Blue Ridge Motorcycle Vacation, day 1
605 miles today per Pats GPS. We stopped for the night in Harrisonburg, VA. Good day in the wind. The Harley ran great.
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Vacation, day 2
Nice easy 400 or so miles today. Chillin in Marysville, TN for the night. Found the 'Fullservice BBQ' joint for dinner. Good pulled pork & ribs in an out door setting.
Tomorrow we ride 'The Tail of The Dragon', 318 turns in 11 miles. Oh yeah Bubba. Lots of Darwin Awards "winners" have earned their place in history on this stretch of asphalt.
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Vacation, day 3
Today we rode 'The Tail of The Dragon' and had a great time. Pat has been worried about how she would do on this challenging road, and it is a serious challenge. Well I can report that she 'Slayed the Dragon' grandly! Same for Andy, he rode it like he owned it.
I was very satisfied with my performance on it as well. It had been six years since I last rode it, and it was cool to prove to myself I can still conquer it.
Next, we made our way to the 60 miles of seemingly endless sweeping curves of the Cherohala Skyway. A must do ride if you are in the area.
Rain. That's how we started the day, we were on the waterfall ride so I guess rain was inevitable. We stopped at 'Loafer's Glory' talking to a local about rides and good places to eat. I found 2 favorites at the store, home made Pork Rinds and Fried Pies... Food for the soul.
We hit the recommended City Restaurant, a diner, for breakfast then back on the road.
Next we rode over to Cherokee, NC, and did a little browsing and gift buyng in the Native American craft stores, and it was a nice change from ridding in the rain.
Then we took off for the first leg of the Blue Ridge. Did bout an hour of riding and stopping at overlooks. Took lots of pics at Waterocks Knob, at over 5000 ft, with clouds rolling in, up and over the mountain. Then down to Sylva, NC for the night. Found a great court house across from the motel. Dinner at Lulu’s on Main, and now for some well deserved rest.
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Vacation, day 5
We started the day in Sylva, NC, with breakfast in a nice little diner, after a significant thunder storm during the night, leaving lots of fog.
Next, back to the Blue Ridge where we exited the day before. We rode, stopped at overlooks and admired the wondrous views and took lots of pics.
I tried taking more photos while riding and managed to get some good shots. Somewhere even as we rode through the many tunnels along the way. See the pics post for a couple of those.
We chatted with various riders we met at the overlooks. We heard about a rider from Norway, and when we stopped at Graveyard Fields for Pat & Andy to do a short hike to a waterfall the guy arrived. His name is Helge, and he is on his third trip to ride the US. His first trip was in the 60's when he came to the US to buy a Harley because they weren't available in Norway. He said he stayed 7 months riding all over the US. He still has that bike.
Now Helge is riding a pretty new Harley and has been on the road for 3 months but is about to head home and ship his bike back with him.
We said g'bye to Helge and headed north. I tried making a movie of us riding while steering with one hand again. And it looks good on the camera, but I can't get downloaded to the iPad, so that will have to wait until I get home.
We went up Mt. Mitchell, 6684 ft, the highest point east of the Mississippi. Gorgeous views.
We are in Spruce Pine, NC, for the night. Tired, but had a great day.
Blue Ridge Motorcycle Vacation, day 6
We started our day with intentions to have breakfast at Grandfather Mountain, our morning destination. So we took off for the BRP in early morning calm and the coolest temps of the day.
The BRP in early morning with just the sounds of a vtwin engine thumping away, the sun low on the horizon, and the sights & smells of the forest is a very special place.
We stopped at a few overlooks, and chatted with a couple guys headed south that are from upstate NY.
We got to Grandfather Mountain, paid our fee and ascended, and immediately discovered the ride up would be 'interesting'...
We stopped to take some pics at the split rocks... See the photo post. Then we toured the museum which is quite nice, had some chow and took off for the summit.
The road has about 10 switchbacks/hair pin turns that make the Dragon look tame. They are much tighter and much steeper, I'd guess 12-15% grades, and any loss of concentration or throttle control and you are done... or down which is not where you want to be, trust me.
The summit has a great swinging bridge that is 5280 feet ( one mile ) above sea level. Pat was brave and crossed it, but she did stick close to Andy.
We scrambled around the summit rocks, enjoyed the wind and vistas, and took a lot of pics.
Then it was time for the ride down... I'm here to report we all made it up and down unscathed, but our nerves were a bit challenged!
