Curses part 2 |

Curses part 2


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Here's my review of my first motorcycle trip. Thanks to the past posters for giving me the bug!
The Basics:
My buddy and I decided to ride down to do the dragon and then we decided to visit Barber motorsports for a day.
Friday May 20th.
RACED home from work. Grabbed my gear..and waited for my buddy to show. Of course, I had packed everything the night before. Double and triple checked everything. I was set!
My buddy showed up and of course his bike wasnt packed at all. What seems like hours passed as he took his time loading gear and getting ready to go. I was pulling my nails out waiting..helping..prodding...ARGH.
My baby packed and ready to go!

6:19 we departed!
May 24 traffic expected, so we back roaded it from Mississauga to just past Milton. Jumped on the 401 and traffic was light. Kept it between 120 and 130 until our first fill up and dinner break. About 30ish minutes outside of Windsor we stopped for fuel and a quick and dirty Burger King dinner. It took until the next day for my buddy to discover that his dinner didnt agree with him...he mentioned later about how he was peeing from his ***.
We went thru customs at Detroit. Although there wasnt much of a lineup it was still pretty slow getting thru. I noticed customs was checking a lot of cars. My only guess for the increased security was they were still on alert after Bin Laden?
Anyway after getting grilled on where we were going, off we went.
It was now after dark and the temps were dropping, being by the lake sure didnt help either. We pushed on.
At about 1:30am we made it to our first goal. Sidney OH. Pulled off and grabbed a room at the Days Inn in Sidney, just off 75 at 47. Rooms were the cheapest I could find before we left. $49 for two beds. Room wasnt anything special, but after all that riding we were tired and ready to sleep.


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Saturday 21st.
Up early (for me anyway) 7:00am. We repacked the bikes and rode down the street to the Waffle House. An American Classic breakfast later we were on the road. My friend had now discovered that Burger King was not his friend..Something he would be reminded about for the next couple hours.
We rode hard and only stopped for gas the rest of the way. Loved Kentucky! Everyone there speeds! We had to adjust from us speeding at 80, to being slow at 80..Loved it..Fell in behind some quick drivers and went with the flow.
Just past Knoxville, my freshly updated GPS (Zumo 550) decided to run me around for a bit. Ended up having a nice tour of the area (with me swearing in my helmet). Finally we ended up on our way again and ended up on hwy 129. Loaded with camping and angry at the GPS..exhausted from the hours of riding..I thought to myself..This couldnt be THE hwy 129 could it? Hell yeah it not only could, but was! As luck would have it, our first run of the dragon was a busy Saturday afternoon. The Nissan Z club was in town, running corners as fast as they could, we were tired, sore and full of camping gear. It was a nice introduction to the Dragon..But not even close to our toughest run of it! That was a couple days away.
Not being stupid, the Dragon was actually not too bad..Lost of turns but if you keep your head on its lots of fun.
At the end of the Dragon, we turned onto hwy 28 and headed to Fontana Village. Personally, I loved hwy 28. You can get some good speed and the turns are great. Views of the river/lake and mountains are awesome. Even tired, it was fun.
We got to Fontana and booked our camping spot..Little did I know the camp ground is miles away at the foot of the Fontana damn.
We jumped on the bikes and raced to our campsite.
What a relief it was. Setup camp and took a breath..What a view!

Hmm..trying to attach photos but cant..exceeded my quota..


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Okay..Here goes with pictures..I hope.
Here's a shot of the camp site with the Fontana Dam in the background

Weather was awesome when we got there. Low to mid 80's made it pretty warm, but after coming from the crappy spring we were having back in the GTA it was welcome weather. I had been checking the weather and packed for the heat..The problem I ran into was at night. It was FREEZING! The temp drop was insane. The next walmart I passed was getting my cash..I needed some trackpants and a sweatshirt!
The camp site is located just across the bridge on Hwy 28. It puts you right in the middle of all the good roads..Although anywhere is right in the middle. We were about 10 min of twisties from the Deals Gap resort and only a few minutes from Fontana Village. It was $15 for the Saturday night and $10 a night after that. I'm not sure how many tents or campers are allowed per site but we had two tents and it wasnt an issue. Bathhouse was good and the shower had super hot water..was heaven after a long ride! We had access to all of the pools at Fontana village but never had the time..too many hours on the bikes! No wifi or cell coverage but you can get both at the village if you need it.
After we unpacked our gear and finished with the setup, starving and tired we headed to Fontana village. They have a couple restaurants in the village. We asked for the one that served steak!
I have to admit..The steak was awesome. They know how to BBQ in the south is all I have to say! After dinner we climbed back on the bikes and made our way back to the camp site. It was just starting to get dark, and we were in no mood to run 28 in the black of night (that too would come later..argh).
Got pack to the camp and we realized that we didnt have firewood and couldnt carry it on the bikes. Off we went to beg for wood. Lucky for us we meet up with a family that lived in the area and came up to camp every weekend. They gave us some spare logs and we ended up chatting with them for a couple hours..I'm never surprised at how little Americans know about Canada (they thought we all still used outhouses up in Canada). Super nice and wouldnt take any cash for the wood we got. You're in the South now is what they told us.
We got our Charlie Brown fire going and couldnt wait to hit the hey!
Here's another view of our camp site (from atop the Fontana Dam). You can see the small clearing by the right of the tree. As you can imagine..We were in the middle of nowhere.


