Steve Miller and myself headed down to the BMW MOA Getaway in Fontana, North Carolina. Leading up to the ride, the weather didn’t look all that promising, but we figured we go anyways. We dodged the rain leaving Michigan on Thursday morning. Talking to my wife later in the day, she told me it was pouring there while we had sun and 73 degrees in southern Ohio.
We made it to the campground at Red River Gorge in Kentucky with enough daylight left to set up camp and relax for a bit. Rick Griffith, Dave (Ricks’ brother-in-law), Dave McFall and Mark Mathes rolled in just before dark, having stopped for dinner.
The owner of the campground (which was really just a converted field with some porta-potties), informed us that there was a deluge coming, that we were going to get 3-4 inches of rain that night. We went to bed hoping to not get washed away in a flash flood.
Fortunately, we got only light showers 2 or 3 times during the night. We wanted to head out early so we had to pack up the tents wet.
It rained off and on for the later part of the day, and the group broke up after some wrong turns and different riding speeds, me being the slowest. Steve and I finally got to Fontana Resort about 7:30, just in time to get some food and check in.
Saturday turned out better, weather wise. While it was still overcast, at least it wasn’t raining .
After an unimpressive buffet breakfast, Steve and hung out at the resort till about 10:00, recovering from the rain soaked ride last night. Then we headed out to the Fontana Dam to check it out.
After that we went to Bryson City for lunch at Guayabitos Mexican Restaurant, which came highly recommended by a local we were talking to at the gas station.
After lunch, we decided that we’d each do our own thing, Steve wanting to ride one of the loops that the MOA had laid out. I wanted to cruise around and take some pictures.
Back at the resort by 5:00, time for dinner and the ceremony. Dinner was much better than breakfast. There was a pretty good turnout, despite the weather.
By the end of the evening it was raining, again. It rained most of the night, and was still raining Sunday morning. So we packed up the bikes and left. I swear, that storm followed Steve and I all the way to just south of Cincinnati. We had to stop a couple of time to warm up and wring out the gloves. Steve was itching to get home, so we split up, him continuing on and myself stopping to get a room, hot shower and soft bed. I still had Monday off, so I wasn’t in a big hurry.
Monday morning was bright and clear, temps in the low 60’s. I was up and on the road by 8:30, taking it easy and enjoying the lack of moisture in the air. A couple of stops for gas and some lunch, I was home by 4:30, and still dry. Unpacking everything, I found about a half inch of water in my top case, I must have a bad seal somewhere.
All in all, I had an OK time. I could have done without the rain, and I think that kind of stressed me even more about riding the Tail of the Dragon. I did too much reading on the internet about that stretch of road, about all the accidents that happen along the 11 miles and 318 turns. I did enjoy the riding on Saturday when it was drier. But more importantly, I got my Tail of the Dragon sticker.