>GYPSY TOUR ARRIVES AT BIG MOUNTAIN RUN

By: chesshirecat

Jun 08 2010

Category: Uncategorized

4 Comments


>Big Mountain Run:
A Biker Party in the Mountains of Tennessee
By
Marilyn Elmore-Bragg

As you may recall, I left you at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. It’s here the riders of the Gypsy Tour made our rest stop for the evening after an adventurous ride of over 200 miles for those starting at Tilley’s HD, or just about 300 miles for those who started the ride With Chris Callen at Wicked Willy’s.

The campers and guests of the proprietors of Wheels Through Time, began rousing early, I started to hear people stirring about the camp near six A.M. By 8 AM, our dutiful host; Dale Walksler, arrived with a huge supply of coffee and breakfast sandwiches from Micky D’s! There was plenty to go around, I was so grateful for the unexpected Sausage McMuffin and the dark aromatic coffee. Thank you Dale, for your thoughtful participation with the Gypsy Tour!

IMAGE CAPTION: WHEELS THROUGH TIME…THE CHEERING SECTION

A call went out before we started the “great round-up” or the call to arms. For the third time since we started riding the day before, one of our riders was experiencing electrical problems. His original regulator burned out and was replaced for the 1st time while we were milling about the parking lot at Tilley’s HD. I’m not sure if the regulator they used was new or not, but by the time we stopped to let our band of merry pranksters catch up with us (about 48 miles later) the 2nd call for my 7/16 deep well socket was soon in the air. This time someone from the group goes digging about his saddle bags and holds up a brandy wine new regulator. So while the main force of the group waited for the second half to rejoin us, this fella with the Low Rider, towing a very heavy trailer package, replaced the faulty regulator with the new one from our donor supplier! I was standing with my dropped jaw attracting flies. I was astounded at the resourcefulness of some riders. I never would have thought to travel with a spare regulator!

IMAGE TITLE: LOWRIDER RECEIVING NEW REGULATOR

IMAGE TITLE: LOWRIDER AND TRAILER:

I believe the regulators used previously were not up to the job due to the fact they were not figuring in the extra weight of the heavy steel trailer being pulled by this intrepid yet hard working little Low Rider. I’m not sure, but I believe the new regulator came from the shop of Dale and Matt. It was determined what regulator would serve this poor hard working little bike the best, and it was soon handed over to the master of the Low Rider for installment. There were no more problems with this bike’s regulator after this final installment! Three cheers for Dale once more! The most incredible host ever!

Before departing the green lush grounds of Wheels Through Time; Chris Callen and Michael Lictner called another meeting of the guys and gals who were riding with the Gypsy Tour with them. Once more Michael stressed what he expected from us. He didn’t want anyone to ride outside their comfort zone. We had the crew from the Motor Drome riding with us. I don’t think those guys have any zones that aren’t comfortable! Their Pans and Knucks were riders from the day. Can you imagine the stunt riders not riding em like cowboys in a Wild West show riding their cow ponies for effect?

Before breaking up and heading to our steel mounts, we all cheered and thanked Matt and Dale for their wonderful and unprecedented support of the Gypsy Tour! These men fed us, entertained us, provided comfortable land with both water and shade for our tired bodies, and gave us permission to have the run of the property while there. This is how we partied back in the 70’s. With hard ridden motorcycles, coon eyed riders, and late night stories, we were given the best of everything a ragged band of riders like us could ask for. I wish everyone could know how it is to pack up your motorcycle and ride with about 100 bikes for hundreds of miles. No stopping every 30 or 50 miles. This was a bunch of hard riding riders who carried all their equipment with em. We don’t need no stinkin’ support vehicle! Thanks for the memories Matt and Dale!

IMAGE CAPTION: ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO THE DRAGON

Leaving the museum grounds in Maggie Valley for the Dragon with the able JoAnn in the lead once more, we line up for our opportunities to ride beside Chris and Michael for our picture ops. Somewhere in the group behind me is the Motor Drome boys. As we are tooling along, I noticed the group behind us has disappeared. I ride to catch up with JoAnn and tell her we are pretty much alone.

