Long Way Down...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by stbob, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    07020
    Greetings...
    I just got home from a two week road trip. Will attempt to document it with this ride report. I'll be updating often till its complete... :D


    Day 1
    Finally i got some time off work for a two week road trip. This would be my longest ride to date. I owe lots of thanks to other ride reports, inmates & moto maps that i used to put together my route... :cromag
    The ride would be done in 3 phases. The first phase would be riding through the mountains of Virgina, North Carolina & Tennessee and then making my way along the border of South Carolina & Georgia south east and follow the coast down to Florida at which point phase 2 of the ride would begin. I didn't want to strain my brain so the routing of phase 3 would be done after phase 1 & 2 were completed... :D

    Some more trip planning was started here... RoadTrip

    My lodging over the next two weeks would be camping, motels & kin. So after loading up my mule sunday morning 6/23 i set out for day 1 on the road from my HQ in Edgewater, NJ... :ricky
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    Figuring i can see NJ most any day of the week & wanting to make a quick get away, i slabbed most of the way out of Dodge. Didn't quite make it out though, the lure of a south jersey tag took me on a little detour. Turned out i wasn't the only one out for an early morning ride, i got double bruced...
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    Tagging always works up an appetite, so made a pit stop before moving on...
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    By afternoon, i'd reached the first waypoint on my route, the Shenandoah National Park to ride its Skyline Drive...
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    The scenery is breathtaking, my picture taking doesn't do the views justice but that doesn't deter me from taking lots of pics anyway, although i do try to balance out continually pulling over for photo ops with the need to cover miles, with views like these its not always easy... :0-0
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    Traffic on the skyline was great, there was none. Along the entire 105 miles of the road are lots of scenic pull offs, so its real easy for cages to get out of the way, which is what the few that i encountered did each time... :clap

    Before reaching the end of Skyline Drive, i found out the campground i'd planned to spend the night in at the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed. Instead of riding to the next BRP campground, i decided to conveniently camp on the Skyline Drive, only about 25 miles to the start of the BRP, the next waypoint on my route...

    Here's the Loft Mountain Campground on the Skyline Drive...
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    #1
  2. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    I'm looking forward to the rest of the story.
    #2
  3. half_price_beemer

    half_price_beemer Wings-it Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    Marion, Ohio
    Love this region of the country keep posting, I'm loving the report already. good looking bike too:clap:clap
    #3
  4. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    07020
    Day 2
    When i broke camp i discovered the Loft showers are coin operated and the little camp store to make change wasn't open yet so i had to rough it... :lol3
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    While riding the last few remaining miles of the Skyline Drive, i see a bear on the side of the road eating its breakfast. I made a couple of passes and tried each time getting a photo but couldn't. The only clear vantage point was to stop directly in front of it. With one hand on my throttle and the other wrapped around my camera, i slowly came to a full stop. Soon as i raised my camera hand, the bear gave a little bluff charge and i did a real retreat. By the time i u-turned the bear was gone. If you have a good imagination maybe you can see the bear in this pic... :lol3
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    After a little more scenery i reached the end of the Skyline Drive...
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    And the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway... :clap
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    Didn't take many pics the first day of riding the BRP, just enjoying all the sweeping curves, scenery and perfect weather. Absolutely no traffic, no cops, and lots of legal passing zones to get around the occasional sightseer...
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    Jumped off the BRP briefly at mile post 165 for the first & only time to get fuel. Tried here at Tuggles Gap but the pumps were down. Had to go down the road another several miles to fuel up in Woolwine, VA...
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    Back on the BRP, crossing state lines, VA into NC...
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    Doughton Park Campground, mile post 240, a little past the halfway point. This campgrounds got a nice post for me to hang my jacket, fancy...:wink:
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    Its monday night and the campground is near deserted. Decent amount of trash overflowing from the dumpsters left over from the weekend. I set up my tent well away from the dumpster and i'm pretty sure my snoring can scare away the baddest of bears but just in case... :lol3
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    #4
  5. RECON

    RECON Guit Sum

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    744
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    Following! Looks great so far!
    #5
  6. STBNE

    STBNE Yamaha ADVenturer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,328
    Location:
    Southern Comfort
    nice Bob wish I could have joined you for the ride thru NC even though I am at the eastern 1/3rd of the state...the better part of a day's ride...anyway i'm glad you had good weather...enjoying the show...Thanks for sharing...hope the big beemer is built better than the 800 was....:deal
    #6
  7. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,688
    Location:
    north florida
    I'm sure you were hating live having to ride down 8 from Tuggles Gap :) Nothing in Woolwine to see, but I thoroughly enjoy the road to get there :)
    #7
  8. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,790
    Location:
    High Point, NC
    :lurk

    Mike
    #8
  9. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    #9
  10. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    07020
    I don't remember the name or route number of the road to woolwine and didn't see anywhere safe to pull off for pics, which is why i didn't initially comment on it but it made the tail of the dragon look like childs play, just not as long... :evil
    #10
  11. mikegc

    mikegc Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,790
    Location:
    High Point, NC
    It's Route 8 and fun ride. I've ridden it more times than I can count on my way for a lunch stop at Tuggle's Gap. That whole area has great roads for scooter trash like us!

