My fall scooter adventure

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by Wolfeboats, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    I was going to spend next week riding in the mountains of Western North Carolina but this morning's weather forecast was for sunny and warm this week but rainy and cold next week so I cancelled a few things, put the scooter on the hitch carrier and got on the road about 10:30 AM.

    Easy 4.5 hour drive from Nashville on I40 to Maggie Valley NC. I was expecting relief from this stifling fall heat wave and got it. It was 97 passing through Knoxville and 76 when I arrived in Maggie Valley 90 minutes later.

    Had time for a short ride after unpacking and unloading the Vespa.

    Maggie Valley lays along US19 a bit Southeast of Smokey Mountain NP. 19 connects the the blue ridge parkway 5 miles east of MV. The parkway ends 15 miles Southwest in Cherokee NC. That made a 40 mile round trip which took 90 minutes what with stopping to take pictures and waiting out a rain shower at a gas station in Cherokee.

    A rain shower off in the distance:
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    And the one that caught me:
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    There were four tunnels in the 15 mile stretch of the BRP
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    More BRP scenery:
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    Tomorrow I'm headed for the famous "Tail of the Dragon" and Cherohala Skyway. Stay tuned
    #1
  2. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Have a safe, fun, rest of the trip!
    I'm currently reading a book written in 1935 about the Toe Valley area of NC, found near Spruce Pine, etc..
    The writer's husband was a mining engineer sent to the area your riding and she writes a book about those mountain people.
    Those BRP tunnels pictured above killed many of the laborers who built them, most all were either foreign or African-American.

    If you need more routes that are well worth riding (and waay less live action than the "Tail"!, see: www.visitvirginiamountains.com for some doosies centered around the Marion, VA area.
    #2
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  3. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Thanks Mike. So far this area seems practically deserted. Must be the gap between summer visitors escaping the heat and fall color tourists. There is a little yellow in the trees but not much yet.
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  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    When you go to Deal's Gap you will find quite a crowd. I was there last week and did find a little bit of color.
    #4
  5. The Virginian

    The Virginian Long timer

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    Great pics and I look forward towards see the rest if your trip!
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  6. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Yesterday was the hottest day in history here in KY. Next couple days are much the same and nearing 100 degs!!!
    This will not be a year to see many colorful trees. We are currently in a 34 day drought of no measurable precipitation.
    Ragweed is alive and well... achoo!
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  7. kpinvt

    kpinvt OLDnSLO

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    Gesundheit!
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  8. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Day 2.

    Todays route was a 240 mile loop east and north to take in the most popular motorcycle roads.

    About 60 miles east on US19 brought me to the Cherohalla Skyway, a 43 mile scenic highway connecting Robbinsville NC with Tellico Plains TN. It's similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway in that it is mostly curves and hills through the forest. From a high point of 5400' near the TN-NC stateliness it drops to 900' at Tellico Plains. At the top in the fog it was chilly even with a sweater and two shirts under my riding jacket but low 80s in Tellico Plains.

    This is a typical view along the Skyway. Actually most of the roads today looked like this.
    028A6548-86F5-4377-BEDB-62469C8BC326.jpeg

    After the Cherohalla Skyway the Tail of the Dragon was next. From Tellico Plains I rode 25 miles north on TN360 then across the Little Tennessee River on TN411 And back south on TN72, then south on US129. 129 runs right along the bank of the LT river for several miles. Here's the Chilhowee dam from river level:
    FAB7E3CF-9446-40EC-8794-0B080FE80D27.jpeg

    And another view of it a few miles later
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    The Tail of the Dragon is an incredible twisty stretch of US129 - 318 curves in 11 miles according to the T Shirts at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort.
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    The road is so curvy with so many hairpin turns that all your attention is needed just to stay on the road, no looking at scenery, no even waving to other riders. With my low skill and high risk aversion I was going no more than 20-30 mph most of the time. I'm glad I did it because it's the most famous motorcycle road in the East but I have to say I enjoy other less tchnical roads more.

    In fact a road I liked better was NC28 from the end of the Dragon 32 miles to Almond NC. Much of it along Lake Cheoah, another impoundment of the LT river.

    A few pictures along NC28:
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    That bridge is NC28.
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    Another 40 or so miles put me back on US441 in Cherokee NC. A Smokey Mountains NP visitor center is just a mile past the BRP enterance so I stopped to visit. There's a big flat field just before the visitor center with a sign offering parking along the road for elk viewing. There must have been 40 cars parked but I didn't see any elk. Ironically (and scarily) I passed one standing on the edge of the road on the way back to Maggie Valley.

