Posts Tagged With: georgia

January In Florida

Who was that masked man?

Who was that masked man?

Last week I took a solo trip down to my Dad’s in the Daytona Beach area of Florida for a visit and help him with a few projects.  I’m not too fond of solo trips and really do miss having Donna sitting behind me.  A solo day ride is one thing but a solo trip is another thing entirely.  This would also be the R1200RT’s first long trip since we brought it back from Daytona Beach, FL back in October of 2014.

We live just north of Atlanta, GA which means going through or around Atlanta to get to Florida.  I commuted to Atlanta everyday day before I retired so I already had a plan.  That plan was to get on the road by 6:30 am to be just ahead of the bulk of the rush hour traffic.  It would also mean leaving in the dark which doesn’t bother me at all.  I’d rather start the day in the dark than end it in the dark when I’m tired.  You either get on the road early or wait and get on the road much later in the morning.  Well my plan was a disaster due to the lack of driving skills of others.  A multi-car accident on an entirely different highway caused major gridlock on Interstate 75 South!  Imagine looking down at the GPS to see that you’re travelling 7.9 mph, and that was fast for that morning.  It took me over an hour to travel a grand total of 18 miles, 15 of which were on the interstate!  I was normally able to leave for work just before 7:00 am and get to work by 8:00 am with what I call normal rush hour traffic.  An hour and 35 minutes into the ride I was getting to the exit I used to use from the interstate to get to my office!  But once I got inside I-285, Atlanta’s perimeter highway, it was pretty much a speed limit ride.  It was also pretty cold that morning too!  When I left the temperature was in the upper 20’s (F) and peaked at about 30° (F) for quite some time until around central Georgia, well south of Macon.  The cold caused another predicament too.  I was dressed for cold weather riding, not cold weather sitting.  After some time in traffic I was actually getting cold because I had also started to sweat.  I had to turn the temperature on the heated seat down but left the grips toasty warm.  As I approached southern Georgia the temperature started warming to near 50° (F) and slowly warmed a bit more.  I actually had the heated grips on until I was in northern Florida!  On the whole trip down the R1200RT continued to impress me.  I had the dynamic ESA set to one rider with luggage and the mode set to soft, being on the interstate.  To break the boredom of interstate highway travel it was good to have the Sirius/XM satellite radio.  Once I got to Jacksonville, FL I tuned it into Radio Margaritaville!

After a few days in Florida it was time to head for home.  When I left it was sunny and quickly warmed to about 74° (F) for a good while.  As I headed west on I-10 and then north on I-75 the temperature started to drop but it stayed sunny.  The day’s forecast had already told me that I’d be riding into rain the closer I got to home.  As I approached Macon I was still in the sunshine but could see gray skies ahead.  Once in Macon it started to rain on and off just enough to wet the windshield a few times.  As I pressed on approaching Atlanta the rain became more steady, but not heavy.  I switched the ride mode to “Rain” and continued on.  The new fairing and windshield design on the R1200RT does manage to keep a lot of the rain off you while you’re moving.  I’m still adjusting the new timing of the gas stops between the new R1200RT and our old K1200LT.  In fact the R1200RT has a half-gallon larger gas tank, gets better gas mileage and goes further between fill ups.  I stopped for gas south of Valdosta, GA to fill up and then did not stop again until I got off the highway near home, a full 265 miles later!  And even when I did stop, I still had more than a gallon of gas left.  This was with the cruise control seat at about 75 mph on the posted 70 mph stretch which was nearly most of the trip!  The R1200RT averaged over 53 mpg on that last tank!  Now along the way I was checking the trip computer (which can be displayed on the GPS screen) and it showed I’d get home with 65-70 miles of gas left (depending on the speed).  The closer I got to home I also started to suffer from “getthereitis” but I wasn’t tired.  But I will admit that I did find out what I had always heard about BMW seats being hard.  During those last 50 miles I could have sworn I was sitting on a cinder block!  Our previous motorcycle, the K1200LT already had a custom Rick Mayer seat on it when we bought it.  That stretch from Valdosta to home was good practice for an Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000!  And it looks like a forecast of sunny and warm for this Saturday!