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Sunday May 22nd
We woke up early and felt surprisingly good! Fired up the stove and had a quick coffee they tried to cook up some freeze dried eggs..They scared us at first, but that simulated bacon sure tasted good! I'm going to chalk it up to being hungry and tired from all the riding though!
Here's a picture to give you an idea of what I packed for the trip (what I could stuff onto and into my bike!).

The chair was one of the best things I got! After a long days ride, sitting in a comfy chair is a must! I would have thrown myself off the dam if I had to sit on one of those tiny camping stools at night!
Another thing I learned..I packed way too much crap! I didnt wear half the clothes I brought!
Okay..So we were up early but took our sweet time getting ready to hit the road. Everyone was leaving camp pretty early and heading home too, it was scavenging time! We went around to now empty camp sites and grabbed all the abandoned fire wood WOOHOO.
Around 11ish we finally saddled up.
Today was the moonshiner run. I learned another valuable lesson this day. Plotting routes ahead of time on your fancy GPS is awesome! BUT. It's easy to make stupid mistakes! The Moonshiner 28 starts at the bottom of the dragon and basically follows hwy 28. You end up going through NC, GA and finishing off in Walhalla SC.
GPS fired up, and off we went.
Straight off, I was enjoying 28 way more than the dragon. You can get to better speeds and carry the speeds thru the turns. Almost no traffic at all! Mid way along the route is the bridal falls. Sorry no pictures..We were past it before it registered. It's a cool looking waterfall that is right on the road. I kicked myself for not stopping for some pictures..Oh well..Another reason to go back next year!
It was shortly after the falls, that I made my only bad mistake riding. I was in the lead, and hit a tight uphill right hand turn. I went in fast and for some reason my brain cramped. I ended up swinging wide into the oncoming lane (almost to the other shoulder), once I got back into the turn, I swung back, but of course over corrected and ended up in the gravel of my shoulder. At this point, my bike no longer liked me and broke loose on the gravel. Somehow I stayed calm and eased back onto the road without dumping. The entire 70 or so minutes this was happening..Okay..3 seconds, my buddy was yelling into the headset for me to turn..then not so much! It didnt help..I was too busy yelling at myself for being so dumb..No foul! without missing a beat we were back to full speed for the next turn. Of buddy had his gopro on. I've yet to see it but I'm told it doesnt look nearly as bad as we both remembered it.
Some of the scenery along 28 is just amazing. At one point we rounded a corner and on our left was a deep gorge with a series of waterfalls. Sadly there was nowhere I could pull over for the picture..It was two lanes with a cliff on one side and a guardrail on the other..Not even a sniff of a shoulder.
By around 4:00 we arrived in Walhalla. Victory was ours! The temp was 98 and it was friggin hot! Ice cream time! We fell off our bikes and walked over to a small shop.
A couple observations about the area.
1. Everyone drives pickups!
2. Everyone sup's up their pickups! (its like the civics and golfs here)
3. All the shops are closed on Sunday's. They take Sunday's serious!

After trying to cool down, we decided to head to Cherokee to find something to eat. Plugged the route into the GPS and followed like a monkey. As we got close to Cherokee we started noticing signs for places to eat..Country Boy BBQ..And as a had a big picture of a pig! When I go away I always try to eat at local places..This one seemed as local as could be! This would be our place. We followed the signs direction..just past the casino it said! Shortly we found ourselves in Cherokee. Wow is this place ever tacky! This place made Niagara Falls looks classy! Every tacky indian trinket shop you could imagine! It was awesome! The view is actually really nice with the Smoky Mountains in the background. As the name implies. The mountains really do look like they're on fire.
Here's a shot from Cherokee looking towards the mountains.

We rode thru town and past the casino. We even rode past the BBQ place! We stopped and I told my friend that I thought it was the place we went past. We turned around and sure enough it looked nothing like an operating restaurant! We had come this far so in we went. My first clue that this place would be better than it looked, was the smokehouse to the side, and all the firewood stacked at the side. Sadly we were there just before closing. No more ribs left :( We would have to settle for the pulled port sandwich. It was good..But I wanted ribs! The owners were from Mississippi and super friendly. We ended up chatting with them while we ate. The place had only been open for a few weeks.
While we ate, we noticed the clouds moving in. We were going to get wet..Good thing i packed my fancy new rain suit for the trip. Too bad it was sitting in my tent at the camp site. ARGH!
We made our way back into Cherokee when the winds and rain started. We decided to wimp out, park and hope the rains would ease.
As fast as the storm started, it passed. We started to make our way back. Of course after all this riding, we started to get the urge for a few cold beers back at camp. We stopped at the first place we found (you don't find many out there). Raced in and asked where the beer was...Dry county was the reply. Dry county..WTF!! Back on the bikes and back towards camp. Next county over, we jumped from the bikes and raced in. BEER everywhere! We took our time browsing the beer isles and finally picked our haul. At the counter the girl was nice enough to tell us they are not allowed to sell beer after 6 on sundays. I looked at my watch..6:30! WTF! She told us to hold on before we leave, and she called a friend in the next county to find out were we could buy some beer. After about 10 min of directions my brain shut down. Screw it. We could get beer at the Fontana village! Back on our bikes and we raced towards the camp. We had learned another valuable lesson at his point. Don't fill up anywhere near Deals Gap! Gas is 60ish cents more a gallon. We topped our tanks and raced back. It was dark when got to the village and to our horror, the store was closed! No beer for us on this night :(
We rode back into camp. Tails between our legs. A cold pop is all the drinking we'd do this night. Small fire and we hit the hay around midnight.