IMAGE CAPTION: JOANNE ON HER BEAUTIFUL CHOPPER

JoAnn, her man David and I get turned around and we find two more Drome riders waiting for the group behind us to catch up. We pull up into the medium and sit with them for a few moments. It’s been too long. They should have caught up some time before we arrived.

IMAGE CAPTION: DAVID AND HIS BMR CYCLE SOURCE SPORTSTER

So off we went, tearing back towards what?…well, we didn’t know what we would find. About an 1/8 mile back, we see one of the drome riders bikes lying on her side. Skid marks through the grass in the medium as well as behind the bike where she lie in the grass told a story that gave shivers down our backs. The bike it’s self appeared in fair shape for the distance she traveled down both sides of the highway. Our group was parked on both sides of the road as well as at a business not far from the accident scene.

My little group pulled next to a small group of riders. It’s here we find out what’s happened to our motor drome friend. He was performing for Michael’s camera: standing on the saddle, when his front wheel went into a wobble. Unable to recover from the wobble, the highly experienced drome rider bailed safely, suffering bruises and scrapes. An ambulance appeared, and the rider was taken away for examination. I didn’t learn of anything more about him or his condition, I pray it was exactly as I perceived originally. Michael caught the bail out on film. I’ve seen the photo…what an amazing shot!

The ambulance leaves and our group move on once more. Not much farther down the road we arrive at Deals Gap. This is the little crossroads resort/store dedicated to the riders of the Dragon. Here you will be able to buy gas, T-shirts, pins, stickers, food… you can even rent a room and stay a night or a week. The wrecked bike is in the back of a pick-up truck owned by one of our Gypsy Riders. Chris and a couple of other guys grab a few pieces of wreckage (the headlight ring and a spot light), and head for the Tree of Shame. In order to reach the lower branches, the guys turned a picnic table on end: leaning it against the weathered, deeply wrinkled skin of the old Oak. All about the branches are the memorandums of previous wrecks here at The Dragon. The guys are determined that the remains of our accident will also fly the “Freak Flag” here at THE TREE OF SHAME!

Image Caption: The long and rocky road to fame

IMAGE CAPTION: STEPPING BACK TO HONOR OUR OWN FALLEN MAN

Eventfully everyone has settled down. Our shopping was completed, our lunch meal consumed, and the bikes have been refueled. Tennessee is a helmet state; we don our helmets and head up the mountain into Tennessee on SR 129. The Dragon never fails to awe me, but with Chris and Michael ahead of the train of motorcyclists, the excitement brewed deeper, more powerful. Like the intense heat of a sauna, complimented by the water poured on the hot volcanic rock. Moving along the curves and hair pins wheel to wheel with these two masters of the tools they were manipulating was exciting. There wasn’t one of us who didn’t chatter about this like kindergarten boys and girls giggling about the stars we earned on our level of skill with a crayon.

IMAGE CAPTION: VIEWING AREA ABOVE THE DAM SR 129 THE DRAGON

We all stopped at the viewing area on SR 129 on our return trip to Deal’s Gap. The Dragon wasn’t open the entire route due to a rock slide a few month earlier. We all pulled over for photo op over the valley. What a wonderful place to be! I think there are a lot of people who would have loved to have us just then.

IMAGE CAPTION: OH CHRIS, YOUR HELMET IS NOT A DILDO!

The Dragon has been conquered and vanquished once more. It’s time for our Gypsy Tour to get back on the road. We still had to ride The Cherohala Skyway. Sixty miles of mountain riding. From mountain top to mountain top: spectacular vistas, a fantastic opportunity to polish skills, or to relax and enjoy just being in the mountains, the wind in our faces, the aromas of new pine growth and honeysuckle vine. Whatever it was that gave us the joy we had in our bones that day, the GYPSY RIDE was the opportunity that brought us all together to experience it. I’ll leave this part of this powerful feeling and story to those of us who were there. You had to be there…you really did.

Pulling into Hiwassee River Campground, we are greeted by the sight of LED SLED, JR’S CYCLE PRODUCTS, GARAGE COMPANY CUSTOMS and many….many motorcycles that have that lovely look of being rode hard and put up wet. Here are few of the bikes that made my saliva glands become overactive.

