Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Vacation Touring – Rider’s Roost

Rider’s Roost Motorcycle Resort & Campground is located not far from Boone, NC, near the midpoint of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It offers the motorcycle touring rider an affordable and comfortable place to bed down for the night, whether it’s in a tent or rental cabin. It’s an exclusively motorcycle resort so you won’t be dealing with blaring RV generators or throngs of kids running through your camp, and it could make a great place to spend part of your motorcycle vacation.

It’s more than just another motorcycle campground, for some it’s a must stop touring destination. Comedy nights, pig roasts, live entertainment, a central pavilion with a game room offer lots of ways to shake the kinks out after a day on the great roads in the surrounding area. Take a dip in the river or just settle down to watch the sunset, get into touch with home via wifi.

It just off NC221, and while I haven’t stayed there yet, it’s been highly recommended. I’m planning to visit next time I’m staying up that way on my motorcycle tours. Texas Ron has a nice testimonial in one of his blog posts –

“Riders Roost was a great Bike Campground, No cages, no kids, no hassles. Uncle Roy and Mary really know how to take care of “motorcycle pilots”. “The Road goes on forever and the party never ends.” I think that’s the Roosts motto or it should be. There’s a perfect little river that runs through the camp ground and in the rocks is a place that is like natures recliners, complete with moss to scratch the back. The water temperature is cool but after riding all day in the sun and heat….man what a refreshing way to relax and wash the road off ya. Most gather at the party headquarters located under the pavilion/game room. There is a pool table and darts to keep one entertained. This is also where the midnight auction is held too. What a way to start an adventure.”

Get more info at the Riders Roost web site at

For the most detailed motorcycle ride maps of the area see


Asheville Mayor Welcomes Bikefest

I pulled this off the Asheville Bikefest site –
Image - Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy Welcomes Bikefest letter

Asheville Mayor/motorcycle rider Terry Bellamy Welcomes Bikefest

Mayor rides. Nice to see a city that’s so motorcycle friendly. It should be. Sitting right in the heart of the best motorcycle rides in the country, good to know you’re welcome here. Asheville has so much to offer.

How about –

“Asheville Voted Top Beer City in America: “Beer City USA”
Music Venue – “Rolling Stone: Orange Peel one of top 5 music clubs in the U.S.”
Outstanding Attractions – “Biltmore – America’s Largest Home”
You really should look into this motorcycle event and start making plans. May 13 – 16.

Motorcycle the Blue Ridge Parkway – Sights from the Road – Mabry Mill

Photo - Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Mabry Mill - One of the most photographed sights on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most popular and photographed sights on the Blue Ridge Parkway is Mabry Mill. It’s located at milepost 176 in Virginia near Meadows of Dan. Whether you’re motorcycle touring or just cruising along in your car, it’s hard to resist pulling in for a photo and a closer look (and maybe a pancake).

The mill is one of the buildings the National Park Service felt represented the character they wished to portray in their interpretation of Appalachian life and culture. It started as a blacksmith shop, then became a sawmill, then evolved into a grist mill, though it included a lathe, a planer and a jig saw so the versatile Mr. Mabry could maximize it’s use and success.

The mill has been restored and maintained and is still used for occasional demonstrations of it’s workings. The stone ground cornmeal, buckwheat flour, and grits can be enjoyed at the nearby restaurant as pancakes, biscuits, and cakes, along with preserves and country ham from the surrounding area (plan a breakfast here, but come early).

Contrary to what the Park Service originally portrayed about the “isolation and remoteness “ of these “mountain people”, there were thriving communities surrounding the area – a mill does not last long in the middle of nothing. The area surrounding the Blue Ridge Parkway in this section of southern Virginia is laced with an amazing number of fabulous two lane motorcycle rides through historic and scenic countryside. Don’t be afraid to get off the parkway on your motorcycle and enjoy some of these great motorcycle rides.


Ride Like A Pro On the Dragon Video – Motorcycle Crashes Like These Can Be Avoided

Do You have Jerry “Motorman” Palladino’s Ride Like A Pro Video? I bought one years ago and it changed my motorcycle riding skills dramatically. Consider the cost of the mistakes you see in the motorcycle ride video above and compare that to the cost of the CD and a little practice time? Let Jerry show you how to Ride Your Motorcycle Like A Pro. He’s got lots of tips, videos and instruction at his web site.

Whether your riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Tail of the Dragon, or just tooling around your home turf, the skills and techniques you learn will make you a much more competent and safe motorcycle rider.

