Posts Tagged With: north carolina

Our Last Post Of The Year

Well here it is the evening of the last night of the year.  Tomorrow starts a whole new year.  We rode over 8,000 miles last year on two different motorcycles.  We started 2014 riding our 2002 BMW K1200LT and then in October we bought a 2014 BMW R1200RT.  I put together a little video of our year in motorcycling.  Maybe next year we’ll remember to take more pictures but maybe we were having too much fun!  “At least I’m enjoying the ride!”

We hope you enjoy riding in 2015!

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Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Motorcycle Trip That Wasn’t

We, or rather a group had to cancel a motorcycle trip that was scheduled for tomorrow.  Every fall my Blue Knights Chapter plans an overnight trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Resort in Stecoah, NC on their last weekend before closing for the season.  Well, that weekend was supposed to begin tomorrow but Mother Nature really threw us a curve this year.  You see, here in the southeastern U.S. we’re expecting back to back arctic cold fronts to come through.  The first one has already passed and dropped temperatures to the mid 50’s (F) for highs here.  As I type this it’s 49° F and overcast up at the Iron Horse.  Tomorrow’s high temperature is now forecast to be 36° F!  We were already prepared for cold weather and that wasn’t scaring us off.  But the second front is bringing moisture with it.  Tonight at the Iron Horse it’s supposed to begin raining and then after midnight that rain will be changing to snow.  It’s now forecast to continue snowing in Stecoah until about 5:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.  The National Weather Service isn’t saying it could change to snow but that it will change to snow.  The Iron Horse is in a valley so they won’t be hit with as much snow as the slightly higher elevations but they’re still forecasting between 1 and 3 inches of snow in the valleys.  That’s not exactly motorcycle friendly weather.  There was an idea to ride up in cars but as we get closer to the Iron Horse, the roads are more rural and less traveled.  The Iron Horse had also called our trip’s organizer concerned with the weather and guests travelling to them.  So it looks like we’ll have to wait until at least the spring of 2015 to head back to the Iron Horse.

Categories: Safety, Trips | Tags: , , | 2 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 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

A Very Chilly Ride To The Iron Horse

This past weekend we rode with my Blue Knights Chapter up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge & Campground in Stecoah, NC.  It’s turned into an annual overnight ride up there on the last operating weekend of the lodge for the season.  Donna and I led our group up there again on a route that got us up there about 2:00 in the afternoon, right at check in time.

We met our group in Jasper on Saturday morning where it was a crisp 30 degrees (F) under a cloudless blue sky.  The group had opted for a combination of scenic roads and faster major roads.  In the past we took our time and arrived later in the afternoon.  Our route took us up Georgia HWY 515 to Young Harris where we took GA HWY 66 into North Carolina and eventually came out on US129 in Murphy, NC before heading for our lunch stop in Robbinsville, NC.  After lunch it was just a quick 20 minute ride to the Iron Horse.  Along the way I had built in a “pit stop” in Blairsville, GA and it was a good thing I did.  One of our members was having problems with her heated gloves and needed a quick repair.  The problem was a blown fuse, which she had extras of and one member even had a multi tester in his motorcycle!  The leaves on the way up are just about peaking in their colors.  When we arrived at the Iron Horse it had warmed into the mid 50’s for temperatures and actually felt nice.  It’s always fun to gather on the porch, have a few drinks and talk about the ride.  We also noticed that there were a few hearty souls who were tent camping!  We say hearty as the temperature had gone down to 25 degrees (F) the night before.  We were glad we were staying in cabin rooms with heat!  On Saturday’s the dinner choices at the lodge are either prime rib or salmon, so this is no rustic campground!  After dinner the group outside had formed a tight circle around the campfire so we opted to stay in the lodge to chat and have drinks.

Although the forecast was for 35 degrees (F) overnight it only got down to 40 but there had been an overnight shower.  We never noticed it as we were tucked in our bed in the cabin with the heat on.  It was time to head down for our “Biker’s Breakfast” before packing up and heading for home.  For the trip back I had planned for us to ride through the Nantahala Gorge along the Nantahala River, one of the venues for the 1996 Sumer Olympics.  From there it was down US 64 through western North Carolina and into Tennessee.  We rode through such exotic places as Copperhill and rode past McCaysville Drug and Gun Store in McCaysville, Georgia before coming back out on GA HWY 515 in Blue Ridge and heading south for home.

Even thought it was cold in the beginning of the first day, it was still a great weekend to ride and spend time with friends.  And after all, that’s what’s all about.

Categories: Rides, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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