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Taking a ten day trip to the Smokey's and making Gatlinburg home base. We are going to visit Deals Gap and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Looking for suggestions on great roads and sites to see in the area. Traveling down from Michigan.

Thanks
Rodger
 

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You will get a lot of help on this. I'll start it off with the Cherohala Skyway (165) from Tellico Plains to Robbbinsville and Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley.
 

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Unless you have an affinity for cheap souvenirs, hordes of tourists in cages and long lines at mediocre restaurants, personally I would stay away from Gatlinburg. If your point is to ride some of the best roads in the country…Deals Gap as you mentioned for example…then I would consider moving your base camp a little to the south and more into the mountains. If you stay in Gatlinburg, it will be a daily grind for you just to get to the areas you will want to explore on two wheels. And you will be behind every Winnebago ever manufactured in the process. If it were me, I would stay somewhere like this…great place, great location, great people, great food and you are instantly among new friends on two wheels. Did I say great? :D There are other MC friendly places, but several of us seem to gravitate to this one.
 

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Go over the Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway in CherokeeNC ride down to Waynesville NC for lunch at Bogarts on Main St. before going to the Wheels Through Time Museum. Ride the Parkway To Ashville NC from there go to the first major stop on the Parkway just outside of the City its a great view from there good gift shop on the top as well. Waynesville is a great little city with good food and great gift shops with quality crafts and artist. Go to Clingmans dome the road to it is a good twisty ride if your there during the weekdays on weekends it has to much traffic same thing with Cades cove 11 mile loop beautiful but rough road in spots.
 

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stay away from cades cove on a bike, speed limit is 10 mph for 11 miles and you will be lucky to get that fast. I live less than 2 hrs away from gatlinburg and never ride up there. all of the earlier post are correct about motor homes and traffic, its a nice place to visit once, then , been there done it . sorry to be so negative , but i never go there.. be careful
 

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Deals Gap is best done on a weekday. Less traffic and less enforcement. We were there this past July, stayed in Pigeon Forge, was there before during CCR 2003. Cherola Skyway is also a blast, views are incredible. We alternated between 81 and the BRP on the way down. I passed Skyline drive, having done it in 2003. Too slow if you get behind slow traffic. The pace on the BRP is a little better IMO. Good Luck and enjoy the ride.
 

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Rodger,

You've selected a great area for motorcycling. I did the same thing a few years ago, and have returned several times since.

Any road south or east of Gatlinburg will offer beautiful scenery and good riding. Be sure to ride as much of the Blue Ridge Parkway as your schedule permits. Buy a tee shirt at Deals Gap (an earlier poster is right about avoiding the area on weekends - Monday or Tuesday are best).

Don't worry about the slow pace at Cades Cove. The beauty of the area and its history are well worth the trip. Stop at all the old churches and wander throught their cemetaries. The history of the place is remarkable. Be sure to ride as many roads in the national park as time allows. Stop often.

You'll want to buy some detailed maps of the area so you can plot out routes through and around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that keep you off of the main roads, which are bumper-to-bumper during busy times.

In Gatlinburg, be sure to go to Ripley's Aquarium. It is fantastic, and more than worth the admission price. Depending on where you are going to stay, you can probably take a trolley into Gatlinburg rather than riding in traffic. Also, the area east of Gatlinburg is called The Glades, and is a multi-square mile dedicated Arts and Crafts community. Nearly every cabin also includes an artist's gallery or shop of some type.

You should spend a day in Dollywood in Pigeon Forge. You can ride there form Gatlinburg, or take the trolley. I thought Dollywood would be hokey, but found it to be one of the most pleasant and interesting places I've been to, and have returned several times.

If there are shoppers in your party, you'll want to spend some time in Sevierville, where there are many upper end "outlet" malls.

Last, the area has incredible roads, many of which are very curvy and have modest speed limits so you can enjoy the scenery. Be sure to brush up on you slow-speed riding skills before your trip.