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Great story. Glad you made it out of your "brain fade" moment without any scars.
We are heading down that way on June 11. We have 8 days total. Can't wait


Curry - so nice it burns you twice
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Now that's a ride report in the making. Thanks and glad you were able to post your pics - brings back good memories of that area.


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Monday May 23rd
This was going to be a tough day and we both knew it. We were up early 6:30ish and on our bikes by 7:00.
Today was our trip to Birmingham Alabama. As we have learned. Anyone who knows anything about motorcycles has made the trip to Mecca. Barber Motorsports Museum.
So. 7am and we're racing along 28 towards 129. Perfect time to do the dragon! All the weekend nuts are gone, its early so no one is around! We stop to turn on the GoPro cameras. (Lesson learned..Practice with the camera's before your trip. I have so many great videos and photos of myself looking at the camera pressing buttons and looking like a tool). I pull over to turn on the camera as does my friend. But he didnt see the turtle in the middle of our lane..THUMP. Dead turtle :(
One of the things I never hear mentioned in anyones stories is the number of snakes on the road! They're everywhere! Big ones, small ones, long and short! Wow are they slippery when you run them over! Alive and dead I must've run over 20 snakes the week I was there!
Okay..after the dead turtle we do our run. One of the things we didnt think about was the amount of dew on the roads. It was like running the road right after a rain, it was so wet.
The Dragon was wet full of leaves and other debris. Was not fun, but it was for the most part empty. We even beat killboy and the rest of the photogs :( no pic that day for us!
The run thru the dragon was uneventful, although the run back would sure be! We ran our way towards the interstate and flat topped it towards Birmingham. Stopped for some breakfast along the way but otherwise uneventful. Hot..Lots of bugs but uneventful. Most of the run we behaved ourselves, unless I had some speeders to follow. We pulled into Barber Motorsports around noon. Funny how the miles melted off of us when we pulled in. From the entrance you could already hear the race cars tearing around the track! I have a zillion pics but will only post a few. If you'd like to see more, let me know and I'll send you the link to my album.
Here's the main building. Behind the building is the race track. Great views from inside.
The front is motorcycle only parking..

The place is huge! The website doesnt show anything at all. I only found the place by reading other peoples posts about it.
We walked in and I was stunned. Its one of those things, that you just don't know where to start, so you stand there slack jawed just looking around.

There isn't any one type or kind of motorcycle that the motorcycle leans towards. There is everything from a steam powered wooden motorcycle, to a full carbon fiber prototype super bike.
I found myself partial to the old WW2 army bikes. Something about them is very cool.

It was awesome walking around and checking them all out. There were a couple of Porsche GT's racing around the track the entire time we were there. Its a noise I could listen to all day!
Finally around 5 we decided it was time to jet. We had a LOOONG ride ahead of us..only this time we knew how long it would feel!
We just beat rush hour in Birmingham and we were back on the interstate in no time. The ride went well until we closed in on the Alabama/Georgia border. Then these damn bugs appeared.
They're called Cicada
They sure don't look like the picture when they splatter against your visor..or jacket or hit your neck and get inside your jacket, with their little wiggly legs fluttering..Yes I speak from experience!
They were all over. A car ahead would stir them up and there'd be thousands in the air. You can't even wipe their guts off your visor...only smear them across. Needless to say. It was time for a visor clean/gas stop.
We stopped in a small town called Trenton GA. As we pulled off the highway I noticed a bunch of houses had been damaged. After we stopped I asked a lady working, what had happened. The town had been one of the places hit by the series of tornado's that had hit the area a few weeks earlier. After a short break we decided to investigate.

These aren't trailer park homes either. It was a brick subdivision. Must've been pretty new from some of the houses that were still standing. Even the road was new.
This was an apartment. You can see the kitchen on the second floor.

As we looked around, you could actually make out the path that the tornado took. Everything along that path was gone, everything along the sides was destroyed.
Here's whats left of a giant tree that was off to the side.

I'll take our sucky snow storms any day over the nasty stuff they get down south!
After our stop, we hit the interstate again. Around Chattanooga we hit some construction but we were lucky enough to hit it just as they started shutting things down. My bike was not happy at all about running in slow first gear in the heat..not happy at all.
Lucky for us it didnt take too long to get thru and we were back to highway speeds. It was late when we got off the interstate and we were good and hungry by now. Dinner was all we could think about. We stopped in a town called Madisonville TN. Pulled into the first place we could find. It was called Berts Hometown Grill-Pizzeria. They closed at 9 and we walked in about 5 to 9! The place was packed but emptying fast. The waitress took one look at us and told us how rough we looked. She told us, they wouldnt really be closing for a little bit, and let us order. I must've drank a couple of gallons of sweet tea while I waited for my pizza. Damn it was good! Nothing better than a good meal when you're really hungry!
After we finished eating, we noticed the walmart next door..WOOHOO..Track pants and a sweatshirt for me! We bought some more dehydrated eggs and even some beer! back on the bikes and we headed towards home.
It didnt take long for me to notice our track on the gps. We were heading towards 129.
So...We ran it the first time after riding from Toronto, with all of our gear on the back...second time was with a wet road covered in leaves, third time lucky I guess. 12:30 at night.
Wow is that road dark at night! We stopped before the real twisties started. Turned on the gopro, figured, what the hell! (Saddly, in the dark, all I did was do a delayed photo..another reason to practice with the camera before you leave!).
Up we went into the dragon. Dark dark dark! I was afraid of critters on the road more than anything. I knew there was no way to avoid them. We started off good and slow. Good old common sense in full control! The first couple of corners felt good..real good..I sped up a little. The next couple felt better. Now I know how crack addicts feel. I sped up and my common sense slipped away with the speed. The lights of my bike let me focus perfectly on the road ahead. Kept my vision perfect for the next turn. We tore thru the dragon. Towards the end, I started to feel it though. I was exhausted! When I got home I checked the GPS and we averaged about 35mph. We dropped a few times to the low teens but the rest of the ride was actually pretty fast for the dark. After the dragon, hwy 28 was a breeze and we were back to our camp. Tired..sore..just wrecked. That beer was soooo good! Not much of a fire but we had one none the less. I think around 2 we were calling it a night...For once I had a good sleep. Nice and warm with the extra clothes I bought! woohoo.


