Monday, June 2, 2008

Vol Fan and I almost died this weekend....

"How?" you ask. Mainly from thinking we are 21 instead of 41 (well, 37 for Vol Fan) and thinking that we weigh about 50 pounds less than we do and thinking that we are strong when we are weak and thinking we are fit when we are fat and thinking that we can do something again just because we did it many, many years ago.

What was so hard? What almost led to our deaths? Just a simple little bike ride around scenic Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

For those who have never visited Cades Cove, it is a beautiful section in the Smokies with an 11 mile loop around the edges of the cove. It is filled with pioneer cabins and barns and primitive churches and deer and bear and usually lots of people driving around the loop. Thanks to lovvornbk100 at for this beautiful shot!

Years ago, Vol Fan and I went camping up there and took our bicycles to ride around the loop. We had a lot of fun, even packing in a picnic lunch. Yes, there were some hard climbs that I would walk but we made it without thinking that we were going to die. Not so this time!!

Vol Fan's mom and step-father were camping up there for the weekend. So we decided to join them. We picked up Vol Fan's niece, Tri Girl, and a friend of hers from school. We made it up there around noon. So we sat and chatted at the campsite and then had a bite of lunch.

Then Vol Fan and I made our fateful decision. We took off on our bikes around the cove. We told them to come searching for us if we had not returned in 3 hours, thinking this would give us PLENTY on time to casually ride the loop, sight see, gawk at bears and/or deers, and stop for the occasional rest.

Things went pretty well for, oh, the first 1/2 mile. Then we hit a hill. Me, being the wimp that I am, got off and walked. Then rode down the other side. Then we hit a hill. Me, being a wimp, got off and walked. Then rode down the other side. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat..................

We finally made it to the visitor center and the lady said we had only 5 miles to go. Did she see the color of red that my face was from exertion? Did she see me dripping with sweat (to the extent that it looked like I had peed in my pants which I assure you I had not!)? Did she see my pulse thundering at the base of my neck? Apparently not, because it was "only 5 miles to go"!?!

Yes, we were able to finish the loop without having to be rescued. There are a couple of places where you can cut through the middle, cutting off several miles. I was really tempted to take the second shortcut but I had been talking some shit to Vol Fan's brother and sister-in-law (something about them being big _____s for not wanting to ride with us) so I would not, nay, could not take the shortcut!!

Yes, we did learn our lesson. We are middle-aged, fat, weak, over confident, etc.... But it was a lot of fun!


Kandace said...

WOW! Sounds totally NUTS! Glad you are okay and still had a little fun.

Kandace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

yikes! you're such brave outdoorsy people. my huzz and i are going to the park in july and don't have any plans to bike--maybe a bit of hiking, but no biking. :)

Corinne said...

See, this is why I think rickshaw's are great inventions (if you are the one riding inside, that is).

The picture is just beautiful! I'm glad to hear you and Russell survived your beautiful bike ride of doom.