I get distracted easily. I’ve always been honest about this, and I think it’s a very positive feature in a traveler. Assuming, of course, that there isn’t anywhere I need to be, or that I have time to indulge my distractions. When I am on the road, I try to make sure there is time in the schedule for me to indulge my distractions.
Again, for people arriving late, on this trip I was traveling iwht both a film camera, and an iPhone. Images in black and white were taken with a Koni Omega Rapid on Ultrafinextreme black and white film. Color images were taken with my iPhone.
So, I had taken I-65 through Indiana, but when I had the change I got off the interstate and onto smaller roads. I’d decided to cut through the Smokey Mountain National Park, which also meant riding through Pigeon Forge. Now, I know some people have strong feelings about this tourist town, but really I don’t mind it all that much. I don’t have strong feelings about most places, prefering to see the good and bad everywhere withouth judging too much.
I enjoy people watching at tourist stops, and of course tourist stops exists for a reason. I wanted something for lunch, and sitting on the main drag while watching people go by seemed like it would be fun. What I didn’t know was that wthere was going to be a sweet car show going on.
I hadn’t made a real plan for lunch, and most of the parking lots were full, either of classic cars or other visitors. At it turned out, this was the Shades of the Past car show, an annual event which I could have learned about if I’d known to look. If I’d been in a car, parking would have been an issue, but on the motorcycle I was able to find somewhere to squeeze the bike into. I locked up my coat and helmet, grabbed my camera, and started walking around. I was aware that I could spend the rest of the day in town, but I still wanted to get to Iron Horse that evening, and had the national park to ride through. Also, I wanted lunch.
It wasn’t all cars in lots – there seemed to a regular rotation of them cruising the main drag through town, sometimes almost filling the road with classic goodness.
I found a BBQ place with outside (shaded) seating, and settled down to eat and watch. The food was okay, the tea was cold, and I was fun to listen to others. It seemed I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know there was an event in town, and the grumbling over parking, crowds, and other difficulties struck me as amusing, given the state Pigeon Forge was usually in. Others, though, were excited by the cars, and I heard a few “I used to have one of those” as things cruised slowly by.
After lunch, I walked back to the bike and got moving again. While traffic was heavy, it was moving and I didn’t mind, even though it was getting hot, and jacket vents don’t work as well when you aren’t moving. Once I was out of town, my speed picked up. Over the mountain ridges, then back down to the other side and along the small roads into the small valley Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge was nestled into.
Smokies in springtime can be awesome…..until they’re not. Spent an hour last spring sitting at the highest point of Cherohala in a torrential downpour on my WR250R. Not a single other vehicle went by in that time. Finally worked up the nerve to ride back down to Robbinsville and then Iron Horse. Next day was extremely foggy at lower elevations, but brilliant sunshine over 4500′ elevation. Rode over Cherohala to Tellico and looped up to take US129 back. Waited over an hour while they loaded some poor woman who had lowsided her Harley into a Chev Tahoe on the Dragon into an ambulance. Just thinking about her screams still gives me shivers !! All in all, an ‘eventful’ ride.