Cades Cove

Bucket lists. Creepy and unattainable, or optimistic reminder to live life to its fullest? I don’t personally have a formal one, but I certainly have ideas about things I’d like to do. This spring, I did one:SmokyMts2014 001My husband and I biked the loop at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! During the spring and summer, the park shuts down the 11 mile auto loop that winds through the cove to all motorized traffic twice a week for about 3 hours in the mornings. For those precious hours, only pedestrians and bicyclists are allowed. We got up very early, rented bikes, and biked it on the first day it was closed to cars during the 2014 season. It was awesome.

SmokyMts2014 101With views like this, it’s easy to see why the auto loop is very popular. During high season, the one-way road through the cove often resembles a parking lot with cars inching along it, lined up bumper-to-bumper. Which sounds miserable, but even with all of that, I’ve always managed to see a stunning variety of wildlife the times I’ve been viewing the cove from a car. There are old homes, churches, and barns from back when folks lived in the cove that can be toured, and there are plenty of places to park so you can access the several trail heads found along the loop at various points.

But from a bike? What a difference! It was so peaceful and beautiful. We saw several black bears, lots of deer, wild turkeys, and heard so many song birds. It was just magical, biking along as the fog that gives the mountains their name began to clear.

SmokyMts2014 104 SmokyMts2014 123And look at all of these empty parking spaces!SmokyMts2014 112I’m ready to do it again. 🙂

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Rolling, rolling, rolling

Although I love vintage bicycles and we have a few project ones waiting to be properly fixed-up in our barn, I must admit I was surprised and delighted when my husband decided to treat us to new bikes this summer. Those fixer-uppers will be put into working order, they will, but it’s really nice to have something reliable and ready for use NOW. (I hope that doesn’t mean that I have to turn in my vintage girl card!)

We got touring/cruiser style ones. I love mine. Love it. In fact, I appreciate it a little more every time I ride it. I had a mountain bike for years, which was nice, but I like this better. I don’t feel much of a need to off-road it anymore, plus the frame on that one was always a little small for me, so the mountain bike has been neglected. I’m not training for a race or riding to work, so a super-sporty road bike would be a waste.  Nope. A nice comfy touring bike suits my needs perfectly now. And we’ve been taking them out pretty frequently…


More to come about some of the beautiful chunks of the Erie to Ohio trail we’ve managed to bike thus far!