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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Extremenc, Jan 23, 2017.
JH, Horizontal club welcomes you and Ride On,Ride Safe.
The nice thing is even with the very fickle Spring and Fall mood swings of Mother Nature is to keep the above post reference elevation in mind. (run on sentence time.....) We easily and often see 30-40 degree temp swings over a day or two and if it's "Wintery" with black ice, etc., along the upper elevations the foothills provide amazing riding that can allow for alternatives, detours and/or even timing it so safe riding can be enjoyed higher up later in the day as the sun creeps into shadowy nooks and crannies where hoarfrost and over night freezing of runoff can all too often be present. I've enjoyed 70-80 degree days in January as well as Spring Flowers buried in snow, but mostly from mid April on would be a pretty safe bet regardless route choices. I'd come as early as you can and stay for as long as you can as I'd bet it will be much like my first trip (and subsequent ones) to your beautiful region, just so amazingly different and endless choices for incredible riding that make you feel like a kid in a candy store.
Give more details as you firm up your plans.
Your words “so amazingly different” (than the western mountains) is really intriguing to me. The more I learn about your region, the more interested I am in my visit. I think I am going to try to add a couple days to really enjoy the area.
Yesterday I caught up with a friend who hiked the southern 500 mils of the AT. He was very, very complementary of the people. He was impressed with how friendly and hospitable they were. He was excited about my travel plans.
thanks again for the info.
Feel free to hit some of us up while you are visiting, we will try to show you some of that southern hospitality.
I'll be around. Let's ride...
Thank you for your invitations to ride. I will keep you posted.
I have one more question...
- How many miles a day should I plan for while riding in your neighborhood?
I know, I know...there are many variables, but as a reference, I generally plan for about 300 miles a day when traveling on pavement in the mountainous west. I ride a 1200 GS and stay on pavement with this bike. The twisty sections are slower but many backwoods highways are posted at 65 mph. My long-term average speed is 50 miles an hour. This includes breaks for the riding day.
Looking at my new Butler maps, your high-rated roads look to be very twisty and pass through many little towns, which I am sure have slow speeds.
So, should I plan on an average speed closer to 35 mph? This would result in a 210 mile day.
This information will help me plan my riding days.
Again, I appreciate the local information. Also, for those planning a trip out west, I am most interested in reciprocation by sharing my experience. I have traveled by MC from Mexico to Canada following and crossing the continental divide as many times as possible. I am also familiar with Idaho's best, Yellowstone, Glacier, southern Utah and the upper passes of Colorado.
I'd plan 200-250 miles and plan for average of 40-45 mph
Sounds about right. There is great riding in our neck of the woods; I think you'll find the roads themselves as good or better than any, some of the tightest twisties anywhere. But due to the heavy tree cover the vistas are more limited than those out West. There are good views to be had, of course, but not as many of the wide panoramas that I love in the western states. And the population density means more small settlements as noted, which slow things down. Care should be taken to stay in your lane as it is not uncommon to encounter trucks, RV's and other riders encroaching over the center line in blind corners.
Thanks for the warning to watch for others encroaching over the center line. I think this is a universal danger.
I have learned to be self preserving and defensively stay on my side. The summer tourists are very dangerous when they rent motorhomes and have never driven anything bigger than a Prius. Camper and boat trailers are also often out of control. Then we have the folks coming to the mountains to visit who are accustomed to flat land and straight roads. They often hug the uphill lane since they are afraid of the downhill slope. My favorite dangerous tourist drivers are those who stop abruptly, pop open all the doors, jump out to look at wildlife...it could be a chipmunk. Remember riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous.
By watching YouTube I can see some differences between here and there. The composition of the types of bikes seems different. I don't see many Adventure bikes like the GS and I see many more sport bikes. I have watched several video of riders on the Tail of the Dragon. Many show the riders cutting way into the oncoming lane through turns...at high speed. I think that if you can't ride fast and stay in your lane you are not a very good rider. It is selfish and irresponsible to endanger others. Oh well there are dumb-asses here too. A couple western hazards I have not seen in my YouTube research large farm/ranch equipment on the roads. It is exciting to come around a corner to find a 16' swather lumbering down the road, trying to stay on their side but too big to do so. Also much of the rural west is "Free Range" where there are no fences and cattle and horses may be in the center of the road. Sporty.
I think that is about right.
It's nice to go to the Dragon, to say you did, because it's famous. As you note, it's congested and not necessarily populated by the best riders. There is no shortage of other great roads around the state. I suspect you'll enjoy the others more.
I would expect to be a bit slower here than out west. Tighter roads, more small towns. It would be useful to get with a local at some point. There are so many great roads that are not widely advertised. The advertised ones like The Dragon are really a circus, especially on the weekends. Consider weather. Things can be quite different here from one side of the mountain to the other. Also, Fall has started and it can be cold at higher elevations. I guess you know that coming from Idaho.
Balsam Mt Rd. near Cherokee
I was hoping to gather information about Balsam Mountain Road. Has anyone ridden it recently? Is it open? Is it ok for a inexperienced rider on a large Adv bike?
Rode the Balsam Mt/Heintooga/Round Mt Rd today. Luv It! The perfect big bike friendly road as the first 14 miles are one-way and it's a very mild 2000ft descent. Nothing technical at all but can get slick in spots if it's wet. This pic is on Balsam...
On the Park Service website, they say it will close in November if weather forces them to do so and reopen sometime in April. I would call the Ranger's office to make sure before you roll out.
When you see a two-way traffic sign, that will be the end of Heintooga and the beginning of Round Mt. Soon after that, you will cross this steel bridge...
Exit left onto Big Cove and the next left will be Bunches Creek (BIA 407). That is a little more difficult but a great way back to the BRP. It took me about an hour and a half at a brisk pace, 2 stops and only two vehicles to pass. This last pic is near the bottom of Jenkins Creek (409)...
Google shows it as Upper River Rd (434), almost to the bottom of Jenkins, on yer left if travelling south. Great riding in that area.
I am looking for folks in the Waxhaw or Charlotte area to ride with on day rides. I just bought a 1290 SAS to keep my 500 EXC company. It would be great to have company for Saturday or Sunday road oriented riding.
Fort Mill here. I do about a 300mi day looping into Pisgah with some forest service roads. Let me know man!
Edit: road oriented is good too
Hey Guys, I split time between Wesley Chapel and Little Switzerland. Let me know if/when you’d like to ride. I do 80% Pavement, 20% forest roads.
Thanks guys, glad I got some replies so quick. I would love to take a ride this Sunday if the weather is halfway nice. Maybe a road ride up towards Brevard. Give me a shout if anyone is interested.
This is one of our favorite places in the Smokies, we camp at mile high CG every chance we get, it's a great place to get " into" the mountains from a motor vehicle, and the picnic area up at the top is a very special place for my family as we have going up there for over 25 years, my kids often tell there own kids stories about it.