Mittwoch, 22. Oktober 2008

Tuesday 22nd October 2008: From Alabam to Chattanooga Choo Choo, Blue Ridge Parkway ,Canadabikes + why I did not shoot the Sheriff

What a reunion this morning has to offer - I am meeting MISS CHATTANOOGA Debbie again - we met up in Alaska on the ferry from Whittier to Valdez - when she invited me to meet her in Chattanoooga it sounded a bit unreal to be true- now she takes me round town and to the Chattanooga ChooChoo historic train station. We have lots to talk and thus time flies - yet I have to leaver her to soon again to head on northeast to the Blueridge Parkway taking me further towards New York. Thank you for EVERYTHING Debbie !!!

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Getting out of Chatanooga via the Interstate 75 is fairly easy and quick - unlike the 71 East through Sevierville into the Great Smoky Mountains Nationalpark. Sevierville is pure tourism- stuffed and jammed with cars, driven with people talking on their cellphones, sending textmessages or eaven reading books while they"drive". Though it takes you into a lovely landscape - avoid entering through that road into the park. It seems everybody with a minimumage of 75 and older is on their way to see the Indian Summer at falltime in the Smoky Mountains and along Blue Ridge Parkway. (please do not missunderstand - I do appreciate older people VERY much, especially when they are travelling- it is only a remarkable numrber at the same time)
I start figuring out how many weeks it will take me to do the more than 500 miles up Blue Ridge Parkway and further through Shennandoah Nationalpark in this "speed" - and therefor decide to do something for my averagespeed by passing some of my roadfellows on a doublelaned part of the road. This was no problem so far in the states - and while I keep wondering about that black Dodge in my rearviewmirrror that follows me straight away , a policehorn and blue flashlighs turn up - my first policestop in 49000 kms on that bike and 46.000 on the tour.
The Sheriff getting out rather tense asks me for my driving license and explains all I've done wrong - BECAUSE I AM IN NORTH CAROLINA NOW !!!!
Sorry , but how the hell shall I know that something that was ok anywhere else suddenly is illegal in North Carolina - and how again do I know I am there without a streetsign telling me . Once we come across all that the Sheriff turns out to be a wonderful and helpful character - as it is supposed to be. I get a lot of useful information from him, and whilst everybody passing along thinks I get a big ticket now, we have the most entertaining chat about the trip, bikes and the roads ahead. This maybe the time and place to put a general "Thank you Guys " to all the helpful and friendly policestaff all along the Ride of Change.
Most importatnt the officer stopped me right where the Blue Ridge Parkway takes 0ff at an almost invisible and not even signposted crossing west of Cherokee - I would most likely have missed it without him ....
Getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway there is 360 miles of turns and curves through some of the most spectacular Indian Summer fallscenery ahead of me.......
Enjoy some impressions of the first miles with me----

The long and winding....road

Northeastern FallMoods on the roadside

As if all this was not already good enough - it got even better - and again that is what makes the difference in riding a bike around the world.
While I get off the Parkroad into Asheville to look for a campsite for the nite (not a real pleasure with the temperatures having dropped dramatically in the last 2 days for a coldfront running in from Northwest) I am on my way into a supermarket to buy some food for the nite. Tha's when 3 bikers come on towards me to ask me where I am bound to and where I come from. It is Heidi,Hector and Mark from Toronto, on their way back home from a 2 weeks trip into the US. Heidi on her first longer biketrip with a 1977 Honda CB550, Hector on an 1972 R65/5 BMW and Mark on a Triumph Bonneville - new but vintage looking.
They are the real sort of bikers that make the difference to people sitting on bikes with a Dennis Hopper/Peter Fonda/Easyrider-Outfit .
it is mutual sympathy from bikers meeting bikers -and it takes just a short chat for them to invite me into their sparebed in their motel in town.
What a lucky man am I to run into such great people so many times in my life.
We spend a lovely night with pizza and some really awsome chats on b ikes and life itself.
Thank you guys for being so kind - and for you too there is another open door to visit in Germany !

Baba (693 miles to NewYork and enjoyig a warm bed to sleep in)