04/03/2022 – Chapter Ride to attend Mrs. Holt’s viewing

Date: 4/3/2022
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Springfield Memorial Gardens, Springfield TN

From Gary:

My Mother’s funeral arrangements are as follows:

Receiving Friends Sunday April 3rd at Buffat
Heights Baptist Church, 2800 Mill Rd Knoxville
3:00-5:00 pm with funeral following.

Interment will be April 4th at Springfield
Memorial Gardens, Springfield TN at 2:00 cst
4005 Memorial Blvd, Springfield TN

Gary and Janice Holt

04/23/2022 – Chapter Ride – Fort Loudon Historic Site

Date: 4/23/2022
Time: 9:30 KSU
Location: TC’S Grill.  2514 Old Niles Ferry Rd, Maryville, TN 37801

Members in the saddle:  (8)Gregory Stelly, Bryan Merriman, Tonya Merriman, Nick Johnson, Jared Robson, Mike Johnson, Rick Clark, Tommy Hudson,

Special thanks to Danny Jenkins, Billy Farnsworth, Debra Farnsworth & DJ Farnsworth for sharing breakfast with us and seeing us off.

The ride got off as scheduled with KSU from TC’s immediately after breakfast.  Our road captain had a quick safety training session with those not in attendance at the last membership meeting concerning group rides.  Then the ride itself was reviewed, followed by prayer and devotion courtesy of Tonya Merriman.

The first stop, the Fort Loudon Historic Site.  While the live fire cannon demonstration was the main draw for this stop, our first encounter was with a ‘reenactment’ historical figure.  He was looking out of a window in the first building, watching the entrance to the fort.  He engaged with us immediately, and intrigued by his good humor, we entered the ‘infirmary’ at our host’s invitation.  The man was portraying a historical British doctor that served at the fort.  In real life, he was a veteran of Desert Storm.  My humble apologies, but both his real name, and the name of the character he portrayed escape me.  It’s a real shame, as he regaled us with period information, the use of a wide variety of medical instruments, and the state of health ministrations in use at that time in history.  Given that many of the displayed devices looked like they were spawned from the Spanish Inquisition, many chapter members asked for demonstrations of some of the more horrific tools, and procedures, and volunteered the road captain as a subject.

While this was all in good fun, the road captain did not want to miss the artillery demonstration, and fearing personal harm, thought it would be best to just go stand in front of the cannon.  Fearfully, steathily, and in great haste, our road captain escaped the confines of the infirmary for open air.

As for missing the cannon demonstration, not to worry.  It seems our previous host was actually the artillery commander, so we could have remained with him the entire time, except for the abject fear instilled in our road captain for his own personal safety.  It turns out that this was a new gun crew, today was their first time working together as a unit.  As a result, the artillery officer took things very slowly, and there was a dry run without firing the cannon.  Confident that no mistakes needed to be addressed in the practice routine, the team continued onward to the first live fire of the cannon. 


A rather diminutive cannon produces a sizable boom.  When the ooohs & aaaahs eventually calmed down, our previous host, and current artillery commander gave us an explanation as to the smaller size of the cannon.  Fort Loudon was in a remote location, and their support & supply chain was in fact, on the other side of the mountain.  As a result, transported items were limited to the back of a single horse, and could not weigh more than 150#.  (this limit was imposed by the rough terrain.)  The cannon demonstrated weighed 300#, and was left on the east side of the mountains.  Subsequently, Fort Loudon was overrun.  This fort was the first time a British fort in a colony was lost.  The British returned to re-occupy the fort, but this time a strategy was employed to carry the 300# cannons, in tandem, over the backs of two horses.  I say all this to state that this was the largest cannon the British could successfully transport to the remote fort.

While this little history lesson was going on, preparations were underway to demonstrate a second weapon.  Forgive me for not recalling the name, but it was a very long flintlock requiring two men, or one man and a rigid post.  (the weapon displayed had a yoke descending from the forearm of the rifle to ‘straddle’ a fence, thus providing vertical stability, as well as a means of absorbing recoil)  This weapon was surprisingly louder than the cannon, but had a different pitch to it.  It lacked the lower bass boom of the cannon.  After this, a second demonstration of the cannon, followed by a full explanation of each of the soldiers duties, and the safety reasons behind that duty.

