Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’


Waking early for our 630AM kickstands up we rolled out of bed and got dressed for the day.  Our first stop was the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, NC.  The store is a great example of the old time general store and has been in operation since 1882.  It is still the local store, post office and community gathering place.  This was a very cool stop, make sure to ask about the “chicken chute” when you visit to see how people bartered for goods “back in the day”.

Mike got a lot of mileage from these simple wax lips!

We also swung by the Mast Candy Store.  The store focused on old school candy like wax bottles and lips, Bit’O Honey, caramel chews and pretty much any type of candy from your childhood.  Of course we had to buy back some of our childhood, one of our new friends (Mike) bought some glossy red wax lips and proceeded to scare and delight riders the rest of the day.

Rolling out of Valle Crucis we hit the Diamond Back! Our route took us about 2/3rd of the length of this snake.  This 38 mile diamond shaped loop includes NC 226A, US 221, Toms Creek Road, NC 80 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Riding through Little Switzerland on our way to the Mountain Gateway Museum (and lunch) was one of the highlights of the day.  One of the low lights of the day was zipper of my Kevlar pants blowing out (as well as a pocket).  The rest of the day the crew we were riding with (Mike, Dale, Stacey, Tori and Don) would occasionally call me McFly….sad day indeed!

1 of 30+ machines

The next stop was the Mountain Gateway Museum where I found out there was a Spanish Fort in this area well before any English or French outposts, very interesting.  After lunch at the museum we rode to Asheville to check out the Pinball Museum. If you are into classic to modern pinball games or 1980s video games that are fully playable this is your place.  I had a lot of fun playing a vintage 1978 KISS pinball machine then jumping over to an 2015s KISS machine was completely awesome!  I could have spent hours in there…sad that I don’t but glad I don’t live in Asheville I would spend a lot of money at the pinball museum.

Back on the bike we rode a little more than an hour to the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum. Debbie and I visited Wheels Through Time last year when on vacation.  It is an awesome facility that every motorcycle enthusiast must have on their list of sites to visit.  This time, because we were part of the HOG rally, we got to spend more time with the owner Dale as he told us stories about how he acquired several of the very rare bikes in the collection.

This time we also got to hear the story of the Traub motorcycle, a one of kind bike found sealed behind the wall of an apartment building.  I will write a separate post on this story.

After Wheels Through Time we rode on to our hotel in Hendersonville, NC.  We met our new friends for drinks and laughs and then off to bed.  Day 7 brings the Dragon.

To see what happened on day one check out that post!



Today we left the beach and headed to the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  BUT what should have been an easy six hour ride turned into a long, hard slog.

350 miles

2 rain showers

2 thunderstorms

1 wet t-shirt contest

1 interstate highly congested

Another interstate closed due to an “incident”

Plus when it was not raining it to hot wear the rain suits.. thus the wet t-shirt contest.

We stopped at a few Harley Davidson dealerships in a failed attempt to wait out the congestion and cool off.  The cooling part worked but the congestion never really let up, a couple bad accidents missed up our ride today.

We had hoped to make it all the way to Maggie Valley but ended up about an hour out when we stopped for the night.



Good news if you are one of the lucky ones to have or are going to ride “The Dragon”.

If you ever watch any of the hundreds of videos of folks riding or driving this stretch of US Route 129 or if you have ridden on the road yourself you know at large trucks are as much as a hazard as anything else on the highway. Often times these truck take up more than both lanes as they try and navigate the 318 turns in 11miles and way to many times have caused terrible accidents.

The good news is that Tennessee is now following the lead of North Carolina in banning truck over 30 feet in length from traveling on the Dragon. While I am sure this will not end accidents on this highway, the ban can only improve the situation.

According to this article “1.4 million vehicles that traversed the Tennessee side of the Dragon between 2010 and 2012, there were total of 204 crashes — with motorcycles making up 82 percent of them.” During that period there were six deaths and one was due to an accident with a tractor trailer.

Signs informing truck drivers of the new restrictions will be installed in early 2015.

Debbie and road the Dragon and the nearby Cherohala Skyway a few years ago with a bunch of our friends. We left Northern Virginia, taking the Blue Ridge Parkway to Deal’s Gap. After riding those two road we went north through Chattanooga to Louisville, KY then to Parkersburg, WV.


The trip from Parkersburg back to Virginia was the hardest part of the entire 1400 mile ride. Hurricane Irene, which was not supposed to make landfall here, turned right into us. We rode through at least three squall lines before pulling into the garage just minutes before the main storm hit us.



If you have not ridden the Tail of the Dragon, you need to add it to your bucket list. It is well worth your time.