A Gaslight Murder Motorcycle Adventure
“Give her the rein and let her fly; tomorrow we solve the murder in the sky.”
Gruesome? Yes. Brutal? You bet. Such were the descriptions given to the murder that surprised a small North Carolina hamlet almost 200 years ago, and is still being talked about today. “Think we can unravel the mystery?” Roo asked . “Elementary, my dear Roo, elementary.”
Friday, July 24-A European Flair
Beautiful weather awaited us on this Friday morning. A perfect day for the start of a motorbike trip. Roo drove the beagles to the kennel as I put the finishing touches on packing and loading up the ST. Our destination and base of operations for this Gaslight Murder Adventure is Little Switzerland, North Carolina. European in name and mountainous terrain, it is home to The Big Lynn Lodge, our home away from home this weekend. Our moto club, the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association, holds the Big Lynn Lodge Ride event here each year. A homey, rustic lodge, it sits right on NC Hwy 226A, known as The Diamondback Motorcycle and Sports Car Route; and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What is a “Gaslight” murder, you may be wondering. The term “gaslight” refers to objects or events that were made or took place before the advent of electricity, typically prior to the start of the 20th century. In this instance, the murder in question occurred in 1833. But, more on that later………………..
We roll out of our drive and head north towards the mountains. Climbing continuously, we watch the temperature drop as the elevation rises. I always get excited as the ST’s nose angles upward and the roads get curvier. Our lunch destination today is Mt. Mitchell State Park, North Carolina. The park sits right off the Blue Ridge Parkway, and has a great restaurant with fantastic food. The views from the floor to ceiling windows are spectacular. Mt. Mitchell has the honor of being the tallest peak in the Eastern U.S., reaching skyward to 6,684 ft.
As we pull into the restaurant parking area, we aim for the designated “motorcycle only” parking, and fittingly, the ST goes right to the head of the class:
The lineup was perfect for what Roo and I call “bike shopping”, seeing what other riders are riding and checking out their bikes. This row of motorbikes held a beautiful Ducati Pagnale (the red one in above photo), a couple of adventure bikes, mostly BMW’s, and this Kawasaki side car rig that could be what the great Johnny Cash was referring to when he sang “I’ve been everywhere, man.”:
And it looks it too. Very cool.
After a great lunch, we strolled round enjoying the refreshingly cool 66 degree temperature (it was 82 degrees when we left our house at 10:30 AM). Time now to motor on. Back onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for a nice, leisurely cruise to Little Switzerland, NC.
We exit the Blue Ridge Parkway at Little Switzerland, and roll onto NC 226A. This super twisty tarmac has just been recently paved, so it is now an exhilerating roller coaster, second gear only, piece of asphalt. It is named and marketed as The Diamondback Motorcycle and Sports Car Route, and it passes right by the front door of our lodge.
Pulling into the parking lot, we roll right up next to another Honda ST1300. Not a very common occurence.
The main Lodge
The building housing our room
The view from our porch
What gorgeous countryside. As one of our members says, “I come here for the roads, but I stay for the scenery.” Well put.
After unpacking and cleaning up, everyone heads for the dining area for a family style dinner, meeting old friends and making new ones, and recounting the days rides.
After dinner, we were treated to a fantastic blues concert by The Alligator Blues Band. These guys are fantastic, playing mostly Chicago and Mississippi Delta blues. Awesome!
Sitting outside, groovin’ on the blues, we gather round with friends we haven’t seen since last year:
By now it’s dark and late into the night. Everyone wanders off to their rooms to have visions of motorbikes on twisty mountain roads dancing in their heads. Tomorrow, Roo & I head out early to investigate the scene of the crime!
Next post: Murder on the Mountain-Part 2. We ride to the scene of the crime!