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Wow! Thanks for sharing your story and pics. That sounded like a great adventure!

Cicadas are big so it must have been an unpleasant experience dealing with them. We have lots in Ontario. You rarely see them but you'll hear them during the 2nd half of the summer with their loud sustained buzzing.


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Subscribed :happy1:

Thousands of them? I started carrying a wet rag in my tank bag to clean the gnats off my visor when riding in Muskoka. Instead of looking through smears you can actually get 90% of it off, then do a proper clean once you stop for gas etc.

You're right about 28, I found it more fun than the Dragon's Tail.

Great Ride Report!!! Keep it coming!

p.s. I call it "Adventures by Garmin™" :D
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Rotten Ronnie! Great idea with the wet nap. No tank bag but I could've put it someplace. That one will be stored away for future use! I like the Adventures by Garmin (good idea with the tm!). I can't blame the GPS. I think it was my route plotting on the computer that got me.

Tuesday May 24th
The ride to Barbers the day before kicked our *****. Literally! Nobody ever mentioned in their treads about how sore they're ***** get after long rides. A word of warning to those about to try it. It gets damn sore! I know how those poor old cowboys felt a 100 years ago! We could hardly walk, and sitting was just as bad! Thank god we brought along bigger chairs, and not those little stools! We were up early, but draggin butt bad. I didnt get the impression my friend wanted to ride at all today, it probably wouldnt have taken much to keep me in camp mode, but somehow we got ourselves in gear. No rush at all today. Took our time, the showers were hot. Even tried to clean the bugs off my no longer hi-viz jacket.
Finally around 11ish we mounted the bikes. Our rears went from sore, to pain. It was going to be a long day...
Fired up the GPS. Figured we'd take it easy today. Selected the Cherohala triangle route. The run starts with the Dragon, but because today we were leaving later, the road was nice and dry. We got stuck behind a truck for the first little bit but as we discovered with most drivers in the south, they pull over and let you go when they get a chance. Once we were past, we picked up the pace and started to have a pretty good run. My friend was in front and he radioed back that there was a rider down. I throttled back and cruised slowly through the next corner. Sure enough there was a rider down. Right by one of the guys taking pictures. Not sure how bad it was, there were already a bunch of riders pulled off and trying to help. We knew it wouldnt be long before the po po came up the road so we behaved the rest of the Dragon. Sure enough, before the bottom a couple of Sheriffs drove past.
The rest of the route to Tellico Plains was pretty tame. Mostly straight and flat (compared to the rest of the roads). At Tellico Plains we stopped at the visitor center and took a look around. My friend told me later, he didnt think he could get off the bike, his *** was so sore.
The visitor center is more of a gift shop but the lady working there told me of a side road to take to see some falls. We made note of it and headed into town to check out the Tellico Plains Motorcycle Outfitters. Its one of those places that you have to visit because its there. Its a super small shop but its still a good little stretch.

Went in and checked it out, and ended up buying a powerlet accessory for my bike. Couldnt find it anywhere in Toronto, and sure enough this little shop in the middle of nowhere had it. Sweet! My friend was checking out everything else, but nothing his size. While checking everything out, I came across an anti-chaffing cream. Looked just like deodorant. Showed my friend...he took one look and said its probably just deodorant and a $13 we passed. Spoke to the owner about someplace to eat and he directed us to a local sandwich shop just around the corner. Sorry but the name of the place has escaped me. I think it was called the Bakery. I had a toasted sandwich and ice tea. The place is expensive. Good sandwich but the price was too high. If I remember correctly it was $20 for two sandwiches and ice teas.
Anyway, after lunch we headed back to the shop, my friend wanted to get a powerlet for his bike too. This time I decided to get the cream. $13 buck was worth the bet. If it did nothing, then oh well, if it worked it would be worth every penny. When I went to purchase it, I asked the owner. He had never tried it before..Oh well. I asked where the change room was and ran back with my new purchase in hand.

Yes I took a picture of it, and hell yeah this stuff worked! I ran out with a smile on my face and told my friend this stuff is great! I could actually walk with no pain! I've since heard of another product called Monkey Butt. My friend bought some later on but didnt get to use it (it was right before we got home). Anyway. Here's my ringing endorsement. This stuff is great! Works great! If you're going on a long ride you're gonna need something! You've been warned! lol
Here's a shot of downtown Tellico Plains.

