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Civil Disobedience in Western North Carolina Continues Unabated

Photos and article by FastFred Ruddock

I rode lidless to and through Western North Carolina in spite of predictions by a few that my lidless rides would end after I received my first ticket for refusing to wear a helmet while operating my motorcycle. A few co-conspirators were unable to join me this week due to work commitments. However I still enjoyed the sights and sounds of DuPont State Forest and Chimney Rock Park; my legs are rather sore today from all the hiking. I also made time to visit friends in Lake Lure and Asheville. I even met a friendly Polk County Deputy Sheriff in Mill Springs on my way back to South Carolina.

DuPont State Forest is a must see destination with many trails and waterfalls. Hooker Falls is a short walk while Triple Falls and High Falls are nice trek through the woods. The Little River flows over Hooker Falls into Cascade Lake where many locals like to swim and play during the summer. Several other motorcyclists visited Hooker Falls while I was there but they did not hike to Triple Falls and High Falls. I found the hike to the other falls an enjoyable workout.

Apparently while I was visiting DuPont Forest Bad Bob and Gwen arrived in the Cove but were unable to contact me via cell phone; I got the voice mail 24 hours later. It must have been quite a sight to see Bob riding the hairpin curves with a weed eater strapped to his motorcycle.

After visiting DuPont State Forest I rode to the Chimney Rock Park to see Hickory Nut Falls and the overlooks of Lake Lure. I made this trip largely due to the fact the park is being sold and the new owners may not grant public access in the future. I did quite bit more hiking and took a lot of pictures of Lake Lure and surrounding mountains. I found Hickory Nut Falls to be a bit of a let down; I now realize why my elders never took me there as a child as there are many better falls within twenty miles that can be viewed for free rather than paying a $14 fee.

After hiking seven or so miles I rode to Margaritagrille for a cold beer to replenish some of the calories I had burned hiking. I also dropped off more newsletters at Heavenly Hoggs as well as Margaritagrille. Then I checked my cell phone for messages and called a local biker rights activist Roger Williams. Roger invited me to visit Cowboys on the other side of Asheville. I had an enjoyable ride up US74-A to Haywood Road and Cowboys where I enjoyed some brotherhood and couple of beers. They had at least one interesting wall hanging from the ezine near a door. I rode back through three North Carolina counties to the Cove where I was pleasantly surprised someone had mowed the front lawn; thanks Bob.

Sunday morning I was awaken by heavy rain but I still decided to ride to Lake Lure one more time before heading back to South Carolina. I dropped off more newsletters in Lake Lure; the newsletters seem to be moving fast due to an article about some nut riding around the area in open defiance of North Carolina's helmet law. I had fun speaking with locals and bikers from SC about the helmet law, motorcycles, and biker rights before heading South on NC9 towards Lake Bowen. Some that knew me asked if I scored any more tickets yet.

I took a needed pit stop to top off my gas tank and take a leak for Slider in Mill Spring near the intersection of NC9 and NC108. Just as I crossed NC108 I passed a Polk County Deputy Sheriff who took interest in my hat. It took him a mile or two to catch up to me and then he followed me another mile before turning on the blue lights. I pulled over in the parking lot of a Polk County middle school. The deputy asked me where my helmet was but did not ask to see it. Then he asked for my license which he took back to his car. After a few brief moments on his radio he returned with my license and told me to have a nice day. The deputy encouraged me to wear a helmet but did not cite me with a ticket or wait to see if I would don a helmet or not. However he did take some interest in my really thin driver’s license. The deputy seemed impressed I rode rather my bike from the coast rather than hauling my bike on a trailer. I explained I did not even own a cage.

I enjoyed the rest of my ride in North Carolina without a helmet and arrived safely at Lake Bowen without a helmet ticket to show for my efforts. I did have a wide grin, some new experiences and a few new friends I made along the way. I dropped off more ABATE of SC newsletters at Fat Man’s and the Lake Bowen Country Club; I enjoyed speaking with local bikers and old friends in the Warlocks MC. We talked about the legal status of poker runs and the potential impact of the gang bill among other motorcycle subjects. After Lake Bowen I rode hard to Columbia from Spartanburg and stopped at Bobbys to make sure they were ready to host our gathering after the Helmet Law Rally on Sunday October 8, 2006.

This was a great weekend with a few hundred miles of lidless riding in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Little on earth is as satisfying as doing what you want in spite of people telling you it cannot be done. Free you mind and anything is possible.

Hooker Waterfall

Triple Falls

Two of the Triple Falls

High Falls

Trail near High Falls

Triple Falls

Chimney Rock

Lake Lure

Mountain above Lake Lure

Hickory Nut Falls

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