Yesterday, here in the U.S. it was Father’s Day. My friend Sean and I (the two fathers) wanted to go for a ride. We didn’t want a short ride like a few weeks ago where we rode to lunch and then a short ride back home. We wanted a real ride! Sean planned a ride that would ultimately take us to Deal’s Gap and it’s 11 mile stretch of road known as The Tail Of The Dragon. Sean’s wife, Christine had never been there so that was the reason for our destination. We also wanted to ride some of the other roads in the area too. Sean planned out a route that would take us from home in Georgia on up into Tennessee and into North Carolina (the 3 states) before returning home. We met at Sean & Christine’s house early that morning for a hearty breakfast before the four of us (Donna & me and Sean & Christine) got on the road. Sean’s route took us from Woodstock, Georgia on up the road to exotic places like Blue Ridge, Copperhill, Duck Town and then a stop in Tellico Plains where The Cherohala Skyway begins. While at our stop in Tellico Plains we met a couple who was on a beautiful orange Harley Davidson Road Glide. He asked me how to get to the Cherohala Skyway and I told him “Just turn right out of the parking lot.” He asked “And then what?” I pointed to the brown sign right up the road and told him the Skyway began right there. We had a good laugh and we all looked at each other’s motorcycles and asked questions. We got back on our motorcycles and headed for the brown sign but instead of taking the Skyway we made a left onto TN HWY 360 and headed for Vonore, TN and from there US 129 and The Tail Of The Dragon (sounds scary, doesn’t it?). If you’re not familiar with that stretch of road, it boasts 318 curves in 11 miles. Quite a number of the curves are sharp, hairpins and switchbacks. You have to really pay attention on this road. The road is not dangerous if you stick to the speed limit and stay in your lane. The problem is that many riders go up there and treat the road like it’s their personal racetrack and then get upset when people get in their way. The trick to riding it on a motorcycle like our BMW K1200LT is lower gears and high revs so you can really lean into the curves. Now let me vent a bit. If this kind of road scares you then stay off it. We were part of a parade of motorcycles that was behind 2 cars with Illinois plates who were driving at the speed limit and often well below it. When they’d come up to the roadside photographers they’d nearly stop! They passed nearly every paved pull-off without using them until nearly the end of the road. But I guess if I had my choice I’d rather have them being cautious and staying in their own lane than exceeding their abilities and crossing over into oncoming traffic, which is a common occurence up there. I’d also prefer them at the speed limit instead of the speeding sport bikes using the public roadway as a private raceway. Vent over.
Once we rode The Tail Of The Dragon, we stopped in at the Deal’s Gap Resort/Store/Cafe to look around, mainly at the people show and motorcycles. Up in the cafe it look like a casting call for extras for the Sons of Anarchy! We looked around and took some pictures before we got back on the motorcycles and headed for Robbinsville, NC using NC HWY 28 instead of US 129. I will have to say that on this day, NC 28 was the much better ride than The Tail Of The Dragon. There was very little traffic on it’s up and down twists and curves. It was very fun. In fact there were a number of times that I not only scraped the side stand and center stand but went even further and scraped my foot pegs! WOOHOO! When we made it to Robbinsville Christine said that even in front of us she heard the scraping! We headed onto into Robbinsville for a late lunch at a Mexican restaurant the Donna and I have eaten at a few times. We pulled into the lot and saw the orange Road Glide from Tellico Plains in the lot! They had come across the Cherohala Skyway and found the same place to eat. We chatted with them a bit inside and then outside again as we all left after eating lunch. Our Day was now getting late so it was time to tell the GPS to find the quickest way home which took us through Andrews and Murphy North Carolina and then into north Georgia for home.
Our little ride took us 331 miles from Sean and Christine’s house (for us add the 12 miles from our house to theirs) and into 3 states. Most of our riding was on two lane state highways and a few 4 lane state and U.S. highways. It was a really good day to be out riding and I slept real good that night!
I tried out a new picture layout. If you point at the picture you’ll see the caption for it. If you click on the picture it will open it up to full size.