My *** slathered in my new favorite product, we mounted up and headed towards Cherohala.
Now my buddy was still in no mood for a big ride, but this soon changed! The temp in town was getting pretty high, we couldnt wait to get into the mountains to cool down.
Off we went at a pretty good pace. Keeping an eye out for hwy 210. We roared along and came to a scenery stop mid way thru. We'd missed the damn road. Oh well. I said lets finish the parkway and we'll head back to check it out. Our backsides were no longer hurting and the ride was getting goooood! Towards the end of the Cherohala a large group of Ford Cobras passed us in the opposite direction. Sweet rides! We finished the parkway and ended up at Thunder Mountain general store.

We fueled up, looked around and had quick drink. We spoke to the owners and mentioned the Cobras. They told us the Cobra club was in town. They were all original Cobras, no repo's. Sweet. Back to the Cherohala we rode.
Our speeds picked up. The second time round was so much better. We had a feel for the road this time. The lean angles were increasing, and the speeds increasing with them.
Mid way along we got stuck behind a slow car. I had the GPS and could see a chance to pass coming up. Got myself ready and at the last second blew past. My friend couldnt make it. Just as I planned. I knew he'd be ****** and pass as soon as he could, so I pinned it. The road was really twisty and I knew I was opening up a good lead. I also knew once he passed he'd be hot on my heels (he's a better rider on a much faster bike). I raced ahead. Finally, I came to a rest stop in the middle of a long sweeping turn. I pulled off, grabbed the camera and waited.

No KillBoy but at least I got him in frame! He was still cursing me in the headset as he went past. LOL
I jumped back on and caught back up to him and we continued on. This time we found our exit! It was pretty much at the beginning of the Cherohala! Well worth the extra lap! Although any reason under the sun was an excellent reason to run it again!
Here's the start of the 210 towards the falls.

You sure don't see this in the GTA!!!
Off we rode towards the falls. I took it nice and easy along this road. As you can make out from the pic, its not a two lane road..more like a 1.5 lane paved trail. Snakes are everywhere..slippery buggers!
A couple times I got worried that we were on the wrong road or missed a turn off, it seemed to take forever but we finally made it to the falls. It was actually a nice ride to get there The road follows and crosses over the river.

We took a bunch of pictures. Falls..falls and bikes, falls and us, falls and us and bikes. LOL Pure tourist stuff. Then back on the bikes. My buddy took point this time. The ride back to the Cherohala was not as nice and relaxed as the ride in. We booked it back, cranking around every turn. As fun as the relaxed ride to the falls was, it was just as fun with the fast pace back!
Back on the Cherohala in no time!
My friend took lead and quickly got small. I didnt want to hear the abuse when we stopped so I gave chase. This time, we really flew. I don't think I could lean anymore in a turn and my usually quiet boxer roared. He was way ahead but I kept a visual of him. He later told me he saw a bike behind and didnt think it could be me, but kept going faster anyway. On one turn he told me he scraped his clutch leaver. We flew! It was by far the best run of the week. We were way more confident in our bikes and our ability to handle them and we tested ourselves on every turn.
Towards the end we pulled over for a minute in one of the photo op stops. My friend told me his fuel was low..way low. We knew Thunder Mountain was at the end of the run so no worries (duh). Off we went. When we rolled into Thunder Mountain by friends computer told him he had enough fuel for 3 more miles. This as it turned out was a problem. Thunder Mountain was closed...
I played with the gps and had it find me the closest fuel station. 7 miles. DOH! I still had a little more than a 1/4 tank so I was good as gold. No chance for my buddy! So I told him to park it, and I'd go off to get some fuel. That 7 miles was 7 miles of crazy uneven twisties! I loved it. Finally got to the gas station and asked if they had anything I could carry some fuel in. Nothing..nadda..He suggested I by some water and use it to carry the fuel..Crappy idea but I was desperate. He told me to hold on for a second while he looked around back. Luckily he came back with what looked like a pickle jug. Not ideal but good enough. I went to put some gas in it. Of course only regular was left. All those racing bikes had sucked up all the good fuel. It would have to due.
Got the fuel and raced back toward Thunder Mountain. Just before I got there, I passed another biker and gave a wave, pulled into the station and looked around..He wasnt there...I listened for banjo's...Nope..all quite. WTF. I started to wonder if the biker I passed was him! LOL I turned around and started heading back. Sure enough it was. He had turned around too. He told me the owners saw him out front cleaning his bike and asked if everything was okay. He explained and they opened the pumps for him. He filled up until it was coming out his ears. Lesson learned..Or so we thought!
It was getting dark again and we still hadnt eaten. Our stomachs took over and we headed towards Robbinsville. Tired and hungery we stumbled upon Lynn's place.
Once again it was just after 9:00. We saw some people in so we crossed our fingers. They were open! woohoo. We dragged ourselves in. The waitress took one look at us and told us we sure looked rough. LOL We felt it!
We both ordered the dragon chicken, and I ordered a side of corn poppers (or something like that). They were corn nibbletes fried in a ball of batter. This stuff was crack! I gave one to my friend, and I thought he was going to stab me with his fork to get more off me. We chowed down and decided to try desert.
Fried cheesecake.

Not sure if its a matter of hours of riding, tired and hungry, or what. But this was awesome!
So another great place to grab a bite to eat. They stayed open late for us, service was really good and the price was right! Two forks up!
It was now around 10pm and well past dark. Our options were, the Dragon in the dark, or Moonshiner in the dark. Well...Already did the Dragon, so 28 it was!
This time I was way more freaked. I kept thinking I could see the reflection of eyes peering from the side of the road, and I was on the ready to grab me a handful of brakes. Happily, the ride was uneventful. We rolled into camp tired and with no beer again but the smiles were still on our face from the Cherohala. We got the fire going and regaled with stories of the runs. I went off for a pitstop and was hijacked by some campers on my way. They asked me to take some pictures of the their group. Afterwards they gave me a couple glasses of wine for my friend and I. Nothing like a vintage Chablis straight from the box. The wine was crap but it was a welcome drink by the fire.
Our last night at the site :(
Exhausted, it was also the best night sleep!


