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Old 06-08-2010, 08:47 PM   #31
Laros OP
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We stayed that night in a motorcycle only campground called Hunt's Lodge. It is just outside of Tellico Plains. Fantastic place - I have never see something so well set up for travelling motorcyclists.






The next morning we stopped at a motorcycle shop in Tellico Plains - great little shop, and the owner gave us some tips for which roads to hit in the area.


We had breakfast at a bakery across the road - best quiche any of us had ever had.

More riding through paved twisties, gravel side roads, along streams. Beautiful!!






The owner at Tellico Plains mentioned a short cut that we could take which was "a bit rough". As he was talking he looked out the window to see what we were riding, and then said we would be fine on our Adventure bikes.

We went through Cades Cove. A portion of the route was something crazy. Can I say: "only in America"? Drive through restaraunts are one thing - drive through bank tellers and drive through prescription drugs are another. But this was like a drive through wilderness experience. There were hundreds of cars lined up, and rolling along at about 1 mph. It was hard to balance the bikes because we were going so slow - and it was soooo hot - and we could not pass the cars, because it was a single lane, one-way paved road. The cars were full of old people, looking for wildlife. I felt like I was in a Disney parade. It was very bizzare. However, like it was on cue, a small deer bounced across the road, and then a bear posed for awhile. Were they planted there?



It was truly bizarre. Not the kind of wilderness experience I am accustomed to.

We finally broke free from the parade and hit the dirt road. Now, this is more like it! Shallow water crossings, gravel road through the bush.













Wait a minute! What is this? A street sweeper out here? Yup, he was cleaning the bridges.







This "shortcut" was to get us to the Foothills Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon. The Tail of the Dragon has always held such an allure, such mysticism, I was expecting entrance gates, a welcoming committee, something other than Dyno turning to me at a stop sign and saying, okay we are going to turn onto Hwy 129.

This is the top, or where most people ride to, take a break, and then ride back down the mountain to Deal's Gap.


It was a bit of a zoo here. Every kind of bike and rider you can imagine. There were also a number of souped up rally type cars. Several professional photographers were set up along the way to take your picture (and sell it to you on the internet). There is a reason this highway is as famous as it is. It really is amazing - tons of very tight turns, one after the other.

Here is Shakeyhands documenting his arrival at the top of "The Dragon".


And here is how that picture turned out:



At the bottom of the 11 mile ride is the Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort. There were hundreds of bikes here.










The atmosphere was charged with excitement. A group of Harleys left the parking lot to roar up "wheelie Hill". What a racket! Every turn and every dip on this peice of roadway seems to have a name.

There is also the "Tree of Shame" here. Motorcycle parts from wrecked bikes are hung here as momentos.




Riding the Tail of the Dragon and the Foothills Parkway were an absolute blast. The "greatest riding ever" from the day before? Well, that record did not last long. I am not sure what was more fun, the Foothills or the Dragon. The Dragon is very tight, slow, lots of traffic. The Foothills Parkway is a little more open and a lot faster, but still very twisty.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:32 PM   #32
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Great Shots! I did the Outer Banks and a Deals Gap trip 2 years ago. Great place to ride. Its nice to have it only a few hours away for me!!
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:36 PM   #33
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After a tremendous day of riding we found a campsite in Maggie Valley. Very touristy town, full of RV campers. Our campsite was right beside a very noisy river. Ever since we hit the south, we'd been looking for an authentic barbecue restaraunt. Well we found "Butts on the River" or something like that. The sign had a picture of cartoon pigs with big butts standing around a barbecue. The chef even took us to the back to show us his smoker - it was huge but used propane to burn only a little bit of wood. That seemed a little like cheating to me,but the chef said there was no way he could load and burn enough wood to smoke all the meat they go through.

Our campsite on the river:



Maggie Valley is quite pretty, surrounded by mountains with a good size river through town.



The next morning we were headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We woke to heavy rain and tons of fog:



So this is why they call it the Smokey Mountains...





We donned our rain gear and headed for the Parkway.

Highest point on the Parkway. Still too foggy to really see anything:






The Blue Ridge Parkway would be a fantastic road in clear weather. On the other hand, Dyno had been here the year before in nice weather and said it was far too busy with RV's and lots of slow moving traffic. We had the road pretty much to ourselves, so we could ride as fast as we dared in the fog.

Things got a lot clearer again at the bottom.






