Tellico Plains, TN to Monteagle, TN – 174.2
The day started out great with a delicious continental breakfast and a load of laundry. We were pretty excited to have full bellies and clean clothes to set out into the heart of Tennessee.
We knew the day would start with some notorious water crossings and made the mistake of watching videos of what we were in for. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% of riders failed to successfully make it across the third crossing without dumping their bike in the creek. On top of that, a few of them broke their bikes so badly they had to stay an extra night or two in Tellico waiting on repairs. Needless to say we were feeling pretty intimidated about what we were in for.
Our tires quickly hit the dirt and after only a couple miles we were met with water. We powered through the first and second “warm up” crossings no problem. As we came upon the third we sized up the stream, took a deep breath, and went for it. We are now ranked among the top 5% of all motorcycle riders.
After we shot up in our stats, I was feeling pretty good about how the day was going to go. There was a bit more dirt to ride and I settled in for a cruise. About 15 minutes later I went through a turn and without warning slammed into the gravel. I got up slowly and looked around searching for a sniper, oil slick, crater in the earth, mud slide, or pesky leprechaun…anything to explain my sudden drop in motorcycle rankings. I picked up the bike and quickly took inventory. Other than some deep gouges in the fairings, the bike looked good so I hopped on to try and catch up with Naomi. I immediately noticed that in order to drive straight, the handlebars had to be turned to the right. Worst case scenarios ran through my head as I imagined a significant delay to our trip waiting on repairs. Naomi had doubled back to find me limping along. We parked the bikes, did a more thorough inspection, did a google search on wheel alignments, and started repairs. Naomi had the bike fixed in mere minutes.
With my nerves and ego destroyed, we continued on to the next town where we gassed up and grabbed a bite to eat. There was a baseball game going on next door so we bought a couple beers and sat for a few innings while I gathered myself. Soon enough we were back on the road. I thought it would be mainly dirt roads, but pavement was all we touched for the rest of the day. We continued west and climbed onto the Cumberland Plateau where we passed through countryside on the way to Monteagle.
Today’s lesson: Rankings are not guaranteed and are subject to change without warning.