Monday, May 01, 2017

Day Nine: Cade’s Cove for Bears

This is the last day for us to see bears and we want a lighter ride since we have to load up the bikes and pack to get on the road in the morning. Cade’s Cove it is. It’s an 11-mile one way around and they say that there are bears, elk, deer, skunks, foxes, and more! We head down 140 to 129 (Exit 11 – we’ve used this exit almost every day this trip) to 411 to 321 N (we can’t understand this. We’re not going north, we’re going south) and turn right at Cade’s Cove. It’s about 9 miles to Cades Cove and the road is pretty much like Little River Road (with the addition of a tunnel). Stop at the entrance to Cade’s Cove and pick up a map/booklet. And tell everyone we’re looking for bears. Tony starts with the lead as we have most of this trip, and cuts off his engine once in a while (have to be quiet while looking for bears!). Eventually Mike and Susan take off in front of us. And Al and Eileen. We’re on a mission and it’ll take as long as it takes.

The ride is pretty. Woods. Then fields. Woods. Then fields. I’m looking left and right for bears. I don’t know how to even sight one.

And then we get to a patch of woods. On the left, I spot one. Tony stops (but tells me to stay on the bike). This is a juvenile. I’m trying to take pictures, but not successful. And, I’d rather see the bear than the picture. He’s headed towards the road.

They say on signs to not stop unless on a pull off. EXCEPT when there’s a bear sighting and then it’s completely acceptable. The bear crosses the road, right behind the car behind us! Awesomeness. Tony and I ride on and pull over. Tony’s comment was that he was more excited about seeing the bear than he thought he would. The car behind us stops as well – he had overheard us wanting to see a bear and wanted to congratulate us.

Yes, there's a bear in there.

Look right above the log. That black blog is a bear.

Can "barely" see him, but he's crossed the road and is up on that little ridge.

The next part of the ride has a lot of historic buildings (we were there for the bears, not the buildings and didn’t stop). We finally catch up to Al and Eileen. The guy in the car pulled over and told them that I saw my bear. Head to the visitor center and see a few deer. Then on for more bear sighting potential.

Catch up to Mike and Susan (they saw deer grazing on the side of the road and stopped in one of the cabins – Mike likes wood).

And then car stoppage on the road. I jump off the bike. It’s another bear. A baby bear. And up ahead, Mama bear. Again, no pictures worthy of the experience.
I swear, there's a baby and a momma bear ahead of him in this dry creek.

It’s a three-bear day!

After Cade’s Cover, Mike and Susan head to a winery. Al and Eileen are headed to the Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson dealership (again). This time for arm rests for Eileen. We head that way for lunch and then back to the house to start packing up.

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