Day 1 – let’s move along and get to base camp
Spkldoe and me rustled up an impromptu journey to Roan Mtn, TN. She trailed in the cage and I straddled our ‘06 Yamaha FJR 1300 as we rolled out Friday morning. We headed south on WV 20 by Bluestone Lake into Princeton, WV. We then took a more or less direct route to Abingdon, VA, only getting sidetracked by one mountain road and by stopping for a few necessities along the way.
South on VA 75 from Abingdon led us to US 421 across South Holston Lake into Shady Valley, TN and home of “The Snake.” I intended to take a break at Shady Valley Country Store, but the local traffic had cleared before the intersection and besides, a tractor trailer driving knucklehead (road clearly marked as not suitable) we dispensed with on Holston Mtn was behind us so I just kept on ticking right on thru the twisties to Mountain City then turned south to Roan Mtn.
Of 107 non-reservable campsites, only 5 remained when we arrived in the late Fri afternoon…good thing we didn’t take any wrong turns. We chose a comparatively private walk-in site and set up camp. A quick supper of foil pack chicken, Zataran’s red beans and rice, a little shot of McCormick’s taco seasoning, mozzarella rounds and salsa in a flat bread wrap ensued. A loosening the muscles with a short snifter of Wild Turkey (easy does it, dip your wick too deep and you’ll gobble!) followed by a cool shower found us ready to secure camp and turn in. A bear was seen in the campground the night before but our sleeping quarters were up a trail about 30 yards from the picnic table and fire pit and our food was double bagged in the car trunk.
Highlight of Day 1 (technically very early Day 2, I guess): Ma Nature treated the campground to a soothing rain during the night, in stark contrast to the previous two days goose drownings. The gentle shower apparently loosened the soil past the tipping point around a saw log sized tree on the hillside just above our campsite. Around 3:00 a.m., that behemoth crashed down through the surrounding timber and underlying laurel wreaking general havoc on its way to its final resting place. I nearly did in my sleep sweats that thing wild bears doo in the woods!