We took some back roads again, some that seemed to go almost straight up and down the mountains, they were so steep! And there were nice houses perched on the side of the mountains - presumably vacation retreats - very nice!

With the Blue Ridge conquered, it was time to point the bikes north and get home.

First a lunch and gas stop in some back woods place. We met a husband and wife there. She was Dolly Parton and he wanted to tell us about every place to eat in the county. They were the McKoys of whatever, like we were supposed to recognize them. They were nice folk...overly nice. They told us about a Farmer's Daughter restaraunt we had to go eat at. Best barbecue. We said, nice, but we are headed home. They drew us a map how to get to the Farmer's Daughter.


We said, again, thanks, but we had to keep heading north. Then Jed Clampett says - "y'all go there and eat, and if it ain't the best chicken ya ever had, I'll pay for it. Just tell them, 'Vern is paying for this because it ain't the best chicken I ever had'". That's when Dolly turns to Vern and says, "they don't have time. Unless, these boys come stay at our house tonight". Yep, and Vern says he's got lots of tools if we want to fix our bikes...c'mon over.

We really had to get going. As we leave, Sheriff Roscoe P Coultrain sees us coming toward him, pulls a U turn and follows us real close. The speed limit is 15 mph in front of the town school. Have you ever tried to ride at 15 mph, with Roscoe P Coultrain right on your tail, waiting for you to go 16 mph?

Break free from that County and hit the Interstate again, trying to put some miles behind us. I was leading for a while, and my gps told us to get off the highway at one point. As the two other guys pulled up beside me, Shakey asked why I had pulled off as we had recently filled up with gas. Just then Dyno's bike started running all bad - Dyno kept revving it and it was back firing and stalling. The traffic light turned green and Shakey looked at me and said "this isn't good". We needed to put a lot of miles behind us today. We had to move as we were on the off-ramp, Dyno pulls ahead and turns off in the first driveway to look at his bike. Where are we? Would you believe Dyno is riding a Suzuki and we pulled into a Suzuki dealership?!! I hear him yell to Shakey: "Try and do that on a KTM!"



Turns out it was just bad gas -Shakey and I always bought premium, and Dyno kept telling us it was not worth it and the bikes did not need premium, blah, blah. Dyno was the only one to get bad gas from the last stop. Actually, I think we all had bad gas on this trip at some point, but that is another story.

Dyno's bike was fine after that, and we booked it north. We found a very nice campground for our last night, and it was only $8 for all of us, but...no showers, no alcohol permitted and it looked like it was going to rain buckets. Shakey convinced us to go back into town and get a hotel room for our last night.
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Old 06-10-2010, 07:51 PM   #34
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The next day we rode home in the rain. We had 900 km to cover, so we donned our rain gear and just hit the highway. When we got close to Lake Erie, the wind was blowing across the road so hard we had to lean right over into it. The rain was blowing sideways, and would come up our helmets from underneath. Even the rain gear could not keep us dry.

We ended an AWESOME trip with a terribly crappy day.

Shakey and Dyno, thanks for a fantastic week which will give us a lifetime of great memories.


And remember, as the front of the van says:

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Old 06-13-2010, 06:57 PM   #35
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Life is GREAT! What a great trip that was, hard to pick my favourite moment, though I think the Smokys are it (or maybe the BBQ in Maggy Valley...)


Just got back from a roundie up to Sundridge, Sudbury, Espanola and the Chi Cheemaun... Was thinking I was missing something... Larry and Dave.

Great trip boys, when do we leave for Alaska???
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:18 AM   #36
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Nice ride report minus your condescending pokes at southern culture.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:13 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tastroman
Nice ride report minus your condescending pokes at southern culture.
I apologize if any of my remarks came across as condescending - that was NOT the intention. I recall pointing out how friendly the people were that we had met, and that we even felt bad at one point in particular for not accepting the kindness in a more appropriate manner.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:26 AM   #38
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The motorcycle shop is Tellico Plains Outfitters, owned by a member here, Minimike. They are great folks.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:02 PM   #39
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The couple at the gas station, his name was Vaughn McCoy if I recall correctly. Hilarious guy who had been everywhere, and eaten there too!!!
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:03 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggrjr
The motorcycle shop is Tellico Plains Outfitters, owned by a member here, Minimike. They are great folks.
I bought a dual power outlet from Mike that has changed my life!!!!
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:29 PM   #41
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great read thanks Guys
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:39 PM   #42
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I just found this...

Good report guys...looks like a great ride
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