The R1200RT prepared to head back home to Georgia.

The R1200RT prepared to head back home to Georgia.

Our K1200LT in the same spot nearly 5 years earlier.

Our K1200LT in the same spot nearly 5 years earlier.

Advertisements
Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Georgia’s Only Scenic Byway

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

Today was our first good, long ride of 2015.  It was a day that totaled 226 miles for us.  The weather was looking good to ride next week and we planned to head up to north Georgia and ride the state’s only United States Department of Transportation’s designated scenic byway, The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway.  As luck would have it, a friend of mine, Buddy (yes it’s kind of ironic isn’t) brought up a few days ago that Saturday (today) was supposed to be sunny and near 60° (F) and wanted to know if we wanted to go riding.  You see, Buddy bought a Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic last summer and was out-of-town on business a lot.  He and his girlfriend Rhonda wanted to ride, even if was going to be cool.  “Cold we can deal with.” is what they’ve said in the past.  Buddy wanted me show them some nice roads and I was game to do so.  We met up in the morning and it was still 40° (F) after the sun had come up good.  It was only 24° two hours earlier in the morning.  The highest temperature we saw all day was 56° and that was while on the way home!

The Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway is a 40 mile loop that begins on Georgia HWY 17 just north of Helen.  The Appalachian Trail crosses this scenic byway twice.  Yes the loop is only 40 miles but we got our other miles getting there and then also riding in the area.  Oh and of course we had to ride to lunch too!  But back to the byway.  GA HWY 17 is a very well maintained road heading up (or down) the mountains and has some really great curves in it.  If you open up the map image you’ll get  an idea of them.  You’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 180 (which later becomes Wolf Pen Gap RD) where you’ll pass the entrance to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.  Before getting to US HWY 129, you’ll make a left turn onto Georgia HWY 348, The Richard B. Russell Scenic Highway.  Highway 348 only runs between HWY 180 and HWY 75 Alt. and doesn’t meander anywhere else.  There are some great curves and switchbacks on the Richard B. Russell too.  It’s winter so as we approached the top of the mountain the temperature quickly dropped from 55° to 40°.  Near the peak there are sheer rock walls lining the road and on a winter’s day like today they are covered in feet of ice.  I know, we should’ve taken a picture but when we stopped it was too cold and we didn’t want to get off the motorcycles but wanted to keep going (and get back to the warmer temperatures).  There’s also quite a number of pull-offs and scenic overlooks on the Richard B. Russell.  GA HWY 348 will end at Georgia 75 Alt. where you’ll turn left and head back to GA HWY 17 and the beginning.

Today was Donna’s second ride with the new floorboards and actually her first ride of any length on them.  The jury is in and she gives them 2 thumbs up.  She says they’re much more comfortable than the stock foot pegs they replaced.  It was good to get out and put the R1200RT to work.  Wow this engine wants to run!  Our old K1200LT was an inline four-cylinder engine and was actually pretty quiet.  But the boxer style twin on the R1200RT hums loudly beneath you, producing an audible and muscular exhaust note.  Plus the R1200RT averaged over 50 MPG today, since its fill-up when we started this morning!  It was really good to get out in the sun and ride after a week of cold, overcast and fog.  It did all six of us good!  And by six I mean the four humans and the two motorcycles.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , | 5 Comments

I’m Really Liking This Motorcycle!

I took the R1200RT out for a short 126 mile ride this morning.  One of the things I wanted to do was familiarize myself with the BMW Navigator V GPS system using a route I already had saved in Garmin’s BaseCamp software.  There are some differences in the way the new Navigator V and the older Garmin Zumo 220 load routes and where they keep them.  I left the new Navigator V GPS set so that it would give me prompts and directions through the motorcycle’s on-board audio system through the fairing speakers.

We’re still waiting for our top case to be delivered so this was going to be a solo ride.  Donna prefers the security of the top case and its backrest behind her plus she had to work today.

I took a short and fun route that we’ve ridden a number of times and written about here.  I have the route saved in BaseCamp as “Hillbilly Drive“.  I take GA HWY 53 across to Dawsonville where I take a nice local road back out to GA HWY 183 going towards Amicalola Falls State Park.  Before getting to the park I take GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and through its curves before getting to Talking Rock, GA and heading for home.