IMAGE CAPTION: CHECK OUT THE GRILL ON THE GAS TANK!

IMAGE CAPTION: WHAT IS THE FAWCET ALL ABOUT?

IMAGE CAPTION: BIKES, BIKES AND MORE BIKES

IMAGE CAPTION: THE BLOODY BOOTS TRIBUTE BIKE TO VETS

I hope you are beginning to get an idea of what this event is really about. It’s not about big fancy motorcycles that are trailered to events around the country. It’s all about the chopper built to ride. It’s about the garage builder. It’s about riding a bike YOU’VE built and YOU RIDE!

Now listen up, this event will be read about in many venues. There were an awful lot of us writer types there. Rogue from Easy Riders, and JoAnn was there writing for Thunder Press. Chris of course had journalists there to write for his own publication CYCLE SOURCE. There are tons of pictures floating around of people like Bean’er, the LED SLED GANG, and of the BIKER wedding that happened at the old church just outside the entrance of the PRIMITIVE campgrounds. Yes, that’s right I said primitive. No electric at your camp site for your damn camper so don’t bring em. Nor is there sewer at your campsite for your RV. So don’t bring it. This is for campers. Or you can stay in one of the many cabins surrounding the entrance of the campgrounds. OR…you can stay in the bunk house, which does have electricity where you can go and charge your cell phone (which didn’t get service at the campgrounds,) use an electric blower to air up your mattress (that’s what I did.) I’m hopeful this event will always stay primitive. I’m hoping it will always be about the motorcycle, about the rider, and about the RIDE!

There was an awful lot of fun had at the BIG MOUNTAIN RALLY. Live music, live entertainment, fire breathing act, and Bean’er’s race to the river (there are videos on you tube of this.) There were the traditional biker games of rolling the beer barrel with your front wheel, the greased plank and burnouts.
So I’m gonna leave those things to the other writers. I’m gonna extol my praises toward the heart and soul of THE BIG MOUNTIAN RUN. I’m gonna tell ya it’s all about YOU, YOUR BIKE, and THE RIDE! It’s about respect and brotherhood. It’s about the good family fun that can be had without extreme nudity or stripper poles. I had so much fun at this event, and so did everyone I spoke to who attended. All without the beads and the “SHOW US YOUR TITS” mentality.

So there ya go, and here I go…and here are some more pictures for your enjoyment!

IMAGE CAPTION: BLOODY BOOTS ETCHING

IMAGE CAPTION: THE BACHELOR CAMP

IMAGE CAPTION: EVEN THE YOUNG GUYS HAD FUN

IMAGE CAPTION: THE BOYS AT THE BUNK HOUSE

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4 comments on “>GYPSY TOUR ARRIVES AT BIG MOUNTAIN RUN”

  1. >I'm sure next years BMR will be a blast and more people will take part of this most incredible of bike events. But BMR 2010 will go down in history as the Woodstock of m/c experiences. We didn't have 100,000 people but everyone who was there will be old and gray (hell some of is are already old and gray) and when we talk about the great times of our lives, we'll be teling stories of the 2010 BMR, "remember riding the Dragon with Michael shooting? Riding wheel to wheel? Remember Bean're sliding down the ramp in the gravel and his bike flipping? Remember hanging out at our campsite having the best time in years?" It was a unique place and time. It was a hippy biker ride and party that was a ride straight through a time tunnel and into the 70's.

  2. >Sounds like you had fun. Kind of reminds me of the rides we do here a couple of time per year. Ours are more spur of the moment but every bit as much fun. Keep it up girl as it just does'nt get any better.Johnbikin-ridin.blogspot.com

  3. >Sweet post. I love seeing all the old houses and ruins that one finds along a good motorbike route. Nice shots of the engraved bikes, I've been thinking of engraving some things on mine as well, considering the epic trip it's now been on. Still going, in SD now.

  4. >I'm so jealous!! I haven't been to the Dragon since 07….I'm so ready to go back and break in the new 250 🙂 Looks like you had a great ride!!


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