We returned from Europe, spent a couple weeks off the bike and, WOW!!!, man did I miss it. Since our Africa trip had to be postponed a couple months it left us open to go to the last Overland Expo of the season, Overland Expo East. After a note to the organizers that we would be available to present at the event, they accepted and it became a three week ride.
Leaving Gypsy’s Retreat on Wednesday morning we knew the day would suck like an overpriced Hoover. Raingear would become the fashion statement for the day as it was already raining as a weak excuse for a sunrise barely illuminated our driveway. So, after ten hours of rain, five bouts of tiny hail and a very squirrely motorcycle on the road we pulled in to our Bunk a Biker hosts home for the night. Checking the rear tire I discovered it to only have about 15 pounds of pressure in the tire. But, no obvious leak. Not a nail or even a puncture, that I could see. Our hostess got down on the ground to also have a look and she could hear a little hiss coming from the valve stem. The valve itself was loose, so that would be fixed in the morning.
Their house was decorated for Halloween with a whole yard full of ghastly and haunting figures. As the evening closed in around us the figures came to life, like scenes from a Netflix Halloween Spooktacular. They invited us in for a wonderful dinner complete with wine and we had a wonderful evening talking about each others adventures and rides.
The next morning we were up and ready to get to Overland Expo in Virginia. The morning was overcast and to the west you could see the rain coming. We decided that a more eastern route was needed and that we would try and avoid the storms in favor of a slightly longer route. Like they say, ‘Better lucky than good’, as it defiantly was in our favor today. We made it to Infinity Downs in Virginia and to the new site of Overland Expo East. It was a beautiful site but it seems to get further and further away from Overland two wheels and more in favor of four, or more. The motocamp area was well marked out, but, sadly, without many bikes. The motorcycle vendors consisted of two, so sad. When you arrive at these events on a motorcycle you intend to stay and not have to ride off in search of food, we don’t have refrigerators on the bikes. The food vendors consisted of two, one by accident. Remember, in excess of 10,000 to 15,000 people attend this event. By 16:30 pm one of the vendors had packed up to go, leaving only one vendor with very basic food for the entire place. Very disappointing as, after a sponsored happy hour, there was no food, leaving the dinner for the night a mixture of trail mix and crackers. I don’t drink and drive. Not good! Anyway, the event was busy with many people wondering about. We did our presentation, ‘Yes, You Can’, on how we do and finance our world travels to an appreciative audience.
The Expo drew to an end on Sunday and we decided to stay another night and leave on Monday morning. Tim and Marissa Notier, world travelers, AKA Notier Frontiers (it rhymes), stayed over Sunday night also. they were headed north, the same way as us. I would have liked to travel a couple days with them but we had to stop and buy a new stove, ours crapped out. As we continued north I thought we might run across them, but not this time. Another time maybe, another continent.
We zigged our way to the Pennsylvanian border looking for the place the leaves would start changing. Still too early, even up here. I was in desperate need of a new tire, but like Europe, no one had one in stock. I finally found a rear tire in a small town in West Virginia so I rode over to have it put on. I know why I carry tire irons now. It’s to change my bikes tires because the dealerships will just rip you off. After they were done the bill for labor was over $180. I complained and they went to investigate. I told them I would have just done it myself because I hate getting ripped off. They came back and said it was a mistake and they knocked off 0.5 hours of labor. It just pisses me off. At least they got me in right away.
We headed back south, following the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway along the ridge of the Appalachians. It was slow going but we did see some leaf colors at the higher sections of the mountains. We stayed a few nights in a National Forest in north Georgia at about 4000 feet and it was great, except the 35 degrees at night. While we were getting supplies at Wal-Mart in Blairsville, Georgia, the coolest thing happened. We were walking down the isle and a couple friends that we haven’t seen in ten years came up behind us. They are IB riders but were there in their Jeep and had parked across from ‘a well traveled motorcycle’. Upon closer inspection and a look at the 2WANDRS tag, realized it was us! We chatted for a bit and then invited us to their campsite fro dinner and a chat. They happened to be camped only about seven miles from our camp. We had a great night. Thanks Valerie and David for chasing us down.
Over the weekend we stopped over near Tellico Plains, Tennessee for a couple nights. Several friends were camping for the weekend. We had to be gone to meet our kids near Helen, Georgia for the weekend. It was great seeing our fellow tribe members, if only for a short time.
Our son and his family were on their maiden tent camping trip and it went great. We were in Helen for the 50th anniversary Oktoberfest which we have done with them several times. Saturday was spent in town in a beer garden. then the evening at the main Festhaus. The beer was good, the food okay, but no German music. Oh well, as we all made plans to celebrate another Oktoberfest in Germany next time. We all had a wonderful time, as we always do.
Sunday morning and we were off for the eight hour ride back to Gypsy’s Retreat. When we are here there is always something to do.
Cheers, and hopes for world travel again,