Ottawa to the dragon 2012

Discussion in 'Americas' started by r1200gs_chris, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Brockville
    Hi all. I'm planning a trip for the end of April 2012 starting in the Ottawa, ON area and heading down thru Knoxville, TC to ride the dragon. The route will be fairly direct, New York - Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina. Any inmates suggest any must ride - must see places along the route? Here is the link to the Google map:

    http://g.co/maps/mc6yu

    The entire trip will be 6 days round trip. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. Joe3

    Joe3 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Motor City
    I would suggest the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive on either the trip down or the trip home. All of the roads around the Dragon seem pretty nice.
    #2
  3. * SHAG *

    * SHAG * Unstable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    4,791
    Location:
    Bradford, Pa
    #3
  4. gfspencer

    gfspencer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Oddometer:
    839
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Get on I-77 and drop down to Fancy Gap. At Fancy Gap take the Blue Ridge Parkway toward the Gap. Don't miss the Cherohala Parkway and Skyland Drive. Only visit The Dragon mid-week. Weekends at Deal's Gap suck. You will get stuck behind a Harley Parade.

    If you like BBQ, for something different stop at Luella's in Asheville.
    #4
  5. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Brockville
    We are going to try and be there on the morning of Friday April 20. No plans on where to stay, maybe the KOA near Knoxville. Thanks for the advice so far. I'll definitely post a more complete route as the date approaches and if mayhem ensues a good ride report.
    #5
  6. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,154
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Do yourself a favor and don't take the boring route down shown in the map. Get on Skyline Drive in Front Royal, VA, and continue onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and take that all the way down to Cherokee, NC. It's one of the best motorcycle roads in the East.

    Also, check out some of the other roads in the vicinity of the Dragon. Plenty of other, better roads around there. Check out my WV/VA/TN/NC ride report, linked below, for more info.

    --mark
    #6
  7. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    881
    Location:
    Greensboro NC or Fancy Gap VA (milemarker 199 BRP)
    Save the highways for the return trip, enjoy the BRP while you have the chance. Lots of small towns and good places to stay all along the route. These days I spend more time riding in the VA - NC region than the western NC region due to crowds.

    Nantahala Gorge region is scenic, Asheville NC has a great reputation for micro-breweries, Boone NC has some great roads. Plan on some wet weather that time of year, we think the temp is cool but you'll think it's balmy.

    Avoid Deals Gap on weekends - that includes Fridays.

    "Local" bike shop with link to suggested area rides and facilities - Cyclecrazy.com
    #7
  8. PanhandleChuck

    PanhandleChuck 3rdRockAdvRider

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    318
    Location:
    Florida Panhandle
    #8
  9. speedracertdi

    speedracertdi Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    985
    Location:
    Hollywood, FL
    You can stay right at Deal's Gap. Book a room ahead of time or pull in and camp day of. It's like $12 a night for a camp space. They have a nice bath house, restaurant, and gas. Stay on your side of the road and away from the double yellow lines. There are many blind curves and you won't see on coming vehicles until it's too late. While on the dragon, pay attention to the road, many riders start to sight see and the next turn comes out of nowhere. If you want to take in the sights, use one of the pull offs.
    #9
  10. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Boone,NC
    The BRP is pretty, but it's slow. The speed limit is 45 mph for most of it, some stretches are 35 mph.

    Since you're heading down for the Dragon, why not warm up on the Snake. It's the stretch of Hwy 421 between Bristol & Mtn City TN. Then keep heading East to Blowing Rock, NC and ride Hwy 221 to Grandfather Mtn. (you might want to ride that section a few times, because it's so sweet)

    Then you can pick up the BRP at Grandfather Mtn. and still ride over the Linville "Viaduct" and over Mt Mitchell and through a tunnel or two on the way to Asheville.

    (Btw, the stretch of I-26 that crosses the NC/TN is a very impressive highway that slices across the top of some pretty high peaks with some great views. It's the kind of road that begs you into triple digit speeds, but the limit is 55... I doubt you'll have a reason to go that way, but just thought I'd mention it here.
    #10
  11. WAH III

    WAH III Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    165
    Location:
    Advance NC
    Great place to stay and eat.
    http://www.ironhorsenc.com/

    Try to catch some of the parkway on your trip, especally the section between Asheville and GSMNP.
    #11
  12. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Brockville
    So, I am planning on modifying my route to head south off the 81 at Kingsport towards Asheville and then on to BRP which will eventually lead me thru the Dragon and Deal's Gap. Does this sound correct?
    #12
  13. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Boone,NC
    That will take you across the high mtn pass on I-26 that I mentioned and get you down to Asheville asap. Then you'll get a nice taste of the BRP on your way down to the Dragon.
    #13
  14. deersSlayer

    deersSlayer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    316
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Don't be afraid to try some of the smaller, but paved and excellent, roads down there.

