Sorry for the delay folks, Ma had me tendin' to my chores. Back to all things dirt.
Sunday morning Andy and I headed southeast out of Chatt. toward Tanasi to check out the trails while the ladies hit Atlanta & IKEA. I know, how could I pass up a chance to go to Ikea? ....umm just kidding. Anyway as we drove in I was amazed that I had forgotten how beautiful that area of TN is. Mountains, lakes & the Ocoee river, wow! We cruised along side of the Ocoee for several miles watching the whitewater rafting cats do battle in their short little kayaks. I think I've just found another hobby.
We cruised into the Thunder Rock campground and met up with our tour guide for the day an old college buddy of mine, Greg Barker. He and I both got into mtn biking after graduating ETSU but have never got to ride together. Luckily for us this was his home turf and there was no need to take a map. Right off the bat he informed us that we might encounter turkey, wild boar, black bear or the dreaded copperhead snake. It wasn't 5 minutes later as we cruised up the first trail we ran into our first snake. Luckily it was just a Garter but 50 yards later we saw our first Copperhead. Turns out luck was with us because while the Copperhead was big and mean looking it was also dead. It was the last snake or any type of wildlife we saw for the rest of the day.
When I think of back country riding I think of all day trips on rough trails cut into the side of a mountain with little in the way of civilization. Tanasi had that feel but the trails were a bit more groomed and were well taken care of. There were no highways near by or sounds of the city, just miles and miles of singletrack snaking through the woods climbing and descending. I don't think there was a single trail I disliked, everything was awesome, even the climbing wasn't that bad.
My three favorites were the Chestnut Mtn Loop, the River View Loop (which has no view of the river) and of course the all downhill badass, Thunder Rock Express. Damn that trail was fast and fun, I had heard good things about it and it lived up to everyone of my expectations and then some.
The T.R.E. dropped us off just up the road from our cars and we regrouped and discussed hitting another trailhead. Greg B. made a quick call to check the weather, we had been running from a T-storm what seemed like the entire ride but never felt a drop and we learned a nasty storm was in the area and headed our way so we decided since we were going back to Raccoon on Mon. we would call it a day and go grab lunch.
Once again I forgot the camera so I have nothing to show so you'll have to take my word for it that Tanasi is a must do. Plan to spend the weekend riding and whitewater rafting, camp at the Thunder Rock campground which is located at the trailhead and along the banks of the awesome Ocoee river.
Andy and I headed to the Whitewater center to check out the action. Just as we pulled into the parking lot the T-storm we heard about unleashed it's fury and had us running for cover. We grabbed a quick sandwich from the deli and sat outside under the patio and watched the kayakers surf the rapids.
That night we regrouped back at the "Back Yard" campground and met up with the girls to see what damage had been done in Atlanta. Luckily we had just enough left in the bank to eat dinner and pay for gas to get home home.
We cleaned up and hit downtown Chatt. for some dinner and frosty beverages. The restaurant of choice was the Blue Plate, kinda of a modern spin on the old school diner. Everything was decked out in a weird blue decor. At first I thought our dinner was going to be just ok and then I found the fish tacos. They were a bit fancier than I was used to but still very tasty.
One the way home I decided that stopping for ice cream was a good idea and everyone agreed. Sadly there were no ice cream shops open that late so we had to settle for a tub at the grocery store. After cruising the freezer isle and making my selection I headed toward the check out line to pay for my goods. I guess the tall boy PBR's I had a dinner were working their magic and I had started my white boy imitation of b boxxing or beat boxxing as I walked through the line. I really wasn't paying attention when the cashier asked me if I had anything to go with that. "Go with that I asked?" thinking he was referring to my ice cream. He said "no the beat" then he proceeded to imitate my b box tune. Rather than be embarrassed I said yeah and told him to continue while I added another sad white boy beat. The next thing I knew the manager standing at the end of the line added a deep base beat. While our beat box session would have made the Fat Boys cry I was pretty impressed that the grocery store employees had decided to join in rather than look at me like an idiot. When I got out to the car I told the story to Melinda & Abby who of course didn't believe me until Andy who had witnessed the whole thing from the next isle confirmed my tale.
The rain that had hit us earlier at the Ocoee followed us home pounding us every chance it got and making me wonder if we were going to get to ride the next day. Off and on it rained the rest of the evening sometimes ridiculously hard. Later that night just before I crashed out for the night I said a little prayer to God asking for dryer weather so Andy and I could ride once more before we had to go home.