24th February Woke to find the rain hadn't arrived. Instead, I was greeted by a mild, overcast day. I pack the bike and set off towards Deal's Gap. About 10 miles down the road, it starts to spit with rain. I pull over and put the rain cover on the tank bag and swap to waterproof gloves. I notice a sign I'd missed yesterday directing me to the Cherohala Skyway via US143 and the town of Robinsville. I turn up the road and, although its views are quite pleasant, it's hard work. The surface is a patchwork of different finishes, with gallons of overbanding poured over the joins. This, coupled with a misty drizzle, means I have little time to look at the view. I eventually reach the Skyway, 20-odd miles later. On a clear day in the spring, it must be spectacular - in fact its pretty good today. The road surface here is flawless (I'm guessing that this road and the Dragon's Tail have both been re-surfaced very recently). The viewing areas are well placed, but the weather's murky and I can only speculate on how far you can see on a good day... I climb steadily up the winding road and, at about 4000 feet, enter cloud. Visibility is now down to 30 metres or less, with a steady drizzle hampering my attempts to see the road through my glasses and visor. The road continues to snake upwards, until, eventually, it peaks at 5300 ft - I take a picture of the view I ride on, remaining in cloud, for miles - way below 4000 ft - it's clearly worse this side of the ridge - until I come to the end of the Skyway. I decide that Deal's Gap just isn't going to be worth repeating in this weather and, having no set plans beyond what I've already done today, follow the road to see where it'll take me ... Eventually it takes me to the Tellicafe, a small restaurant in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. I stop there for the Blue Plate Special - soup, huge sandwich, fries, coffee - all for $6. Top tip - if the local Sheriff eats here, its probably reasonable food at cheap prices I decide it's time I started heading South towards Florida. My tyres are starting to get squared off, as my recent encounters with the Dragon and the Skyway have shown me, so I decide to head down towards the good weather and see if I can find someone, in the next week or so, who'll fit some new ones. My bike is also (already ) approaching the need for a service ... I head off, with no destination in mind, just following the front wheel roughly South East. I come across a strange sight on US52, near the unlikely sounding town of Tickanetley - I wonder if Longbridge are wondering where this one ended up Further on, in Chamblee (I've re-entered Georgia now) I pass a sign saying "Motorcycle Stop" so I do. This is the home of Buzzs Psycle but, unfortunately, Buzz is nowhere to be found, so I ride on I decide that I'll stop somewhere just North of Atlanta tonight. Passing the various adverts that try to tempt me along the way ... ...I find myself in Alpharetta. I pull into the car park of the Wellesley Inn and book an excellent single room, with high speed internet access, kitchen (including dishwasher!), breakfast etc - for $70. Bargain. I go to the petrol station next door to buy something to eat and a beer & I'm asked to provide ID! I'm extremely flattered until the chap behind the till explains that, for some reason, Alpharetta has the most stringent liquor purchasing laws in the country ... Where to tomorrow?