The Gatlinburg area and its surroundings can be very addictive. The second time my wife and I visited, we bought a cabin and decided that we'll eventually retire there. (No state income taxes and very low property taxes helped us make that decision).
 

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This is all interesting information to me, since I now live about 30 minutes away from Gatlinburg. The wife and I took our first trip to the mountains south of Gatlinburg just last week. Rode through the park south to Cherokee, thought of going east on the BRP, but it was closed. Snow and ice still on spots of it, so we had to just go back the same way we came. Even the road to Cades Cove was closed. We have heard from several people around here that Cades Cove IS worth the visit, if you can go during the week and avoid the heavy weekend traffic.

I was surprised at the lack of roads in the Smokey Mountain Park! Basically the north/south road between Cherokee and Gatlinburg, and the Cades Cove road, that is about it. The BRP is south of the park.
 

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Been there, great place to shop, people-watch, ride trams, shop, eat, dodge cars, people-watch, etc.. :(

Yes, definitely avoid the weekend. We arrived on Sunday evening and left on Friday morning on our trip. We 'walked town' most of the week, unless we were headed out on the bike for the day.

Main street is setup like beach town shopping/tourist areas. Storefronts open to the street, plenty of benches, eateries, no parking along main street.

Trolley available up and down thru town.

Lots of good riding :) Away from town !
 

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I think hwy 25 (?) from Pigeon Forge to Dandridge is a nice road. I think that was the road I rode. Nice lake out there.

Alcoa Powersports is a reasonably well stocked shop, with some good deals on gear occasionally. Right on 40 at the exit for Pigeon Forge. A BAss Pro shop too. Always fun stuff there, even if you;re not a fisherman.

Knoxville is cool, especially the "old city" on bike night. Check out Barley's Tap Room. Be sure you got time to have one of their awesome microbrews if you;re into beer. Just leave enough time to let if wear off before riding. The area down by the TN river is a great little walk too. Not far from the old city and UT.

There is some kinda loop in Gatlinburg up thru the woods. Long. I have ridden it and would not ride it again. Like a one lane, one way road.

If you're into muscle cars, nice museum over in Pigeon Forge, as well as the Star Cars thing in G-burg. And there are a couple other car museums in PF, too. Floyd Garretts Muscle car museum is my favorite.

Those are my favorites when we are out there.

Randy
 

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Rando,

Your hometown (Mt Airy) is on the must-see list as the place Mayberry was named after. We stopped there for half of a day, ate lunch in the diner, had my photo taken on a bench in front of Floyd's Barbershop and met some very kind and gracious folks.

It sure was hot, though. There is a big climate change coming down form the BRP into Mt. Airy.
 

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Check out the aquarium in Gatlinburg. Kind of a strange place for one, but it is one of the better ones in the US. I dive several times a week in the one in Tampa and can appreciate what they have done to Ripley's in Gatlinburg. Sort of strange among all of the ticky tacky shops, but well worth the visit.
 

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If your not in a hurry to get home the Museum Of Appalachia in Noris TN just before you get to Knoxville is a place where you can spend a whole day. Go to their web site and you will see what I mean. Also when coming into or leaving the Knoxville area it is a great ride through the Cumberland Gap in Corbin Ky. going in and coming out of the Smokies area on I-40 pick up 25E /32 north to Bean Station stay on 25E to Corbin then your at I-75 north back to Michigan. This gives you a break from the Interstate through some great country. When we go into the Gatlinburg area we do like on of the previous threads said and take 129 south in Knoxville to Alcoa, Maryville to 321 to avoid the Sevierville mess which can be a bummer.Nice area to ride through Wear Valley into the Gatlinburg Area. The options are endless in this whole area.Have a great trip!
 

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We're also thinking of a trip to this area late April/early May. We plan on doing the Skyway and some other roads in the Georgia mountains and maybe take in the Georgia Mountain Rally. What can we expect for weather?
 

