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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am completely packed two days before we are to leave. I have checked the weather innumerable times expecting to see a beautiful forcast spoiled by rain.

Day 1:

I wake early to a misting, dreary morning. I eat a quick breakfast and head over to my father-in-law's. After some final tweeks, Mark and I are off feeling excited to finally be off on an andventure. The sky begins to clear and is gorgeous until we reach the TN/KY border. As we pull into a Shell station, the clouds unfurl their dark malice and the rain begins to fall. I quickly go to pull my raincover from my saddlebags and, much to my dismay, find that the bags have begun to melt themselves to my carbon fibre exhaust. In a panic, Mark and I try to think of a quick solution... Aluminum Foil! I rush into the station, grab and pay for the foil, and rush to create a barrier between my exhaust and the bag. This seems to work and we are again on our way.



Uneventfully, we arrive in Maryville, TN and eat at Fridays. We then pick our way towards the Caney Creek Villages where I had reserved a primitive cabin for $19. As we turn south on 360, the heavens let loose once more. This time, the downpour spoils an absolutely fabulous road. Wonderfully smooth, 360 tests our fortitude with ever tightening turns slick with the new rain. We arrive thankfully at our cabin to be met unexpectedly by a group of Native Americans in traditional garb. The Overhill Cherokee Tribe is having their annual meeting and unfortunately would not pose for pictures. With the wind howling, we fall into an uneasy slumber.






Day 2:

The previous night's storm had been a bad one, with branches and leaves strewn across the road. Excited at the prospect of challenging roads, we pack and leave early. Riding along 360, I give thanks that the weather has moved on and we were facing a perfect day. With debris on the road, we make our way conservatively towards the Cherahola Skyway. As we enter the Skyway, I relax and begin leaning into each sweeping corner. As tempting as it is to ride at a racing pace, I fight my urge and keep my speeds sane marveling at the wonders that open up at each lookout. The mountains deserve their smoking reputation. I try hard not to stop at each and every lookout knowing that we have a dragon waiting to be slain. Since everything had been closed near the cabin, we stopped in Robbinsonville, TN for a late breakfast. The Phillips Smokey Mountain Restaurant was the only place open this fine Sunday, and were gracious enough to sling out some omlettes at 10:30am when we arrived.















I did not expect much from the Dragon with reports of a rockslide and the police posting a "no tolerance" attitude. Boy, were we in for a treat! We entered the Dragon following a Tennessee State Trooper all the way up until one mile before the closed section. We quickly turned around as he continued, and blasted down the Dragon. That was so much fun! Each corner ever tightening with views that could capture your attention briefly then back to the road. You could not ask for better tarmac! We reach the bottom and I turn around to ride back up. Mark stays behind as I rocket once again up the mountain. I stop briefly to interview Killboy, the unofficial photography for the Dragon" then ride back to Deals Gap. Mark and I then turn south onto Moonshiner 28. What an unexpected surprise! This road was as good as the Dragon and the Cherohala! The road follows a river with serene views every 10 feet. After an hour, we somehow missed a turn and find ourselves on a fast, sweeping four lane highway. To make up time, we hit 411 south to 17 west into Helen, GA. Helen is a touristy German town with a decidedly Southern flair. We stop into Han's Restaurant for a Rueben sandwich and a cold beer. Refreshed, we leave Helen and head towards our accomodations at Two Wheel Only motorcycle resort in Suches, GA. Immediately upon leaving Helen, we make a wrong turn onto an awe inspiring road with wide, smooth pavement and very tight turns. We flog our Triumphs mercilessly until we finally realize that we are lost. Stopping for gas, we find that we are in Clayton, GA! It is 9:30pm and we are an hour and a half away from Suches. We head west on interstate 76 until we can head south on 129. Arriving at TWO, we are miserably tired and bickering with each other until we are met by two young guys camping at the resort. They are a month into hiking the Appilacian trail. We also talk to another couple who has stayed at the resort for the last 3 days. They tell us that 129 we had just ridden has 300 feet drop offs and is filled with gravel. We look at each other realizing how lucky we are to be here safely and turn in for the night.

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Day 3:

We awake to the sound of a waterfall. I walk out the door and am met with a gorgeous sunrise over a small waterfal not far from the road. The colors of the mountain pop with the entrance of the sun. We head south out of TWO and once again we ride an amazing road with wonderful mountain view vistas. We eat an unmemorable breakfast at Waffle House and brave Atlanta traffic to arrive at Power-Tripp Performance to have our bikes dyno tuned. Many hours later, we find the inexpensive Key West Hotel for $45. The inn is new, clean, and offers a modest breakfest.