    I'll be staying at Little Switzerland on the BRP on a mid May weekend, and plan this route down to near Deal's Gap:
    http://tinyurl.com/77gw8lp

    Staying again at this moto motel (2 nights):
    http://www.twowheelinn.com/

    I'll ride Deal's Gap (U-turn, so both directions) on a Monday, with these roads on the 'day trip':
    http://tinyurl.com/7dm9dqq

    Lots of nice roads in the area...

    Oh, and I-81 *SUCKS* on a bike. I generally ride all back roads, but in Sept 09 I hit a deer on the BRP. Bike was ridable so I hopped on I-81 ASAP to limp home quickly before bad weather arrived. 1,300 kms via I-81 - 401 - 416 back to Ottawa in 1.5 days with a sore shoulder, yuk!
    #14
  15. Corbeau

    Corbeau Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    749
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Great White North
    Well, yes, you can slab it south on I-81 all the way to Knoxville, but you won't get to see anything...

    Anyway, here's what I did a few years ago. Two days of 700-miles of backroads, on a VFR:

    Here' how I got there a few years ago: two days of backroads to get to the dragon, then the BRP on the way back:

    Leave Ottawa at 6 a.m., slab on 416 to 81, leave 81 just south of the PA state line.
    PA 706 W = a carriage road from the 18th century, back when they weren't afraid of curves.
    US 6 W to Galeton, PA: It's a perfect road on a cruiser.
    PA 144 S all the way to Clarence (more or less): 77 miles, it's a perfect road on a sport-tourer
    PA 879 W through Karthaus, then it goes S to Gramplan, PA: nice curves there as well.
    US 219 S to Ebensburg, PA. Then check you map to get to PA 711, in the Cramer/Seward area, 30 miles to the W.
    PA 711, which turns into PA 381. Check in at the Ohiopyle State Park next to a group of hot co-eds at 9:30 p.m. or so. About 600-700 miles, I can't recall exactly.

    Day 2
    Another 6 or 6:30 a.m. departure
    PA 381 to US 40 W until you get to I-68 S to I -79 S to US 50 W until Ellenboro.
    WV 16 S to 100 miles of non-stop turning to Gauley Bridge, WV.
    US 60 W to Charleston, WV then US 119 S
    Follow US 119 until you get to Pineville KY. It's a four-laner, but it has incredible sweepers.
    US 25E takes you over Cumberland Gap.
    US 11W to Knoxville TN, then SE through the city on US 129 (it's the Gap road, but it's not twisty there) and US 411 and TN 68 to Tellico Plains.
    Arrive 10:30 p.m. or so, after another 600-700 miles and check in at the Cherohala Motorcycle Resort and Motorcycle Campground.

    Day 3: Do the Cherohala Parkway and you're almost at Deal's Gap!
    #15
  16. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Brockville
    Thanks for all the info. How long should I plan to get from Deal's Gap to Charlottesville on the BRP. Is this a solid 2 day trip or can I make it in 1 long day? Google tell's me it's 526 miles which is very doable in one day, but what is the average speed I should expect to do on the BRP?
    #16
  17. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Location:
    Boone,NC

    I'd say 2 days. Maybe 3 days if it's a weekend. 45 mph is the speed limit, which gets pretty boring after a 100 miles or so.
    #17
  18. bigdog1807

    bigdog1807 Miles Craven

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    The BRP has a 45mph or less speed limit for 485 miles and you don't want a ticket on it. Federal Park = big fines. If you ride your 12GS like me, it'll get old on the BRP. Tons of other great roads along the way; DO NOT MISS THE SNAKE. Someone else mentioned it earlier and it's better than the DRAGON. Hopefully you can catch the twisties mid week or you might be on a curvy parking lot. The best thing I found on the TAT were the photog's that will sell you a cool pic' of yourself to add to your 'trophy room'. Have fun.
    #18
  19. r1200gs_chris

    r1200gs_chris Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Oddometer:
    134
    Location:
    Brockville
    So, is the BRP a must-do or would I be happy doing a few hundred miles and then hitting the super slab? I would like to ride through a few tunnels but don't want to regret missing the experience. I do have come time constraints to deal with. Any thoughts?
    #19
  20. madeouttaglass

    madeouttaglass Awful Kanauphyl

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,451
    Location:
    The Lost Coast of California
    I've ridden the BRP twice on bikes and a few months ago in our long RV.
    I was bringing my FJR home from Florida on my last trip there on a bike. First I rode the Dragon and headed to the parkway. When I arrived at the Mt. Pisgah Lodge (near the south end) for the night the forecast had turned to crap for a week starting in 24 hours. I called my wife the next morning and she suggested I slab it the 907 miles home to beat the terrible forecast. I didn't listen. Instead I rode the parkway got to the end by dinner. Skipped Skyline Drive and rode on to home in central NY.
    I love the parkway and intend to ride it again in two months when I bring home my Ural.
    I'd say you got tons of good advice from all the previous posters. Personally, if you're really that pressed for time I'd do the BRP on the way home so you can then decide if you have the time to do the entire thing. You're honestly only talking about a few extra hours to ride the entire beautiful parkway as opposed to cutting off it and doing 200 miles of the distance on the highway. Do the whole thing. I do every time.
    #20