What’s Been “H”appening July 17th, 2006

by Larry Greco, AGWA-Illinois Chapter H

Well, It's that time of year. Yep, were going to Knoxville, Tennessee for the Honda Hoot.  Our Chapter members going are Joel Gyurnek, Joe Hughes, Russ Prichard, Bob Sample, George Riebesehl and myself, Larry Greco.


We assemble at 5:00am on Saturday July 17, 2006 at the Citgo gas station at Roselle Road and Elgin O'Hare expressway.  Our plans are to arrive onTuesday in Knoxville, Tn.


We start riding on the Elgin- O'Hare expressway to route 90, then 294 South to route 80 East.  George has plans to visit his family and friends and leaves us in Brian, Ohio. WE continue on the Ohio Tollway (I 80) and exit at route 250 which is just South of Sandusky, Oh.  Route 250 is a two lane highway.  As we travel further South the straight road gives way to some twisties and a look of what lies ahead of us.


We travel through Amish country and pass several horse drawn carriages.  We arrive in Wheeling West Virginia around 4:00pm Chicago time.  It has been quite hot today and some of us enjoy a dip in our hotel swimming pool.


Our second days travel is from Wheeling to Staunton, Virginia. We will stay on Route 250 the way to Staunton.  Right around 275 miles today but several sections are just like Deals Gap roads.  Russ comments how easily it would be to get disoriented with all the turns that are one after another.  We would all agree with that statement.  It takes us 8 hours for our travels today and again it is very hot.  Parts of this route are through several miles of forest and the shade gives us some relief.


Our third day of travel takes us ten miles on Route 250 to mile 0 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. After a couple of 'U' turns (damn GPS) we enter The Blue Ridge and head South.  It is warm and Sunny again today and the shade from the trees gives us some relief again.  We stop at several look outs for pictures and to take a break.  The turns on the Parkway are way tamer than the one we rode on Route 250.  At one stop there is a lake.  A short distance on the other side there is a deer that is wading in the water and eating the vegetation.  At another stop there is a small dam.  As we stand on a platform over the dam I mention to Joe to look down.  There is a Snake that is about 4 foot long.  It is black with gold rings around it.  I think it is dead since it is not moving.  Joe throws a small rock and the Snake slithers into the rocks out of our sight.  Other wildlife sightings today would be Wild Turkeys and Turtles.


Our destination today is Boone, North Carolina.  One hundred fifty miles from there the skies open up and we get drenched before we can get on rain gear.  Ten minutes of rain and it stops.  The road is now steaming as we make our way to Boone.  Tomorrow our destination is Knoxville.  We have no planned route.  If it is nice we will continue on the Blue Ridge, and if not, its straight to our hotel in Knoxville.  Tuesday  brings us another very nice day.  We continue on the Parkway.  We exit at Asheville, North Carolina since most of us are tired and want to get a few minutes rest before going to the Hoot pre-registration party.  At the pre registration party we see some familiar faces, Bruce Hirsh, Dick and Betty Sieple, Bill and Cathy Creamer and Coffee Dick Scalpone.


Wednesday we spend at the Vendors area looking at items to add onto our rides and other clothing and gadgets.  Thursday is another nice sunny day.  We decide to complete riding the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We head to the South End in Cherokee, North Carolina and head up to Asheville.  We have lunch at The Pigah Mountain restaurant and it starts to rain.  During lunch it starts to pour and we view the clouds come in over the mountains.  After our lunch we head North as the rain stops and turns hot again.  Outside of Asheville we pick up route 63 and ride to route 209 into Hot Springs.  These roads are also very twisty and in my opinion are better than the Dragon of Deals Gap.


Friday are plans are to go to the party at The Museum of The Appalachians.  Severe Storms move in and we eat at a local restaurant.


Saturday we high ball it home.  It has been another great Hoot and are sure that we will be back next year.  In two weeks some of us will be going to Wing Ding in Nashville Tennessee, Hope to see you there.

Larry Greco