My birthday was this past weekend. How did we celebrate you ask? Well, we went on a motorcycle trip of course. We decided that we’d ride up to Maggie Valley, NC and spend two nights at The Jonathan Creek Inn. We’ve stayed there on group trips before but this was our first solo stay there. We stayed in Maggie Valley nearly three years ago on our Blue Ridge Parkway “End To End” trip but didn’t stay at Jonathan Creek. So we left out late Saturday morning with half a tank of gas and headed for North Carolina. We got a nice surprise at a gas stop in Blue Ridge, Georgia when I found that the premium unleaded gas was ethanol free! After gassing up and showing some kids from Florida the motorcycle we continued on. Within two hours of being on the road we had been in three states; Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. We went up going through, Blue Ridge to McCaysville in Georgia and then Copperhill in Tennessee. Once in North Carolina we headed for Andrews, Murphy, Topton, through the Nantahala Gorge into Cherokee and then on into Maggie Valley. The trip is about three and half hours of riding for us. The Jonathan Creek Inn gets its name because the Jonathan Creek runs behind the motel. Some of the rooms have a rear door that goes out to the creek or a screened in porch or patio. There was couple staying there that made home-made ice cream with fresh-cut peaches for anyone who wanted it. Yep, they did it just to do it.
Sunday was going to be our riding and tourist day. We had planned to ride a short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway, have lunch in Waynesville, NC and then possibly go to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum back in Maggie Valley if we had time before heading back and enjoying the creek. I got up and strolled around, and got us some coffee from the lobby and met another motorcyclist who was quite impressed with the
roads in and around The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. He said he and his wife were from “mid Wisconsin” and they didn’t have roads like that back home. He and his wife were riding his Kawasaki Vulcan. A few minutes later she showed up with their helmets and he said they were ready to go. I asked him where they were headed and he said “Home.” That’s right, they rode that Vulcan with soft saddlebags for luggage down from Wisconsin! They said they were going to try to make Indianapolis that night! They ride for about two hours before taking a break and set a destination and ride until they get there, be it 5 in the afternoon or 9 at night. Now that’s a motorcycling couple! My hat is off to them! Or should I say my helmet is off to them?
After our breakfast we headed up and got on the Blue Ridge Parkway at about mile marker 26 and were going to ride to mile marker 0 down at Cherokee, NC. We were gaining in altitude the first part of the ride and within the first 10 miles the temperature dropped from 85°F to 69°F! The road is just as fun as I remember it and there was almost no traffic on the Parkway. We had the nice curvy road almost all to ourselves. It seemed like we could almost reach out and touch the clouds. After lunch in we did decide to drop in at the Wheels Through Time museum. I’ve heard so much about this museum and was told it was a “must see”. Personally I was quite disappointed. First off it’s not just motorcycles of any kind, but only American motorcycles. Yes there were some interesting things to see but there didn’t seem to be any order to it. You didn’t follow a timeline, it was more haphazard and you had no way of telling what a lot of the stuff was. I mean you could look and say, “Oh that’s a V-twin, you can’t read what it is but I bet it’s a Harley or an Indian.” Plus it was hot inside too. Now there was an interesting Harley Davidson upstairs that if you took a quick glance at some angles you might thing it was a BMW GS series motorcycle. There was a WWII display that had a Harley Davidson that was quite apparently a Harley/BMW hybrid. Most of the parts said Harley Davidson but that sure was an old boxer twin and a shaft drive put in that Harley frame somehow. I thought it was quite a display of ingenuity in using what you could scrounge. I wondered if it was American mechanics who scrounged the BMW parts or German mechanics that scrounged the Harley parts. But the place really didn’t tell you the history of the American motorcycle. I felt like I was going to run into the guys from American Pickers at any minute. Sunday was also the day that a guy showed up with a Harley on a trailer, unloaded it, and then parked his motorcycle, the trailer and his SUV all in their own spaces. Yes he took up 3 spaces in a hotel that had limited parking already. We thought it was funny how some of the Harley riders at the hotel, you know the ones who rode their motorcycles, were talking about that guy. For dinner that night we decided to try a BBQ restaurant called Butts On The Creek. Take our advice and if you’re ever in Maggie Valley, don’t bother with it. It was probably the blandest BBQ pork I’ve ever had. It was gray and flavorless. There was no smoke flavor or BBQ flavor to it at all.
After some pretty bad storms on Sunday night we woke up on Monday morning to clear skies and it was time for use to head home. After a hardy breakfast we loaded the Magic Carpet and said goodbye to Maggie Valley and were back home by early afternoon. Oh we did stop in Jasper, GA for a nice BBQ lunch though. It even looked and tasted like BBQ!