Sunday, June 7, 2015

Better Than Sealing A Driveway

I had to make a choice between two options for Saturday.  The first option was putting down asphalt sealer on our driveway, which is what I had planned for Saturday.  The second option was to spend the morning with June riding bikes around the  Cades Cove loop in the Smoky Mountains.   The driveway sealer will certainly keep for a few more weeks.

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings, the loop road is closed to vehicles until 10:00 AM.  We wanted to get there close to sunrise to make the most of the time before the gate was opened and the parade of cars and trucks took to the one lane road through one of the parks most beautiful areas.  It's a two and one-half hour drive from home to the gate and the sun rises is at 6:15.  Do the math to figure out how dedicated (crazy) we are.

It was foggy all the way from home to the park and we got there a little later than we hoped, but it was still a great morning.  The fog that slowed our drive was spectacular in the early morning "magic hour" light.
Loop Road Panorama
Deer and Butterfly
Click any photo for a larger view or go to my Online Gallery for more photos.

A lot of heavy photo gear is not fun to deal with on a bike.  I only took the camera and two lenses with me on the bike - my go to 24-105mm and a 300mm prime telephoto.  I had to go sans-tripod this morning.  I found that you can make stitched panoramas and hdr photos without a tripod. The Loop Road Panorama is 10 vertical shots stitched together in Adobe Lightroom CC.

Sunrise is prime time for wildlife and I took the 300mm hoping to get some bear, coyote, deer, turkey and other wildlife.   The wildlife was scarce today, but I did manage to get a deer and butterfly in one shot.

The only people on the road are bicyclists, walkers and some people running the 11 mile loop.   We started out with one group and played tortoise and hare passing each other all morning long.  
Running The Loop Road

Running Into The Sun

We stopped when we saw the sunlight streaming through the trees and fog, creating awesome sunbeams.  While we were stopped they passed us again.   I think they may have won the race, but we got the photos!

We enjoyed the morning ride enough that we cut down Sparkes Lane and went around to Hyatt Lane and back for a total of 17 miles.

There are more photos from the morning at
Field In The Fog

Looking Good After 17 miles.