Last week I finagled a vacation day for Friday and slipped away to the mountains on my first tour on the VFR. I had wanted to take this trip last fall but things didn't work out the way I wanted them to but I finally got the chance to gain some elevation and hunt out some curves. I was heading out alone this time as everyone had something else to do but that's cool, I can play the whole "Lone Wolf" thang. I loaded up and headed out about 900am friday. I scored the Cortech bags on Craigslist for $35! It took a bit of practice but I got everything I "needed" packed and left the other stuff at home. Real estate is precious on the back of my VFR. Stuffed the sleeping bag into a waterproof sack and strapped on the Hennessy hammock. Cranked up some tunes and headed west. Fast Forward four hours and I make it through Clemson to Seneca to pick up HWY28. Weave my way through GA into NC and I didn't realize it until Cashiers, I somehow missed the 28 turnoff. No problem, just rode HWY64 up to 107 and worked my way back west. Most of the way riding on wet roads. Seemed as though I would eventually catch the storm that preceded me but thankfully, I never did. Rode into Franklin, NC around 400pm. Took a quick cruise through town and hightailed it to my final destination for the day, Standing Indian Campground a few miles west of Franklin in the Cartoogechaye community. The directions on the .gov website said it was 2.1mi off the main road but that must have been as the crow flies cause it was about 5+mi up the side of a mountain! Finally arrived and went through the arduous task of finding a campsite that fit my needs of two trees +/-8' apart for my hammock. Well well well, how about campsite #3? Perfect! Standing Indian is quite a nice campground with updated amenities like hot showers and flush toilets. No electricity and the nightly fee of $16 was a bit high if you want my opinion though. Gov website had it listed as $14, must have been before they built the new bathouses. I busted up in there and slung the hammock, knocked out some firewood for that nights fire and if you look in the left hand area of the pic, you'll see an orange sack hanging in the trees, that's my bear bag. Yup, they had signs posted warning not to leave any food or coolers out, that they have had bears foraging through the campground. So, while I am sure I look like a hanging burrito el grande in my hammock to a bear, I didn't want him to be enticed by my tin o'chili or deodorant stick so I hung'd it up in that thar tree. I had all that knocked out in about 40 minutes and still left plenty of time to head back to town and russell up me a burger. After a nice nights sleep swinging in the breeze, I awoke early to get a start toward the Gap. I read to get there before 1000am to get a good ride in. Got a short stack of pancakes in Franklin and headed on up Hwy28. I arrived at Deal's Gap proper and being my first time, I traveled the entire length to the beginner's end on the northern section. Killboy, 129Slayer, and US129photos.com were there shooting pics for folks. Some of what I purchased: My Favorite I pushed it kind of hard, I thought, but still left the slightest bit of chicken strip on the Michelins. It felt like I was really laying it over but you sure couldn't tell by the pics. I'm not one to hang off just yet, not comfortable with it completely, so I just leaned in, enjoyed the g's, and tried to be as smooth as I could. Mainly staying in 2nd gear and using the throttle to brake coming into and accelerate off of the apex of each turn. The torque range of the 800cc V4 motor and the sound of my V&H SS2R made for a tired face from the perma-grin that is just now fading. The majority of my runs were spent with clear road ahead and I only slowed two other riders before giving them a wave by to pass. In all, I made four passes, ate lunch at Deal's Gap, and rode part of the way in to sit on a corner and spectate. Tennessee's finest were out in force with three cars and one Harley on patrol for those exceeding the "fun" limit on this stretch of asphalt heaven. I even heard of one guy who lucked out with a warning. Unfortunately, in the four hours I was up there, I saw three slips that resulted in rashed up bikes but no injuries that I am aware of thank The Lord. With the latest crash scene in my thoughts, I decided that I had had enough fun on the Dragon and was ready to move on to other roads. After riding Hwy28 some more and a few other roads in the area, I realized how hot and tired I was. It was affecting my riding so I called it a day and headed for camp. Once again, coming into Franklin, I seemed to be riding the tails of another storm. Once in camp, one of the other campers, a nice fellow from Chattanooga, TN that rides a 500 Ninja, told me the Camp host had been round and told everyone we were under a Tornado Watch until 900pm. :eek1 Remember that showerhouse I told y'all about, Looks like it'd make a real nice tornado shelter. Well, a whole lot nicer than my hammock would. Seeing as it was so hawt, what better time to build a fire??? None better, I say! Now let's see, what goes good with a fire......Right, Beans! MmmMmmm! Beans devoured, I turned in for the night to swing and fart in the breeze. The storms had passed but we had been spared. Seemed to be a recurring theme. Again, I awoke early to meet the morning. I had a lot to do to get ready to roll but taken in stride, I was packed and fired up by 830am. Next stop, the lookout tower at Wayah Bald. It wasn't very far, but as I would find out soon enough, it lay at the top of a 4 mile graveled forest road. Not the type of apexes I was used to from the previous day but hey, this is Adventure Rider, right!?! Wayah Bald is one of my favorite spots. The views, the tower, everything, I just love it. I had been here before, many years ago. Except, I used this The Appalachian Trail. JALnSC, V-Marv, and myself came up this way several years ago, hiking up the AT. You see, we were co-workers, then hiking buddies way before we became riding buddies. It was in this very parking lot, maybe ten years ago, that I got my first real look at and Adventure Motorcycle. There was a group of BMWs, mainly GS's, that were parked here when we came out of the woods that day. I marveled at them and wished for the day that I would have one, a motorcycle that is. A short visit was all I had time for. I had an appointment I needed to keep. Easing back down the FS road, I once again twisted the throttle around the tight curves of Wayah Rd headed for Cartoogechaye Church of God. I joined them for a wonderful worship service. They made me feel very welcome in their church and I praised The Lord for all of the great things he has done, for keeping me safe on my journey, and blessing me with Unclouded Skies! If you are in the area, I highly recommend you stop in for a visit with Pastor Cochran. The Lord will bless you for it! After the service, I really had to start making some time eastbound. Based on the few tips I received about roads in the area, I really wanted to check out HWY215 and since the .GOV hadn't shut down, the BRP would be open! So HWY64 put me on a collision course with 215 and man, oh man, what a nice ribbon of pavement it is! Given the time, I would have loved to lap that road several times, as I am sure, going down would be equally as fun as going up. I hit the BRP sometime around 200pm and stopped off at Devil's Courthouse for a rest. But, I had to keep on, keepin'on and pushed further east(ish) on the BRP to the Pisgah Inn. I was so hungry, I could have eaten a BBQ'd plank board but thankfully, I was able to order some local trout. It was charbroiled and served with a side of wild rice that, I think, was even better than the trout. The view from the table was tremendous and I recommend stopping in for a meal anytime you are remotely close by. A meal in my belly and gas in my tank, I twisted the throttle ever more toward home. Not wanting to take the same road twice, I elected to take HWY74 through Charlotte/Monroe instead of I26/20/95 back to the house. I finally arrived around 900pm Sunday night. Exhausted and hurting, I reflected on my trip and thought...... What the heck was I thinking??? Riding a VFR 1000miles through four states! I must be crazy, or and ADVer. But, I repeat myself.