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Deals Gap

by Dee

Be still my heart. I think I had one of THE most awesome weekends of riding. May I share it with ya'll??

This past Friday my husband and I set out to North Carolina with some riding buddies to attend the Cherokee Rally. I was extra excited about this trip because I knew there were some awesome roads to travel up and around that area. Some of my favorite places to ride too.

We all met Friday afternoon at a gas station and headed north. We had nine bikes in all making our way up there. That is so cool to see and be a part of! Everyone had their wives or girlfriends on back...I was the only woman rider and the only one riding solo. My hubby was taking one of our friend's daughters on the back....A couple of the wives on back are ready to ride. One is waiting for a bike, the other for the courage to ride more....

Anyway, we took the quickest way up north since daylight was winding down. What a great feeling to strap on your chaps and leather...load a few clothes, and head off for a weekend.

The ride up was majestic. The countryside around this area of North Carolina is really something else...As the sun was finding its place of setting, we set a steady pace north buzzing through the country side. It got dark on us on the tail end of the ride. I don't see so great in the dark and my headlight on low beam gives me little light. I felt like I was doing my "Helen Keller" version of riding...I stayed behind the lead rider and listened for his engine...What do I mean? Ok like we were going around all these curves down hill...In the dark, it's tricky to know how sharp the curves were. So I'd listen for him to downshift ...or listen when he revved his engine accelerating in the middle of the corner...It worked too. (I know I know not the best way to ride at night!!)

We arrived safely. Unpacked our bags and then took a spin checking out the little town and where the rally was going to be. Not much going on so we headed back, ate some pizza and hit the hay. I went to bed wondering what it was going to be like to "do" the ride of my dreams...Deals' Gap!

The next morning, after a quick bite at McD's, we headed out to begin our day of riding. That morning our group divided up into two separate groups. Those that wanted to ride, and those that wanted to be seen riding. <g> The younger crowd hung back while six of us (the parental units) headed off for the day of riding....four bikes in all...

I stuck close to the lead man while my hubby guarded the rear. WE had some good laughs right off as our lead man and his wife made a few wrong turns. One had us going on this curvy little road where two dogs were determined to make our front tires their breakfast. We spun around this one corner and the next thing we knew...boom, there was a gravel road. You can bet we teased our lead man about that...He sheepishly made a sharp u-turn in the road...and we followed. I have to say the Fatboy handled so much better than my Deuce in these tight cornering maneuvers and all. I was always extra careful and did slip on the gravel....but was able to hold my bike and swing out of there...(heavy sigh).

From there we found Highway 19...took it to Hwy 74 and then Highway 28...I was so into the scenery that looking and remembering the route is difficult. <g> What views...We were out amidst the mountains and spring was making its appearance gloriously. . The dogwoods were in bloom in their radiant white and pink, all sorts of wildflowers were showing off their brilliant colors, and the sun and blue sky made a great backdrop to the mountains surrounding us. Unbelievable. I was speechless. I had to be careful chewing my gum. I'd get this grin and realized a bug could change the flavor (not to mention texture!) real quick. WE stopped at this dam (dam I can't remember its name right now <g>), before swinging back to catch the beginning (to us) of the Deal's Gap ride. We stopped at this gas station where tons of bikes had gathered either for the beginning of the Deal's Gap ride or the end....depending on which direction. I got my "I survived Deal's Gap" t-shirt even tho I hadn't made the trek yet. Right off we saw these sport bikes shoot away toward the first curve popping a wheelie. Interesting.

After a drink of water and buying some t-shirts, we set out. My heart was going pitter patter in anticipation. I was ready but not quite sure how my Fatboy would do in these sharp curves. Our lead guy used to race sport bikes. He told me to try and scrape my floor boards before the ride so I'd know how it feels and not freak out. Hello. I never got the guts up to do that. (Is he crazy? <g>).

So we head out and begin the Deal's Gap ride. We come around the first corner and there lies one of those sport bikes we just saw popping wheelies on the side of the road, picking dirt out of his bike (and probably his teeth) on the side of the road. Oops....a need for speed in some of these corners can mean getting much too acquainted with the mountain side terrain! (He was ok...There were about six sport bikes stopped to make sure).

So I follow our lead man and soon find that groove. We take corner after corner...I must say I did not view the scenery. I had to stay focused on the curves. Oh, but I was loving and enjoying the feel of the Fatbabe as it proved to be nimble and quick as we wove our way through the mountain side. I didn't have much time for my mind to wander as each corner tested my mental ability to stay focused. Wow. What an experience. I am having problems finding the words to describe it.

Soon we shot out into a valley and were done. I raised my hand in exhilaration and thankfulness. I survived Deal's Gap! What a ride!

From there we cut across this Parkway (not the Blue Ridge) that was so gorgeous and such an awesome ride. My mind had time to wander here as this road was not anywhere as challenging but just as resplendent. I really could not believe how beautiful this area was and how awesome it was to experience while riding a motorcycle! For some reason, I also thought of that lady who just lost her life, was it Fern? And I thought of some who may never get to experience this ride because of living so far away. So I thought...I am riding for these folks!!

We ended up riding along this river and making our way the back way to Gatlinburg where we had the best lunch and could re-live the ride together. What a day!! From there, we cut across the mountains and found our way back to Cherokee. It was about 185 miles for the day of incredible curvy roads. I could not wipe the smile off my face all day.

God's country, my husband, good friends, Deal's Gap, and motorcycles. I never would have imagined that mix could make for such an awesome day. Saturday, April 28th, was a "Red Letter Day" for me.

As always, thanks for letting me share a piece of it.

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About Teebird:
The mother of two, Teebird started riding dirt bikes as a kid. She eventually got into street bikes and has owned and ridden a Buell Blast, '00 Softail Deuce and a '01 Fatboy. The Fatboy, the love of her bike life, was recently replaced with a '03 Screaming Eagle Softail Deuce (shown right). Theresa is an active poster in many online forums but spends the majority of her time in the
Harley-Davidson Women Riders (HDWR) and Women Riders International (WRI) forums.

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