Man, love the ride report, makes me want to go so bad.

Have a question though, did you just leave your camping equipment at the campsite all that time?


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I have so many great videos and photos of myself looking at the camera pressing buttons and looking like a tool
:lmao: pictures or it didn't happen! ...

hehehe that happened to me, I recorded over 1hour of videos upside down :) ...

Anyway great post thanks for sharing!!


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Yep, I left everything in the tent outta sight. Anything valuable i took with me or left on the bike. Just camping gear and clothes left behind.


Maybe its already been discussed, but what kinda tent is that yellow one with the bike halfway inside? Very cool.


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Love the ride report. Very well written and informative.


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Thanks for the report! I was wondering if you were going to see any tornado damage there.


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Only 3 days left of the report. My fingers are getting sore!
The tent is the Nomad tenere. Awesome tent. When setup its huge, and it fit into a backpack when rolled up! I'm 6'3 and I can stand up straight in the bike section.


Well-known member
Wed May 25th
Downer day.
Today we break camp and start our ride home. :(
We start off packing up everything but our tents. Funny how its that this time you notice how much crap you've packed, and wonder how on earth it'll all fit on the bike again! It's also a time you try new packing ideas, because you want to be able to get some swag from the local shops. One thing I tried that actually worked out well, was rolling some of my clothes up with the tent. Towel, trackpants, bulky things. The tent packed up pretty much the same size, and I saved all that room in my side bags! Also a good time to ditch those socks that are now able to stand on their own.
As we packed, a couple we had spoken to earlier in the week, came over with a plate of breakfast for us. Bonus!
We set out a plan for the morning and raced off to do the tourist thing!
First stop was the top of the Fontana dam. Since we had been camping at the base of the dam we had been curious about the other side the entire week.
Here's the lake side of the dam

That sure was a lot of water above our heads all week!

Here's the other side.

I tossed a dime down to see how long it would take to roll down. It took about 1 second for us to loose sight of it..duh.
At the top of the photo you can make out the visitor center. There's parking on both sides of the dam and you can walk across to get pictures from the middle. While we were there, we saw a couple of jet skis zipping around. They kept going near the intake area..kinda stupid looking but to each their own.
We took our pictures and jumped back on the bikes. Next stop was Deals Gap Resort. We had to get some shirts, and I had missed the tree of shame on our fist stop.
Deals Gap is one of those places you have to check out. There isnt really much there. Lots of bikes...lots of people, a small shop and the tree but its a must stop.
Seen it a hundred times but still had to get my picture!
Here's the parking lot. I couldnt imagine how busy this place must be during peek season on a weekend!

And of course the beginning/end of the Dragon!

Time was ticking. We wanted to get mid way thru the Blue Ridge Parkway by the end of the day today so we needed to finish up. One more stop, the bottom of the dam.
One last run along 28. We took it a little slower and soaked up the road and scenery. The river runs along the side, trees everywhere. I was enjoying every turn. Even the super tight 10mph turn at the bridge!
Got to the dam and took our tourist pictures.
Our babies one last time before they're packed up with gear.

Back to camp to finish packing up and loading the bikes.
Surprisingly the rest of the packing went easy! I kept searching the campsite because I seemed to have way more room than when I arrived. Even with the shirts I had bought at the dragon...Nothing on the ground so off we went.
We stopped one more time at Fontana village (great time to try to learn how to use your GoPro in photo mode). Again..Learn this stuff before you leave! I have way too many pictures of us looking at the camera in our gear with stunned looks on our faces.
Off we headed along 28 to Cherokee. The ride to Cherokee wasnt much to report. We'd done it before and knew what to expect. Traffic was much heavier and we had the good fortune to get stuck behind a school bus making its rounds. Finally in town we got around the bus and decided to make another stop at Country Boy BBQ. I wanted to try those damn ribs!
While we were there, the owner came over to chat again. They recognized us right off the bat. He started telling us about sweet potatoes. They make everything out of them. He told us his mom lived in Mississippi and would cook up a bunch of stuff and bring it for the restaurant. The list of items they make was like the list of shrimp from forest gump! I almost laughed out loud!

I also noticed since our last visit, there was a bikers welcome sign in the window. I told him he needed a Canadians welcome sign next!
We ate, said goodbye and headed into Cherokee one last time. My buddy needed some gifts for his wife and kids. Cherokee was perfect! Pure Tourist strip!
He bought a bunch of shirts and trinkets for the kids and he bought a painted clay turtle. I told him it was karma. It was for the turtle he had run over a few days before...cue the twilight zone music.
Set to go, we headed to the BRP.
Just before we got to the beginning we saw a ranger with a car pulled over. Having read enough of these threads, I remembered how they love to get speeders. We didnt want to donate any cash to their cause.
Shot at the beginning of the BRP. I would've expected a bigger fancier sign.

