Letters To The Editor

by

Donna Warren

August, 2006

This month's question was posed by Laura S. our road trip tour leader. Spokes-Women is based in Central New Jersey. Our club members live over a 80-mile radius from our meeting place with a couple of members living in New York City and just over the line in Pennsylvania. As a result of all this geographical dispersion, a good deal of our conversations are conducted by email. Laura made an inncoent comment about Route 221 which goes through the Great Smoky Mountains and is an old skinny narrow highway.

Lethal Laura: "WOW ! I keep forgetting that I have more experience than most. Let's take a survey. Of those who rode or ....drove that road....how many thought it was a great road, challenging but manageable.....their type of riding? How many thought that it was insane....never want to go near it again?"

Angel Fish Alex: "HA! Rt221 required more than technical mc skills. It required a belief in God and the afterlife, insanity and a megadose of Xanax and Valium!!!!! And who says we don't have a sense of humor?"

Cathy G: "I can remember my thoughts clearly that night, as that is really all I have to entertain myself.

      1. I thought we were doing Deal's Gap tomorrow
      2. Shit I didn't know I could do that
      3. Jesus we still seem to be climbing
      4. Shouldn't you be in a resort someplace warm and dry
      5. I hope we hit the crest soon I don't want to be on this road in the dark
      6. Thank God I did Sturgiss last year to prepare me for this
      7. Well your getting better on the descent but you're still better going uphill,and more comfortable, well maybe tomorrow. Downshift again stupid!!
      8. Michelle! Dim your headlight you are blinding me
      9. Is that a slab I see , There's comfort in concrete, I have visibility of more than 100 ft
      10. There's a lot of trucks here, there's a lot of riders still far behind
        me, whoops we're really not together here, Only Alex & Jan in front of me
        and Michelle in back, don't lose her, slow down
      11. Does that trucker know I'm here, I can't hear my F-- horn how can he?
      12. Michelle! Your lights!
      13. We're getting off , motel must be close.
      14. I'm gonna remember that ride!! For a long time.
      15. Well we're here!
      16. Exactly how much worse can Deal's Gap be? I think you will do OK tomorrow, you might even like it in the daylight on dry road
      17. In all the pictures the road through Deal's Gap was paved right?
      18. Went over and dimmed Michelle's headlight "

Liz S: "I've been riding 11 years, and to me Rte 221 was the second most challenging road I've ridden (the most challenging was that road up in VT, you know the one I mean). I kept talking to myself saying things like, OK, you KNOW you can do this - just ride at your own pace - stay alert and on top of things - look through the turns - good thing I'm short, or I might have banged my head on that boulder (yeah, right) - oh, crap, I hope the trucks & trailers don't hit it - just a little farther and there will be some nice, dry clothes and shoes waiting.

Also, having Alex's four-way flashers guiding me through the fog was a HUGE help, physically and psychologically.And I'm all for doing it again - hopefully in nicer weather! The conditions were certainly a huge part of the challenge."

BZ Rider: "221 would have been nicer in daylight! We were in fog so thick the only things I could see were the double yellow lines to my left and the tail lights of the bike in front - that is unless I got more than 5 inches away from them."

Pool Shark Patty: "Oh yeah....did I see water falls splashing down onto Route 221, or was that my imagination, or another road(s) ? Alex got it right...the experience cannot be measured no matter the cost; only valuable lessons & here is one: "While moutain road touring, remember all rocks, boulders and falling water have the right of way. Just start repeating the "Oh Jesus" mantra made famous by Barbara Zimmerman! Driving Route 221...No problem!"

Mickey: "It was like dancing with the mountains."

Carol P: "I remember driving in the rain and fog in Judy and Tam's brand new truck laughing, and saying, Patty must be shitting in her pants about now, and is wishing I was driving the truck.Not knowing she was ahead of us. When we got to the boulder that was sticking out. I laughed and said holy shit, can we make it through this, and once again thinking about how Patty was going to feel when she saw this wonderful rock. I still laugh when I think about it, cause as you see her concern was about the cost of everything. My attitude was, I have insurance. That's why I love Patty. She can make me laugh and think back to when I thought the same way as her."

Patty and Alex went one further and took their cue from the very popular MasterCard commercials.

Angel Fish Alex:
Hair color to cover the grey hairs got while riding....cost $9.99
Botox/wrinkle creams ect. to hide the aging on ones face after getting scared to death....cost $ 1000.00 +
Muscle relaxers to relieve the "death grip" on our hands/fingers....cost $100.00
Sharing this experience with a great group of women....Priceless!!!!!

Pool Shark Patty:
Carol's truck with automatic lift....cost $40,000
Carol's Harley with new accessories...cost $30,000
Pat's spanking new Trailor...cost $1000
Pat's Trike with new tire, CB, highway pegs, specialized grpahics, & recent maitenance...cost $30,000
Seeing a boulder jutting over the road with no place to go...cost 5 years off life
Making it around boulder and off Rt 221...priceless!

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