Motorcycle gear review – Liberty Sport Motorcycle Sunglasses

I’ve really come to like these sunglasses a lot. They easily adapt for motorcycle riding and the inserts make a big difference. The lens quality is superb. I don’t leave the house without them anymore.

Liberty Sport – www.libertysport.com

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
Share

Motorcycle friendly Blue Ridge Parkway lodging – Fiddlers Roost

Photo-fiddlers-roost-cabin

Our cabin at Fiddlers Roost

Fiddler’s Roost Cabins are just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 214 and offer the motorcycle rider a nice place to stay. Just down the road from the Blue Ridge Music Center, the cabins are small but cozy, well fitted, and comfortable.

Our stay was brief, and it was hot, so we did not partake of the hot tub on the porch. We just needed a comfortable place to pass the night, and thats what we got.

Photo-Fiddlers-Roost-Cabins-bedroom

Bedroom - cozy and comfortable

We also missed out on the breakfast delivered to our door the next morning. While it’s reported to be outstanding, it doesn’t arrive until 9:30 – 10 AM and we had too many miles to go to postpone our journeys for the day.

The cabins are fairly isolated so you have privacy. Access is via a gravel road with a bit of incline which had me wondering about how well it would be negotiated by a fully loaded bike with two riders. The road was in decent shape and we had no issues.

The isolation comes at a price – there’s no food nearby, it’s a 10 minute ride into Galax to get a bite to eat. If you’re packing your own vittles, there is a refrigerator and stove in the cabins.

Photo-Fiddlers-Roost-cabins-kitchen

The Kitchen

We made the ride, grabbed dinner at a Chinese restaurant, then returned to the cabin to enjoy a bottle of Chateau Morrisette wine and some cheese we’d picked up on our way to the cabin on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Overall, it’s a nice place to stay, maybe a little too slow paced for road warriors like us who are up early, ride long and hard, and come in late.

Fiddler’s Roost Cabins

Photo-Fiddlers-Roost-cabins-view

Nice little cabins in a nice setting

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

Share

What is a Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost?

AWMXDX9J8QT9

photo-blue-ridge-parkway-milepost

Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 455 not far from Waynesville, NC

When planning your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride you’ll find references to mileposts handy. Every mile along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find a concrete post with the mileage of the 469.1 mile long motorcycle ride displayed. Miles run from north to south, the further south you go, the higher they get. The milepost shown here, #455, is near the southern end not far from Waynesville.

Mileposts make navigation much easier and better allow you to track your progress on your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle vacation tour.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

2SearchBlogs Web

Share

Ever seen the Dragon’s Breath on your Deals Gap motorcycle ride?

NC-28-motorcycle

The Dragons breath envelopes riders on NC 28 near Deals Gap

OK, so I made the Dragon‘s Breath thing up – at least the name. The phenomenon is real though, something you may encounter when riding NC 28 along Cheoah Lake on your way to or from The Dragon at Deals Gap.

NC-28-Fontana-lake

NC 28 - Cheoah Lake fog (or is it?) - Remember, there's a Dragon nearby.

The fog, which can be pretty thick at times, is a common occurrence on warm summer days. The water which drives the turbines at nearby Fontana Dam is drawn from the deepest coldest depths of Fontana Lake. When there is enough moisture in the warm air, it condenses when it comes near the cold water of Cheoah Lake.

NC-28-fontana-lake-

NC 28 - Sometimes the NC 28 bridge below the dam sits on a cloud

Fontana-Dam

Below the Fontana Dam

A nice side trip when you are in the area is a stop at the Fontana Dam. You can access the bottom of the dam once you cross the bridge over Cheoah Lake. Turn right and follow the paved road to the power station. To see the dam from the top, and you should it’s one of the highest in the east, use the road which intersects NC 28 just beyond Fontana Village. It’s easy to find, it’s the only stop sign on NC 28.