It was a cool but gorgeous day to ride!  It started out right at 50º (F) and dropped to 48 going over the mountain before rising again to the mid 50’s.  I was comfortable with the liner in my jacket, a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of riding pants.  I even wore unlined plain leather gloves but cheated and used the heated grips.  I had the SiriusXM radio tuned to the Grateful Dead station and my route in the GPS.  Whenever I had an upcoming turn, the audio system automatically muted and played the instructions from the GPS.  It was easier to hear the GPS than it was the music.  The R1200RT fell right into the curves!  I’ll admit that this was always a fun road on the K1200LT but the boxer twin R1200RT increases the fun factor exponentially.  I stopped for a short break at the scenic overlook.  There’s still just a little bit of color in the trees too.  But after last weekend’s winter weather there was already some sand and gravel spread on a few parts of Highway 136.  The boxer goes too!  There were some parts of the route that I’m used to downshifting from 5th to 4th on the K1200LT to get better power.  But with the R1200RT’s boxer twin you just open the throttle and it goes.

I even tried out BMW’s Hill Start Assist today just to see what it’s all about.  It’s like using a parking brake that automatically releases when you give the bike some throttle to start moving again.  When pulling out onto the main highway up there, GA HWY 515, I finally tried out another option, BMW’s Shift Assistant Pro.  Wow what an option!  Shift Assistant Pro allows upshifts and downshifts without the use of the clutch.  After pulling onto the highway and rolling I shifted into 3rd through 6th gears by revving and shifting and NOT using the clutch.  I remember reading somewhere that Shift Assistant Pro is better suited to a more performance oriented ride.

I did miss having Donna back there though.  I hope that top case gets here soon.

Categories: Accessories, Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It Made Her Giggle

We took the new R1200RT out for a ride today.  We wanted to go look at a toy hauler RV that was at an RV dealer over near Gainesville, GA.  It was a gorgeous fall day so we decided we were going to ride our new motorcycle.  Our friends, Sean and Christine were going to go with us and ride their Victory Cross Country Tour.  Time-wise the interstate was the fastest but riding motorcycles on tow lane roads is more fun!  The dealer is right off of Georgia HWY 53 in Oakwood, GA.  So we left Woodstock and headed up I-575 until it changed to GA HWY 515 just north of Ballground, GA where we picked up GA HWY53 which we would take all the way to the RV dealer.

The stretch of GA HWY 53 from Jasper to Dawsonville is a road that we have taken many, many times before.  It is a fun, curvy road as many roads are in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  We also took this route so we could compare travelling it on our K1200LT and on our new R1200RT.  The best part of today’s route was after we crossed from Pickens County into Dawson County.  We’re in the nice curvy section of road when I hear Donna giggling over the intercom.  Yes she was giggling!  She said it more fun on the R1200RT than it was on the K1200LT.  Believe me, I already knew it was much more fun!  Now you have to understand that Donna has never ridden on the back of a motorcycle without a back rest or trunk behind her (or in BMW terms, a top case) until we bought this R1200RT.  We have the top case on order but it isn’t here yet.  So there was Donna perched on the back of the BMW R1200RT, with nothing behind her, giggling away on a twisty and curvy road because it was fun.  We think we made the right decision for a new motorcycle.  Oh and know what was even better?  We got to ride the same stretch of road on the way home!  To be honest, the image below from Garmin Basecamp doesn’t do the road justice.  We ended up riding 163 miles today.  The R1200RT is now overdue for its 600 mile service and that task has been scheduled.  I wanted it out of the way before our trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground this weekend.

The stretch of road that made Donna giggle on the new R1200RT

The stretch of road that made Donna giggle on the new R1200RT

Categories: Rides | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Let Us Introduce You To…..

Okay, I can’t keep the lid on it any longer.  Let us introduce you to our new 2014 BMW R1200RT!

When we arrived in Daytona Beach last week, our K1200LT suffered a failed outer bearing on the final drive of the motorcycle.  BMW Motorcycles of Daytona was going to get us back on the road pretty quickly though.  You can read the entry about the final drive here instead of me going into it again.

