All Good Things…

Well, kids, I guess this is it. It’s been obvious to the trained observer that for the past couple of months, I’ve been toying with shutting all this down, and I guess I’ve made that decision. Probably – although I’ve been told that I shouldn’t. Life has just been too much…life lately, and I don’t have the motivation to continue documenting my adventures. And fitness/diet? Forget it – I will tell you diet fans, though, that stress-eating is a real thing, and stress will absolutely wreck you. I mean, like, really wreck you – so, if you read between those lines, yeah, I’m wrecked right now. But I’ll get my mojo back, eventually.

Anyway, because I’ve put so much effort into this stupid thing, I just can’t bring myself to pull the plug entirely. There’s too much valuable info here for you guys – trail maps, links to gear, my incessant babbling and that kind of thing. I’ve tried just closing up shop a couple of times (including the past few days as well as right now), but it makes me queasy. So, I’ll leave the light on, but don’t expect any updates. Oh, sure, if something interesting happens – I get creamed on the motorbike or something – I may toss a pic up, but don’t count on it (although I will always continue to update the Master Adventure Map). All that said, snaps to all of you for the great messages and other cool stuff I’ve gotten over the years from you lot. And whatever your journey is – weight-loss, getting in shape, exploring the world around you, or just needing the occasional chuckle, just keep at it. Whatever your goals are, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and don’t let anyone stand in your way of what you want. And when you’re at the end of whatever rope you happen to be on, just hang in there, and surround yourself with your fans. Surround yourself with people that make your life better, and that want to be a part of your life, and make you a priority in theirs. Surround yourself with people who will be there for you when you need them, and are counting on you to be there for them. Surround yourself with the love and support of people who are genuinely interested in your journey, all the time – not just when it’s convenient or when they’re bored. Surround yourself with people that want to walk with you, not on you. You probably have more people around you like this than you realize. Maybe I do, as well.

End of speech.

OK, let’s get into it, one last time.

THIS…IS…SPARTA!

Saturday, after more than 48 hours awake, I jumped in the Jeep, and hit the road. The first stop, the small town of Sparta (Movescount data), a good hour north of me. The town is very quaint, with interesting little shops, great old architecture, a compelling centuries-old cemetery, and – don’t judge me – an awesome donut shop. It’s a small town – only a couple miles wandering around, but very pleasant.

Nice to be back.

Next, on up the road to Burgess Falls (Movescount data). This is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the area, and with a little bit of fall color still on display, this was a perfect time to visit. Practically no one there, either, which was awesome. The water was a little low, so the waterfall wasn’t on full display, but it’s still amazing. I also got to explore a little more than the last time I was here. Not a huge amount of steps, but still, well worth the drive. For better or for worse (and that’s a poor choice of words), Burgess will always be a special place to me.

Spectacular.

The last major stop of the day was at the hang-gliding flight park up on the mountain. I’ve ridden my motorbike up here before, and it’s one of my favorite places, as the views cannot be beaten. There was no one flying, and no one at the park at all. Very peaceful place to watch the sun begin to set. I may come back some day when people are flying, but based on various things I’ve read, the people that congregate here are kinda…obnoxious. I’ll never understand why people get obsessive about their hobbies, and act like they’re better than everyone else because of their leisure activities. I mean, I ride on road and off road motorbikes, I’ve done a century ride on my MTB, I’ve hiked an actual marathon (and hiked thousands of miles in general), and I’ve paddled hundreds of miles across 3 states; plus drone flying, surfing, juggling, unicycling, and playing the hell out of a good guitar. But I don’t think – or act – like I’m superior to people who haven’t done these things. My preference is to include people in my adventures and activities, regardless of their skill level, not look down on them. But that’s just me. I try not to be an asshole.

I know I look like hell. Don’t judge.

So, after all of that, some exploring on top of the mountain, and then the long way back to town, because everybody has to be somewhere. Not many miles actually walking/hiking, but close to 200 miles driving. For a day that started out terribly, it wound up being not too bad, and “not too bad” is about the best I dare hope for.

Closed for the season. The Harley Shop, not me. OK, me, too.

Now, Sunday was a much-needed epic Grand Prix of an adventure. See, I had intentions of going away this weekend, but as is always the case, that fell apart – but Sunday definitely made up for it, with a triumphant return to the Tail and the Dragon, and new exploring on the Cherohala Skyway. More than 300 miles from the starting point in town and back, plus another 30 or 40 miles to the Casa de Me. Up with the Dawn Patrol, and back late into the night, but an amazing adventure to close out things here.

I need this in my yard.

The Dragon is quickly becoming on of my favorite places, but I really need to get the motorbike up here. I guess that’ll be in the spring, as the Deal’s Gap Motorcycle Resort and all of the ancillary shops are closed for the season. I tried to go this year, but it just didn’t happen – by spring, hopefully, my weekends of expecting to do something and then being let down will be a distant memory in the rear-view mirror, so once things start turning green again, I can start making my plans. For now, though, a day spent exploring the mountains along the TN/NC border was just what the doctor ordered what I needed.

I finally got my rain guards installed, but my passenger window is still screwed up. I see a very expensive visit to the dealership in my near future.

This was my second time on the Dragon, but my first trip ever on the Skyway, and it did not disappoint. Lots of pull-offs and trails to explore, with a stunning elevation peak of 5240 feet. All together, about 97 miles from the Highway 129 Harley shop at the head of the Dragon, to the Cherohala Harley shop at the tail end of the Skyway. Hundreds of twists and turns, amazing scenery in the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, and lots of pins of places to explore in the spring. Maybe this will be enough to get me through the long, long winter.

So long, North Carolina.

Beyond the Dragon and Skyway, lots of additional exploring, including the Tapoco Lodge, the Cherohala Biker Gear shop (and a great chat with a guy who has a Phantom like mine, and a girl on a Yamaha FZ), the Blue Water Resort campground, the Dayton boat ramp, the town of Robbinsville in North Carolina, and really, just about anything that looked interesting. This is how to road trip properly – a loose agenda, with no real plan. I’m normally a planner, but not having a specific itinerary was just the break my brain needed.

click for larger, or Movescount data

Unfortunately, after the desperately-needed mental health weekend, now, it’s back to reality, and my reality is nothing to envy. At least, not right now. I have a ton of stuff I’m giving away (seriously, how hard should it be to give stuff away for free?), I must get back on track with my diet after a weekend of culinary debauchery, work is…work, and the never-ending shitshow continues. There’s other stuff, as well, but nothing worth getting into. It is what it is, right?

So, with all of that, this is your ol’ pal Kevio, signing off. Hopefully, I’ll see you somewhere out on the long and lonesome road, or maybe at the Starbucks or something. “The amusement park is closed, folks. The moose out front should have told you.”