When I am out riding, there are times I try out roads that I have spotted on a map somewhere, or that I turn onto at whim to see where they go and what is there.
Sometimes I find little or nothing. Other times I find some gem that I had not expected. These things can range form natural to manmade, and everything in between. Since my head still has lots of room to take in new things, I thought maybe yours might too. Come along with me to see some of the sights I have discovered in the last couple of years riding the bike.
Just a couple of weekends ago, I went out on some familiar roads, but stopped to get a better look at something I had literally passed right over -- Toxaway Falls. Toxaway Lake is dammed up to provide municipal water and recreation, but just below the dam is a waterfall of some beauty. The only thing is, the road crosses over the waterfall and makes it hard to view. There is also no public access from below the falls.
This is what you see close to the bridge.
According to Rich Stevenson on the NCWaterfalls website, Toxaway Falls "spills and slides over some very colorful bedrock in a 240' change in elevation before the river disappears into the forest. In 1916, the dam gave way and Lake Toxaway came gushing down the gorge, stripping away the dense vegetation and exposing the bedrock along the falls and below." There are some very nice photographs and videos of the falls on Rich's website. There is also a sweeping panorama of the falls at the Highlands Newspaper website.
Another interesting thing I stumbled upon a few weeks back was a meeting of the Dixie Jewels Insulator Club at the World of Energy at the Oconee Nuclear Station. I know people collect all kinds of things. I, myself, for example, can be accused of that, owning three player pianos, and a huge number of paper rolls to play on them. The Dixie Jewels, however collect electrical insulators. Like these.
...now if they were collecting piano rolls, I'd understand that...
There are quite a number of gravel roads in the areas I ride, some of which I have written about. (Search for the word "gravel" in the box at the upper left of the screen.)
One road that I recently discovered, White Cut Road, is cut very sharply into the terrain. The angle of repose of the cut, in civil engineering language, is almost vertical.
Here is a very odd structure a found. I first spotted it from across a railroad track, visible on the left of the photo, when I was wandering around near Piedmont, SC.
Why, I don't know. I asked a maintenance guy who was nearby, and he just said it was to be able to overlook the cemetery. You can certainly see the extent of the graves here, and you can see this tiny and peculiarly pointed-roof stone building.
This is a little memorial to a church that once stood here, the Whitmire Methodist Church. The building is long gone, but this stone memorial and the cemetery across the street remain.
history of Salem Methodist Church:
"In 1913, the Whitmire Methodist Church closed its doors and united with the Salem [SC] Church. In the 1950s, the congregation decided to once again use the Whitmire building. After a few years, they decided that the Salem location was the best place to be and went back. In 1956, under the direction of Homer Griffith and James Whitmire, the old building was torn down and replaced."
The church site is only a little way from a gravel road I followed last year called Winding Stair or Cheohee Road.
The guy who owns this land also collects things -- mostly automobiles and automobiliana, by the looks of it.
Not far away, on Banks Road is Brown's Forest.
Up just beyond the Blue Ridge Parkway on NC-215 is this bridge.
I hear that the road has been repaved there recently, but there are sections with heavy gravel on the road between the Blue Ridge Parkway and north to US-276.
NC-215 is usually clean south of the Parkway, and makes a nice extension of the twisty US-178 between SC-11 and Rosman, NC.
Some of you who ride custom bikes and choppers might recognize the logo on this building.
Redneck Engineering. They sell anything from parts to complete bikes, ready to roll out the door. I visited there one day, and found that they were working on various frames and bikes, and they have displays of their wares arrayed on a mezzanine around the periphery the shop. The tattooed guys working there were a bit intimidating, by the way.
Right down the street is the Moo-tel.
If you need to stop for a few minutes of prayer, this little chapel might be a good place.
This miniature golf course is right up the street.
Lower Whitewater Falls just left of center, viewed from the Bad Creek Pumped Storage Facility overlook. .
The chapel and golf course are a little beyond the overlook, on a gravel road. Don't be going too fast past the overlook -- the gravel road is on the right at the next left hander, and there is a gate across the paved road after that.
I went to Maulden South Carolina in May of last year and found a couple of unusual sights. One is this log cabin.
Its original location was in northern Greenville County, near Poinsett Bridge, completed in 1819. The cabin was used as the construction headquarters while the bridge was under construction. The site of the cabin was later to become Boy Scout Camp Old Indian.
The other interesting thing I found that day was that a model train show was going on in the former school there. This fellow was closely inspecting the displays.
They have the show every May, put on by the Piedmont 'N Southern Model Railroad Club and the Atlantic Coast S Gaugers. How many of you are old enough to remember when S-gauge came out? (It was in the 1930s, but became the more realistic two rail instead of three in 1946.)
You know that there are redwood forests in the American west, but did you know there is one in Greenville South Carolina? There is.
Bob Jones University. It is, in fact, a Dawn Redwood, given to the university by General Chiang Kai-Shek of China in 1952. The Dawn Redwood is the least tall of the redwoods, growing to about 200 feet (60 meters) in height.
Believe it or not, this is a tire store.
Ed Allgood's Tire store.
You may recall that I collect and restore player pianos. These instruments, most popular between about 1900 and 1929, are operated pneumatically, and a paper roll with perforations tells the instrument what notes to play. Some of the music they produce sounds very mechanical, but others are uncannily realistic sounding -- to the point of your not being able to tell that a real pianist is not playing.
The fellow who owns the 1927 Lake Lure Inn, is a collector of such instruments, and some of them are displayed in the lobby of the hotel.
The instrument below sounds a lot like the one at the inn, except that it does not have drums. The one in the video contains a piano, several ranks of pipes, and a reiterating xylophone.
Here is a photo of a grand piano that plays like a human. It is called a reproducing piano, and was built in 1926. This one (similar to one at the inn) happens to be a Knabe brand, and it plays Ampico rolls.here. It is amazing what they did back then with purely mechanical workings -- no electronics whatsoever.
There aren't very places where you would see a sign like this one.
went down to Lawrenceville Georgia for a class. Apparently, the transition between the road and the ramp is not distinct enough and some people have driven right into the lake. Fortunately, I heeded the sign and stopped in time to avoid a bath.
Well, we have covered a lot of territory already. There is more to come, but that's it for now.
See if you can visit some of the same spots and enjoy them as much as I did. Maybe you can visit all of them in one day. It is possible.