Trip to Fox Creek Leather – Part 2

jay’s bike at foxcreek leather

On Day 2 of our trip we traveled from Buena Vista to Independence, Virginia to visit Fox Creek Leather. We would then travel from Independence, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina cutting through Tennessee. Our hope was to reach our motel by nightfall, but that was not to be. We made a 2 hour beeline from Buena Vista to Wytheville by using Interstate 80 which runs parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a gusty day making highway travel a little difficult. It had been a long hot summer and this was the first cool day we had experienced in a long time. We were looking forward to picking up our new leather lined chaps. We would wear them for the rest of the day.

Once we got off the highway the riding was phenomenal. We had blue skies, lush green mountains and twisty roads. The closer we got to Independence the further out in the country I felt. I took some great pictures of barns and farms as we got closer and closer to the store.

 through the woods to Fox Creek

across the bridge to Fox Creek Leather

past the barn to Fox Creek Leather

I was surprised when we arrived at Fox Creek Leather and it was a stand alone building on the side of a downhill rural road. Not much else around. I was expecting a factory, an industrial park or a strip mall. It was a humble little shop in the Blue Ridge Mountains. There were a few motorcycles out front and a sign proclaiming Motorcycle Apparel & Accessories Made In USA.


Leather Heaven in this tiny building?

We went inside and introduced ourselves to Melinda the office manager who was expecting us. She let us have some drinks and snacks while we waited for her to finish up with the customers who were there before us. We poked around the store and back office taking pictures until Melinda was able to size us up for some lined leather chaps. Melinda’s daughter was in the back office filling Internet orders.

filling Internet orders at Fox Creek Leather

leather goods for sale

Diana in leather heaven

Fox Creek Jackets

made in the usa

We each tried on at least two pair before finding the size we felt was right. Then Melinda cut them to length leaving quite a bit extra on them. She didn’t want to cut them too short because after that you can’t do anything to make them longer. She also wrote our names on them because she was concerned we wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. She was extremly helpful. You don’t get this kind of service anywhere I have ever lived. It took a little longer than we had expected and we were behind schedule when we left.

Diana getting fitted

checking chaps length

Diana pumped her fist in the air when we crossed the Tennessee state line. Mission accomplished… sort of. We still had a ways to go to get to Asheville, NC. We stopped at a gas station in Mountain City, TN to gas up. They had a kitchen inside and a number of booths but no one else there. All was pretty quiet. I asked the guy inside if the kitchen was open and he enthusiastically told me it was. Two old ladies fired up the grill and cooked us up the most awesome cheeseburgers. Fueled up and ready to go we headed further into the mountains. As the day got later we were still in the mountains and I started to become a little concerned.

The sun was starting to set as we climbed a mountain road that was switchback after switchback. It was Rt 197 and we finally reached the top and started heading down the other side and I was thinking we just might make it to the bottom of this twisty mountain road by sunset. The sun continued to dip lower behind the trees and the road twisted. It got dark! And then to our surprise we came around a hairpin downhill switchback to find the pavement ended! We continued on a bit hoping it was just a short distance of gravel. It wasn’t. We stopped and surveyed the situation. We were in the dark on a dirt road going down a mountain in a thick forest. We hadn’t seen any houses or signage in quite some time. Our odometer readings indicated we had 13 more miles to go down the mountain to Interstate 24 if were indeed still on the road we thought we were. Going back up the mountain and back down the other side seemed both challenging and unproductive as that would take us in the opposite direction that we needed to go. It would also add a lot of time to our riding. The only choice was to continue down this dirt road on the side of a mountain with no lights, no guard rails and lots of critters watching us. We encountered three or four cars that passed us. Two of them confirmed that this was “technically” Rt 197 and if we continued on we would eventually come to pavement and the Interstate. We were glad we weren’t lost! We just rode real slow and kept talking to each other on the CB radio’s to calm our nerves. At 10 mph we got to the end of the 5-mile long gravel section of the road in half an hour and breathed a sigh of relief. Soon we were on the Interstate and arrived at our cheap motel in Asheville — exhausted. We walked to the Outback and ordered a hot sit down meal, had a few beers. Then went back to our room at the Blue Ridge Motel to pass out from our latest adventure.

Notes on The Blue Ridge Motel: Inexpensive no frills. That means no Kleenex and no clock in the room. No breakfast. They do jack up the rates on holiday weekends but forgot to jack our rates up. They do not take a credit card to reserve your room. They will rent your room to someone else if you don’t call to let them know you are running late. Convenient location: McDonalds across the street, gas station close by and only six miles to the Blue Ridge Parkway.