Thursday, July 31, 2014

Trip Report, Part 2

Before we left Maggie Valley, we stopped at Wheels Through Time, a short walk down the street.  This is wonderful museum of American cars and motorcycles.  I've been through a lot of car and bike museums before, but this was less like a museum and more like walking through an organized garage of a successful collector.  There were cars and bikes and parts of bikes, and oil cans and racing suits and all sorts of transportation based stuff all over the place.  It also included one of the strangest two-seater bicycle I've ever seen.  I don't think this would be a comfortable ride.

We spent a few hours there, but I think it's a place I could visit again and again.

After the museum, we headed to Ashville.  We spent the next day touring the Biltmore.  This is an amazing house.  We took the self-guided tour through the building and spent the extra money to take the architect's tour.  This took us to a few more rooms on the upper level, including one that had the architect's model of the home.  Is also took us up to the roof and onto the catwalk of that front peak where we had terrific views and could see some of the gargoyles up close.

The Biltmore and grounds were beautiful, but I was a bit put off by the price of everything and the many extras they were suggesting you purchase at every turn.  I was glad to have visited once, but I think that's enough.

The day we visited the Biltmore was our anniversary, and the day before Father's day.  We have some friends who live in NC, and they came out to Ashville to visit with us.  We went out to dinner and then to the Highland brewery for after dinner beers and more conversation.  I love meeting up with old friends.  It's always as if time and distance evaporate and we take up where we left off when we last met.  The time with them was the highlight of our Ashville visit.

Our next stop was the trip was Johnson City, TN for the COG (Concours Owners' Group, which is the bike DH rides) rally, which was the main reason for this entire trip.

This was the 25th anniversary of the group and we had over 500 people in attendance from all over the US and a few from abroad (Holland).  Besides the people I know from this area (The northeast), I met folks from Chicago, Seattle, Florida and Colorado.  We took over the entire Holiday Inn in Johnson City and still had more in hotels a camp ground near by.  Kawasaki brought in a trailer with new biked for test rides.  This week just flew by.  We ate terrific BBQ, had shrimp and grits (a novelty for this northerner), vinegar pie and boiled peanuts from a road-side stand.  We visited a cavern, an animal sanctuary where they raised wolves and saw wolf puppies, watched an movie with one of the stars of the movie (The Lords of Flatbush with Perry King), saw lots of beautiful quilt blocks painted on barns, did a lot of riding and saw beautiful scenery, visited Davey Corckett's birhtplace, and even visited a quilt store.

All too soon the week was over and we were on the road again.  We traveled north through WV stopping at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.
 We took a tour of what used to be a privately held coal mine and buildings that used to be in a coal camp, including a family house, an owner's house, a church, bachelor's camp and a school house.  It was a very well done museum.

Our next stop was the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. This beautiful and huge building is no longer in use as a hospital.  It was bought by a private party and is being restored.  They hold tours that tall about it's fascinating history as well as some of the history of how mental health and other diseases were treated during it's history.    I wish we had more time to spend here.

As we traveled through PA we made stops at the Flight 93 memorial park (a very moving place), the oldest continually owned gas station in the states and a terrific tree house in Scranton.

Then we finally arrived home, safe and happy to sleep in my own bed.

It was a wonderful trip full of new experiences and new places.  We're already talking about our destination for next year's trip.

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