Civil Disobedience in Western North Carolina Continues
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.
Two of the Triple Falls
Trail near High Falls
Mountain above Lake Lure
Hickory Nut Falls