Andrew & Kate headed south earlier this month for OMBA's 10th Santos Fat Tire Festival in Ocala, FL. Mulberry Gap has represented at the event over the last 3 years, once as attendees and the previous two years as vendors.
They had a bit of hiccup on the way down which caused only a slight delay. Thankful for the driver who let them know they had blown a tire on the interstate, they were able to safely pull over and fix the flat.
Nugget was the perfect traveling companion. Kate found him about a week prior during a snowstorm in the middle of the road near Mulberry Gap. After posting on multiple local Facebook pages and contacting the shelters and veterinary offices with no luck - Kate & Andrew decided to take him down to Florida and see if anyone was looking for a new addition to their family.
With a few adorable videos and images of Nugget's personality - he quickly got a lot of attention on social media. At the event on Friday, he received lots of love from the mountain bike community. Someone even offered to take him on a long walk for us as we were tied down with customers in the booth.
We set up our booth with local information about The Ellijay's (Ellijay main and East Ellijay), Cartecay Bike Shop, Mulberry Gap and a bikepacking area with details about our multi-day tours, our rigs loaded down and some of the gear we carry.
We talked to folks about our latest adventure, the Huracan 300, which we completed in early November and the diversity of the guided trips options we offer.
This well attended event pulls folks from all over the Eastern United States. We spoke to bikers from as far as Canada, Michigan & New York to as close as Florida, Georgia, the Carolina's, Tennessee and Alabama.
The first evening - there's always an awesome live band and a group night ride. With beers flowing and energy high, riders talk about the following day's 50-mile epic and the latest gear and bikes they're dying to get their hands on.
We skipped the night ride and stuck around for Jamie, who called us on the drive down to Florida, as he was interested in coming to meet Nugget. Around 9:00pm he arrived from Lakeland, Florida with Charlie, his other rescue dog. Nugget & Charlie played for over 45 minutes and it was best friends as first sight.
We're proud to announce that Jamie and Lorraine are the new parent's of Nugget or Nuggie as they've named him. They took him home that night and have been sending weekly updates on his quick acceptance into their home. They took him to the vet immediately. He tested negative for rabies and heartworm. He has been neutered, chipped, received his shots and had his umbilical hernia fixed. They are loving and taking good care of him.
Nugget will spend his years between North Carolina where the family is building a second home near Black Mountain and Lakeland, Florida where they currently live and work.
He'll enjoy hikes, kayaking, cuddling in bed, and roadtrip adventures will his new family as they travel around the southeast.
Movement around camp and the vendor village is always a bit slow on Saturday morning. You have the overachievers who are already 20 miles into their 50-mile ride and then you have the partiers who are having a hard time crawling out of their tents.
OMBA provided coffee and breakfast and this is what motivated some of the crowd to zombie walk to the coffee bar to drink to juice of life.
Folks were digging the Mulberry Gap swag we had on display this year. Our new booth gets a lot of attention and we try to have a mixture of bike specific goodies for both men and women.
Mr. Sk-ji Pedals (aka Jimmy Dismuke) rolled through to say hi on his way home from the super challenging Florida Divide route put on by Singletrack Samurai.
We can't say enough good things about the volunteers and OMBA who organize and put on this successful event. It's one of our favorites and we can't wait to get back there next year.