(Note: I haven’t had as much access to the internet to post to the blog and FB as I’d like, so these posts are going to be a bit behind.)
Count day 1 of this epic motorcycle adventure a complete success. A lot of the elements of a great ride were there, with fun riding on some fantastic curvy roads, and beautiful scenery. This was definitely the right way to start a long trip.
We actually managed to get on the road at around 9 am, which I think is pretty amazing given all the prep required to leave the house for so long.
The first part of the day covered a lot of familiar ground as we headed into the mountains, and it was a relief to escape the oppressive heat while we were able to ride at elevation. Mostly, we just put in the miles today, and successfully navigated around a few small thunderstorms. For the first few days of this trip, I doubt we’ll stop and sight see as much as we normally do. Anything within a couple of days ride is something we can spend time to see on a long weekend another time. We’re both anxious to explore out west, at the expense of some sightseeing and touring at a more leisurely pace early on.
After a lovely picnic lunch in the scenic Grayson Highlands State Park in VA (we’d never been here before, and decided we’d need to come back sometime to explore and hike), we enjoyed some pretty nice riding as we crossed over into TN, and then made our way north into KY .
Since it was the fourth of July, we were pretty lucky to find a campsite at Cumberland Falls State Park in KY. I’ve only made two campsite reservations for this whole trip, so we’re mostly relying on finding vacant spots each evening. This usually isn’t a problem for tent camping, unless its a holiday weekend, so we really lucked out by getting a spot on our first try.
After setting up camp, we hiked the half mile to go for a swim in the river. It was hot today, and it was tempting to just jump in with all of our clothes on. Unfortunately the river was warm. Really warm. Like bathwater warm. Pleasant enough, especially once we got out and the air cooled us off, but not the refreshment we were hoping for.
As often happens on these trips, we had some pretty cool neighbors. (Hi Julie and Al if you are reading this). They were also motorcycle camping, and had made the trip to this state park specifically to try and see the moonbow.
Yup, Moonbow. We had never heard of such a thing until they told us, and now we’d like to see it too. The moonbow is basically a rainbow caused by moonlight, and is a very rare phenomenon. Supposedly, cumberland falls in KY is the only place in the western hemisphere where you can see one. The conditions have to be just right. And we just happened to show up there on the full moon. These kinds of surprises are part of why I love these trips. If Julie and Al hadn’t told us about it, we would have been so close and not known it was there. As it happened, we rode down to the falls at 11pm to find hundreds of people out to try and see the moonbow. We stayed an hour or so, but apparently the conditions weren’t exactly right, as we never saw it.
Our neighbors have tried a couple of times to come see the moonbow, but have yet to actually catch it. They are already planning to come back in the fall to try again.
After a long day of riding in the heat and then staying up to try and see the moonbow, I was tired. I slept so well, I never even heard the neighbors Harley come back on 1 in the morning.
7/4/2012 – 358 miles.