Don’t end up on Deals Gap’s tree of shame or worse.


It Doesn’t Get More Motorcycle Friendly Than This!

A lot of motels and lodgers CLAIM they are motorcycle friendly, even hang out a cute little sign. Few will show you hospitality like this and at a price that will have you inviting your buddies along! A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, only 5 miles from the best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stands out. Check out this video from last summer;

They are located in the heart of town, walking distance to restaurants and bars, have a restaurant on site for breakfast, offer covered parking for your bike right in front of your room and rocking chairs to sit and enjoy the view of the sunset reflecting off your chrome.

Add to that a bike wash area, grills and picnic tables, a fire pit, a pool, a horse shoe pit, clean rooms at surprisingly low prices, and personal attention and hospitality that goes beyond what you expect, nestled in the friendly mountains which line every horizon.

Don’t come alone! They’ll set up a tent for groups and cater your party, even bring out the big projection screen to watch your favorite movies.

Here’s what one visitor had to say –

I know Gabi and Rob personally and you’ve got my promise they’ll show you a great time and help you have one of the best motorcycle vacations ever. I wouldn’t be recommending them otherwise.

Rob & Gabi Edwards
A Holiday Motel – Your Preferred Lodging


Notes from the Road – Eateries, The Hardware Co., Hillsville, VA

Photo - The Hardware Co. Restaurant, Hillsville, Virginia

Photo - The Hardware Co. Restaurant, Hillsville, Virginia

As I’m out on the road doing the explorations for America Rides motorcycle maps, I try to find good places I can recommend. I visited this one several times and think it’s one you’ll like to visit on your motorcycle vacation. It’s 10 minutes more or less from the Blue Ridge Parkway on VA 52 from the Fancy Gap exit in the southern Virginia town of Hillsville.

While there is a historic section in Hillsville where this restaurant serves as a centerpiece, the town spreads along the main roads which all come together in the small town, including Interstate 77 and US 221. I found myself staying here on several occasions as there are a large number of motels near the Interstate. It makes for a good place to not only lay over on a Blue Ridge Parkway vacation trip, but also to tour the surprising number of great motorcycle rides which course through the surrounding countryside. It became the hub for one of my most extensive maps.

The restaurant resides in a building which was originally a hardware company, hence the name.The food is good, sometimes great. I’ve always enjoyed my meal, a fine compliment to the great rides that lead you here. There’s a nice pub to get a cool one and live music on some evenings. If you’re passing through on a warm day or just looking for a treat, right next door is an old time soda fountain where you can get some pretty darned good ice cream and sodas.

You can check them out online at . The street address is:

The Hardware Co. of Hillsville
508 North Main Street
Hillsville, VA
Telephone: 276-728-265


Motorcycle Crash Video Review

This motorcycle accident occurred at the “Tail of the Dragon” at Deals Gap in North Carolina / Tennessee. I’ve written about this infamous stretch of road before (see post from 1/20/10) as it’s known for being such a “dangerous” road. Looking at accident videos can help us figure out what went wrong.

Unfortunately, the first bike that went down is too far in the distance to evaluate what went wrong. What really impressed me though, is what happened next. It looks like a classic case of “target fixation” – more on that in a minute.

While the group appeared to be riding at a quick pace, it doesn’t seem excessive. I’ve ridden big cruisers through there with sparks flying from the floorboards and I don’t see anything like that here. I don’t think the limits of the bikes were exceeded. Rather, as too many discover on this road, the first rider to go down exceeded his/her limit and either ran wide, locked the rear brake in the turn (no-no), or maybe actually dragged a floorboard or made contact with the frame on the road. Too far away to tell.

One bike going down is bad enough, but there is just no cause for the second bike to have followed. Distracted by the accident in front, the rider focused on it. Where your eyes go, you go and there couldn’t be a much more dramatic example than this one. Target fixation may be the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. You go where you look. Who hasn’t seen a pothole or bump, focused on it so you won’t hit it, only to nail it dead on.

Training your eyes to always look at where you want be in the future is one of those motorcycle riding techniques that takes a little time to develop. It’s especially difficult to maintain when something dramatic happens right in front of you like in this video. The following rider should have kept his/her eyes focused down the road, especially with another turn coming up quickly.

The verdict – inexperienced riders pushing their limits in a new situation. A recipe for a wreck.


What’s The Best Section of the Blue Ridge Parkway?