    Mike
    #11
  12. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    07020
    Day 3
    Got an early start with more of the never ending fantastic views...
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    While camped the night before, i was checking out the BRP brochure and one of the attractions that stood out was this picture of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park...
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    Picture courtesy of the WWW

    So when i saw this sign for Stack Rock, it conjured up the above image of Chimney Rock in my mind. Now had i actually been reading the BRP brochure instead of just looking at the pictures i'd have know it wasn't even remotely close... :rofl
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    I start hiking into the woods in search of this cool attraction. Thinking it wouldn't be very far, i don't take any water with me. After about an hour or so of hiking i'm starting to think there is no rock viewing platform to be found. My sense of direction tells me the trail is going to eventually lead me back to the BRP which it does. At this point my mc boots are killing my feet and dehydration is starting to set in. I return to the Stack Rock parking area via the road. What took me over an hour to hike in the woods, took only 15 minutes walking on the road. It was definitely cool though, just took a little longer than planned... :D
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    Back on the road, starting to hit some scattered showers. The brief duration of the rain & heat, doesn't make sense to waste time putting on rain gear. A few miles of dry weather is all that's needed to quickly dry out mesh gear...
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    Here we are at the highest point on the BRP, mile post 431, only 38 miles to go... :ricky
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    To be cont...
    #12
  13. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    07020
    Day 3 cont...

    After spending two great days riding on the BRP i finally reached the Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Cherokee Indian Reservation...
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    One of the first things i see when i get off the BRP in Cherokee, NC is a traffic jam... :huh
    Then i see whats causing it and i quickly become part of the problem. There's a couple of elk crossing the road and everyone including myself is stopping for a photo op... :0-0
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    Its been a long day, time to find a camp site. Before leaving NJ, i checked the NC tag o rama game and as fate would have it, their current tag was a campground with excellent views & some dirt roads to get there... :clap
    Google shows the roads leading all the way from Big Cove Rd in Cherokee to the campground in Maggie Valley, my gps didn't make it so easy... :eek1 <iframe width="640" height="480" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=296-857+BIA+Highway+1410,+Cherokee,+NC+28719&amp;daddr=35.5131952,-83.2989795+to:35.5314951,-83.2854277+to:35.5370285,-83.2728293+to:Mile+High+Campgrounds,+Maggie+Valley,+SC&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FUOrHQIdu9kI-ynp0-mQukNZiDG2lrbaseFTYA%3BFWvjHQIdXfUI-ynJwxsxB0NZiDHx4Dcpmy8tjg%3BFecqHgIdTSoJ-ynVU5Se50JZiDFPYVxGmrWKDg%3BFYRAHgIdg1sJ-ylFmPFMx0JZiDEXTCZA7hR4_A%3BFS3oHQIdZa0K-yEJPJRPxKVzjylNZ4pf3WhZiDEJPJRPxKVzjw&amp;aq=1&amp;oq=mile+high&amp;sll=35.535579,-83.254309&amp;sspn=0.060276,0.111494&amp;gl=us&amp;mra=dpe&amp;mrsp=2&amp;sz=14&amp;via=1,2,3&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;ll=35.528035,-83.250618&amp;spn=0.134115,0.219727&amp;z=12&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=296-857+BIA+Highway+1410,+Cherokee,+NC+28719&amp;daddr=35.5131952,-83.2989795+to:35.5314951,-83.2854277+to:35.5370285,-83.2728293+to:Mile+High+Campgrounds,+Maggie+Valley,+SC&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FUOrHQIdu9kI-ynp0-mQukNZiDG2lrbaseFTYA%3BFWvjHQIdXfUI-ynJwxsxB0NZiDHx4Dcpmy8tjg%3BFecqHgIdTSoJ-ynVU5Se50JZiDFPYVxGmrWKDg%3BFYRAHgIdg1sJ-ylFmPFMx0JZiDEXTCZA7hR4_A%3BFS3oHQIdZa0K-yEJPJRPxKVzjylNZ4pf3WhZiDEJPJRPxKVzjw&amp;aq=1&amp;oq=mile+high&amp;sll=35.535579,-83.254309&amp;sspn=0.060276,0.111494&amp;gl=us&amp;mra=dpe&amp;mrsp=2&amp;sz=14&amp;via=1,2,3&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;ll=35.528035,-83.250618&amp;spn=0.134115,0.219727&amp;z=12" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    After traversing a whole lot of steep, tight gravelly switchbacks my gps now wanted me to play eeny, meeny, miny, moe with a bunch of roads that all branched out in different directions for the last stretch to the campground...:eek1
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    Didn't find it on my first or second try, but being persistent paid off, finally found it. A big thanks to the NC tag o rama otherwise i'd never had even known it was there... :clap
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    Then the icing on the cake, the tag was still open, my first north carolina tag... :clap
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    Then i was to put to use a picture i'd taken earlier in the day for the new nc tag... :evil
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    After setting up camp & claiming the tag it was time to kick back and enjoy the view with a couple cups of coffee... :*sip*
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    A few sips later, i didn't hear a thing, i turned my head to see a big bull elk, thankfully i had my camera right in front of me...
    Note the work gloves covering my cup & coffee press, i'm attempting to keep the gnatts from swimming in my coffee. By now i've become somewhat accustomed to the gnatts constantly swarming around head, but think its going to take a few more days before i get used to drinking them too... :lol3

