The Notier Notes
Our Sunday Scoop
We had just spent the past week rushing across the country, from Arizona to Georgia, in order to get from Overland Expo West in Flagstaff to the upcoming expo in the east. It was hectic, it was uncomfortable, and I was miserable.
The days had been long and exhausting, with my ears ringing at night from hours of my helmet being battered by highway-speed winds. Plus, the weather had been terrible. Starting with the hailstorm that hit us in New Mexico, to the high winds in Oklahoma, and then topped off with the torrential rains of Arkansas and Tennessee, by the time we arrived at Tim's uncle's cabin in northern Georgia, I was ready for a rest.
But with only a few days left to get to the expo in northern Virginia, we had to now make a choice - stay an extra day in Georgia and then take some grueling highways up to Virginia, or leave the next morning and ride a more leisurely road up north called the Blue Ridge Parkway.
My vote was to rest, and to then haul it north. I just couldn't picture myself packing up again in the morning - putting on my wet socks, my drenched rain jacket that really didn't do much anymore, then stick my hands into my sopping gloves, and get back onto my wet pillion seat for another day of rain. I didn't want to do any of that if I didn't have to.
But Tim was getting excited about this Blue Ridge Parkway. "It'll be nice and relaxing, just what we need," he told me.
"But look at the weather forecast," I replied, showing him the apocalyptic pictures on my phone's weather app of thunder clouds throwing down bolts of lightning for the next five days straight.
Tim had to agree, the forecast was pretty dismal. And it didn't make any sense to leave a nice warm cabin when there wasn't any need to.
But as fate would have it, the decision was made for us, because we soon got word that some guests were staying in the cabin the next day, and we'd need to leave anyway.
And so I begrudgingly put on my wet socks, stuck my feet into my moist boots (they are waterproof, but water from a particularly bad storm got in from the top), and I got on the back of the bike, not looking forward to this at all.
But I should have trusted the whims and ways of this world.
Because once we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway, even though it was drizzling, the sun would peek out in shimmering patches, and then disappear as we rode into a cloud of mist. And every bit of it was perfect.
The thing about the Blue Ridge Parkway is that it's a road built simply for the pleasure of being a road. It was made with soft, elegant curves, smooth asphalt, and it had very little traffic. And around every few turns there would be a hide-and-seek surprise of a lookout - a clearing between the trees with a view. And it was an incredible view of rippling mountains rolling off into the distance like the waves of a gentle sea frozen in time.
Even when there wasn't a view, the road was beautiful. The trees were just turning colors, and every so often a leaf would flutter down. Everything about this journey through these ancient forests felt still, hushed, and captured in time, as if the rest of the world was zillions of miles and thousands of years away.
It didn't matter whether it was sunny or foggy, I loved both. When it was sunny (which was quite rare), the heavenly rays would filter down through the clouds and treetops, speckling the road in intricate patterns, and shining on our faces through the leaves in intermittent flashing spurts.
But even more so I loved the mist, because it would waft around us like it had a mind of its own. It reminded me of ghosts that would drift between the trees to inspect us, and then move along to let us be.
Actually, it was not wrong of me to think that these crawling tendrils of mist were like ghosts from the past, because the Appalachian Mountains are the oldest mountain range in North America. They've been weathered down by the ages, beaten back by the erosion of time, but even so, they are mighty. In fact, over 450 million years ago, these mountains were the highest mountains on the planet.
But you can feel the age of this place in more ways than just through the geology of it. Because sometimes we would make a turn, and then see a little cabin tucked into a fog-filled field. Most of these cabins had been made in the 1800's, and had been constructed by hardy people who lived solely off of the land and what it provided them. Their mark on the landscape was just as apparent as how the land had shaped them and their lives.
When building the Blue Ridge Parkway, they did not simply demolish these structures in order to construct the road. Actually, they incorporated these historic spots into the sight-seeing aspect of the journey along the Blue Ridge. At one place, there were even people demonstrating how they used the loom and spun wool on a spinning wheel (I used to do that!). It was fascinating to watch, and just another pleasure of being on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
We spent three days on the BRP, and I never wanted the ride to end. Not only had the road put me in a better mood, it had been exactly what I'd needed, rain and all. And I think it taught me a very important lesson. Sometimes when we ride and the road is rough, I hold on tightly, fighting for control. I grit my teeth, I hunch over from the wind, and I put my head down through the rain.
But if I were to give up control sometimes and let the weather do what it will, and let the turns in the road take me where they want, I might actually enjoy myself a lot more. And I might rediscover all the things that I loved about traveling in the first place.
In the next post, at long last we arrive at our final Overland Expo in Virginia, and have some truly life-altering experiences. And then... the Northeast BDR takes its toll on us. So stay tuned!
In the mean time, here is our latest video that captures the wonderful roads that we took through Colorado as we made our way across Utah.
We were also lucky enough to be part of another podcast episode of Adventure Rider Radio!
Tim and I always have a good laugh while reminiscing about our adventures of the past and what is still to come. Listen in to the latest episode for a recap of our travels from Kenya all the way up to our rides around the States this summer and fall!
And finally, for those of you that would like to support our future travels (Alaska, Iceland, Europe, Mongolia...), we have finally set up a Patreon page.
There are a few different levels of support, and some of the perks of becoming a Patron of Notiers Frontiers is getting early access to all our video content (and of course having that overall feeling of awesomeness).
We can't thank you all enough for being a part of the journey with us! I hope you have a great week. See you next Sunday!
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