With our first objective accomplished, we left the Fort Loudon site bound for lunch in Tellico Plains.  Mike Thompson took the opportunity to exit the group ride, and head home.  Bryan, Tonya, and Rick came as far as Tellico Plains with us, but opted out of lunch, and said their goodbyes at a quick stop.

Greg, Jared, Nick and Tommy settled down to lunch @ the Iron Works Grille.  Great fellowship and an enjoyable meal blessed our day.

Digesting our food in the shade of the parking lot, as bikers are prone to do, we admired the array of motorcycles in the parking lot.  Eventually, we were all drawn to a breathtaking two-tone blue/purple paint job on a customized Harley.  (is customized Harley redundant?  aren’t ALL Harley’s customized?)  In no time at all, another biker approached, presumably to admire the same ride we were admiring.  Wrong!  It was the owner.  We raved about his bike, and he opened up immediately.  (true bikers open up when their bike is the center of the conversation)  In short order, Ira accepted and received a bike blessing from the four of us.  A blessing that included his wife who was not present, as well as his safe return to her.
On to the Cherahola Skwy.  The quicker pace of a smaller group was a welcome change, as it no longer felt like a ‘group ride’, as much as just a couple friends out to chew up some asphalt.  A quick stop @ Bald River Falls prompted the most adventurous one of our gropu to go wading in the water, laughing, splashing, and much stone skipping.  Under no pressure to meet a schedule, we stayed until the youngster had enough.  With the single exception of a slower group of 4 ahead of us, we rolled through the Skwy unfettered by any worldly concerns.  Rolling into the Robbinsville area, our road captain elected to detour through the Joyce Kilmer National Forest Recreation Area.  At the one, and only decision point, the road captain recognized the correct right hand turn a little late to make it gracefully, and elected to go straight through the intersection to make a quick visit to an overlook ahead.  The sign reading “NO OUTLET” did not diminish his resolve as he knew there was a parking lot ahead with plenty of room to make a U-turn.  Unbeknownst to him, following a gentle left hand sweeper, we encountered a tree that had fallen completely across the road.  Not to be intimidated, our captain boldly led four motorcycles to a u-turn on a two-lane highway by utilizing as much of the right hand shoulder as was needed.

Our next stop was @ Deal’s Gap/Crossroads of Time.  Rest, refreshment, and more fellowship, we continued on 129 to take on the Dragon.  With a smaller group, our road captain was confident in setting the pace as the three trailing bikes were always visible.  As the following distances shrunk, our captain gradually increased our pace to a graceful, rhythmic ride to everyone’s enjoyment.

Our road captain left us turning left to ride through Happy Valley, while we continued on 129 to a final separation.

What a GREAT RIDE!To all that missed it, we MISSED YOU!
Until next time!


Ride Info:

Continue down US129.  Turn right on US72, then left on US411.  Toru fort & witness live fire cannon demonstration.  Down US360 for lunch in Tellico Plains.  Out the Cherohola Skyway to Moonshine 28, then through Deals Gap to return to Maryville. 

4-1/2 hours saddle time, 168 miles.

Fort Loudon & then some

03/26/2022 – Chapter Ride – The Roaring Forks Auto Tour Gatlinburg, TN

Date: 03/26/2022
Time: KSU @ 10:30 (9:30 if you are getting breakfast & seeking fellowship)
Location: Townsend Pancake House: 7767 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882

Ride Report

Members in the saddle: (4)
Gregroy Stelly, Mike Coomer, Sheryl Coomer and Dean Madison.

A special thanks to Danny Jenkins, Billy Farnsworth & Jacquelyn Correl-Stelly for sharing breakfast with us and seeing us off.

The ride got off as scheduled, and the temperature @ KSU was as expected, in the lower 40’s.  Chilly, but not brutal. The strategy to run the loop backwards from the original plan served us well as we were in the sunshine early, with a promise of clear skies all day.    Rolling north on the foothills parkway, it was quite comfortable until we reached the series of bridges in the upper elevations.  Here we were exposed more to the stiff wind, and everyone felt that one more layer would have been prudent.