    After the visitor center I hopped back on the BRP for 15 miles then 5 miles west on US19 to Maggie Valley where I'm staying.



    One last picture from a BRP turn out :
    94C47F54-D1CC-454E-ACCE-736AA48D4A3F.jpeg

    Tomorrow I'm going to be on the BRP all day travelling NE from here to Mount Mitchell State Park.
    #8
  9. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Of course the 129 photos. I wish I would have thought to zip up my jacket.
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    #9
  10. Dan V.

    Dan V. Been here awhile

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    Nice Pics! It is such a great area to explore. That is quite the loop you did. I found it interesting how the rain storms are hit and miss in the area, like from one mountain top to another can bring different weather.

    It takes a while to get used to all the turns if you are not accustomed to them. I think it typically takes me a couple of days before I get comfortable pushing thru the turns. The roads in my area are enjoyable, but not twisty, so my riding skillz need tuning up every now and then.

    Hey, hope to meet you on a Battle Scooter meet up sometime.
    #10
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  11. cheapeto

    cheapeto Been here awhile

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    Man I just love riding that area. Hell, I love the ride down to that area, as every mile from my house to that general area is just grin making.
    Great photos man!!
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  12. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    I didn't mention it above but there were rain clouds yesterday too. Like everywhere in the SE it's unseasonably warm. By late afternoon it's warm and humid enough to cause these little convective showers. I skirted one of them about 5:30, just getting a few drops on the way home.

    I hear you on the Michigan roads. I spent most of my life in SE MI. Lots of wilderness for dirt bike riding though.
    #12
  13. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Thanks. I just have a 5 year old iPhone 6. No adjustments other than cropping and magic wand contrast enhancement.

    My son, who gets the newest tech everything, let me play with his brand new iPhone 11 pro Sunday. It's got three separate camera lenses. Took some side by side pics with his 11 and my 6. Very obvious difference, might be on my Christmas list.
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  14. Fiftygrit

    Fiftygrit Been here awhile

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    Ya great pic's thanks for sharing.
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  15. The Virginian

    The Virginian Long timer

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    Great posts and the ride of a lifetime!
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  16. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    I do not want to hear that. I want planning on upgrading my phone.
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  17. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    I have to agree with you on the Dragon taking all your attention. I have ridden it many times but now I just don't enjoy it. I'll stick to some of the other great roads you mentioned. Since you are in Maggie Valley, you might consider a trip up the BRP to Linville Falls, have lunch at the famous Rock house and take a walk down to see the falls. Makes for a great day trip.
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  18. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Since I'm based in MV for this trip Linville falls is just too far to go there and back on the BRP. It was 235 miles round trip to mount Mitchell today, about all my achy old back will take.

    The mountains are so beautiful I'm going to come back for sure but I think next time I'll plot out a 4-5 day circle route instead of returning to the same place each night.
    #18
  19. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scooter Pilot

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    Great photo essay! And I have to say that blue Vespa looks great in that scenery. Thanks for sharing. :clap
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  20. Wolfeboats

    Wolfeboats Been here awhile

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    Day 3

    Today was the BRP - all day. 237 miles from Maggie Valley to Mount Mitchell and back.

    It's hard to overstate how beautiful the parkway is. I had to stop several times in the first dozen miles to photograph the morning sun on the mountains and fog filled valleys.

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    It took about four hours to get to Mount Mitchell. Much of the road is above 5,000' so the foilage is starting to turn. Typical roadside scene along the way:
    FECE9BAC-7207-496F-9A7C-89D1879A42A1.jpeg

    Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Rockies. The summit is 6,684' and the parking lot for the trail up to the summit is
    1D9F1B69-9FAD-44FF-8224-4A3EE7DD495F.jpeg

    I would have hiked up but for the cold, wind and threat of rain. Never actually rained though. I did have lunch at the park restaurant. That rocking chair on the restaurants deck was a relief after riding my scooter for four hours. Contrast this view to the east taken five minutes after the one above to the west.
    543F1BE0-773C-439B-A874-A64EE696690B.jpeg

    This is a look down into the Burnett reservoir near the Craggy Gardens visitor center a bit north of Asheville.
    B55B514A-4286-4468-A8EF-9BB52D052B4B.jpeg

    To be continued....
    #20