-[Distant Early Warning]+

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From my new blog motormiles.tumblr.com

We embarked from Alcoa, TN to the Tail of the Dragon. For those of you that aren’t familiar, the Tail of the Dragon is a stretch of US Highway 129 that snakes from Maryville, Tennessee through the foothills of the Smokey Mountains and ends up in North Carolina. There are 318 turns in 11 miles. Many switchbacks. It’s a rite of passage for Harley riders and this was my turn to slay the dragon.

The morning was cool, about 55 degrees when we departed. I was nervous about the dragon, mostly because of the pomp and circumstance that many other riders had given it. The thought of taking hairpin turns in the mountains with a passenger on the back seemed a little daunting.

As you can see from the first photo up there, the views were majestic. The Smokeys in all of their beauty. This, I thought, is WHY I ride. The night before I walked from the hotel hand in hand with my fiance to get a Frosty from the Wendy’s that was just down the street. The sun had begun to set behind the mountain range before us. I thought aloud, “This is why I love riding. If it wasn’t for this motorcycle, I can’t imagine I’d ever be in Alcoa, Tennessee with you.” The sentiment hung in the air, thick with appreciation. This motorcycle has taken her and I to places we never thought we’d be.

Standing atop the mountains, 5,000ft in the air I snapped that photo. We were surrounded by God’s creation, the silence that covered the mountains was deafening. We were out there, we really REALLY out there.

At the end of The Dragon they have what’s called the “Tree of Shame” a collection of motorcycle parts that came off of the bikes that The Dragon had claimed victory to. Bikes signed by people that added notes about their experience, “5/12/06, hairpin turn at 40mph, 11 broken bones, collapsed lung, Jimmy.” It was surreal.

We saw an old moonshine making distillery and I smoked a celebratory cigarello before we took off for the Cherohala Skyway, a 43-mile scenic byway that took us through Tellico Plains. When we were up there we got so high that we actually rode through a cloud. The dampness of the water particles inside coating our faces and the tick-tick-tick of the snow and hail that bounced around inside of it. Things went dark, then light, then very foggy, then very cold, then very wet. Within 20 minutes we had begun our descent down the mountain. The clouds opening up, the wetness giving way to humidity. Suddenly the sun was beaming, the temperatures outside of the mountains growing to 70 degrees. It was time for a beer.

And somehow the beer tasted much different than all those beers on rides BEFORE I had tamed The Dragon.

Another Reminder

I just wanted to remind any of you still subscribing to this blog that I am only updating at http://motormiles.tumblr.com

THANKS!

Goodbye

I wanted you all to know (after 3 months of no posting) that I will be leaving this blog as is with no further updates and beginning fresh at http://motormiles.tumblr.com

I realized that throughout the last 5 years, this blog has attracted many groups of people—and you’re all fantastic. But the Nebraska fans, the Maple Leafs fans, the Harley enthusiasts, the hustle disciples, and the reblog-worthy just makes for a very complicated group of followers to get my message to.

In my new blog I will be chronicling my travels all across the country, the marathons I’ll be running in each time zone in 2013, the cross-country motorcycle trips, the restaurants, beaches, baseball games, tailgates, etc. that I discover on my trips all across this beautiful country.

I sincerely hope that you will follow motormiles.tumblr.com and get involved in the discussion and help me find hidden gems and join in the fun as I put more miles on my bike and on my feet in 2013 than I ever have. It’s an ambitious task, but I’m more than ready to tackle it.

You’ve all been great, and Distant Early Warning has been a pleasure to write for the past 5 years, but like all semi-successful-yet-mostly-ignored blogs, it has reached it’s end.

Thank you all for listening, it has meant more to me than you’ll ever know.

Looking forward to seeing you all at MotorMiles.

Pumped a hat today.

Pumped a hat today.

I don’t know about you, but my day is made.

I don’t know about you, but my day is made.

This is my office today and I’m really okay with that. View high resolution

This is my office today and I’m really okay with that.

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