Day 4:

We spend the day with Wayne dynoing Mark's bike, powdercoating my headlight buckets, and finishing my bike. We feed Wayne some Chinese and head back to Atlanta. I make reservations thanks to CheapBastard at the Metro Hotel east of Atlanta for $45. When we arrive at 10pm, the front desk is closed and we have no way of getting into a room. Dejected, we overpay at the Micro Hotel across the street ($68) and go to Walmart to consume microwavable pizza.



Day 5:

I am so sore this morning! I wake up as exhausted as the night before. I struggle to slip into my leathers and head downstairs for some coffee. I eat quietly pondering our route then start packing the bike. It is quite chilly this morning but sunny as we set off. Delighted to be back on the road, we head towards Greenville, SC fortunately skirting all the rush hour traffic. Finally, we arrive in Ashville, NC quickly stopping for a McDonalds dollar menu lunch. Refreshed, we arrive at last on the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. The moment our tires touch the Blue Ridge, everthing changes. The tarmac takes on a silky smooth texture and each corner has an elegant bend with an equal radius throughout. The roads blend into the surroundings as if the road was formed at the same time as the mountains. Whit a speed limit of 45 mph, it is difficult at first to fight the urge to race through, but the cadence of each curve quickly invokes a more moderate approach. Stopping at the visitors center, we find that two sections of our route have been closed to to ice. Shocked we are given alternative routes and head out following a group from New York. The road climbs as the temperature drops. Curves become more irregular and every few miles displays another amazing view. I struggle not to stop at every opportunity. All at once the foliage fades away and it seems that spring has yet to deliver. Barren trees mar each crest as we continue up to 5,000 feet above sea level. I double take at the sight of snow! I quickly stop to don my thermal undies and realize just how lucky I am to have packed them. We crest the divide and descend back into lovely valleys.









Our first detour onto route 80 proves delightful as the first turn switches back onto itself. I nearly drag a knee as the road unexpectedly heaves into a roller coaster. Decreasing radius, off camber curves mark route 80 which tests our skill and nerves. We refuel and head back onto the Blue Ridge via 226a. This turns out to be less severe as route 80 but quite enjoyable. I find myslef wishing I had more time to explore the roads off the Blue Ridge as they offer just as much excitement.













We finally meet up with Brad (Cheapbastard) and continue north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. I am ecstatic to finally meet Brad and his gorgeous S3. I must admit that the Zard lowmount is a spectacular sounding exhaust. He gets us towards his house via 241 then throws his bike around on his local roads leading us to his house. Mrs. Cheap feeds us some burgers and I get ready for another spectacular day sipping on a Fat Tire beer in my hands.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Day 5:

We leave Brad's house early hoping to make good time on what we knew would be an exceedingly long day. Since the Blue Ridge Parkway does not vary much, we decided to head on 52 to catch 81 north to Staunton, VA. Droning along, I look up and see the most unusual mountain. It stands alone and halfway up, the trees give way to a stone pillar. At last we arrive in Staunton and turn east to ride the Skyline Drive. Immediately the pace slows in an attempt to intake the aptly named road. Around each curve, a panoramic view of the valley unfolds. At 35 mph, I struggle to maintain this strictly enforced speed limit until I encounter the first deer in the middle of the road. The wildlife here are so used to cars, they have no urgency to move. Thus warned, I slow down and fall into an easy pace. Every view is spectacular and I don't want the road to ever end. The quaint town of Front Roayal greets us and we us e the TomTom to find the quickest route to our place of refuge in Parkton, MD. As we ride through Harper's Ferry and Frederick, I notice signs for historyic Civil War battles. We arrive late to my aunt's house for a rousing reunion.







Day 6:

We didn't do much riding today as I wanted to spend some time with my Aunt, but I did get some pictures of the nearby area. Northern Maryland is completely different than what I expected. Starkly different from Baltimore, northern Maryland is filled with rolling hills, winding roads, and beautiful farms. I take my aunt on a ride to Pretty Boy Dam and we sit for what seems like a long time just letting the roar of the water fill the silences. For dinner, we drive to Newark, DE for the best pizza on earth at Grotto Pizza.