You find NC 28, the Fontana Dam, The Dragon, the Cherohala Skyway, other nearby attractions and scores of two lane twisty back roads which make for great Smoky Mountain motorcycle rides on America Rides Maps;

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

Share

Favorite Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Pit Stops – Chateau Morrisette, VA

Photo-Chateau Morisette on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Chateau Morrisette on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The romantic relationship we have with Chateau Morrisette winery on the Blue Ridge Parkway goes back to a motorcycle trip many years ago. Tired and hungry from a long day on the lower Virginia section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we stumbled in looking for a bite to eat only to find the kitchen had just stopped serving for lunch. Our disappointment must have radiated as the chef emerged from the kitchen, took one look at us, and said, I’ll take care of them”.

photo-Restaurant-terrace-at Chateau-Morrisette

The Restaurant Terrace

We were seated on the beautiful mediterranean style porch with it’s panoramic views of the rolling Virginia countryside. A short time later sandwiches arrived at the table and we devoured one of the best meals we’d had in days. I remember a delicious portabello mushroom  on crustini bread draped in a melted cheese which we accompanied by a glass of Black Dog Red wine and knew we’d found a  heavenly oasis.  I’ve never missed a chance to stop at the Chateau Morrisette since nor ever been disappointed.

Photo-tasting-room-at-chateau-morrisette

The tasting room

Over the years, the winery has grown in size and reputation. In times past it was one of the few landmarks you could easily identify from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Far out across one of those idyllic mountain farm fields, a long low series of signs spelled out the name of the winery in large letters. Gone now, the only way to find  it is to know where it is and watch for it. Success has meant one of the few advertisements along the Blue Ridge Parkway is no longer needed, and the parkway ethic is enhanced by it’s absence.

photo-terrace-at-chateau-morrisette

Live entertainment is common on weekends

While the restaurant remains much as I remember it, the new building at the vinyard is now the hub of activity. The regal architecture hosts the tasting room, gift shop, and is the sales outlet for the wines. The terrace outside is the gathering and resting place where patrons sit and enjoy their glasses of local vintage to the accompaniment of snacks and often live entertainment.

Photo-Chateau-Morrisette-Restaurant

Chateau Morrisette Restaurant

On a weekend visit you’re happy to be on a motorcycle where you can slip into corners in the crowded parking lot. There are frequent events, a stage on the beautiful grounds for concerts and such, it seems there’s always something going on at this popular destination.

Chateau Morrisette winery

Chateau Morrisette is locate at milepost 168.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Tuggles Gap. Look for Black Ridge Road, then spur off quickly onto Winery Road. You’ll arrive in 0.6 miles.

photo-Chateau-Morrisette-Wine

Chateau Morrisette's Black Dog Wines - Tasty

You’ll find Chateau Morrisette and all the surrounding great motorcycle rides in the area on America Rides Maps #3 of the Complete Blue Ridge Parkway seriesNorth Carolina / Virginia Border Rides.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

 

Share

Blue Ridge Motorcycle Touring – Natural Bridge, Virginia

In general, I avoid the touristy sights on my motorcycle travels as I get my kicks from the road. It’s the hundreds of great motorcycle rides in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains I most enjoy, and that is best done with the kickstand up and the throttle open. I need a pretty good reason to park the motorcycle and go for a walk, and Natural Bridge, Virginia, is worth time the time to stop and see.

Photo-Natural-Bridge-view

The Natural Bridge, a Viriginia landmark worth seeing.

Photo-Natural-Bridge-Hotel

The Natural Bridge Hotel, a historic landmark

Natural Bridge has been around for a long time. It was already a tourist destination when Thomas Jefferson visited. This 200 foot high natural arch started as a cavern millennia ago. Over the eons erosion collapsed the majority of it leaving only the dramatic and inspiring rock formation that has drawn thousands of spectators over the last few centuries.

Photo-Natural-Bridge-Entrance-and-Gift-Shop

Natural Bridge Entrance and Gift Shop

This long history was part of the attraction for me. There are many early sketches and historic reports of the landmark displayed in the museum, it is part of our national heritage. This legacy though has come at the cost of commercialization of the natural attraction with manufactured ones added to woo the crowds and entice them to part with their dollars.

