I am coming to the end of my time in the Great Smoky Mountains and tomorrow it will be time to move to the next port of call but I must say that this place has been spectacular. Yesterday we rode the Blue Ridge Parkway, so named because it goes along a mountain ridge and it gets cold enough to turn your skin blue. I exaggerate, of course, but it was pretty darn chilly in them thar hills.
I did take a spill along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but don’t worry I was not injured. As our group pulled onto an overlook to stare at the scenery, I lost control of my bike in slow motion. If you are old enough to remember Laugh In and the old man character played by Arte Johnson, you will appreciate this. Johnson would ride a tricycle across the stage and then, all of a sudden, fall over. This is what happened to me. I was going slow, came to a stop, and somehow turned the wheel the wrong way and tipped over in slow motion. After we got the bike uprighted and it was determined that my passenger and I were OK, the laughing and mockery began. I can safely say that the only injury I received was a badly bruised ego, and if that’s the worst thing that happens, I will be all right with it.
Today I am taking some time to enjoy the Smokies from ground level by hiking in the woods. There are scads of trails in this park and they all warn you to look out for bears, so to protect myself, I will wear my Chicago Bears sweatshirt so they will think I am one of them.
Park officials said that if you encounter a bear, you should not run away but put your hands in the air to look bigger. Yeah, that should fool them. They also warned that you should not try to talk like a bear although I have no idea what that means. I guess you shouldn’t say things like, “Hey, Boo Boo, let’s get a pic-a-nic basket.”
The nice thing about hiking over biking is that you go at a much slower speed and falling over on the trail is almost expected. I will be carrying my walking stick which serves to steady my pace and can be used as a weapon in case I am attacked by killer squirrels.
I find hiking for a few hours to be a peaceful way to get exercise but I don’t understand the folks who hike the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Coast Trail for months at a time. I’m sure they enjoy it but it’s definitely not for me because there is no internet, you have to sleep on the ground, and unlike wild bears, I can’t poop in the woods.
Stay tuned for the next episode, coming to you from somewhere in North Carolina.