Over 200 motorcyclists showed up on all kinds of motorcycles to lend their support and go for a great ride. The police escorted ride left from Chilhowee Park and headed east to the Douglas Dam.
We awoke Saturday to our fourth and final day at the 2008 Honda Hoot; time sure does fly by when you’re having fun! And we wanted nothing more than to end the week in the same action packed fashion we began our first day. In the morning we checked out the Ride for Kids charity ride. For lunch we zoomed over to the Best Dam Fish Fry at the Norris Dam. After that we rode towards the North Carolina border to get a little wet with some whitewater rafting. In the evening we closed out our Hoot adventure with a concert starring famed country singer Wynonna.
This year marked the eight annual Ride for Kids charity ride that benefits the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. It’s the official charity of the Honda Rider’s Club of America and helps raise money for research and treatment for kids that have been diagnosed with brain tumors. Over 200 motorcyclists showed up on all kinds of motorcycles to lend their support and go for a great ride. The police escorted ride left from Chilhowee Park and headed east to the Douglas Dam. $55,986 dollars was raised including $6000 by Doug and Lori Stamphill of Antioch, Tennessee and another $6000 by the Honda Riders Club of Franklin, Tennessee. It was a beautiful morning ride for a great cause.
We’d been eating pretty hardily for the last few days so we figured we’d do one last splurge so for lunch we ate at the Best Dam Fish Fry held at the Norris Dam. Hoot representatives claimed that its one of the biggest events of the week and they weren’t joking. When we showed up there were a few hundred people all hanging out and getting their fill of some top-notch southern style fried catfish. In the background loomed the giant Norris Dam. Built in 1933, the dam serves as a flood control for the Clinch River as well as a hydroelectric power plant. As usual, the food was excellent and made for a good spot to hang out and admire each others motorbikes. But we couldn’t stay too long because the Pigeon River was calling our name.
Each day at the Hoot brings a variety of different activities that you can choose from. And since we’d never been whitewater rafting we figured what better place then the mean rapids of eastern Tennessee to get our feet wet. From the Norris Dam it was a little over an hour ride to Rafting in the Smokies in Hartford, Tennessee. Upon arrival, we signed the necessary waivers, paid the $39 fee and got a quick safety brief by our guide, Mark. After we grabbed our safety gear and paddles and made the trek to the base of the river. We hopped into our raff with a family from Houston, Texas also on vacation in the area and started paddling downstream. Within less then a minute we we’re already in our first Class III rapid. The foaming white rapid rocked our inflatable raft fore and aft, however we all remained onboard and none of us had to go ‘swimming’ in the chilly water. The remainder of the 90-minutes ride was a blast and we were always in good hands courtesy of our expert guide.
Built in 1933, the Norris Dam supplies electricity for thousands of people and also served as the background for aptly named Best Dam Fish Fry.
After we dried off we hopped back on our Honda CBR1000RR and Gold Wing 1800 and set out for our final ride of the week back to the Marriot Knoxville hotel–for country music legend Wynonna was about to get on stage and we definitely didn’t want to miss that. After a quick shower we walked across the street to the Knoxville Civic Auditorium. We slipped back stage and actually got to meet her in-person. She was super nice and admitted that like us she’s an avid motorcycle rider like us. Admittedly we’re not the biggest country music fans, her voice has to be heard to be believed and it was fantastic performance. After the performance a drawing was held for the this year’s grand prize: an all-expense paid trip for two to the 2009 MotoGP of Japan, held at the Twin Ring Motegi racetrack. Paul Wagener from Minnesota had the winning ticket and will be experiencing MotoGP glory in the flesh next year. Congrats to you Paul.
Before coming to this year’s Hoot I was skeptical. I mean how much fun could someone have at a Honda motorcycle rally? But after logging nearly 700 miles on some amazing roads, meeting so many friendly new faces, great food, and not to mention all the cool activities we got to do, I’m a believer. Honestly, after reflecting upon the last few days, going home is the farthest thing on my mind. If you’re looking for a cool for a cool getaway regardless of the type of bike you ride look no further than Honda’s Hoot because it is a blast!
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