I hate to admit this, but I really enjoy riding on the interstate. There, I've admitted it, I'm out of the closet now. I wonder if my friends will still ride with me. I live in Raleigh, NC. The state has some great roads, but most of them are a couple hunded miles west of me. My mother lives in Asheville, NC, right in the middle of them all. Last Wed I decided it was a good day to blow off work and have lunch with mom. I-40 makes that an easy, if somewhat boring trip. After lunch I headed north on I-26 into Tennesse. That is actually a beautiful ride even if it is superslab. When I got close to Johnson City, TN, I got off the interstate and onto highway 173. There is nothing at all interstatey about 173. It's a twisty mountian road that runs through the woods and by several streams. That lead to highway 67, which I followed up to Shady Valley, TN. Shady Valley has great roads. On the weekends you can find a huge number of bikes hanging out at the country store and making runs up and down 421. For example: But I wasn't there on a weekend. I was there on a Wed. So instead of that crowd, there were 3 guys sitting on the porch: They were a friendly bunch, which made up for their lack of numbers. They were really impressed that I had ridden 350 miles to get there, and I was planning on riding back that evening. The phase "hard core" was used to describe me, which made me feel good after all the interstate riding. They were locals, and gave me some directions to my next destination, Tazewell, VA. There were some roads near Tazewell which appeard to be a wet dream to ride: How could that not be fun. From Shady Valley, I take 133 to Damascus and hop on 91 which takes me up to I-81, where I head north. I make it to Marion, VA and take an exit into town. My intention is to take 16, which looks like a good road in itself, up to Tazewell. I miss the turn for 16 and end up back at an exit for I-81. At this point it's 5:00 pm and getting dark. I realize that by the time I get to that fantastically curvy road, it's going to be pitch black. That would suck. So I just get back on I-81 and keep going. Western Virginia is very beautiful country. Even from the interstate the views are great, and the setting sun only made them more interesting. At some point I-77 joins I-81 and they run together. So for a few miles I was on both 81 North and 77 South. Go figure. I stopped in Wytheville, VA for dinner, and when I got back on the bike it was completly dark. I rode the rest of the way home on 77/74/40. Got home about 9:00 pm with an extra 600 miles on the bike.