Great Smoky Mountains/Assault on Mt. Mitchell 2008
 
In June of 2008, Lee, Debbie, and Grace headed to the mountains of North Carolina so that Lee could complete the 33rd Annual Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a very challenging 102 mile bike ride from Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the top of Mt. Mitchell , North Carolina (at 6,700 feet, the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River.) On the way to Spartanburg, we detoured to the Smoky Mountains, where we camped at Deep Creek Campground near Bryson City, NC. While there, we took advantage of Deep Creek flowing adjacent to our campsite to do some tubing, which was very much appreciated given the unusual heat wave being experienced all over the southeast. The next day, we visited the Oconoluftee Cherokee Indian Village, where we all became better informed on Native American culture. After a leisurely trip via the Blue Ridge Parkway, we arrived in Spartanburg SC, and got ready for the next day's ride.
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Deb and Grace tubing down Deep Creek near the Great Smokey Mountains Park
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While camping at Deep Creek, we met a very nice family from Melbourne Beach, FL: Bill and Carla and their son Stephan. Grace and Stephan had a big time roasting marshmallows, catching fireflies, and playing hide-and-go-seek.
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Grace introduced Stephan to dolls; he was a good sport but not too impressed.
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Scenes from the Oconoluftee Cherokee Indian Village
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Lee and Grace at the Mt. Pisgah Lodge along the Blue Ridge Parkway
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While in Spartanburg prior to the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, we met a great family at the hotel, also in town for the AOMM: Will and Donna Soper, and their two sons, from Peachtree City, GA. Here Will and Lee are all smiles prior to the start, sporting the colors of their respective colleges. After 102 miles and 11,000 feet of climbing in oppressive heat, things weren't quite so happy. We both made it however, and Donna and Debbie had a good time together awaiting their cyclists' return in Marion, NC.
(Thanks to Donna Soper for the photo!)
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Finish area atop Mt. Mitchell