Photo-Cowboy-on-a-dinosaur

I managed to escape the Dinosaur Kingdom

We passed on the wax museum, the butterfly room, and most all the other man-made enhancements designed to lure the tourist. I was particularly amused by the hook for the “Escape from the Dinosaur Kingdom” with a statue of a cowboy riding a dinosaur. Easy to pass on that one, I’m quite satisfied with the Flintsone’s version of pre-history. Yabba-dabba dumb, but I’ll bet the kids like it as well as the Haunted Monster Museum.

Photo-Indian-village

The Indian Village re-creation.

We did walk the trail to view the re-created native indian village, but it pales in comparison to the main attraction.

We paid $18 a piece for a ticket that gave us partial access to all the attractions. All we really wanted to see was the Natural Bridge. It’s a short walk and worth the time, and while I we could have seen all the other kitschy stuff, I felt my money well spent avoiding it.

A side trip to Natural Bridge, Virginia is an easy and pleasant ride from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Exit near the James River Visitor Center on US 501 (milepost 63.7) or VA 130  a couple miles north (milepost 61.6, and the better ride). Follow Us 501 / VA 130 to Glasgow, turning right on VA 130 to pass through the small town for another 4 miles or so. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it when you arrive.

Photo-Natural-Bridge-view

View of the other side of the Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge, Virginia

The Natural Bridge and other scenic attractions nearby are found on Map #1 of the 6 map Blue Ridge Parkway series of motorcycle pocket maps by America Rides Maps. Don’t miss all the great motorcycle rides in this area.

Image-map-cover

Great rides Near the Start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
Share

Total Control Advanced Motorcycle Clinic + The Dragon = Become a better rider!

Photo-motorcycles-on-the-dragon

Ride better, ride safer!

I’m seeing notable improvement in my riding just from reading his book and applying the techniques – I can’t wait for the July 16 class in Robbinsville, NC!

DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS CHANCE TO BECOME A BETTER RIDER!

Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic comes to Robbinsville, NC , July 16-17. Master the techniques to become a better motorcycle rider just down the road from one of the most challenging motorcycle roads in the nation, The Dragon at Deals Gap. Learn the methods in the class, then put them to practice on The Dragon – it couldn’t get much better!

SportBikes4Hire

Contact Greg McCoy at SportBikes4Hire.com

Whether you’re on a cruiser, a sport bike, dual-sport, or sports touring motorcycle, the tips and techniques from a Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic can make you a better, safer, and more confident motorcyclist. I’ve been studying Lee Parks Total Control book to get ready for the class and I am already seeing results I am impressed with.

Photo-motorcycles-on-the-dragon

Learn to tame the Dragon

I made a couple passes through The Dragon at Deals Gap recently, the ideal place to practice the techniques Lee Parks details in his book. As I started my first run through the notoriously twisty road I found myself behind a couple cars. I was content to just plod along using the opportunity to practice the techniques at a slow and controlled pace. As I rode, a guy on a sports bike fell in behind me.

About a third of the way through the 11 mile ride, the cars peeled off onto the roadside pull-outs to let us pass. With open road ahead, I picked up the pace, and was surprised the sporty rider was not sucking on my back wheel. I didn’t feel like I was pushing hard, I was more content to focus on the techniques and practice what I’d been reading about. It was a spirited though easy pace and I felt confident and in control of what was happening.

http://youtu.be/K3LwcTxGjzQ

Photo-a-sport-bike-on-the-dragon

It works for all bikes

About 2/3 of the way through the ride I slowed and pulled to the side to let the sporty guy take his turn. Watching him ahead of me, I was impressed as he shredded through the curves, knee down, working the corners to the edge of the tires. It was pretty to watch, and while he wasn’t booking it on the straights, he was definitely  making the most of those enjoyable curves. I stayed right with him and he seemed to be working it a whole lot harder than I was.

