challenging sections of road approaching Damascus, VA. Despite the water on the roads, I was enjoying them to the fullest and am proud to note that last ¼ inch of rubber at the edge of my tires has been scrubbed. Full lean achieved even in a downpour. There’s something to be said for great tires.

We stopped for fuel, lunch, and a break in Damascus. I offered to lead Jackie north to get on the Interstate and make the trip home faster but she would have nothing of it. “That last section was beautiful, one of the best! We’ve got to come back here. It’s just rain. Can you get us home from here without getting on the highway?”

No problem. We skirted the borders of Virginia and Tennessee for a while then dropped down into North Carolina. Passing south of Elizabethton, then under I-26 for the run down through Hot Springs, the rain eased off becoming spottier as the mountains grew higher and steeper all around us. We pulled into the carport at home just as the next wave of wetness crashed down. What a great day!

So my brief excursion into compounding my lawlessness ends without incident. Tomorrow it’s back to behaving myself and completing my 30 day suspension. 19 days to go. It was a risk worth taking.


> > Go To America rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

30 Day License Suspension - Day 10

Day 10 - Frustrated With A Map

Rocky Knob, VA - We're watching the rain while tucked away all snug in our cabin at Rocky Knob, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Careful strategic planning insured we are only a couple miles from Chateau Morrisette, one of the premier Virginia vineyards, and the first bottle of wine is nearing empty as we watch small groups of riders straggle in from the downpour and make a dripping dash for their cabins.

Our tentative plans for the trip had been to spend today making a run up the parkway to its northern end then back. After a night of some pretty severe thunderstorms and a gray morning, we chose instead to spend the day exploring roads in the area. Better to stay close to shelter than get caught up high in the lightning and hail that had come through last evening. More storms were predicted for today.

I'm a little familiar with the area from previous scouting trips. It's next in line to be mapped for America Rides Maps.com. While I wasn't really prepared to knock out some serious mapping, it was an opportunity to evaluate a few new roads. I just needed to identify likely prospects. We bought the most detailed map we could find at a gas station, one called "The Southwestern Region of Virginia". It had an "east" section on one side, a "west" section on the other, and lots of specific insets for individual towns. Between that and my GPS we figured we'd have little problem. Wrong!

"This map is practically useless" my wife lamented at one point. "It doesn't show half the back roads and only gives numbers, no names".

It was frustrating. We were driving by what might have been great roads that didn't even show as a faint line. Several of them obviously went through as we found both ends of them. The GPS sometimes gave local names, but the large map referenced most everything by number.

My biggest frustration was dealing with the unwieldy size of the darn thing. Once it was first unfolded, we tried to refold it so we could more easily find just the area we were riding in so we could pull it out for quick reference. I wanted to keep it handy, not stow it away in my saddle bag. No matter how I tried I could not get it to fit in my pocket. I ended up riding with it stuffed down the front of my jacket in a bulky crumpled wad.

We found a few good roads and identified a few others that looked oh so great when seen on a map until you actually rode them to discover they were not as they appeared in print. One of our favorites was one I probably would have avoided based on the map we had. You just never know until you actually ride them.

It's been a relaxing day and I did glean some useful information while riding some nice roads. I'll still have to revisit this area to go through it in more depth and detail. I suspect a couple of those mystery roads we passed might be gems. I also discovered Oddfella's Cantina in Floyd, VA for a great lunch. With Jackie in the lead most of the day I had no run ins with the law.

We head back tomorrow. After riding some of the Virginia back roads, Jackie has gained more of an appreciation for the different perspective Virginia has to offer. It's not the mountains of North Carolina but it has it's own flavor. Like this wine we're finishing off, the more of it you taste the better it is.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com/

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 9

Day 9 - My Luck Is Holding - So Far

Hillsville, VA - Today's been pretty lucky overall. It took a little longer than expected to wrap things up this morning. Orders piled up overnight and I had to do some custom printing early this morning. We were on the road a little after 10 AM.

