|How we roll: Tim, Mike, Jerry.|
An afternoon start would put us in the afternoon heat, but we could count on cooling temps in the evening hours, If you count low 90s and high 80s as cooling temps and not the defrost setting on your oven.
Jerry was the one promoting the Saturday ride, but it only took a slight nudge to get him to switch. Then there's Tim, fresh off the Cascade 1200K. He's always up for a ride, and I knew having him along would give us plenty of stories into the midnight hour. For the record, he said he liked the cold rain on Washington Pass better than the red hot Carolina sun.
The risk of starting in the afternoon is that a storm will jump up and bite you. And so it did. A black cloud full of angry electricity did the flash-and-burn and dumped on us but good until near Oxford. My riding pals kindly pointed out that I was the tall one in the group and would be the first one hit. (As it turned out, I did get hit that night -- not by lighting, but a bat. Flew right into my helmet. Radar must have been on the fritz.)
After Oxford it was smooth sailing. We stopped for water at Buchanan's, with its "Pull Your Pants Up" sign on the door.
Next, we swung into Lucky's, a roadside stand near the dam, for dogs, fries and shakes, the fuel of champions.
Here are a few obligatory shots from the dam. What a great time of day to cross it.
Not many pictures after dark, but the short story is a burger at McD's in Clarksville, a fun climb over Stovall Mountain with a copperhead in the road, free water in Oxford and back to the start by 1:37 a.m., then home to bed.
Thanks to Jerry and Tim for a fine time on the bikes.