As we neared the end of the run, his hand shot out with a thumbs up and he pulled into the Calderwood Overlook as I motored past. Lee Parks was making a difference in my riding others could see.

Class is Filling, limited space – CONTACT GREG NOW!

JULY 16-17
Robbinsville, North Carolina

Contact: Greg McCoy
greg@SportBikes4Hire.com
http:SportBikes4Hire.com
865-809-9147

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

Share

Motorcycle Friendly Places – Paint Bank General Store, VA

Photo-Paint-Bank-General-Store

Morning at the Paint Bank General Store, Paint Bank, VA

Though it’s only 1/2 hour west of Roanoke, the tiny hamlet of Paint Bank on Highway 311 sits like a jewel surrounded by rolling green hills and pastoral country that makes the busy city seem a million miles away. This is spectacular motorcycle riding country and bikers flock here to enjoy the long winding rides through narrow valleys which lead south towards Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Pembroke. The beautiful wilds of West Virginia lie just over the western horizon, and the roads north twist and turn through forests teaming with wildlife.

Photo-Paint-Bank-General-Store

A for-real General Store! Cool!

Jackie and I came in from the north on VA 615, a ride through woods so wild we had to cruise with care to avoid all the critters in the roadway. Deer and turkey were abundant, a slew of painted turtles awaited their doom on the pavement, a fox, hawks, and all sorts of other animals either watched us pass or darted off into the greenery as we approached.  We paused in Newcastle for a rest, then pointed our wheels west on 311 to make the curvy fabulous climb and descent over Potts Mountain into the valley to arrive at scenic Paint Bank.

Photo-Paint-Bank-General-Store-motorcycles

The lunch crowd has arrived!

Eager to get on to the next curvy climb we stopped at the Paint Bank General Store for a potty break and to top off our tanks, but as the noon hour approached we soon abandoned our ride into West Virginia to return to the Paint Bank General Store, lured back by the promise of tasty locally raised buffalo burgers in the inviting and charming rustic setting of the Swinging Bridge Restaurant.

Photo-Swinging-Bridge-restaurant

The buffalo burgers were great!

In the short time we’d been gone the parking lot at the Paint Bank General Store had been taken over by motorcycles with the same ambitions as us and more arrived every few minutes. “Motorcycle parking only” signs lined the periphery of the  lot and the crowd of bikes spilled over to fill the remaining space. Some milled about on the porch, others hosed the bugs off their chrome with the convenient hose, but most found their way to the restaurant to enjoy the food and comfortable atmosphere.

Photo-Paint-Bank-General-Store

Bikers flock here for lunch

The Paint Bank General Store – A unique place in a beautiful setting with gas and good food surrounding by outstanding motorcycle rides and biker friendly. What more do you need?

Paint Bank General Store

Swinging Bridge Restaurant

Paint Bank info

Photo-Paint-Bank-General-Store

Great food, wonderful riding, the Paint Bank General Store and Swinging Bridge Restaurant was one of the highlights of our Virginia motorcycle riding

Photo-Swinging-Bridge-Restaurant

Great food in a fun and relaxing atmosphere at the Swinging Bridge Restaurant located in the back of the Paint Bank General Store.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
Share

US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop at The Dragon

Photo - US 129 Pit Stop sign

The US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop

I had a couple outstanding passes through The Dragon at Deals Gap yesterday with a short stop at the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop in Punkin Center at the Tennessee end of the ride.

With temps that rivaled the punishment awaiting below, the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop was a heavenly break to cool off, get a cold drink, and just hang out and shoot the breeze with Todd & co. while I savored the best moments of my ride and planned my strategies for my return assault on one of the top motorcycle rides in the world.

Photo - US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop

Easy to find, the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop is at the junction of US 129 and TN 72

Easy to find, the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop is located at the well marked junction of US 129 and TN 72. It’s the only place near The Dragon which provides service for your motorcycle. They have tires, batteries, oil, etc., can get parts overnight, and a mechanic is on duty to tend your motorcycles needs while the Pit Sop Store services your hunger, thirst, and lust for Dragon souvenirs.