We were at the dealer when we started to “What if…” ourselves.  Many of you know what I mean.  What if this happens or what if that happens?  The K1200LT had 85, 391 miles on her when we retired her.  Yes there were some maintenance items coming up due but that’s why it’s maintenance and hopefully not repair.  I had just changed the oil before our trip to Florida.

We were looking at an ebony black 2015 K1600GTL and what is now our quartz metallic blue 2014 R1200RT.  To be honest, the more we looked, I couldn’t justify the extra money of the K1600.  Besides the R1200RT is the boxer style engine.  I really didn’t like the R1200RT in the black or the matte gray they had.  But that’s just my choice.  The R1200RT was pretty much outfitted with everything the K1600GTL had too!  It has the Bluetooth audio and communications system, the heated seats and grips, cruise control, satellite radio, the ESA suspension system and so much more.  Did I say it’s got a boxer style motor?  As an incentive from BMW the purchase of the 2014 R1200RT came with the BMW Nav V GPS system.  BMW of Daytona was out of the GPS so they needed to get it from their sister dealer in Orlando.  It hadn’t arrived by the time we headed for home so they need to ship it this week.  We went ahead and ordered the 49 liter top case, which they also didn’t have and will be shipped.  It was a tougher decision to do this than we thought but we’re thinking it was a good one.

We spent about half a day riding it around Daytona Beach during Biketoberfest while visiting my Dad.  And then on Sunday we rode it home.  The top case wasn’t in yet and this was the  first time Donna would really be riding without a back rest or top case behind her for support.  Luckily, we had done like we had in the past and made the trip home in 2 days after a stop overnight in Tifton, GA.  It was really a good idea this time.  Donna really wasn’t fond of not having the top case yet.  And for me, after having the custom seat on the K1200LT the BMW seat on the R1200RT felt like sitting on a cinder block after a few hours.  I’m sure I’ll adjust to the seat.  The R1200RT gets tossed around by trucks more being that it’s more than 250 pounds lighter than the K1200LT was.  We will miss the Magic Carpet, she served us well.

In the coming weeks as we ride the R1200RT I’ll be posting more articles about it.  She hasn’t been named yet but that will come soon.

 

Categories: Daytona, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles

Yesterday was my friend Sean’s birthday.  His wife and my wife, Donna had dropped a hint this past weekend about him taking a birthday ride and me going along with him.  Well as Sean joked, on Monday night, “I got my hall pass.”  Since it was his birthday I told him it was up to him where to ride to and that I was just following along.  So we met Tuesday morning and headed out, me on the BMW K1200LT and Sean on his Victory Cross Country Tour.  First off this was unusual as the both of us nearly always ride with our wives.  It turns out that our main destination was to be the Cherohala Skyway that stretches from Tennessee into North Carolina.  We headed up from Holly Springs, GA until we got to Blue Ridge, GA where we then took GA Highway 5 into McCaysville, GA and Copper Hill, TN.  We enjoyed the twisting and winding roads through places like Ducktown and Turtletown before we took a short rest in Tellico Plains, TN at the Tennessee end of the Skyway.  The Cherohala Skyway is just an amazing road.  It’s a stretch of road over 40  miles long going from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC.  The road twists through the mountains and has altitudes ranging from 900 feet to 5,400 feet above see level.  On a clear day like it was yesterday it seems you can see forever through the openings in the trees and from the scenic overlooks.  Here it was the last day of September and there was already plenty of fall color in the trees and leaves blowing through the air.  We had already planned on having lunch at El Pacifico, a Mexican restaurant and quite possibly the only Mexican restaurant in Robbinsville.

