Scootin Through Deals Gap - 318 Curves and 11 Horsepower

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Deals Gap, 318 curves in 11 miles. One of the most famous Motorcycle destinations in America. A motorcycling Mecca where people from all over America and even the world make their pilgrimage in search of..................well, I'm not really sure what they're searching for. For some it's the curves.

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    That would explain the sport bikes, but there are probably more cruiser riders that ride there. Many of them seem to be terrified of curvy roads. What brings them there?

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    Maybe it's the hype. I'm not really sure. Maybe it's the fact that all the T-shirt vendors managed to get it renamed "the Dragon" and if you make it through, you have something to brag about.

    I first rode through Deals Gap in 1990, back before it became a major tourist destination. It was a different place back then. It quickly became one of my favorite roads. It is not the most challenging road in the area, other roads have much tighter and trickier curves. It is also not the most scenic. What it is, is 11 miles of nearly non-stop curves that are a blast to ride:ricky:wings:ricky

    Well, it used to be a blast to ride. The road has become so famous that during the tourist season, April-October, it is often so clogged with traffic moving at a snails pace, that riding it is more frustrating than anything else. The last few years I have been mostly avoiding the place.

    With my wife going out of town for the weekend and a great forecast, I decided it would be a good time to head up to Deals Gap. I figured that since it was March, the traffic would be light and hopefully the cops wouldn't have started to crack down yet. And just to be different, I decided to take my Kymco Super 8 150 scooter. With 11 horsepower on tap, it should make for an interesting ride.
    #1
  2. Broken Record

    Broken Record Biscuit Eater

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    Hi Klaviator! I talked to you for a few minutes yesterday up at Deal's Gap. I was the guy on the Yamaha FZ1. Great day for a ride wasn't it?

    Thanks for recommending this forum. I've been lurking around today and enjoying the reads.
    #2
  3. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    Awaiting photos and curve-by-curve commentary!
    :lurk
    #3
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I drove up Saturday morning, parked along the lake near the intersection of 129 and the Foothills Parkway, and unloaded my scooter.

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    Then it was a few miles along the lake before the curves begin.

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    I was a little tentative on the curves. The day prior while riding around town, I had touched down a part of the frame in a left hand turn. There is an extension off of the frame to mount the Kickstand. It is the first thing that touches down on the left side and it digs in hard. I need to take a grinder and remove some of it. I was a little leery of dragging it in a curve here and wasn't really sure how far I could lean before it scraped.

    Before I knew it, I was at the overlook. Time to stop and take a few pics.

    Not much of a crowd here today.

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    A view of the lake.

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    Then I continued on. A mile or so down the road I saw some photographers set up on the right side of the road. Approaching them in a right hand curve, scrrrraaaaappe, something touched down on the right side. I continued on. Maybe I need to hang off around the curves just like I used to do in my sportbike days. Over the next few miles I counted no less than 7 locations with photographers set up on the side of the road. In some locations there was more than one photographer. I'm guessing 10-12 photographers total. And this is just march!

    When I got to the Motorcycle Resort I decided to continue on down to the fugitive Dam. Harrison Ford was not jumping today but I took a picture anyway.

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    Heading back up towards Deals Gap there is a small waterfall alongside 129.

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    Then it was time for a break.

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    There were a reasonable number of people here but nothing compared to what it will be like in the coming months.

    I have been here when there was no place to park a bike and people were parking along the road.
    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    It was a great day for a ride and it was nice talking to you. I got a pic of you riding by Parson's Branch. I'll post it later in the report. Welcome to the Asylum!
    #5
  6. Broken Record

    Broken Record Biscuit Eater

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    Awesome! Looking forward to reading the rest!
    #6
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I hung out for a few minutes, looked at the bikes, then headed back over Deals Gap toward the overlook. I was starting to get used to riding my scooter through the curves. The handling is super light, it makes the typical 600cc sportbike feel like a Mack truck. The brakes work well and the tires stick just fine. The only thing holding me back is cornering clearance. By hanging off on the inside I can still make pretty good time.

    I'm starting to get more comfortable riding my scooter in the curves and decide to get a few action shots.

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    There's no shortage of curves here.

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    I ride to the overlook and take a short break.

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    I talked briefly to a young couple up from Canton, Ga here for their first trip to Deals Gap. They headed back up to Deals Gap and I followed shortly afterwards.

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    Ya'll probably didn't realize that I'm famous. Look, the paparazzi followed me to Deals Gap to take my picture:lol3:lol3:lol3

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    The traffic is light today and this road really is fun to ride:ricky

    Not having leaves on the trees allows you to see much more of the road. Normally you can't see way ahead like this.

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    A few miles later I catch up to the couple from Canton so I take some pics.

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    They were smart enough not to ride over their ability on their first trip here.

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    With no leaves it was easy to see way ahead and pass. This would be much more difficult later in the year, especially with 11 horsepower.
    #7
  8. GypsyWriter

    GypsyWriter Sarah

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    Ha!! A scooter on The Dragon!! :clap:clap Love it!

    What are all the photographers there for? They sell the pics to the riders later?
    #8
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I took another break at Deals Gap.

    The Famous "Tree of Shame"

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    And if riding those 318 curves wasn't dangerous enough, here's another hazard I never knew about.

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    Better be ATGATT when walking near the Tree of Shame:lol3:lol3

    They need to put a tag on this bike, it looks like it would be a blast to ride through the Gap.