Day 7:

I slept hard knowing we another long day ahead of us. Unfortunately, we get a late start trying to say goodbye to my aunt I hadn't seen in 13 years. We bid them goodbye at 9:30am and travel north towards Gettysburg, PA. The civil engineers of Maryland deserve a slow clap. Any road not an interstate is fantastic with rolling hills, smooth tarmac, and nice curves. We at last find ourselves in Gettysburg and instantly notice various signs for "auto tours". We pick the blue tour and find historically significant battle sites riddled with cannon and signs telling of the brave men who fought. Continuing on, we stop briefly at the visitors center for a map and restroom break. From there, we pay our respects at the cemetary and begin the push towards West Virginia. Knowing that the two hours spent at Gettysburg would make the rest of the day that much longer, we forsake the backroads in favor of a more direct route on interstate 70. We finally head south on 220 passing briefly through Maryland before entering West Virginia. Route 220 slows our progress dramatically as the road passes through many small towns. We stop in Keyser, WV for lunch at the very busy Italian restaurant, Cagliones. This is by far the worst meal of the entire trip. Mark's lasagna comes twenty minutes before my cheese steak sandwhich. Neither meal had any flavor but with portions so large, many diners leave with enough leftovers for dinner and lunch. We soon leave the hum drum of 220 for 50 west. Instantly, the feel of the road shifts heaving us to and fro on the way up the mountain. After a series of tight turns and loops, we arrive at the top of the mountain. Soon 93 west sets us racing westward along the mountain ridge towards Charleston. With the 65 mph speed limit, all attention can be focused on sport riding rather than worrying about staying free of speeding tickets. The sun is setting fast as we near Charleston. Suddenly, as we round the base of one mountain, we encounter rain on interstate 64. Dejected, I turn on to the interstate knowing I would be missing some fantastic backroads. Fortunately, this highway is not straight for more than a minute and bends for miles at the base of the mountains. Exhausted, we turn in at Charleston to escape the rain. The Sleep Inn leaves us comfortably content for $80 and promises a good breakfast.







Day 8:

Homeward bound we spring forth and enjoy the continental breakfast containing biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, and toast. The day is muggy and hot but even so, I don my leathers and rain gear knowing we are headed into a bad storm. By the time we get to Huntington, WV, we are miserably hot. Instantly, the heavens let loose with a tremendous downpour. Visibility is about 10-20 feet with even that obscured by road spray. Suitibly, our pace slows and we take great care. We get separated in traffic surrounding Cincinnati but thanks to the Scala Rider, we quickly reunite and cross into Indiana. At long last, we arive at home drenched but happy. The jounrey done, we take a moment to reminisce about the good time knowing that this adventure will be rmembered fondlly.







Total Mileage: 2,831
 

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Hey very cool!!

I know it sounds like a weak excuse, but I just can't imagine that kind of time to just ride and relax like that.

Ever read Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
 

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Awesome bro, just plain awesome!! :cowboy:
 

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No call Jared? LOL! You were less then an hour from my house:001_tt2:

BTW, 28 (you called Moonshiner 28) is also known as Hellbender.........it is by far one of my favorite roads around the Dragon. Too bad you missed out on 421 through my neck of the woods. Next time for sure. Thanks for sharing bro, looks like you and Mark had a blast!:thumbup1:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No call Jared? LOL! You were less then an hour from my house:001_tt2:

BTW, 28 (you called Moonshiner 28) is also known as Hellbender.........it is by far one of my favorite roads around the Dragon. Too bad you missed out on 421 through my neck of the woods. Next time for sure. Thanks for sharing bro, looks like you and Mark had a blast!:thumbup1:
Sorry buddy! As it was, we didn't get into TWO until 11pm... We didn't feel that we had time to meet up with anyone. Next time...
 

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Nice writeup and pics. You get lost a lot, but in that country getting lost is a good thing. I've been to every one of those places except that area of northern Maryland. Great roads and views for sure.

And Mr. BMiller is right, 421 in TN rocks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I was using maps that I printed off from google. Unfortunately, I didn't mark every turn on the map (not that it would have made a difference in GA) but most of the time I didn't mind being a little lost in the mountains. The GPS made the difference once we got to GA. I would have never found TWO if it had not been for the GPS. So many of those roads are not labeled at all and makes for a long ride in the dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Awesome write-up and trip. I find it hilarious that your Dad lifted your ride report and reprinted it on Tiger1050.
I had to force him to give me credit for the words... He is not the wordsmith in the family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It'll be fun for sure!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry about the blurry pics... I posted the wrong ones from Photobucket. If you notice, many of the photo's were taken one handed while riding. That's a trick! I enjoy all the roads as you can tell for different reasons. I don't ride the Dragon or route 80 expecting much of a view wheras I wouldn't ride the Blue Ridge Parkway at 110mph to drag a knee. They are all fun and I feel lucky to have been able to experience all the roads we did!

Here are a few more photo's from the trip...

Route 80... If you look closely, you can see the road turns into a decreasing radius switchback here...





















 
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