To insure my heavy throttle hand did not put me in unnecessary risk, I let Jackie lead the way as we first cruised to Asheville, then jumped on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We hit the expected construction zone at Craggy Gardens, but it was much less than I expected. Outside of some rough pavement for a few miles and a short stretch of gravel near the paving, it was over quickly. We stopped off at Mt. Mitchell State Park and ate an early lunch at the highest restaurant in the east atop the mountain.

My theory of letting Jackie lead only partly mitigated my exposure for exceeding the limit as she routinely pushed beyond the posted speed recommendations and enjoyed herself like she was on vacation. I had little choice but to keep up.

As the hot afternoon progressed, storm clouds grew and we started to encounter light patches of rain. Since we had no itinerary, we decided to break early and find a room for the night. We exited the parkway at Fancy Gap and made our way west to find several motels near the Interstate just outside Hillsville. Our luckiest break was to take an early dinner at an excellent local eatery, the "Hardware Store". Not only was the food great, but we returned to the motel just as a severe storm let loose.

All in all a lucky day. Tomorrow we've made reservations at a rustic cabin north of here. I doubt there will be a blog entry - it's rustic enough we were lucky to get the only cabin with a private bath. Let's hope our luck continues.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Monday, June 8, 2009

30 Day License suspension - Day 8

Day 8 - The Most Devious Seduction

There are forces beyond the comprehension and control of mortal men. They are called women.

It was subtle in it's crafting, so subtle I never saw it coming. My day started much as usual. Orders to be filled, then to work on new maps. My wife had gone out to run a few errands. When she returned, she casually informed me she'd picked up a can of chain lube for my motorcycle. Seems she had gone out to wipe hers down and noted the sorry condition of my chain. How nice, I thought innocently. I'll get around to it. The bait was set.

A short while later, another oh so casual query " I've got the tire pump out, do you want to check you tires before I put it away?" Like a cunning hunter, she called in her prey. I left the office to go take advantage of the convenience.

"I just washed my bike, the stuff is still out if you want to give yours a quick rinse." Bait taken, the trap was poised to spring. Sure why not, I thought. For the next couple hours I lovingly tended to my neglected machine, cleaning and polishing all it's nooks and crannies, tending to the small adjustments needed here and there. And so, the trap had been sprung.

By mid afternoon, I stood back admiring my handiwork. The noose was drawn tight. "You know, we really should take the bikes tomorrow". Before I could raise an objection, she cut in with -
"I've made reservations at the
Grove Park Inn in Asheville for dinner this evening. You'd better go get cleaned up".

We'll discuss this later I thought, thinking how nice it would be to get back on the bike. The meal was fabulous. Drinks before, a bottle of wine, everything was perfect. Who was I to spoil it all.

Suspension be damned, looks like I'm hitting the road in the morning. Seduced by a can of chain lube. No plans, no itinerary, no reservations. Just one rule - DON'T GET CAUGHT.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Sunday, June 7, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 7

Day 7 - Get Your House In Order

Survived another day. At present, not driving is the least of my problems. What to do with my wife's week of vacation is at the top of the list.

Got through the second day of her time off without too much pain but the plot ripens. After recuperating yesterday, Jackie set about getting her house in order. Floors were scrubbed and oiled, everything was dusted and shined, laundery laundred, all her ducks are in a row.

I did my best to lay low and keep working in my back office but I see a trend developing that gives me renewed cause to vacate ASAP.

"This needs to go down to the basement".

"That screen needs to be fixed."

"When are you going to move those fence posts? I'm tired of looking at them."

"I though you were going to paint the house."

"We really need to refinish this floor".

"What about some new carpet?"

Dutifully I tended to what I could, busied myself in the yard, and made excuses for what I wasn't willing to tackle. This afternoon we sat down, pulled out some maps, and made a few calls to see about potential accomodations along the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of my freinds suggested I could ride on the back of Jackie's bike, but that was quickly dismissed.

"You bring too much stuff with you, we'll never both fit on my bike".

