IT WAS ODIFEROUS!
There are odors and then THERE ARE ODORS! Recently, my friend Bob and I were enjoying this early summer weather and getting in a nice 20 mile ride around the Coleman Mountain Loop. This pleasant ride takes in pretty rural parts of northern Haywood County and includes a moderately difficult climb up and over Coleman Mountain.
The ride started quite pleasantly after work. End of work day traffic was surprisingly light on this particular Tuesday evening. We even made it through the conundrum of traffic patterns at the Lowes/Hospital Drive/Paragon Parkway interchange without so much as a red light catching us.
Once on NC 209 just past Old Clyde Highway, we ride in the wider “gutter” that exists and let traffic move along at its normal speed, which is typically fast. Unless road debris, dead animals, construction material “blow off”, or other obstacles appear in the “gutter”, we can make it all the way to the Truck Stop at I-40 without getting into traffic. The ride this day, accompanied by blue skies with fluffy white clouds, was mostly smooth sailing and we shortly arrived at Iron Duff Road.
Being a long time motorcyclist, I know the olfactory joys of NOT riding in an enclosed vehicle with the windows rolled up and the air conditioning running. Riding in the open air gives you the opportunity to engage your sense of smell. I recall fondly many great evening rides enjoying the smell of campfires or freshly cut hay. On a bicycle, it is the same experience - just better! You are typically riding slower and therefore able to enjoy the environment for longer periods of time.
Bob and I climbed our way over Coleman Mountain from the Iron Duff side and enjoyed a fun descent all the way to the northern end of Jonathan Creek and US 276. The return trip up Jonathan Creek Valley is superb in the early evening soft light. The dual lane road allows for faster moving traffic to travel about unimpeded by cyclists and allows cyclists the opportunity to ride on relatively flat surfaces for several miles. In the setting sun with warm temperatures, it is simply a wonderful experience.
On this night, our olfactory senses were suddenly brought to a heightened awareness. As we pedaled our way past Sorrells’ gas station, an odor, so malevolent in nature that it seemingly burned the hairs of my nasal membrane, assaulted us. As I shook my head trying to remove the tears running down my face, I could only hope that the odor did not peel back the paint on my Fuji road bike. I looked back for Bob, hoping he wasn’t on the ground writhing in some kind of chemical burning slow death.
He wasn’t and as soon as we passed the field that was being fertilized with pig excrement, things settled down and we cruised on into Waynesville with sinus passages fully functioning. As I say, there are odors and then THERE ARE ODORS!
For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.