Over lunch we discussed where to ride next.  One idea was to take U.S. Highway 129 back down to Murphy and Andrews, NC and then head back into Georgia through Brasstown before heading home.  Then Sean decided that since we were so close, literally minutes away, that we’d head up to Deal’s Gap and ride The Tail Of The Dragon.  Yes, the infamous Tail Of The Dragon and its 318 curves in 11 miles.  It’s a stretch of road that we’ve both ridden a number of times.  It can be a fun stretch of road to ride too.  We’re lucky enough that we live in an area where a trip to The Tail Of The Dragon and back home can easily be accomplished in a day.  But to be honest, the only reason we rode it on Tuesday was because we were right there.  Before we mounted back up in the parking lot of El Pacifico we experienced the only sad moment of the day.  Sean and Christine are selling their home and have a contract on it and will be moving at the end of October before settling for a while in Florida.  Sean looked up the road and said, “I guess it’ll be a while before I get to ride roads like these again.”  Now granted that we’ll both be up in the area the first weekend in November while leading a group trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground but being in a group, while can be fun, is not as fun as just two men and two motorcycles.  We rode onto Deal’s Gap, passing up the store and its nearly empty parking lot and rode The Tail Of The Dragon.  We rode it only once through and headed for US HWY 411 which would take us back south and home to Georgia.  Along the way we commented at a traffic light that it would’ve been more fun to head back on The Dragon and head home on a more scenic route that would take just a little longer.

I’ve ridden both the Cherohala Skyway and The Tail Of The Dragon a few times.  But this is the first time that I have ridden the two of them back to back in the same day.  While The Tail Of The Dragon gets all the hype I can tell you that the Cherohala Skyway is definitely the better of the two rides.

When I got home that afternoon I had 360 more miles on my odometer from the location I had met Sean in the morning.  So, hence the title of “2 Men, 2 Motorcycles and 360 Miles”  You can’t have much more fun on a tank and half of gas!

Along the ride we had our picture taken by a roadside photographer on the Cherohala Skyway and by a number of them on The Tail Of The Dragon.  Once they all finish uploading their pictures I’ll write a post with some proofs and links to their sites and maybe even purchase a picture or two.  So look out for that post.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Ride To Eat (RTE)

The couple we’ll ride with, Sean & Christine were out-of-town and came back yesterday.  What’s the first thing Donna wanted to get together and do?  Well it was to go riding of course!  Sean & Christine are now in the home stretch of being full-time RV’ers with a contract on their house and had already planned to look at campers and motorhomes today.  We’re leaning in that direction ourselves so Donna came up with the idea for a short ride to lunch for some BBQ and then back towards home to look at campers.  We met later in the morning than normal since it was a lunch ride and we headed for Dawsonville and over Burnt Mountain for lunch in Talking Rock, GA at Biguns BBQ.  This is the same short lunch ride I had led some members of my Blue Knights Chapter on earlier in the week.  But it does amaze me of how much cooler it is on the top of that mountain and it’s not very high.  Today it was sunny and it was 8 degrees (F) cooler on the top of the mountain.  We headed on to Biguns before it got too crowded and it sure did get crowded today.  After lunch it was time to head down to Camping World to do some window shopping.  Donna and I even found a real nice Class C motorhome that we really liked.  It was to the point that we were looking at each other and scheming.  We were at the point that we decided that if we could right now, we’d buy it then buy a trailer for the Magic Carpet and just hit the road.  Maybe in another year or so though.

Today was also the first day that I finally got Donna to wear earplugs while riding too.  She finally gave in!  She had tried foam earplugs in the past but didn’t like them and admittedly they did loosen up and fall look like they were going to fall out.  It was time for me to replace my ETY plugs so I just ordered 2 pair this time.  She really liked them when she tried them on when they got here and then she wore them all day today and found them comfortable.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Hooky Ride With Friends

I’m in the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club.  Today was a “Hooky Ride” that I had planned.  We started “Hooky Rides” a few years ago and they are weekday rides and the idea is to get back home before the school bus does.  The rides were also requested by members who don’t always have weekends off to ride.  I know this may come as a shock but law enforcement is not a Monday through Friday job where you work only during the day.  It was actually a good idea and sometimes we have quite a number of members show up.  It had been a while since we had a “Hooky Ride” so I scheduled one for today.  Other than myself, two other members showed up, B.C. and Steve.  We weren’t going to let that deter us and off we went for a short ride that I had planned out.  I took us on the Hillbilly Drive ride.  This ride was intentionally not long and took us on some local roads from Dawsonville, GA over to Talking Rock, GA to have lunch at Biguns Barbeque.  It was a simple route too, taking us out to GA HWY 183 before taking GA HWY 136 over Burnt Mountain and into Talking Rock.  What a great day to ride too!  When we left Dawsonville it was right at 70°F and a clear, cloudless sky.  Heading over the mountain it dropped to as low as 64ºF and B.C. later said that maybe he should’ve worn a jacket.  Once at lunch, two of B.C.’s friends came by, both retired police officers who had at one time ridden motorcycles for the Atlanta Police Department in their careers.  That meant that counting B.C. and me there were four retired Atlanta Officers who had been motor officers.  While it wasn’t an all day ride it was great day to ride and have lunch with friends!