    There were three all together, the other two are somewhere in the brush. But this one appeared to be locked onto the aroma of my coffee...
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    The big guy is now approaching my bench. Despite its size, it looks pretty tame but i decide i don't want to be the next victim on the worlds stupidest people tv show for being too trusting of bambi on steroids that i move away from table but continue to take pictures... :0-0
    On the table is the little blue cooler bag, its got my electronic gizmos, my wallet, mc keys and some packages of almonds inside it. So now i'm wandering if its possibly the almonds and not the coffee attracting the elk to come closer. I start picturing the elk picking up the bag and walking away with it. I had a big smile on my face thinking about it but at the same time that would have sort of thrown a wrench into the rest of my ride. Turned out the elk didn't want neither, turned tail to go and catch up with its buddies... :D
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    The camp host were very friendly. Directed me to an available site with the best view and invited me to watch the sunset from there site. The sunset was probably awesome, by the time i got there the deed had been already done. And there lurking in the shadows were the three elk again...
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    The place was loaded with elk. The next day after having a hot shower, there were several more of the monsters all along the trail. If & when i make it out this way again, this campground will definitely be on my route again... :clap:clap:clap

    Did get to see the sunrise to start my day 4... :norton
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    #13
  14. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,578
    Location:
    Killeen, TX.
    Man, you got some great shots.
    #14
  15. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
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    MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
    #15
  16. 5punksdad

    5punksdad Tag-Master-Flash

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    #16
  17. ckjj888

    ckjj888 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    195
    :clap:clap:clap
    #17
  18. yyzmdo

    yyzmdo Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    25
    Nice RR

    I hit the BRP July 4th. Started from Asheville and made it to I77. It was a terrible day, lots of rain and fog(cloud ) so maybe in a couple of years I'll try it again.

    Looking forward to reading more of your trip.

    Cheers
    #18
  19. stbob

    stbob  

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    07020
    Day 4

    After breaking camp, headed over to Deals Gap... :ricky
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    Checked out the tree of shame and crossed my fingers i didn't end up adding anything to it... :muutt
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    Pretty good size crowd for the middle of the week...
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    Had seen these folks earlier in the day on 28, most all of them dangerously cutting the corners... :nono
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    Had lots of fun riding the dragon. Rode it several times back & forth, never gets boring...
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    I decided i'd spend the night back at the ranch. The tent area wasn't bad looking...
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    But for tonight a real bed looked better... :snore
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    Some of the roadside stuff across the way...
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    All day my arms were itching me. At first i thought just some mosquito bites, turned out to be poison ivy on both arms... :huh
    Could of come in contact with it anywhere, i'm guessing it was at the Loft campground though while still on the Shenandoah Skyline...
    I was too tired to go out in the dark looking for an all night pharmacy so i was just going to have to deal with it. Then i remembered one of the ingredients in anti-monkey butt powder is calamine. So i took a heaping helping of anti-monkey butt powder and mixed it with some water and smeared that crap all over both arms. It worked, it relieved the itch and i was able to get some good sleep... :clap
    I used this concoction for the next couple of days till the poison ivy cleared up...

    Here's a couple Killboy live action shots... :D
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    The next morning, the start of day 5, i'm on the dragon for the last time heading toward Greenback, TN. Behind me is a lone cager, not really tailgating me but close enough that its distracting me. I briefly think about pulling over and letting it pass but i speed up instead... :loco
    Again the cage is keeping up with me. I can almost make out something on the side of the cage. Its early and Killboy camera crews are just starting to set up along side the road, so now i think its a Killboy camera guy hurrying to get into position for the day. Its getting more twisty, so now i've got a good lead on the cage. Finally i reach the end and the road straightens out. I can see the cage is gaining on me real fast, i decide now is a good time to let this guy by. It must of been my lucky day or this wasn't his jurisdiction or both... :knary
    It was a Cherokee Indian police cage behind me for most of the dragon...
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    #19
  20. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Pacific NW
    Thanks for the RR and the beautiful pic's. Looks like fun for sure. :clap
    #20