Friday, October 8, 2010


Stayed at Bill and Arlene's house north of Charlotte for four days... really, really nice place... one of the new areas of North Carolina that boomed over the past ten years, now struggling. But they got a great deal on a lovely six-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac, and Bill has been improving it ever since. They added a gorgeous in-ground pool; there's a full, screened-in porch on the back as well as a large patio. Out back is dense, piney North Carolina forest for quite a distance. Quiet, clean and lovely... three lovely kids who seemed to be ecstatic with my presence there for some reason, (the fireworks?).. and the room they gavce me was plush, clean and spacious, with my own cable TV and a bathroom that the kids don;t use much. Really easy time... and the chatter of very young kids sqwaking and hooting was really happy and welcome for me. I rode around with Bill a little and saw the basic area, but the real treat was hanging out in a full, roraing family unit. Oh, and latenight cockatils around the firepit. I got spontaneous hugs from the little kids every night before they went to bed. Nice.

Thanks, guys.

Earlier today I left the Leyden's and headed west towards Asheville. Originally I thought to go out to Deal's Gap, Rte 129 "The Dragon"... but I already rode it a year or two ago... and it was a long way off my route, so I took the Blue Ridge Parkway instead for a while. A tough ride... pretty, but the speed limit is 45 and there's no humanity along the way... just scenery... which doesn't quite measure up to the Yosemite/Yellowstone stuff I saw a few weeks ago. After a few hours I carved back to Interstate 77 and headed for Roanoake... which is a couple of exits up Rt 81 from here.

So now I'm holed-up in a Howard Johnson's hotel... got a deal after an Indian (Hindu) man in a convenience mart handed me coupons for motel discounts in the area.
After a slight check-in hassle I went out looking for a few quick drinks and a bite. As I rode around I realized that this was certainly Jerry Falwell Country. Lots of Baptist churches everywhere... Pentacostal, etc., and there was a big statue of Jeb Stuart on the front lawn of the town hall. Funny; this stuff now exists next to Applebee's and modern Ford dealerships).
I finally found a little sports-bar of sorts across town; went in and drank just two drafts beers while the locals peered at me curiously... ( liquor in this semi-dry town where you aren't allowed to advertise beer). On the five mile drive back I had to go through the center of the old town... I luckily noticed a 25 mph speed sign at the last possible second before I crossed past a town cop lurking by the roadside with his lights out. I was driving fine and within the limits, but he immediately pulled out after me and drove alongside on the four-lane road, five feet behind, matching my speed (26 mph) for a full mile, waiting breathlessly for this black motorcycle with strange NY plates... a rider with a pony-tail and no luggage, to make one.. please God, just one mistake.

I didn't give him the satisfaction. Eventually he gunned it angrily through a light and roared off.

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