Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tanasi Trails and Cherohala Skyway

Yesterday was a long day. Unfortunately, a somewhat disappointing day.

SORBA (Southeast Off-Road Bicycle Organization) Chattanooga Chapter rode the Tanasi Trail System. My plan was to ride with them. I met a couple of the members (and President Jeffrey Schaarschmidt. While waiting to drive to the trails, Jeffrey discussed the local trails systems and expansion plans.

When we got to the Ocoee Whitewater Center, we joined up with addition SORBA members. There is a $3 parking fee at the Center, which is in the Cherokee National Forest. The Center was a venue for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Talking with the members and the trails, they advised me its about a mile+ climb until the trail settles out as rollercoasters. I started the climb ahead of the group. Soon the passed me. In the photo here is at the Bear Paw Loop intersection.

On up the trail I went walking my bike. Sometimes the trail leveled out and I was able to pedal a little. Anyway, after almost a half hour. we reached the other trails. At this time, I was beat. it was time to head down to the car and spend the rest of the day on a driving tour.

Thanks Jeffrey and the SORBA members for putting up with me. It was a pleasure meeting with you. Happy Trails.

Stopped around the car to take some photos of whitewater rafting groups. From there, time to drive up to Tellico Plains and the Cherahala Skyway. Stopped at the Visitor's Center and some lunch at the TelliCafe. I are at the cafe as recommended. Food was very good, service could be better. Basically disappeared during eating my meal (when i wanted some more water).

Anyway, on to the Skyway. At the visitors center, I found out that Hwy 129 is closed in one section. So, there was not chance i would be able drive to Robbinsville and then up the Tails of the Dragon and then north to I-75. just ride the Skyway and return or down to Chattanooga past the Whitewater Center.

While contemplating this, I drove. Saw that Bald River Falls is only 6 miles off the Skyway. Glad I did because the falls was the highlight of the drive.

There were a LOT of bicycles on the Skyway. Even saw a "caution - bicycle" sign. At one of the rest stops, I asked about it. Its the Ride the Sky tour. A century ride - ALL hills. Lots of 9% grades.

The rest of the drive along the Skyway was uneventful. The scenery, I called "underwhelming".

Never even made it into Robbinsville. Turned around a little after the Skyway ended. Headed back the same way. From Tellico Plains, found the most direct, fastest way back to Chattanooga. Back at the motel a little after 7pm.

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