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I enthusiastically ignored the mid 30s temperature, looking to the low 40s predicted. And ignored the effects of altitude. Popped the sheepskin on the bike, and Ms. G and I headed out. Latex gloves under polypro liners in Thinsulate gloves. Sweat pants under riding pants. My insulated jacket, balaclava, scarf. Warm enough.

Sunshine, dry enough roads, we sliced up Rt. 321 across Ft. Loudon dam, views of the Smokies over the water. Salt and pepper with snow in the high country. Passed under I40 into the domain of the Department of Energy. And some smooth sweepers. By the access road to the TRU waste facility, across White Oak Creek with it's guarding fences and radiation warning signs. Then on to 58 and right on 327, swinging around behind the K-25 facility, heart of the uranium enrichment process for the Manhattan project. K-25, once the world's largest building, is slowly coming down. The transite siding is mostly gone. And bits of the structure are gradually disappearing.

Finally, a right on 61 and into Oliver Springs. Used as a location for shooting "October Sky." Old coal town. On to 330, getting more remote. Finally, after endless sweepers, a left onto 116. And up. More and more up. Until the hairpin turn on a switchback ahead looked like a wall. Parking lot speed, amazingly steep, leaning into the wall with the throttle rolled back. And the bike politely wafted around, using most of our lane but not going out of it. There were more. And finally, cold and clear at the top and we twisted our way down into a long long valley, the river growing larger at our side, bare trees marked by surviving hemlocks here and there. And then a sharp turn across a bridge and up another river. By a coal processing facility. Eventually to Frozen Head Natural Area. And up more tight turns and switchbacks. I tapped the pegs lightly a good deal, and simply had to grind one hard to twist up a right hander.

Eventually we wound down to Petros and Brushy Mountain, a quite famous 1920s prison. And then the hot chocolate and snack, fast curvy highways south, another fine scenic route (US70) and back home. 140 miles in an afternoon, with water pouring off sunkissed cliffs, huge windmills on one ridgeline, worn buildings, worn people, worn towns, woods taking over fields, restored strip mines, whitewater, and a growing wind bashing us here and there.

I think I just hit 5000 miles for the year. Starting in June.
 

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Sounds like an exciting day. I can't remember my last ride ... having withdrawal symtoms ... but your account has eased the pain a little. Happy New year.
 

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Rode the triangle last year and it was like going back in time. Very interresting ride over all. Have to watch the cruves for gravels in the road. Not all smooth pavement but plenty of curves especially 2 or 3 were switch backs.
 
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