The roll through Pigeon Forge on into Gatlinburg was enjoyable and uneventful, however Gatlinburg quickly turned into a parking lot.  It took us nearly one half hour to traverse the four or five blocks required to reach our turn off.  The road captain should have had an alternate route prepared to get us out of this.  Additionally, he made last minute lane changes twice to keep us on track.  (it’s like he didn’t even know where we were going!) 

Eventually, the road captain got us out of that mess, and on to the motor tour.  Passing up the Ogle homestead, we continued onto the Rainbow Falls trailhead, where many riders took the opportunity to ‘rest’.  Standing in the parking lot exposed us to more of the persistent wind that would stay with us throughout the day.  Sheryl even commented that it was colder in the parking lot than it had been while we were riding.  I couldn’t help but notice that Mike was no longer concerned with blocking the wind for her as he had while they were in the saddle.

Leaving the parking lot, we quickly arrived at the turn uphill to the motor tour, only to discover that it was closed for the season.  Seriously?  We were exactly one week too early!  While I can’t speak for everyone, I for one, am extremely disappointed in the performance of our road captain!  Picks a bad route, gets bogged down in traffic, and brings us to a road closure that was the destination for our ride.  I say that when he eventually comes out of where it is that he is hiding in shame, that we lynch him on the spot!  While it will create a minor inconvenience for the chapter, our next road captain will take his duties a bit more responsibly!  Who is with me?

To salvage something from the day, we continued the short loop back out, and stopped @ the Ogle homestead as it was literally the only exhibit available to us.  I, for one, have always admired the craftsmanship in these old buildings.  With crude tools, readily available raw material, hard labor and sweat, men and women of previous generations scratched out a life for themselves.  No government assistance.  No bank loan.  No hired labor.  If that wasn’t enough, structures built in the late 1800’s, and in this case abandoned in 1925, are still standing today.  Structurally sound, as well as good shelter against the elements.

At this point, Mike & Sheryl picked their time to ‘cut-out’, leaving Greg & Dean to continue on.  Next stop, Sugarlands welcome center for a quick tour of the nature exhibit.  The tourist shop failed to tempt either of us to part with any money, and we continued on Little River Road.  Stopping lastly at the ‘Sinks’, we enjoyed watching the water cascading down under the bridge and pooling in the deeps.  From there, it was one hop to home for Greg, parting with Dean @ the left turn to Rocky Branch.

Many have heard me say that if inclement weather brought no one out for a ride, I might go anyway.  While this day’s turnout was relatively small, it was a great day to ride, and I thank the group for sharing it with me.  It gave us a more private opportunity to share thoughts and sentiments, and helped us get closer to each other.  I would not traded my day for anything else, save to have had my own bride’s company.
To those that didn’t make it due to life getting in the way, or the bitter weather, you were sorely missed!  We look forward to your company on future rides.

Thanks again, Road Runner
P.S.  I was serious about lynching our incompetent road captain when we find him!!

Ride Details:

Saturday morning might be a bit brisk, so I have reconsidered the upcoming ride.  We will be starting later than I might like, and running the route backwards than from the way I described it.  Hopefully, this will put us in some sunshine early.  We will also avoid the deep shade on Little River Road, and the deep chill that will likely blanket that area in the early morning.

We will head west on US321 back to the Foothills Parkway.  Come out on US321 and turn North to Pigeon Forge.  South on US441 and onto the tour.
Upon leaving the tour, US441 south to Sugarlands welcome center, Returning to Townsend via Little River Road.

Total saddle time 3hrs.  72.8 miles traveled.

Route to The Roaring Forks Auto Tour Gatlinburg, TN

Roaring Forks
If I should ever fail to include this disclaimer, please remember the following considerations for ALL chapter rides:

  • All rides are subject to rescheduling based on severe inclement weather!  (some liquid sunshine will not deter us)
  • If the starting point or time is inconvenient for some, I encourage you to study the route closely.  If you would like to join up with us en route, please suggest a time and place to your road captain.  All reasonable delays or diversions will be considered.  We want you with us, and we will figure out a way to scoop you.. (can I get an amen from 12 Volt?)
  • If the destination is inconvenient, I encourage you to create a cut out point that would help you out.  Again, please advise your road captain so we won’t ‘miss’ you.  Cut out points could be a break for the group, or maybe traffic permitting, you come up to through the group for a quick wave goodbye.
  • These routes will be adhered to in spirit only.  Some freelancing may occur on any one of them.  Especially when it comes to the way home.