Our slow speed and strict observance of the posted speed limits lasted about 30 seconds. Screw it..I twisted the throttle and went! My buddy lagged behind but it didnt take long for him to bring up his speed. You just can't help yourself.
We raced along the parkway and got comfortable with the bikes fully loaded again. Before we knew it we came upon a sign. Next fuel, 50 miles. I had 3/4 tank and could get another 150ish so no worries for me. I motioned to my friend and he gave me the thumbs up. We continued on. Before long we were at another place everyone stops. The top of the parkway.
Here we are squinting in the sunlight looking like a couple tools.

While we were stopped my friend told me his bikes computer fuel level was dropping at a crazy rate, and his distance to empty had dropped like a stone. I think at this point it was telling him 30 or 40 miles. we go again! We had stopped to talk to a couple bikers that were coming from the opposite direction. They laughed and said good luck! Gotta love the GPS. I programmed for the nearest gas station...30 miles.
Off we went again. This time lots of coasting and 6th gear riding for my friend. We pulled off the parkway and followed the GPS. The 30 miles, was 30 miles of crazy twisty roads. Would've been fun if we wernt worried about running out of fuel! 30 Miles of twisty roads takes forever to ride! I passed a rider and gave a wave..his wave was a, know where your going and why kinda look. I laughed in my helmet. Finally in the distance we could see the gas station. I had no idea how much fuel my friend had left but I knew it was getting really low. We rolled up and I noticed there were a bunch of Sheriffs cars in the lot. Gas station closed boys. Sorry. WHAAA?! I checked with my friend and he still had 10ish miles. The coasting and slower speeds had helped. Back on the bikes and further down the road we went. FINALLY we came to another gas station.

Yep I took a picture! In the distance you can see the BRP mountains.
The town was called Cruso, the only reason I can remember that is the crappy actor with the same sounding name.
We filled up, got some drinks and my buddy bought some Monkey Butt powder (his nickname for his daughter is Monkey Butt..don't ask).
Our fuel levels and rates of consumption would be monitored like hawks from here on!
Back we headed towards the parkway. This time the turns were way more fun! Right off the bat I noticed a bike coming up fast on us and I pulled to the side to let him pass. I had thought I was doing the turns fast but his guy was on us hard. He went past and something snapped. It ****** me off he was going so much I decided to try to follow. This guy knew the roads and was zipping along pretty quick. We raced after him and the turns were feeling really good. It sure is easier to chase and see where and how hard someone is braking into turns. He kept a good lead on us, but I managed to keep him in site the rest of the ride.
If you wanna try a fun ride and have the time, hwy 276 off the BRP (mapquest Cruso and you'll find it).
Back on the BRP and back to full speed. We were now way off the schedule. I had hoped to be at least 1/2 way thru the parkway by our first stop. chance. We motored on. There are some awesome views along the parkway if you stop to look...LOL we didnt even slow down! A quick turn of the head was as much as we'd see. After Ashville, it started getting late. We pulled over to try to figure out what we were going to do. If we were going to camp we'd have to stop real soon, hotel and we could push on. My friend was all for the hotel. We pushed on.
Once again we found ourselves riding in the dark. Again me being fearful of deer kept a vigilant eye peeled. Tired and hungry with ever more darkness our speeds lower. 70 became 60, turns were taken slower and slower. Our speeds finally dropped to the 30's and even that was hard and scary..I thought I could see eyes everywhere. Finally a sign appeared. Little Switzerland! WOOHOO..I'd seen this place a hundred times in posts and shows on TV. We pulled off. As an added bonus, this place is RIGHT off the parkway. You basically exit the parkway and ride into the Little Switzerland Inn.

Pure Heaven! We pulled up to the entrance and got a room. It was $100 for the night but I didnt care what it cost. We were both wrecked.
Room was kinda outdated but the beds were awesome. Restaurant was closed but the bar was open! Woohoo..we hastily unpacked the bikes and headed to the bar.

We managed to get a couple beers in us before they announced the bar was closing..DAMN! Fine..We got a couple travelers and I made my way to the hot tub! I could feel the heat melting the miles off me. Got to the door and was informed the hot tub was closed..they'd already blasted it with chemicals..DAMN again! The idea of going in entered my mind for only a second..hours of riding with my skin burning was not my idea of worth it.
At least we'd get a good night sleep..HA..We ended up watching the friggin TV all night long. I have no idea what time I finally fell asleep.


Well-known member
Thursday May 26th
Slept like a baby! It was sooo nice! My buddy jumped in the shower and I made a b-line to the hot tub!
It was full of nasty bugs and leaves but I didnt care..IT WAS HOT.
Here's a view from the hot tubs and pool towards the Inn
And a view from the hot tub looking out over the mountains.
After a nice soak it was back to the room.
As fate would have it, we were right at the Diamondback! SWEET. 8ish and we were back on the bikes to do the Diamondback. Here's another example of adventure by Garmin. I must've done something stupid with the plot, as my Zumo happily took us down all kinds of roads. After 20 or so minutes, I was getting worried. We were in the middle of nowhere, and I could hear banjos!
We finally we seemed to get things right. Even lost the roads were sick. Great turns, no traffic and the roads were in good shape. Finally on track we started hitting some crazy uphill and downhill switchbacks and great turns. It's exciting, coming into a downhill turn and seeing the road on your side going know you're in for some good turns! Wish I could've taken some pics of the switchbacks..but that would've involved stopping LOL.
Here's a shot of one of the many turns on the Diamondback.

We hit a straightaway and pinned it. At about 100ish mph, my buddy flew past me like I was in park. I had of course let off the gas long ago and was just coasting..what a braggart thing to do..I gave him the proper salute. Damn is his bike fast.
Here you can make out him in the lead, reckless speeding and showing off that his bike was faster than mine.. :( I'm already shopping for a S100RR..Lets see him pass me then!

