This winding river road led to Cage’s Cove, a nature preserve. I saw deer and bear, crossed shallow streams in the car. I stopped to visit the past in log cabins and to say a prayer in an old wooden church. This slow 10 miles behind mini-vans and sedans braking every five seconds was a magical journey.
I did run Deals Gap—both ways—to and fro. At the motorcycle resort, I flirted with a gorgeous young man who looked Native American, bought my Tail of the Dragon sticker, a tee for me and for my son, and returned to thePigeonRiverand the Jacuzzi for my final night as a free spirit playing in the mountains.
The trip to home was a bit grueling. I’d played too long and was due back at work on Thursday. On Tuesday, I set cruise control at 85 and zippy-Z’d along the interstates. Eight hours of intense driving later, I stayed the night at a something hotel, ate something. On Wednesday, ditto on the cruise control and at 3:30 PM, I rolled intoHouston.
Time was to be, as it always is, too short. I left part of me in the mountains ofTennesseeandNorth Carolina.