See y’all Saturday!
Road Runner
aka Greg Stelly

03/30/2022 – 04/03/2022 – 2022 NC Roads and Trails

2022 NC Roads and Trails March 30-April 3, 2022
Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Resort- ironhorsenc.com
1755 Lower Stecoah Road
Robbinsville, NC 28771 828-479-3864

Onsite Rally Registration open in mornings/evenings. $15-CMA members. No charge for guests/non-CMA members. Resort Check-in after 3:00pm. Resort Check out 11am. Iron Horse is a facility for guests 18 & over

Meals (sorry lunch not available on site). Please order dinners prior to leaving for rides each day. Meals are available to Iron Horse guests by pre-order. Arrivals on Wednesday, you can also order dinner meal.
Breakfast 7:00am-9:00am (Thursday morning-Sunday morning) (pre-ordered from Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge)
Dinner 7:00pm-9:00pm (Thursday evening-Saturday evening (Sat-prime rib/salmon) (pre-ordered from Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge)

Sunday Service at 9:00am in pavilion. Speaker: Brad Hall, CMA National Evangelist

Rides/Adventures Friday and Saturday (Ride meetings start at 9am in the pavilion)
Rides leave after breakfast and ride meetings. Meet in parking area in front of pavilion. (All rides subject to change due to weather. There could be possible road closures due to recent mudslides.)

  • “Off the Beaten Path”-Dual sport rides that include moderate to difficult dirt/paved riding skills in the backwoods. Suggested to bring-water and snacks. Lunch stop along the way.
  • “Riding the Twisties”-Sport bike rides that include some of the most exciting curves and twisties in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Famous Tail of the Dragon/Cherohala Skyway. Suggested to bring-water and snacks. Lunch spot along the way. Stop by the Deal’s Gap Resort Store for photos & souvenirs.
  • Mountain scenic rides-Fun paved riding. There will be a lunch stop. (cruisers or sport touring, Spyders and trikes)
  • “Self guided”- Maps available in pavilion to plan your own adventure. Suggested to bring-water and snacks. Plan your lunch stop at one of the local’s favorites
  • “Mountain ATV Experience” (opens 4/1)- 28 miles of marked loop trails. ATV rides/UTV rides (up to 60in.)- Suggested to bring-water, snacks and a pack lunch. Passes required-see below. Roy E. Taylor Wayehutta ATV Trail System, Day Pass $5 per day purchased at:
    • Tuckasegee Trading Post, 7987 Highway 107, Cullowhee, NC 28723, 828-293-1514
    • Top Cat Grocery, 3275 US 441 South, Sylva, NC 28779, 828-586-0847
    • Caney Fork General Store, 6925 Highway 107 South, Cullowhee, NC 28723, 828-293-9767

Group campfires every evening (weather permitting).
*If you need assistance during the event, please contact Iron Horse at 828-479-3864 or Charlie Morgan, NC Road & Trails Contact at 828-243-8883.

03/06/2022 – CMA National Day of Prayer Ride

Date: 3/6/2022
Time: 12:45pm
Location: Rio Revolution Church, 3419 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 37804

This coming Sunday, is the CMA USA National Day of Prayer.  We would like to get together after services this Sunday for a short ride.  We will leave Rio Revolution and headed east on 321 for the foothills parkway.  North on the foothills parkway, we will find an appropriate pullout for prayer and reflection.  We will continue north, and make the loop back down 321 for a lunch stop in Townsend.

Overall mileage from Rio to Townsend is 28 miles, and 45 minutes.  (plus our prayer time)

From CMA Website
March 6, 2022
CMA Day of Prayer
National Event
Location: Nationwide
870-389-6196 opt 7

We are an army that is called to pray and seek God for wisdom and strength as we move forward in sharing the truth of God’s love to the motorcycling community. Each year, CMA sets aside the first Sunday in March to pray on specific topics: vision and direction for our local chapters, wisdom for our state and national leadership, and wisdom and vision for our Board of Directors. We also gather together to seek God in the places we live to pray for God’s touch upon our land as we surrender ourselves to His will.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Link to Ride