We got towards the end of the Diamondback and our stomachs took over. We filled the bikes and I asked a local a good place to grab some breakfast. Off we went.
I was given directions and warned that the place didnt look like much from the outside but they had good food..That was enough for me. We got there, and the parking lot was filled with locals..A good sign for sure.
Bacon, Eggs, Toast and a big ole bowl of grits later I was a full and happy camper. Mike had pork and gravy. This would be another burger king issue for him later. I laugh when I type this but still feel bad for him.

Another Yep..I took a picture of it.
Back on the bikes and we headed back towards the Inn. I made another run for the hot tub as my buddy took a stroll around the Inn to check things out. Damn that hot tub was even better the second time.
A word of warning about the rooms. We were in room 101 closest to the reception. As I left the room to go to the hot tub my friend was singing a song that had something to do with how saddle sore he was feeling. As I walked thru the reception area I could still hear him clear as a bell. I thought about going back to warn him. But thought the staff might enjoy the musical break.
Saddly we had to keep moving. We wanted to be home by Friday dinner and we knew we had some miles to go.
We packed up the bikes again. Again, I had more space than the time before. Either I was getting a hang of packing the bike or crap was falling off and we wernt noticing it!
We pulled out of the Inn and right onto the BRP. Just perfect! Still in the glow of a good sleep the pace was a little easier. We climbed for some way and my friend pulled over. It was getting good and chilly and he was putting in his liner. I kept going. If I was going to stop it had to be for some pictures. The next pull off didn't disappoint!

You'll notice the clouds are below us.
Awesome views. What was strange, was the if we went and looked at the other ridge on the other side of the road, there were no clouds. We posed for shots, and of course took the money shots of the bikes with the background. My wife was sick of looking at pictures of my bike when I got back.
When the speed would allow for me to pull over in time or the picture was just too good to miss up, I'd pull over quickly and snap a shot, before racing ahead to catch up with Mike.
Here's a shot of one of the bridges. If you check out the BRP guide they have some nice shots of it too. It was built so as to not interfere with the mountain.

Another cool thing about the parkway is the tunnels. Theres a bunch of them. At one point we went thru 3 in a row. Tunnels are cool to look at but I didnt really like going thru them. You can see crap when you're in. Most are so short your eyes dont get to adjust until you get out, then the sunlight fries them! They're usually wet inside and in a couple instances I notices big rocks at the sides.
They still look cool though

Later in the day my friend motioned to me that he needed to pull over. The gravy was not happy with him and his GI tract was in full revolt. As he leaped from his bike I heard him yell something about a noise his guts were making. Judging from the pale look on his face, it wouldnt be good.
I had a nice chance for a look around and even stopped to chat with a couple on a Goldwing. Ontario plates had caught my eye. They were taking the BRP for a bit then heading to Florida. That Goldwing is huge! Bet they didnt need the chaffing gel!
Looking weak and tired Mike returned and stated he was ready to continue. But warned there may be more stops. I quickly got my helmet on hoping it would muffle my laughter.
A thing about the BRP.
It goes on forever! You think you can finish it quickly..You can't! We rode it fast but you just don't make the time you would on an interstate. My plans had us finishing it by tonight. That wasnt to be the case.
At around 6 we had to make another choice. Ride on and get a room or find someplace close to camp. We pulled off and did a quick search. Nothing..Screw it.. Back on the BRP and we'd soldier on. We checked our maps and we'd go to the Peaks of Otter. We got to the exit at around 7:30. Just as the sun was beginning to lower. We pulled off to the visitor center to figure out our next step. Where would we find a hotel!
Got off the bike, did a good stretch and went looking for some king of map.
I rounded the corner and spotted one of the biggest fears of the week.

Pretty animals. It was cool to be so close. It also scared me..I had been stating my fears of these things anytime it got dark. Hadn't seen them with kinda made them the boogie man. Only now they were real.
We found a hotel and took our exit. 10ish miles. This was when I got really freaked. We exited the parkway and to our right we could see another deer in full stride. Those things can fly! It was running full tilt thru the forest. 2 deer in less than 5 minutes...not good. We continued on and came around a corner. Another deer shot from beside the road and jumped over a fence. poof it vanished. Less than a minute later another deer on the other side of the road. These things were like roaches!
Speeds decreased and my mood darkened with the skies.
Happily it didnt take long for us to reach town. We made haste to the Motel 8 and unpacked.
We Mike checked us in, I jumped on the hotel computer and logged into Killboy. We were pleased.
Morning shot of our fabulous 5 star accommodations!

We dropped our crap in the room and made our way out to get some eats.
We ended up stopping at a restaurant Mike had spotted on our way in. Old Liberty Station. The place was packed. Was we pulled in, I thought we were just a little over dressed. It was a nice family restaurant and we were not looking nice or family oriented. Rough and gruff was more our look. In we went. I started with my usual 6 glasses of sweet tea and we both ordered burgers. Big fat sloppy burgers. They hit the spot. Outside as we were getting ready to leave some of the locals asked about the bikes. They seemed pretty impressed when we told them where we'd be and where we were going.
We went back to the the middle of the town I noticed a sign. One of those deer jumping signs..In the middle of the town! What gives!
Back at the hotel, we each grabbed a cigar that I had packed and went outside to unwind. One more day till home. We stood out front in the field puffing. Watching the storm clouds and flashes of lighting approach.

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