I've been stopping by to see Uncle Roy for years now, never getting a chance to be here during one of his famous biker parties. This year I'm gonna get to his Spring Fling and see what all the commotion is about.
Kim and I take off at a leisurely pace Saturday morning determined to make the usual 2+ hour ride to the foothills of the Blue Ridge all on backroads (see typical intersection in Pic #01), making it more like 5 hours. After 20 minutes finding a good route and programming it into the GPS, strapping some folding chairs and a tripod onto the bike along with some pillows and blankets, we're putting along real slow on a number of rural roads between Durham and Wilkesboro, NC. Rider's Roost is on Hwy 268 just southwest of Wilkesboro, NC (home of the Annual 'Merle Fest' each spring) and throws a great biker party three times a year. That's where I'm heading today. I've bumped into Uncle Roy, the propriator of this Motorcycle-Only campground, several times before this - even read his book, Shovelhead Red - but this will be the first time staying at his place.
We're only on the parkway for 20 miles or so before we hit the city of Blowing Rock, where we head down the mountain again on Hwy 321 towards Lenoir... I'm riding this way to ride on the southern section of Hwy 268 - one of my favorite rides in this area. Getting to the campground at 4pm, Uncle Roy greets us and shows us to our cabin (Pic #02 - hey, cabins are MUCH better than sleeping on the ground) about 20 feet from the river (Pic #03). The scene from our back window is seen in Pic #04
The rest of these pics are from various angles around the campground or nearby. Before dark, I gingerly placed the camera back in it's bag with trembling fingers, zipped it up and hid it under my mattress to ensure I took no more pictures that would incriminate me, Kim or anybody who may take offense at their pictures being taken in a comprimising position...picked up my Budweiser and rejoined the crowd milling about the commons area. Dinner was served off the back porch of the main House (Pic #10) - catered BBQ'd pork and chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and bread...and beer of course. I ran into an internet bud, Dandy Dan (See Dear Muthuh section) and a friend of his from Anderson, SC... failed to get a pic of him though - sorry dude - and had a good talk with Uncle Roy inbetween his many old friends who come to visit at these parties.
Right after dinner, Kim and I bumped into some new friends at the cabin next to us, sat on the front porch doing what everyone at a biker party does, listening to some good ol-time rock n' roll, and getting shit-faced. Every now and then, we wandered back to the group fire, (mainly just as an excuse to go to the bathrooms), and stopped at the many mini-fires along the way - at least 20 of them throughout the campground. THIS is the best way of enjoying biking... Roy had told me earlier that after 12 yrs of doing these three times a year, there's yet to be one fist-fight...everybody was having a great time as evidenced by the occasional yee-haws and rebel yells, but mainly by the growing trash piles full of empties.
Pic #12 was of a field a couple miles away that I created a neat little panorama image of... CLICK HERE to display it in a new window.
We never bumped into Dandy Dan again that night - looked a few times, but the occasional beer offered to us as we passed by campfires tended to keep us toward the back of the campground, and before ya know it, the crawling radius around our cabin began getting shorter and shorter, til we eventually hit the sack to the tunes of Charlie Daniels wailing away from the porch of the next cabin. Well... that and the fact that this was the first extended time Kim and I had together without the kids in a while, and, we ...well..... like I said - cabins are a nice way to camp!
Morning was clear and not very chilly, so we packed up and started meandering our way home. Not a long trip by any means, but a fun one. If you find yourselves in the NC mountains, stop in at Rider's Roost or visit their site at www.ridersroost.com to find the next party night. I'm sure I'll be back again for more.
You can also hook up with Uncle Roy about getting his book, "Shovelhead Red: The Drifter's Way" - one of the best biker books I've read... good news is he has a sequel on the way ... tell him I sent ya.