Posts Tagged ‘Great Smokey mountains motorcycle touring’

Day two started out bright and sunny with a heavy dew.  We had our motorcycle seat cover on so our butts would be dry in the seats, and the dew made it easy to wipe away the many bugs splats from the previous day! Today’s ride was a guided ride to “The Tail of the Dragon”, “Cherohala Skyway” and “Maple Springs Overlook”.

We lined up early at Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson, the staging area for all the guided motorcycle rides.  Our group ended up with 13 Harley Davidsons and 1 Indian. The Indian was ridden by a man who had come from Frankfort, Germany to attend the rally which was the longest trip to get to the rally. The Indian was what was available for rent when arrived. His Indian was not the only out of place bike at the rally, there were several Gold Wings interspaced throughout the event as well as a BMW.

Soon enough we were on the road passing through the quaint town of Maryville on our way to the mountains.  Things were going well until we realized that the number 5 motorcycle, we were the sixth, in line was ridden by Mr. Slow.  The moment we started into the foothills we fell behind quickly.  I was worried that we would miss a turn and go astray. Luckily, we had experienced group riders in front of Mr. Slow and they would stop at the turns to make sure we followed the correct path.

When we hit The Dragon, it was clear we were going to set a record for the slowest run of all times.  Mr. Slow rarely passed 20 MPH at anywhere along The Dragon.  Now, do not get me wrong, I really believe in the adage “Ride your own ride.” however you do not need to force more then half the group to ride your ride.  Mr. Slow had multiple places to pull off to allow the rest of us to proceed, we all knew we were going to stop at Deals Gap, NC to regroup.

At Deals Gap not only did we regroup we had a chance for a group photo and time to pick up some Dragon souvenirs. But we were shortly remounted on our iron horses headed for some additional twistiness and river front rides. This time I was in front of Mr. Slow.

By now we had been riding for 3 hours and the ride captain pulled off at Tapoco Lodge for lunch.  The lodge restaurant is perched along a creek with a view of mountains and road upon which we arrived for our meal. For atmosphere alone I would recommend a meal stop at the lodge. The food was good, but company and conversation were much better.

The Parking area at the Maple Spring Overlook

Back on the road we headed to Maple Springs Overlook. A two-lane road takes you up hill to a parking area 3300 feet above sea level. A short walk from the parked motorcycles gave us a spectacular view of valley below and the Smokey Mountains in the distance.  Turns out that this road was to be the start of the Cherohala Skyway but, plans changed and now we have a road to a wonderful overlook with an awesome view.

Speaking of the Skyway that was the next leg of our all-day motorcycle tour. The Cherohala Skyway is a National Scenic Byway running 41 miles from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville climbing to over 5400 feet above sea level. 

I think the plan was to make a couple stops along the Skyway, but we were behind schedule. Dinner and a concert were on tap for the evening. But even without the stop to admire the views it was, none the less, awe inspiring from the seat of a moving motorcycle.

When we returned to dealership, we went to dinner with another couple we rode with and then returned back to Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson for the Def Leppard cover band.

Still watching you Hurricane Ian but, it is not looking good! Sigh!

Ride On, Ride Safe