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Planning a May trip to Smokey Mountains. Will be heading east from KS, cutting SE diagonally across MO through the boot-heel. Never been to Smokeys on my bike. Any riding and/or camping suggestions? Will definitely go to Asheville to see Biltmore Mansion.

Will camp on the trip. Any "must sees"?

Any suggestions welcome.
 

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The Cherohala Skyway is one of my favorite roads in the entire country. A MUST SEE! Of course, you'll be advised to ride "The Dragon". I guess if you're in the area you have to do it.


that_guy11 said:
We didn't do the Tail of the Dragon, Deals Gap. Seemed too crazy and not worth the risk but many people like that also.
Odd. I've never considered the Dragon to be "too risky". Not if you ride it at your own pace. ;)
 

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Maggie Valley and what they said. You can ride to Maggie Valley on your way to the Biltmore. There are some nice cheap motels in M V that have streams running right next to them. Also 1 of the blue ridge entrances is near.
 

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that_guy11 said:
Ride the Blue Ridge Parkway for what ever part you can. Not high speed but very pretty. But check for closures.

http://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm

Also the Cherohala Skyway.

http://www.cherohala.com/index.html

and Highway 28. We rode it from by Deals Gap to Lauada.

http://www.moonshiner28.com/

We didn't do the Tail of the Dragon, Deals Gap. Seemed too crazy and not worth the risk but many people like that also.




+1 on Highway 28 (which is right off of "Deals Gap" by the way)--great ride..like an 8/10ths Dragon.

But you have to ride the Dragon if you're there.

It's not risky or dangerous, unless YOU are risky and dangerous. You can kill yourself on any of the roads in that area. Ride your pace, keep your eyes on the road, and you'll have a blast.
 

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petevandyke said:
It's not risky or dangerous, unless YOU are risky and dangerous. You can kill yourself on any of the roads in that area. Ride your pace, keep your eyes on the road, and you'll have a blast.
The only point I would make is there is probably a higher risk of oncoming traffic crossing the double yellow and taking you out. You may also get passed in your lane even though it is a full double line for the entire 11 miles. Innocent riders can be involved in others poor judgement.
Do it early in the morning on a weekday and you will lessen your risk of encountering crazies. It is fun and if you are in the area, you might as well say that you did it.
 

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You didn't say "when" you were going. If it is in April around tax day be sure and stop in at the Iron Horse MC lodge and say Hi to the Spring Training Camp group.
 

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Watch for the Bears, Oct 15, I did encounter one running in to me on Cherohala Skyway and over $5900,in damages. All the Tupperware on the left side have to be replaced even I did not lay down bike. I did keep fairing with bear hair stuck in cracks,
 

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If you're into food:

Carolina Smokehouse in Cashiers, NC

Dillard House near Rabin Gap, GA. (You go for the breakfast buffet. Warning! Do not eat dinner the night before!)

The road from Franklin, NC to Highlands and the Cashiers is absolutely great. Narrow, twisty, lots of waterfalls, etc. Warning! It is not the Dragon so there is a lot of commercial traffic (large trucks and blind curves).
 

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+1 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The cautions above are true (e.g. cagers crossing the double yellow). In addition to watching out for bears (with fur), you should also watch out for bears (with radar guns). Still, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a national treasure and well worth your time to ride.
 

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At that time of year almost any type of weather is possible in the mountains. Expect on and off rain or fog (especially in the morning or on colder wet days and at elevation) as a possibility and be aware of the likelihood of damp or wet roads in spots. Many of the mountain curves are blind and even the Dragon is crossed by semis and locals pulling work trailers who sometimes occupy both lanes due to tight curves in some spots.
Year before last 5 died on the Dragon mostly from simple rider errors, last year don't know and it was a shorter riding season due to a rockslide that blocked access from the TN side for several months.

Almost anything in that part of the world is good riding so have fun. Should you be a fan of a beer after riding, be aware that Robbinsville at the base of the Dragon is in a dry county, one of the very few remaining in NC. That's about the only reason I can think of not to stay there- pretty much everything around the Dragon is biker friendly- its the major local business. As an NC guy, I tend to think of the Dragon as a place to go for the show rather than for the road (at least 1500 bikes on a decent weekend day and not many less on good late summer days) - its actually quite slow (35 mph speed limit) and typically heavily staked out by TN cops who write tickets for over 50 (there are only a few spots on the Dragon where that 50 likely to strike you as a reasonable speed). Asheville is a good beer town with many joints serving a good selection of local and other tap beer but not sure what to suggest there for cheaper rooms- all of the Biltmore restaurants are very good but not the cheapest in town. Maggie Valley has a proliferation of places to stay/eat and is also a biker friendly place. Its actually tough to go really wrong so don't sweat all the details.
 

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Tracus said:
If you're into food:

Carolina Smokehouse in Cashiers, NC

Dillard House near Rabin Gap, GA. (You go for the breakfast buffet. Warning! Do not eat dinner the night before!)

The road from Franklin, NC to Highlands and the Cashiers is absolutely great. Narrow, twisty, lots of waterfalls, etc. Warning! It is not the Dragon so there is a lot of commercial traffic (large trucks and blind curves).
Negative on the road through the Highlands, Franlklin, Cashiers, it SUCKS! :mad: Unless you ride and there is NO traffic, then it is an excellent ride, otherwise the idiot cagers will hold you up and there are very very very few "legal" passing zones, you can pass in other areas but be carefull.

Seriously, if you catch this stretch will minimul traffic ( :histerica ) it is a great short ride.

As far as the Dillard House, be prepared to hurt yourself! :D

Hwy 28 from Bryson City to Franklin can be a good spirited ride, also a good scenic ride is from the "put-in" for the Nanthahala River (just north of Topton, NC) over to Clayton, Georgia, both of these rides have minimal traffic.

Spend time on and off the of BRP, the scenery is better on the NC side but the traffic is worse and so is the enforcement!
 

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Thought that I'd add my 2 cents on a couple of specific roads.

1. About 40 miles West of Asheville, take Hwy 209 between Hot Springs and Crabtree. Technical mountain twisties on each end (especially on the North side) with a nice valley ride in the middle.

2. From Hwy 107 in Tuskasegee (just North of Cashiers) take Hwy 281 East. Really nice sweepers, not much traffic and the road is in great condition.

3. Now for real fun. Hwy 281 above comes to a stop sign and continues right. Turn left onto Charleys Creek Rd that will end at Hwy 215, which then can be taken North to the Blue Ridge. Charleys Creek is one of those that once you finish, you'll just say holly crap, then you smile. Ride the Dragon first, then take that road, add some sharper curves, make each lane a several feet narrower, make the road surface very rough, then add some gravel for good measure. That's Charleys Creek!
 

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And one to avoid Cades COve, I think is the name. SOme little loop near Gatlinburg TN. Supposed to be scenic (it is), but it's a drive-yourself scnic loop with a 5 mph speed limit and tourists stoppiing every 3 minutes to see a deer or bear cub. They jump out of cars, cameras or food in hand. Took us forever and figured mama bear was close by. Didn't want to be there on a m/c when she got upset with the humans.

Lots of good riding though. US441 can be fun or horrible, depending on RVs on the road. Mostly horrible.

Dedicate a full day to Biltmore.

Wheels through time Museum in Maggie Valley. Muscle car museum in Pigeon Forge or Sevierville, if you can handle the traffic load to get there. Look for back roads.

there is a LOT of good stuff out there.


Randy
 
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