This trip started with a plan. The plan was a second trip to Deal's Gap including 4 friends who rode down last year, spent 1 night, and rode back the next morning. This year's plan was for a longer stay. Two friends are from Ellicot City, Maryland. One friend is from Pittsburg, Pa. Yours truely is from Roanoke Va. Roanoke seems like a central point, so the plan was to meet in Roanoke on October 1, load the bikes on a trailer, and head for DG. I called for reservations at the motorcycle lodge at DG, alas, no rooms available on the 1st, and only 1 room on the 2nd. Better look around some! One friend from Ellicot City suggested Two Sisters Chalet, located just off 129 a couple of miles from "The Dragon" Reservations were made, we were all set! Now some bad news...One friend from Ellicot City cannot go! Oh well there are still 3 of us, enough for a great time! On Wednesday Sept 29, more bad news. The remaining friend from Ellicot City, and also the owner of the trailer, cannot go either! So that leaves Pittsburg, Pa (Suzuki DR 650) and Roanoke Va (ZX-14 or KLR 650). Since Pittsburg has a DR, the choice is obvious. Also Pittsburg has ridden his bike from home to Roanoke earlier in the week, there will be no more backing out! So the KLR and the DR are loaded on the back of my truck, and we are on the road, more or less on schedule. The question may be asked. Why not just ride down? Well we had rented a place that had lots of room and a kitchen, we wanted to take plenty of stuff with us. You know, the essentials of any good vacation. Things like beer, food, beer,ridng gear, beer,clothing, and oh yeah, some beer. Lots of bugs on the way down The Two Sisters is really nice Got there with no problems, and learned a little about securing bikes in the back of a pick up. We started to plan Saturday's ride. Started off with a trip up 129 of course to ride the famous 11 mile stretch. Felt good to hit the curves, but something is wrong with my bike! I can't seem to keep up with Pittsburg (AKA Twigsnapper) , on his DR 650! Hmmmm must be the jetting, cause of the elevation. Could be that Twigsnapper is SLAYING the corners on that DR! This is fun! Quick stop at DG lodge for gas and bs then we took 129 to 143 to pick up the Cherohala Skyway Rode the Skyway for a while then looped back to 129 to grab some lunch. On the ride back to DG on 129 we noticed a lot of kayakers in the river, that water was churning! We heard that periodically the dam is opened, creating class 3 and 4 rapids, and that is when the kayakers come out to play. The weather was beautiful, that is for sure! Anyway we rode back to DG lodge for lunch and bs, then back to Two Sisters. Stopped at the overlook to chat and saw this Aprilla pull up. The owner appeared to be in his mid sixties, so I guess the future does not mean Goldwings and Trikes for everyone! Also saw another KLR.. The roads are fantastic in the area, but a lot of fun can be had just talking to other folks who are there. I don't think I have ever met anyone who does not like to talk about his/her machine, and the fun they have had with it. We went back to Two Sisters for a short break, then rode 129 again to the dam below DG for some photos. another DAM picture! Now back to Two Sisters for cigars, dinner and a beer or 3. Saturday evening, we planned a nice 140 mile loop ride to some high elevations, with promise of exciting twisty riding. Our first negative clue was when we turned on the weather channel, Sunday was looking bleak. We woke to gray skys and a slight mist. Oh well, we came, we ride! What the hell, a little rain never hurt anyone, right?? The first leg took us on the Foothills Parkway to 321. The parkway elevation is 2000 feet, our loop was to take us through 5000 foot elevations. At 2000 feet we could only see a few feet and it was cold. Now we are not wimps, but we are not idiots either. If we cannot see at 2000 ft, 5000 would be a nightmare. So we regrouped on 321 and decided to go through Cade's Cove, then pick up Parson's Branch back down to 129. Cade's Cove was a parking lot. Took maybe an hour to go 4 miles or so with bumper to bumper traffic. I did see a bear however so Cade's Cove was not a total loss. On to Parson's Branch. 10 mile hard packed gravel,1 way traffic for eight miles. Ruts, potholes, and water crossings. Spell that F-U-N. Twigsnapper with his DR.. A little salute to those who backed out. ( just kidding guys, we missed you!) Figured out the timer... After Parson's Branch, and a late lunch at DG, we decided to check out 28, and rode that to Robbinsville. Another outstanding road! Stopped in Robbinsville for phone calls and groceries, then back up 129 to Two Sisters. On the ride back we saw a Harley rider test the off road abilities of his Road King. He took a nice detour through a ditch, I guess he was testing his suspension settings. He did not crash, but came close. After stopping to check that he and his bike were ok, it was home to Two Sisters. No boots or smoking allowed inside, but there is a smoking lounge included. Next day, Monday. Time to go back home. One more ride on the Dragon! Fortunately, we did not need any of this: One last stop at the overlook, saw a nice Ducati, and figured out the panorama setting on the camera.. So that wraps it up! Pittsburg (twigsnapper) and Roanoke (Davo-55) had a great return trip to Deal's Gap and plan on a future visit next year!