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I did not readily see anyone speak about the Biltmore. I would encourage you not to miss this tourist attraction. I would also encourage you to get tickets on the internet or any place else that can offer a discount. Tickets for two is around $80 for the day and includes the Biltmore, gardens and the on the premises winery (to include wine tasting).

Our group went last September and really enjoyed the visit along with the downtown shopping right outside the entrance to the Biltmore.

My better half/co-rider/love of my life/Family Chief Financial Officer is a doll collector and found a shop just outside the Biltmore Estate that not only had collectible dolls but was also having an artist signing during our visit. It took 4 motorcycle trailers to get her doll purchases home.

We are going to Key West this year and my hope is they don't have any doll shops!

By the way, we thought enough of the area that we are headed back again this year also in September again.

Enjoy the vacation as life is short and Ride Safe and God Bless
 

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Mike_H said:
Rando,

Your hometown (Mt Airy) is on the must-see list as the place Mayberry was named after. We stopped there for half of a day, ate lunch in the diner, had my photo taken on a bench in front of Floyd's Barbershop and met some very kind and gracious folks.

It sure was hot, though. There is a big climate change coming down form the BRP into Mt. Airy.
Did you eat the fried pork chop sandwich!

You're right, the temp change from the BRP to Mt Airy is a lot!
 

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If your willing to stay somewhere other than in Gatlinburg a good place to stay where you can access the best riding areas is Waynesville NC at the Oak Park Inn right at the end of Main St. It has a web site and for the money as well as being Motorcycle friendly is a great base of operations. You park your bike right outside your room and can get to Asheville Via the Parkway from there or Cherokee NC then into the park by the Parkway also. Maggie Valley is a stones throw away also. Deals Gap and Robinsville the Skyway are all real close its a win win situation as all have said in this whole area. The people who run the Oak park Inn are great in my opinion and you can walk right into the heart of the town from the Inn. A lot of people rent the Cabins in Gatlinburg that are high in the Mountains but the roads to some of these places are pretty tough on bikes at night or early in the morning so think it through because it takes quite a while to get anywhere. In town I stay at Carrs Cottages right on 321 you can walk into downtown from there they have some newer units that are next to a stream and also Poplar Ridge Cabins in the same area is nice. I know when you travel that its nice to get good insight into where your going and those of us who have been there can help out so I'm giving you some options which will help you make better plans. Forgive me if I've given to much.
 

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I love the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This national park is one of the most visited in the country (or so I'm told). It has a very interesting history and I feel no matter where you go, the riding is great.

I love the ride through Newfound Gap from Gatlinburg to Cherokee. Cades Cove is one of my favorite places. You want to stop ofen and enjoy the history. There are many hiking trails that would be a shame if missed. From easy, (Laurel Falls on the way to Cades Cove) to more agressive (like Abrams Falls half way through Cades Cove and Chimney Tops on the way through Newfound Gap). Grotto Falls is a fun hike and the ride to it very nice. On the way to Cades Cove, be sure to stop and The Sinks.

The spring is a great time to go since all the flowering trees and bushes are out and add to the beauty. Don't miss out on the beauty of the park. Like was said before, stop often. It's all breathtaking. Maps and booklets are available from the Visitors centers but if you want to get familiar with the park before you go you can buy them online.

Online Store: http://www.smokiesstore.org/browse.htm
Park Information: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/index.htm
Park Maps: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/maps.htm

Have Fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks to everyone for the Great information. I am taking notes and checking maps. This is why I love this site.

Thanks Again
Rodger
 

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rodgtc said:
Thanks to everyone for the Great information. I am taking notes and checking maps. This is why I love this site.

Thanks Again
Rodger
Another place for your lodging options is www.tapocolodge.com

We have stayed there several times. It is close to all of these great places that has been mentioned in this thread.
 
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