Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Report: FART 2012

FART 2012 (the Fall Appalachian Riding Tour) was held on October 4-7, 2012, in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  FART 2012 (the first FART) is the Fall counterpart to the Spring HeleN Back event, both organized by Ken Insley, a member of the web discussion board.

I shared the ride to and from FART with fellow club members Paul Winter and Becky Hucks.  After meeting Paul and Becky at the Highway 211/74 overpass, we rode Highway 74 to Polkton and used Highway 218 to bypass the usual traffic slow-down in Monroe.  Then we used I-285 around Charlotte, I-85 and US 64 westward, and then I-26 north to Asheville.  At Hendersonville, we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway via Highway 276 and enjoyed riding the parkway to Maggie Valley.

The Fall 2012 FART was held at the Jonathan Creek Inn.  When we arrived, we were greeted with a festive, fall display.

Based on my casual count of bikes in the parking lot, I would estimate that FART was attended by sixty riders (more or less,).  A few FART attendees stayed in other nearby hotels and/or campgrounds.

During FART, I was able to share some riding time with riding companions from Florida whom I had met at past Blue Ridge Rendezvous and and El Paseo events (the predecessors to FART and HeleN Back).  This riding group included some of my riding companions from my summer ride in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

The riding during FART was spectacular, especially the leaves, which were beginning to change color.  

The weather was wonderful and afforded us two days of "vigorous" riding.

The first day's ride included a stop at the General Store at Deal's Gap.

The second day's ride included a stop in Hot Springs, where we saw a group of adventure riders preparing to head out into the wilderness.

The weekend's weather was great, the Fall colors were beautiful, and the views along the Blue Ridge Parkway were spectacular.

Early Sunday morning, we had T-storms pass through Maggie Valley.  Fortunately, by the time Paul, Beck, and I departed, the rain had stopped and all we had to contend with was road spray.  We were fortunate enough to arrive home about an hour before T-storms developed in Wilmington.

FART, and it's Spring counterpart, HeleN Back, are great events and encourage you to try to attend one of these at some point.  Watch the web forum for announcements of these future events.

You can enjoy more of my photos from FART via two Google Picasa albums (my group riding album and some general FART event photos).

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