She's right. So now I'm working the "Why don't we take your Mini Cooper, it will be fun" angle. We've agreed to leave Tuesday, so I have one more day to convince her of the joys of cruising in the Cooper. Fat chance.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Saturday, June 6, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 6

Day 6 - That Woman Needs A Vacation

Another gorgeous day in the mountains started off well enough. While I spent the morning catching up on work, my wife took time to decompress from her busy travels. A little reading, coffee and the paper, quality time on the front porch soaking in the mountain views.

Around 9 AM the phone rang. My friends son is planning a wedding and they want to do it at one of our local waterfalls. Would we like to spend the day with them touring the various options? Few know them better than me and it was a nice way to relax for the day so we set off.

I already knew the most suitable site and had urged them to select it, but it seemed prudent to investigate a few others for comparison. We spent the morning doing some light hiking evalauting the different waterfalls, snapping pictures, and discussing logisitics. Chit chat was mostly around wedding plans, stories from the week past, idle chatter. Mid afternoon we arrived at Cathedral Falls.

The video I posted at my web site only shows two of the waterfalls here, the most quickly accessible. A short walk down the trail brings you to three more. It's a secret I save for my tour clients as a hidden bonus. It didn't take long to decide few places hold more options to choose from and this site went to the top of the list.

It was on the way out things got ugly. The topic turned to what plans we had for Jackie's week of vacation. I tried stalling - "You know honey, I'm pretty swamped with work right now, All Roads Lead To Maggie.com is just about to launch, and as I can't drive, it's tough to get away".

My friend captured her response and my capitualtion with his camera. It looks like I'm going on vacation for a few days. Problem is, she really wants to hop on the bikes for a ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hmmm, gonna have to find a way to make it happen or suffer the consequences.

Friday, June 5, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day 5

Day 5 - A New Challenge

The good news is my wife just called from the Charlotte airport and she's on her way home. She's been traveling all week for business, hopping from Miami to Rhode Island. I'll soon have wheels, even if it does require a chaffeur. I've made it through the first week.

Now I face a new challenge. She scheduled a week of vacation. Not knowing what the outcome of my hearing might be, we hesitated to make plans. We toyed with flying to Canada to see some of the sights we've yet to visit, I sure wouldn't need a license up there. She has tons of frequent flier miles so hopping on a plane is actually a pretty cheap vacation. But then she got busy, I got busy, and the reservations never got made. Besides, she really wants to get on her BMW and take a drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway.

She'll be busy wrapping things up through the afternoon, but then the interrogation will begin. "What are we going to do for my vacation?" I'd better come up with an answer.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Thursday, June 4, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day Four

Day Four - Time Flies When...

Made it through another day with little inconvenience mostly due to being very busy and the kindness of friends. Bright and early, Gabi from
A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley picked me up to attend a breakfast meeting at our local amusement park Ghost Town in the Sky. Now I'm not an amusement park kind of guy. Disney World, Universal Studios, and the nightmare that exists across the mountains in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, are things I go out of my way to avoid. Still I've found myself up at Ghost Town more than once. My niece loves it. I was up there when they shot the movie. I had a productive visit this morning.

Ghost Town could not be duplicated today, it's unique. Environmental regluations would prevent it. Years ago, they litterally blasted the top off a mountain to create a platform for an amusement park that offers commanding views of the surrounding mountain landscape. The roller coaster, the "Cliffhanger", slings riders off the edge of the mountain a mile up. It's been rated one of the top ten small roller coasters in the world. The park closed a few years back when the owner become too old, then died. It was recently purchased and is struggling to get back on it's feet. The meeting this morning was related to that recovery effort.

Part of the experience of
Ghost Town is getting there. The photo shows us on the 17 minute chairlift ride up to the park. It's so high we passed into the clouds when I snapped this photo. While I'm not an amusement park kind of guy, I can recognize Ghost Town is unique and it fits the small town character of sleepy Maggie Valley.

The meeting we attended was followed by another impromptu gathering of our local
All Roads Lead To Maggie business coalition. We're coordinating package deals, discounts, and special events for motorcycle vacationers. It's pretty amazing what we've accomplished in just a few short days and we'll have some great vacation packages for visitors looking for affordable accomodations on a motorcycle theme. There really is no better place for a motorcycle visit.

