TAT Day 3 – From Rain to Shine

  
Woodsmoke Campground, TN – Elkmont Campground, TN via NC (south of Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains)

Miles Ridden – 180
Total Miles – 421
Today’s Travel Time- 10.5hrs
Animal Totem- Porcupine 
What I learned today – There is a very fine line between being terrified and having fun. 
Learning our lesson from yesterday’s unexpected events, we were up at 6am, eating and packing up camp in a light drizzle. My dad didn’t have a rain hat so in typical Macgyver fashion he crafted one out of a plastic bag 🙂 
  
The morning drizzle continued and fog began to gather around us as we climbed up, up, up a forest service road which overlapped with the Appalachian Trail for a few miles. 

 

 Eventually we were so completely socked in by fog we could barely see the trail in front of us much less the view from the top. Low visibility and slick conditions added to the already rocky forest service road had my adrenals pumping- what if I had to break and turn at the same time?! But after a little while of this I suddenly realized- I was having the freaking time of my life!!! I was present, focused, alive. The majestic fog was beautiful, the air crisp and cool. Yes, life was good.
  
After we came down out of the fog we made our way winding through the gorgeous mountains to Hot Springs, NC, where the TAT and the AT run right through town. By the time we pulled in to refuel the sun was blazing and the morning’s mist and drizzle was a distant memory.
We laid out our wet gear to dry on our bikes and got a bite to eat. During lunch we looked at the TAT maps and made the assessment that our original goal of 200 miles a day was quite simply not gonna happen given the terrain and our pace. 

 

On to plan B! Well we didn’t have a plan B….so we’re just gonna have to make it up as we go along. Luckily I love all things maps, planning and navigation so that night at camp I sat down and hatched a tentative plan for the next 3 days with the new goal of 150-175 miles/day.
After lunch we popped into an outdoors store where dad got a proper rain hat and I got a new friend- Henry! Henry is a little Porcupine finger puppet who likes to ride along on the back of my bike 🙂

 

He caught my eye and I just had to snag him. Porcupines represent innocence, fun, and a playful child-like spirit. I hope Henry will help me remember why I’m here whenever I start taking the TAT too seriously. 
The rest of the afternoon was mostly spent on pavement, winding through the amazingly beautiful Smoky Mountains. 
  
  
We even got to camp with some daylight to spare, ready for food and sleep. 

   

                 

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12 thoughts on “TAT Day 3 – From Rain to Shine

  1. Larkin – this is incredible! I’m loving being on this amazing trip “with you”! Continue to enjoy every moment (even if it’s wet or a bit scary!)! Glad Henry has joined y’all! XOXO

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  2. Love, love your blog – your insights your honesty. Who you are comes shining through! You are “riding” your path🎆
    RIDE “OM”
    Mom

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  3. I love the blog!!! I also love the emails Stefan is sending and the video of you crossing the creek. Awesome!!! What a wonderful adventure and test of yourself!

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  4. Great fun reading this. As Richard said in a text this is quite different than blasting down nice paved roads gobbling up 4-500 miles/day. Can’t wait to see what the next days will bring for you. Love the pics! Radar looks good in Tn this morning…hope that is the case for you.

    Terry

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  5. Hi there — discovered the link to your blog through the TAT Facebook presence, and I’m curious to know (forgive me if you’ve answered this & I haven’t read it yet) what your offroad experience level is prior to the ride? I’d love to do portions of the TAT, but am a novice rider…. not sure if this is a “someday” dream, or something to plan!

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  6. Wow, what a cool trip! I found you through another riding blogger, Kellyva and will follow your trip. Have a great time! My favorite line “there is a very fine line between being terrified and having fun.” That has been my experience off road as well. 😉 Lynne

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