From freeze, to furnace, to freeze again . . .

For a few reasons I haven’t been posting on the blog. Mostly, I’ve been doing a lot of riding, not A to B traveling, just exploring and extensively riding The Great Smoky Mountains. For fun, to practice skills, and to soak up what this miracle of a place has to offer. There’s no way to unpack all the local places I’ve visited and the people I’ve met During my two weeks here, but I’ll run through a few.

Talk of miracles, I was heading out on a mountain run and decided to breakfast in a little cafe in Tellico Plains. There, I met Rick Stevens, a world class adventure rider who lives at the very tail of The Tail of the Dragon. He’s been riding here since before the Deals Gap place even existed. Rick and his wife Roxanne (both riders) have a nice house on over fifty acres of mountain half way up a steep incline. Turned out he also has a little cottage he calls Dragon’s End further up a steep but cemented path. Out of the blue, he offered me the cottage and that’s where I stayed for the duration of my stay in Tennessee. What a gift!

The cottage is on top of Rick’s fifty acre mountain estate, it over looks a beautiful river that starts at Rick’s doorstep and eventually flows into other rivers and ends up in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s stunning. I’ll never be able to thank Rick and he wife Roxanne enough for letting me stay in their cottage.

Another fellow I met in Tellico Plains is called Rocket Rex; born Greg Schwark, but known to many bikers in the USA as Rocket Rex. I met him on day and he held me spellbound for two hours. He’s a master mechanic and motorcycle historian. I’ve never met anyone that knows more about the history of modern motorcycles. Anyway, turns out Rick and Rocket are friends, so after I moved into the cottage we went to his shop to see his huge new warehouse full of pristine bikes. He even owns John Wayne’s pickup truck. Crazy. I also rode withhim and Rick all day on Sunday . . . but that’s another story!

This is Rocket holding court; he is relentless in sharing motorcycle stories!

This is Rocket unloading one of Rick’s bikes to work on. In the background is his Corvette, a rare model with an engine built by Lotus. Every bike in these pictures are Rocket’s – each one a classic in its own right.

I did make it to Two Wheels of Suches, but only to grease my nostalgia. It was closed during the week, but a fellow named Skip let me in. I could feel his love for the place, his absolute dedication to breathing life into what used to be known as Two Wheels Only. When I return, it won’t be for the sticks and mortar, it will be because of people like him.

I must add. I was sitting there alone on the porch soaking in memories when a fellow biker pulled in. He said he’d been riding there and in the area for over twenty years. I mentioned to him that after a couple of months in Mexico and Central America, I was more apprehensive about the Georgia police hitting me up for bogus speeding tickets than I had ever been in those third world countries.

In his deep southern accent he told me the funniest “gettin’ a ticket for speeding” story I’ve ever heard. It went on for about twenty minutes and he had me laughing so hard I peed my pants. I actually hurt myself it was so funny, I almost begged him to stop talking, but he wouldn’t; near killed me he was so funny.

And, that’s why it’s so important to keep places like Two Wheels open. Even when the place is closed during the week, it’s possible to meet someone on the porch that opens doors to something bigger than ourselves.

Here’s a few more pictures of my two weeks in The Smoky Mts. Great times . . .

So that’s it folks! I plan to freeze my butt off and try to get back to PEI this week, I’ll post one more to wrap this off. Wish me luck!






















1 comment so far

  1. Mike Fagan on

    Fantastic adventure and interesting blog Walter ! You’re on the home stretch now, enjoy the ride north

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