The weather was great for riding today!

The weather was great for riding today!

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Finally, A Nice Long Ride Together

It seems like forever since Donna and I rode together.  Between her job, a stretch of either hot weather or rain and just life in general it seemed like ages since we rode.  In fact the last time we rode was when we went to Maggie Valley, NC back in July.  The other day Donna asked “What’s the weather like for Sunday?  I need a ride and I want to go to Turner’s Corner for lunch.”  We decided that there would be no errands, no chores and if anyone wanted us for anything that wasn’t a bona-fide emergency they’d just have to wait.  With an approaching cold front the forecast kept going back and forth with the forecast for rain.  It’s no fun riding in the rain and this ride was supposed to be fun. On Friday the forecast was improving and then on Saturday it was improving more (although we had already made our decision to ride).  I knew we would ride, no matter what the weather brought when Donna told me to pack her rain pants.

When we left in the morning I did just as requested and headed up to Turner’s Corner Café that sits on the corner of US HWY 19 and US HWY 129.  The Cafe’s true address is even 10 Turner’s Corner RD!  On the way up one of the first things we noticed was that there weren’t many motorcycles on the road with us as we got closer to the north Georgia mountains.  It must have been the gray clouds and temperatures in the upper 60’s in the morning!  Granted the clouds did look like they could rain on us and in fact they did, quite a few times, but never more than enough to just wet the windshield.  Some of the hill and mountain tops were shrouded in fog and clouds.  We took a pretty standard route for us to get to lunch, heading up I-575 until it became GA HWY 515 (to make up time) then GA HWY 53 to Dawsonville, GA HWY 9 on up to Dahlonega and then US HWY 19 to the restaurant.  Along the way near Marble Hill, Donna saw a baptism going on in a creek.  It is a nice curvy ride up there.  Now when I say a US Highway don’t think a multi-lane highway.  These are 2 lane roads in the mountains (Appalachian version of mountains) that are US Highways.  We had a great lunch out on the deck overlooking the river.  We nearly had the deck to ourselves!  Again, it must’ve been those gray skies that looked like rain.  There weren’t even many motorcycles heading up and down Blood Mountain.  I had planned us two rides for after lunch and both started and ended at Turner’s Corner.  I was in luck because Donna picked the long ride!

We headed south for a short distance towards Cleveland, GA but made the turn onto GA HWY 75 ALT (NOT interstate 75) and took it to its other end at GA HWY 17 just north of Helen.  We headed north on GA HWY 17 towards Hiawassee taking the nice twisting and curving part along the way.  We like to use more than just the center portion of the tires!  Once HWY 17 dead ended at GA HWY 76 in Hiawassee we made the right turn towards Clayton.  Before getting to Clayton though we turned right on GA HWY 197 for its twists and curves along Lake Burton before making our next right turn in Batesville onto GA HWY 356 passing through Unicoi State Park.  We ended back at GA HWY 17 just outside of Helen again before heading back past Turner’s Corner and heading back for home.  This whole ride today was all in Georgia but there’s a stretch along GA HWY 76 where you look into North Carolina.

We filled up with gas when we started in the morning and we put 248 miles on that tank of gas today with gas to spare!  Just before we got home the Magic Carpet’s odometer passed 84,000 miles.  But those aren’t the best things about today.  The best part was doing them with Donna sitting behind me on the motorcycle.

Categories: Rides | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

A Birthday Motorcycle Trip

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

They rode this Kawasaki Vulcan down from Wisconsin to North Carolina. They were leaving for home when they posed for this picture.

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!

Categories: Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: