David here. You all know me as the youngest Strommer at the meetups!
My trip started Thursday when I left AL. I headed to Chattanooga TN for lunch and had some amazing noodles.
I made it to the IronHorse Thursday evening around 7PM. It was a good ride once I left the interstate and had 2 hours of amazing backroads, including the Tail of The dragon while no one else was there.
I got a bunkbed at the lodge. How did I end up with a room with no guys that snore?? I was definitely happy with the room at the price that I paid. Last year, I stayed in a tent, but that required a lot more stuff to pack onto the bike. Next year, I will bunk as well!
Friday, 5 of us rode the Cherohala Skyway a couple times. The skyway was simply great. Another great day of riding.
Saturday started out, just like Friday, with breakfast from the great guys at the IronHorse. I then got together with the group that headed to the Wheels Through Time museum. I am not a big museum guy but I still thought this place was great. Dale was a great host.
After the museum and hotdogs, we headed back to the IronHorse. Then, cloveit and I went over to the dragon to watch the circus for a bit.
We got back for a delicious steak dinner. I had already packed up my stuff and was ready to leave as soon as finishing dinner. The plan was to get back home before the storms came in but the plan backfired on me.
I was about an hour away from the lodge searching for a Dollar General. I stopped and grabbed a $5 rain poncho that I taped over my riding jacket in the hopes to make it more water resistant. I also threw on my waterproof overpants and gloves just in time for it to start raining. I started back on the road, knowing I had 3 hours of wet riding ahead of me. The poncho was a success, but it lacked sleeves. My arms got wet fast, and my boots filled with water in no time. My head, torso, hands, and legs stayed warm and dry though. I rode for another hour until I was getting lower on gas. I stopped for 5 minutes, still raining, and filled up on gas knowing that it would be enough to get home. I headed out with just another 20 miles before getting to the interstate. I rode the next two hours straight without a single stop because I just wanted to go home, shower, and sleep in my own bed.
200 miles after leaving the Ironhorse, 4 hours of riding, 3 hours in the rain, and a total of 2 short stops later, I made it home. I drug my soggy self into the house, took off my dripping gear, showered and went to bed. Then I spent pretty much all Sunday sitting and recuperating. The trip totaled out to just shy of 700 miles.
Do I regret leaving Saturday night? More yes than no. Once I figured out that I was riding right into the front of the storm, I had second thoughts about leaving. I did it anyway, but I think that it would have been better to wait until Sunday and ride in the rain while there was daylight. I was practically riding blind a few times. As soon as the sun went down Saturday, the rain came pouring.
Did I enjoy the trip? YES! Thursday morning through Saturday evening was a blast. Even Saturday night on my way home wasn't terrible. I enjoy a good adventure. Now I can say that I rode 3 hours in the rain at night. It was an adventure for sure!
Would I pay more for better WI-FI at the IronHorse? Yes. Bunk beds are $30 bucks a night. I would be okay paying around $35 for better internet. Being able to communicate with my friends and family are important to me.
Will I be back next year? Sure will! I hope to have a more farkled Strom by then. Side cases!
Thank you for a great time, ladies and gentlemen. I look forward to next year. Ride safe!