Photo - Admiring the view from the Looking Glass Rock overlook

Photo - Admiring the view from the Looking Glass Rock overlook

Easy question. It’s in North Carolina. I can almost see it from my window. I moved here to be close to it and enjoy it on my motorcycle. I know every twist and bump. The best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway with the best ride runs south from Asheville to Soco Gap near motorcycle friendly Maggie Valley.

Photo - As falls comes so do the bikes

Photo - As falls comes so do the bikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Why is it the best? It’s the highest and most scenic section. There are more great pull-outs here than any other stretch. Most of it is above 5000 feet. It has everything motorcycle riders come for. Waterfalls, impressive rock formations, winding tunnels, pristine wilderness, vast stretches of rolling mountains on every horizon, and one of the best places to eat on the parkway, the Pisgah Inn. When I used to run  motorcycle tours through this section I‘d always figure about 4 hours to hit the highlights and sometimes it was a tight schedule. If you see only one section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this should be it.

Photo - Early in the spring traffic is light and skies are clear

Early in the spring traffic is light and skies are clear on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Make this one of your prime destinations on your motorcycle vacation, but don’t limit yourself to the parkway while you’re here. You could spend weeks riding the fabulous roads which snake through the Smoky Mountains you see from those overlooks. They are packed with more waterfalls, scenery that will fill your camera, and some of the most challenging motorcycle roads you’ll ever ride.

Photo - Devil's Courthouse snow covered in Winter

Spectacular Devil's Courthouse snow covered in winter

Impressive any time of year, I never take this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway for granted and visit almost every week. It never disappoints. It one of the most scenic motorcycle rides anywhere.


Blue Ridge Parkway On Ice – Photos / Video

With all the snow and cold weather we’ve had this winter, riding the motorcycle has been only a dream. This afternoon, we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy it in full winter glory.

An ice storm hit last night. Damage was extensive.

While “Snowmageddon” hit Washington we were largely spared it’s fury in the high mountains of western North Carolina. We picked up a few more inches here and there to what was already a significant accumulation. What we did get with this storm was ice. You can see the trees bent over from the weight of it.

Photo - skiing the parkway

Cross country skiing on the highest sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway

For those of us who live here, the Blue Ridge Parkway becomes our winter playground when it closes for the colder season. This section has seen park service traffic to maintain a communications tower. It made for nice skiing.

Jackie Skiing

When the snow is good, the skiing here is great

We started at Wagon Road Gap where US 276 and the Parkway meet at on of the highest crossings. From there, we headed east towards Asheville.

Ice was bringing down trees the whole time we were out.

The coating of rhyme ice, while beautiful, was causing extensive damage. The surroundings were filled with the almost constant sound of limbs and even entire trees breaking from the weight of the ice. Large branches lay everywhere. In places, every tree had been snapped and I saw none higher than about 12 feet, their tops broken off. A hike in the woods would be deadly.

Heavy ice coats and brings down surrounding trees.

We skied as far as the Pisgah Inn near Mount Pisgah passing through the Frying Pan Tunnel. Along the way we ran into a convoy of rangers hauling in equipment to repair the communications tower which must have been damaged by the storm or its aftermath.

Jackie approaches the Frying Pan Tunnel.

Being one of the highest and most rugged sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are more tunnels in this area than any other. Most are not very long, like this one, though the majority are curved. This is a spectacular scenic area in summer. What a contrast and compliment in winter.

The group pauses to take off skis to walk through the tunnel.

The nice thing about this route is it’s a very gentle climb from Wagon Road Gap to Mount Pisgah. Up hill on the way out, but downhill on the way back. Skiing takes on a whole new aspect when you change from uphill to downhill.

Wayne makes up some time on the downhill sections.

By the time we reached the Pisgah Inn it was shrouded in thick cloud and I couldn’t get any close up photos of it or Mt.Pisgah. The inn is closed of course, though the joke of the day was getting a beer and a meal once we reached it.

The Pisgah Inn seen from distance.

Few people ever see the Blue Ridge Parkway like this. It is admittedly a rare occurrence in recent times, at least until this year. Now it’s to the point we look at this a realize just how much snow has already melted and remember how deep it once was. We’ve not had ice like this though, and it will be spring before we realize just how much impact it had.

Wayne, the author,makes the most of a snowy winter

My wife shot some video of our excursion and posted it on You Tube. It really captures the scenery and the experience, and shows just how bad a skier I really am. Enjoy.