Beautiful day here Saturday, mid-70's and sunny so my riding buddy and I hopped on our Harley's and decided to take a ride. One of those point it this way, don't really care where adventures, we headed east into the Smokey Mountains. A bit chilly in the morning, we started out late. Just a fantastic ride. Once we reached Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Smoky Mountains, we made our big mistake. Instead of turning around, we opted to going on into to Cherokee. It was a great day for a ride.
Then it happened, it got dark and the temperatures plummeted. Here we were in the low 50's and summer gear.
I had a Powerhouse triple vent lined nylon jacket, two long sleeve "T"s, and full finger leather gloves and still was freezing my butt off. At 50 degrees, even the rear cylinder of my bike wasn't warming my hands. We stopped at Clingman's Dome again this time to idle our bikes to get the engines warm enough to get the numbness out our fingers. Man, you know you are in the boonies when you pull off and the sky is filled with stars and the only light is from the moon. A couple from SC on their way home pulled in so cold, they stripped off and were layering right there in the parking lot. We really got a kick out of the girl. She was hilarious.
Normally, we come down the mountain we don't go to Gatlinburg and cutoff to go over the mountains to Townsend to get home. Numb again, we go into the tourist crowd to stop and warm up again. Now we go from bad to worse as we decide to go through Pigeon Forge and was rewarded with the usual stop and go traffic. Temps warmed up to the upper 50's but we were till too chilled to warm up. Fingers numb, I thought my wrist was going to fall off from clutching. Man, did I appreciate that hydraulic clutch. Then it gets worse yet. Just as we are turning to go up Wiers Valley a car pulls out in front of my buddy and slams on the brakes. God I hate 18 footers. 18 footers are people who will kill you to get 18 foot farther ahead of the next guy. My buddy swearves his Heritage Softail and clips the cars bumper with his highway peg putting a very nice gash in their bumper. It was that or rear end them. We pull over at a gas station to await the cops. Couldn't call them. Both our cell phones were dead as door nails from searching for cell towers that aren't there. Cops never came so we rode on.
The Wiers Valley thing didn't work either. Temps dropped as soon as we got outside the city to about what it was in the mountains. One more stop at Walland to warm our fingers and get a hot drink in us and I get home 12 PM. 11 hours after we set out. I was so damn numb cold, I don't think I warmed up until about mid-day Sunday.
Needless to say, I'm switching out my gear to winter gear. Discovered a few things. Man, you lose 76 lbs of weight, you get friggen cold. Really love my LED lights. This was my first long haul in pitch dark with them and they were fantastic. If you want a bike upgrade, this is worth it ten times over the cost. Cell phone dead, adding a cell phone charging option other than my USB. Radio USB is too slow. Also adding a flashlight to my gear, one of those 300 lumen small ones. Cell pone flashlights don't work if the cell phone doesn't.
All in all, hell of a damn adventure. I haven't been that cold on my bike in years, since I went to the family farm 8.5 hours driving time away and the temps dropped into the 30's.
I'm breaking out the leather guys.