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    Then it was time for the obligatory tourist shot.

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    #9
  10. Fe Man

    Fe Man I am Iron Moran!

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    Probably faster than most of the Harleys!







































    :hide
    #10
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    That's not saying much.
    #11
  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Now that I've gone through Deals Gap 3 times, it's time for something else. There are other roads with curves in the area.

    This is 28 going toward Fontana Dam

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    The TVA does a lot of water management in this area. Not only are there many Dams, but also lots of large pipes.

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    The largest and most impressive of the Dams, in my opinion, is Fontana Dam.

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    It may not be as famous as the one Harrison Ford "jumped" off of, but this sheer size of this Dam makes it real imposing.

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    It is the tallest dam in the TVA system.

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    The Dam holds back a lot of water creating a very large, impressive and scenic lake.

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    One of the enormous floodgates.

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    The enormous tunnel below the floodgate. No picture can do this justice. It is huge and really deep. This is something you just have to see for yourself.

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    Every time I look down this tunnel, I always wonder how many cameras and sunglasses have fallen down here?
    #12
  13. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

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    :thumb
    #13
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Deals Gap is a major tourist attraction for motorcycle as well as car enthusiasts. Quite a few photographers make a living shooting pictures of bikes and cars coming through there. The most well known of the photographers is killboy: http://www.killboy.com/

    Anybody can go on line, look at the pictures for the day they came through and buy their picture if they want. I have never bought one but if I find one I really like I may get one. I think they are around 10 bucks.
    If you look at the pictures I took of the photographers, they all have their websites in plain view.

    I looked up 129 photographers and they already have the pictures posted. They took a bunch of me: http://www.photoreflect.com/store/ThumbPage.aspx?e=7940142&g=0QAK00WK04

    They want $25 for 5 pics on a CD. Or you can get various other options.

    You should bring your CT90 to Deals Gap. You would have a blast.
    #14
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I decided to ride across the Dam and see what was on the other side. I did this one before but it was so long ago that I no longer remember what I found. At the end of the dam I took the right fork. The road goes maybe a mile and dead ends. Just before the dead end I discovered the Appalachian Trail crosses here.

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    Another check in the block. I can now say I have ridden my scooter the entire WIDTH of the A.T.:lol3

    Heading back I saw a gravel road on the right and decided to explore.

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    I was hoping this would actually go somewhere since it was a nice ride.

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    But no such luck.

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    There was another trail that branched off.

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    It was steeper than it looks like in the pic but I'm sure my mighty Kymco could climb it.

    There was a sign that said no horses allowed.

    :scratch

    Nothing about motorized vehicles:evil

    I was in Smoky Mountain National Park.

    :scratch

    It might be a hiking trail even if it was just wide enough for a car.

    I decided to stay legal and didn't ride up the hill.

    So I headed back towards Fontana village. Hwy 28 between Fontana Dam and Fontana village is a great ride.:ricky

    It's every bit as twisty as Deals Gap with a steep grade to make it more interesting.
    #15
  16. BOBaloo22

    BOBaloo22 RIP Baby Girl

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    Nice Report K! We too love the area but not the crowds, hope to get back there this July.
    Bob
    #16
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    It is a great area! Although Deals Gap and the other main roads get crowded, if you get off the beaten path you can have the roads to yourself even during the peak tourist seasons. Check out my other ride reports from the area if you want to see some examples.

    I came here in March so that I could ride some of the great roads that are too crowded most of the year. There are some roads near Deals Gap that are never crowded as you will see in my next post.
    #17
  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    When I got to Fontana Village I took a left and went into the resort. If you go through the resort there is a road that goes from the back of the resort, over the mountain, and comes out on 129 near the Calderwood dam. I had never ridden it in this direction but managed to find my way. This road is steep and twisty with some steep dropoffs if you go off the road. It is not as well maintained as the main roads in the area and may have a little gravel on it. It's a fun ride on a dualsport or adventure bikes but I doubt it will ever become real popular with the sportbike or cruiser crowds.

    Ridning along I saw a dirt road off to the right so I had to see where it went.

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    I do have an ADV sticker on my scooter so I figured I should be able to go just about anywhere on it:D

    I rode a short ways and came to this.

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    Riding through this puddle, throwing mud everywhere, would make a great picture but there was nobody here to take the picture. Since there is no picture I guess you'll never know if I did it:D

    This road dead ended so I headed back to the pavement.

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    This road definitely did not suck:ricky

    And I did not see another vehicle:rayof

    Another of the many pipelines in the area.

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    This looked interesting. It was steeper than it looks in the photo but as I mentioned earlier, I have an ADV sticker on my scooter,......and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night so I headed down the deep gravel hill.

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    And the up this hill.

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    The trail ended on top off the hill but it was worth riding up for the view.

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    I'm not sure what the tower in front of my scooter is for but I would guess it's part of the TVA water management system.

    You can see HWY 28 along the other side of the lake.

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    Then it was back to the pavement and more twisties:ricky

    At this intersection I took a left.

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    The road to the right dead ends at the lake.

    A small community with trees blooming white and yellow.


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    #18
  19. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Looks like a great deal of fun... and just as enjoyable on a scooter as it would be on a bigger bike. Was it very busy there still?
    #19
  20. Broken Record

    Broken Record Biscuit Eater

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    I see those Bradford Pear trees (the white ones in your last post) are bloomed out nicely. You hit them at just the right time. They'll shed the white and turn green in about a week.
    #20