The afternoon brought rain which made the time more tolerable as I sat at the keyboard filling and processing orders for maps and completing all the tasks to move
All Roads Lead To Maggie into full swing.

All was well until late this afternoon. Bleary eyed from staring at the keyboard I went out on the porch for some fresh air. As I sat soaking in the green of the surrounding mountains, my eyes kept coming back to my bike. I swear the damn thing is sending telepathic messages. "What the F*!" Let's go for a ride". It's glaring at me with it's chrome exhaust. "Pay me some attention". It's got to the point where I've stopped going outside. As soon as I see it, it's on my case. "Why don't you come over here and lube my chain". "At least check my tire pressure, that won't take long". Motorcycle mania after only four days? No way, I'm stronger then that.


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day Three

Day 3 - The Price of Coffee

About the time I wrapped up processing orders this morning, the phone rang - Mom. "If you need a ride today I could use a favor, I'll come by and pick you up".

I'm not a feind for coffee, but I sure did miss it this morning. I'd been contemplating going to the toy shed and pumping up the tires on the bicycle for a ride to the local java roaster to pick up a fresh sack. It's another nice day, I can use the exercise, got to get on that horse sometime - it's inevitable. Instead I took the easy way out. At least that's what it sounded like this morning. Wrong.

She must have been right down the street as she arrived in minutes. "Let's take your truck - and we'll need the pressure washer". Uh oh.

To make a long story short, I got a lift to the store for some coffee. Mom got her deck pressure washed. Seems word of my capitivity has spread and schemes are being made. Arlene needs ceiling fans hung. Julie needs caulking. Bonnie needs a door replaced. And I need rides. For a bunch of older ladies who don't know the Internet from the Interstate, they've networked quicker than a Google search and jumped on an opportunity like sharks at a hemopheliac beach party.

You know what? I need to get out of town. New mission - impossible?


>> Go To America Rides Maps.com - http://americaridesmaps.com/

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - Day Two

Day 2 - Piece of Cake!

Not much of a challenge today, didn't need to leave the house. I got engrossed in working on a custom event map for the Motorcycle Mamas Womens Rally in Maggie Valley on July 23. The hours flew by quickly. It's the first rally of it's kind for Maggie Valley, I'm looking forward to it. Sure will be a change from what we're used to.

I had at least three friends call to let me know they were in the area and ask if I needed a ride or anything to be picked up. Nothing like that mountain hospitality. Folks will go out of their way if they know someone is in need.

It's starting to get hot. It must have reached the 80's today. Would have been nice to be out on the bike to cool off .... OK son, gotta put that out of your mind for a while longer. 28 days to go.

Monday, June 1, 2009

30 Day License Suspension - The Count Down

Day 1 - Judgement Day

The good news is I got credit for time served - in a sense. The DOT agreed to begin my term of suspension today. The 30 day period of my license suspension for speeding in excess of 80 mph has now officially begun.

I used those morning hours they credited me productively. First I went to the grocery store. Stocked up the wine rack and got enough food to get me through the week. Then I went by the liquor store. So long as I'm not going to be behind the wheel, might as well indulge. Next I topped off all the yard tools with gas and then filled the 5 gallon gas can to the brim. That would have been a heck of a thing to haul on a bicycle and it may be enough to get me through the duration. I suppose growing up in Florida has prepared me for this - it's just like getting ready for a hurricane except no need to go by the surf shop for an extra bar of board wax.

I had my friend Jim drive me to the DMV. It was all pretty cut and dry. We went into the little room for the hearing. They verified my info and address. Then they verified I had received the ticket and the charge was correct. They listened to my story and it was duly recorded. I explained how this was going to have a significant impact and I would surely learn my lesson from it. As I handed my drivers license across the desk I asked for one concession - "Can we begin this immediately? I had a friend drive me here and I'd like to start the clock ticking as quickly as possible." With a few key strokes, a couple of boxes checked on a form, and a couple of signatures my wish was granted.

Day one has begun. The sun is still shining brightly. The birds are singing. The sky is blue. Time to go see if the bicycle tires still hold air.


Go To America Rides Maps - http://americaridesmaps.com