Midweek Ride in 70 Degree February

This post is in: Motorcycle Riding


With temps reaching to almost 70 degrees this week, making it amazingly delightful for a late February it was time for some riding.  So on Thursday afternoon I finished my work early, and performed a quick safety check on the Buell.  Donning my leathers, closing all the vents first, I set out on a local errand in Weaverville.  Within five miles of the house my errand completed, before remounting the bike I had to open the arm vents on my three-season jacket.  I was actually a touch too warm, in February.  With that last responsibility out of the way I slipped onto Interstate 26 to hustle quickly north and out of town while opening up the motor a little.  I took the first exit, which allowed me to head across Jupiter Road through some nice twisty and well paved country roads.  Just the thing needed to warm up the tires and the reflexes before assaulting my planned pavement objective.  I had intended to ride up and down River Road along side the French Broad a couple of times before topping off the fuel tank and heading home to cook dinner.  I am working on a new cookbook, so the kitchen calls my attention a lot these days.


However, by the time I reached Routes 25 & 70 I felt the need for a longer ride.  Thus I turned my front wheel north again and headed into Madison County.  I figured I would do part of one of my favorite rides, up to Hot Springs and back via Leicester.  There are several roads I could turn on and take a shortcut back towards Leicester without going all the way to Hot Springs.  This would keep me off the higher elevations where there had been snow in the past few weeks.  While the recent rain should have washed away any salt & sand that the road department might have spread, there are places that see precious few hours of sunlight this time of year.  I learned a long time ago about black ice on mountain roads in those almost perpetual dark sections of pavement.

But my front wheel stayed glued on a northward heading.  When the road turned left at the Little Laurel River for the final ascent toward Hot Springs, I encountered the first pocket of cold air.  Resolving in my mind to turn around at Hot Springs, I blasted up and over Fire Fly Mountain.  When I arrived in Hot Springs I noted that a new building has been built where the old Paddlers Rest had been torn down last year.  That was a favorite lunch stop in years gone by, but the old building left a lot to be desired.  Hopefully they will return.   I sure liked the mini eggrolls and the salad with Granny Smith apples, goat cheese and Vidalia onion dressing.  I was so lost in my food thoughts that I just puttered through town and out onto Route 209.  Once there I just pressed on.


I had not intended to ride this road; one of my favorite roads, since I just felt it would surely have too much sand or debris from the recent snows and rains to be enjoyable.  Much to my surprise it was clean and clear.  There were some damp areas where if the temps were below freezing it would have been pure black ice.  I kept thinking that if this road was up north in New Jersey it would be impassable until early April most years.  Ah the joys of Carolina living and riding.  I stopped a couple of times to grab a few pictures to share.  Having forgotten to take a camera, I relied on my iPhone.  Check out the views and the curves on Route 209 and later along Route 63 heading back towards Leicester and Asheville.


In the end I had almost taken the exact route I would have taken on a midsummers evening as an after dinner ride.  I just completely missed my target of riding River Road.  Well that leaves something for tomorrow.

2 responses to “Midweek Ride in 70 Degree February”

  1. Mathew says:

    Billy….I haven’t had a bike for a few years and I really miss one. There is another bike in my future…but I hope that, in the meantime, you don’t mind if I ride vicariously through you!

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