We just spent an enjoyable two days with Carole and Laurent, the adventurous French couple that we met in Alaska as we boarded the ferry in Juneau, bound for Prince Rupert, BC. You may recall from this post that they are now three months into a twelve-month journey, traversing most of North, South, and Central America. They modified their original route slightly to swing through North Carolina on their way down to Florida to rendezvous with their grown children for a vacation, or as they would say, a holiday. I rode over to Knoxville Sunday afternoon to meet them for dinner and a nights rest in one of Tom Bodett’s finest. They had spent the previous night in Louisville at the home of Inspector Gadget. Dave W fed them filet mignon and sweet corn. The corn on the cob was a first for them and they said it was good, but they spent the rest of the night brushing their teeth, trying to remove the silk. The reason for meeting in Knoxville was so I could accompany them down to Deal’s gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina border to ride The Tail Of The Dragon. It seems this 11 mile stretch of Highway 129 with its 318 curves has an international reputation and is on the bucket list of riders the world over. Here is a video clip of pieces of The Dragon, shot by Carole from her rear perch on the GS. Laurent also has a camera mounted on his right-side crash bar, but when we looked at the film, all you could see was the tops of trees.
At the East (NC) end of The Dragon lies the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort. There you can eat, drink, sleep, and have your picture taken.
A lot of high testosterone sport-bike riders like to test their skills against The Dragon. Sometimes they win and sometimes The Dragon wins, in which case surviving pieces end up on The Tree Of Shame. Carole didn’t want her picture taken with the Tree Of Shame because it might bring bad luck. Sorry Carole…I was taking a photo of the tree, and you wandered into the scene.
The guy on the right is Nathan Mende, owner of Boxerworks BMW shop in Watkinsville, GA. They specialize in restoration, service, and repair of older air-head Beemers. This is a link to his website. We met Nathan and his girlfriend at a stoplight in Marysville on the way to Deals Gap. They were on their way home from attending the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH. Nathan’s girl friend was born in France and really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to Carole.
After leaving Deals Gap, we rode a good portion of the Cherohala Skyway and then the Blue Ridge Parkway, running into rain again as we started down the mountain on NC 276 into Brevard.
We arrived home in Lake Lure, soaking wet, just in time for one of Penny’s wonderful meals of roast chicken with croutons, potato galette, green beans, and blueberry crumble.
Tuesday was a beautiful sunny day, and we took advantage of it with a tour of the lake, including a picnic lunch on the water. Laurent scored another first by trying his hand at driving a boat instead of a motorcycle.
Their visit ended all too soon, as they headed on down the road this morning, hoping to make it to Miami sometime early Friday. Au revoir good friends. We hope to see you in France next year.