Then we hit the road and put in another hundred miles on the BRP. Along the way I made a video of Pat & Andy riding the Linn Cove Viaduct.
We ended the day at Mabry Mill, walking around the water powered grist mill and other buildings.
We are spending the night in Hillsville, VA.
Tomorrow I head home while Pat & Andy continue up the BRP into their second week of vacation. I wish them safe travels... Ride safe, and keep the rubber side down.
(Here is where I pick up from Dave.)
Could not post day 7 as I had no wifi, or even smartphone hotspot. Tower signal was only 28%:-( Thanks David Headley for posting each day of the trip. After we parted ways with you, we finished the Blue Ridge. Saw some glorious views of Roanoke after we took another road with hairpin turns just for the view. Then we started on Skyline Drive, stopped to see Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's headquarters in Elkton VA. Got off the road for the night. Rained after we were tucked in for the night. Today, not a cloud in the sky. But did I roast. Broke more of my own rules and rode without jacket or gloves. Just to damn hot. But back to the day...we got off Skyline Drive around 11:00 and Lee showed up 45 minutes later. Spent some time swapping stories, although Lee's are more colorful as you can imagine. Then we waved him goodbye and spent the day on the Civil War Trail in Front Royal. Tomorrow we are off to PA to see the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville.
Today we left Front Royal to make our way to Shanksville. We had a wonderful ride over and stopped at one Civil War memorial and a great farm stand where Andy sampled Cherry Apple Cider and dug into his pocket to buy a 1/2 gallon. When we arrived in Shanksville, with only 3 miles from our destination we decided to stop and eat since it was noon. How fortunate for us. There we met Don and two of his brothers. Don's brother was at home on "that day" and new something was not right with that plane. He watched it go down. For the next hour Don told all his family stories. The brother who witnessed the plane crash has moved to Arizona and only comes for the summer. He will not go back to the old house. He just can't. Also as the town became "locked down" as FBI etc decended on them for the recovery, Don and his daughter just home from high school (around 3:30 that day) saw a large "white plane) fly not more than 1,000 feet over the site. He believes to this day it was the President on Airforce One. When we arrived at the memorial, the skies opened up which seemed fitting; and as we listened to the park ranger and she held up photos of some of the 40 passengers I was glad for the rain running down my face. It's a hard place to visit, but I am glad I did.
We are off the road a bit later than usual because we tried to pack in a full day. First stop; Williamsport, PA. That is where the Little League stadium is where they play the world series. There is also a museum that was interesting. We even walked the infield. Then we headed to Scranton because I needed to get a stamp at Steamtown National Historic Site. I sure wished Aiden had been with us. He would have LOVED all the trains. We are down for the night at a nice motel on lake Wallenpaupack. That is on route 6 (PA). We have hit the jackpot with nice roads. Yesterday after we left Shanksville, we decided to take a couple of routes that we later found out at our motel was listed in PA as a motorcycle destination. (160 to 53). Eating too much on this vacation too. I also like to try the local bears. We are thinking of the Catskills tomorrow and then home to get ready for Kyla and Aiden. But really, the true measure of when your vacation is coming to an end, is how much cash is left in your wallet. :-)
Made our way along the Catskills today. Stopped at Monticello to watch the horses exercise around the track. Dropped a few bucks in the slots; three total. I'm not much of a gambler. Lost of course. Had ice cream for lunch at a great little place called the Ice Cream Castle. I had Apple Crisp flavor. Yum! Then we found a lighthouse along the Hudson to add to my collection of lighthouse photos. This was in Saugerties NY. We love to stop at road side oddities, some I didn't photograph. Finally as the sun made its way to the western horizon, we finished the day along a lovely stretch of route 20 and dropped off for the night in Lee MA. Had supper at Joe's Diner which had many a famous face framed on the walls. The staff was friendly and I ate meatloaf, which was breaking my no beef/pork rule. But it was darn tasty. Heading to the Henderson Homestead tomorrow. Back to carrot juice, sprouts and oatmeal. I'll post a few photos I collected from today.
We arrived home on Wednesday, after a pleasant ride along familiar back roads. No hurry this day. Just an easy relaxed ride home. The reflection starts and the fond memories of spending time on two wheels. It will be nice to have a few days without any agenda before I get back to the rat race next week.
Be sure to see all the photos in the previous post.
Thank you to David K Headley for taking time each evening to chonicle our trip.