Chad (see member "Chad" from DeWitt, Iowa) and I just returned from a four day trip to the Robbinsville, NC - Deal Gap, TN area. Much to share but most will have to wait until I have more time.
We trailered bikes from Iowa to our motel in Robbinsville, NC in order to limit travel time to a single (16 hour) day on the road. Trip started at 6:00AM Saturday, April 25, 2009, and we arrived near 10:00PM.
Sunday, April 26:
Rode the multiple loops including the Cherohala Skyway
. Altogether the day included over 200 miles of glorious highway miles including the Skyway through Indian country (the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest ... name is taken from the first four letters of "Cherokee" and the last four letters of "Nantahala", two adjoining native American reservations.
Monday, April 27:
Most of the day spent riding the "Tail of the Dragon
" - multiple times. The Dragon's Tail is a stretch of road consisting of 11 miles that includes 318 turns (that's right, 318 turns, most of which are the "hairpin" variety). There is much more to riding the Dragon's Tail than just hopping on your bike and making a bunch of sharp turns, and I'll try to cover more detail later ... but picture the following: You are on a cruiser, or worse, a lumber wagon like a Road King or Gold Wing, traveling a very narrow
road that goes from one sharp turn into the next - with no "straightaway" in between turns.
Now add the fact that on one side of you is mountain - straight up - and on the other side, a drop-off into a gorge that is so deep you can't see the bottom. Sound like a thrill? Wait! Now imagine that this is a federal highway that allows any vehicle to drive it, so, as you come out of any of the 318 hairpin turns, you may see the entire road - ditch to ditch - filled with a commercial vehicle, even 18 wheelers on occasion. They all drive it, the RVs, motor homes, sports cars trying to set a record, straight-trucks, semi-trucks with trailers, you name it, and some have no clue going in that they might fall off the mountain in the next eleven miles.
But the scariest part is the "crotch rockets", which are definitely built to travel 50 mph on roads with curves that only allow my V-Star to get to 10 or 15 mph. All of them want to go as fast as possible of course, and when they come up behind a cruiser, tourer, sportster, car or truck, they pass it - period. They ignore double-yellow (no-passing) lines, and speed limits (30 is the highest I saw in the 11 miles but these bikes hit 80mph in some places on the Tail); so your only defense - and protection for them - is to constantly
watch your rear view mirrors so you can get to the far right of the narrow road to give them as much room as possible. It's a wild
ride, and not at all safe ... but it sure is memorable, and we traveled it four times - twice South-to-North, and twice back!!
More when I have time, including video and pics that I'll share when I have a chance to edit and post them. For now, however, I got home last night and now have to repack to leave immediately for a business trip to top off the week. I think I'll drive the car to Chicago
Bye for now!!