It was late in the day when I arrived and they were starting to close up shop so I didn’t stay long. I plan to return and try the food, maybe add to my collection of Dragon T-Shirts as they offer ones of particularly high quality that will hold up for years.

Photo - inside the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop

Get a cool drink, a bite to eat, and your Dragon souvenirs inside

Pay a visit to the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop on your next visit to The Dragon. Nice people are waiting for you there.

Visit the US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop stop on the web here:

US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop

It’s the only place to get service when you really need it at The Dragon.

Photo - Service available at the US 129 Pit Stop

The ONLY place to get mechanical service at The Dragon

Other News from the Tennessee end of The Dragon – The Motel and Restaurant are under new management, the names have changed, things are shaking up a bit and coming alive at what was the quiet end of the ride. Devastation from the recent tornado is still evident, especially along the lake. One of the huge power line towers in the lake was twisted into a crumpled heap, trees are blown down and branches still hang from the wires in places.  There were two forest fires in the area when I visited and the scars left from the fire breaks will be visible for some time to come.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 
Share

Motorcycle the Blue Ridge Parkway – Peaks of Otter Lodge

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-restaurant

The Lodge and Restaurant at Peaks of Otter

The Peaks of Otter Lodge and Restaurant located at milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers the motorcycle traveler a serene and beautiful setting in the Virginia mountains –

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-across-lake

The setting is serene and relaxing

Jackie and I paid our first Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle touring visit to the Peaks of Otter Lodge this past weekend and give it a good, though not outstanding recommendation. In some ways it outshines the other Blue Ridge Parkway lodges we’re familiar with, in others it falls just a little short.

Photo-view-from-room-at-Peaks-of-Otter-Lodge

View from our room

Like the other Blue Ridge Parkway lodges, it immerses you in a remote and isolated setting. The nearest town is Bedford, less than 10 miles distant. The city of Roanoke is 25 miles further south on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The climb to reach the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most beautiful stretches of heavy woodlands in the Jefferson National Forest with glimpses of the surrounding mountains, the piedmont to the east, and the Shenandoah Valley to the west from the occasional overlooks.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-lobby

The Lodge lobby is nice

There is a Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center nearby, a campground, hiking trails, historic sights, and a picnic area. Set on a  small lake in the bowl between two of the three peaks that give the area it’s name, the views on every horizon are stunning and often mirrored in the still waters of the alpine pond. A gentle trail offers a 20 minute walk around the lake to admire the hollow from all perspectives.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-bar

Extra points for having a nice bar

The Lodge does stand above the other parkway inns in it’s rich and welcoming appearance. The gift shop is attractive, and the bar is such a welcome touch after a hot days ride. The restaurant overlooks the lake with captivating, at times enchanting views of the natural panorama. Unfortunately the restaurant is where the Peaks of Otter Lodge fell short for us.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-Dining-view

Captivating views from the dining room

The food does not hold a candle to the that served at the Pisgah Inn, the Blue ridge Parkway Lodge south of Asheville, NC. Service was great, pleasant and attentive wait staff insured we got what we needed. The setting is outstanding with the views but the musak was some sad mix of nursing home dirge and “One Flew Over the Kukoo’s Nest” which distracted from the atmosphere. A place this nice deserves a chef, not a cook and a new set of CD’s for the player – please throw the Victrola in the deep part of the lake.

Photo-Peaks-of-Otter-lodging

Rooms are clean and comfortable

The facilities are well maintained and spotlessly clean. The grounds were  manicured with precision and care. The rooms were comfortable as were the beds, and quiet. It makes for a peaceful and relaxing stay.

Overall, a stay at the Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway is welcoming and relaxing on your motorcycle vacation. Taking the dining experience to the next level would make it outstanding.

ADD – I have one big request from the Park Service: It’s the 21st century, how about a little catch up? I don’t mind not having TV, it makes the rooms quiet and draws you out of them to embrace the natural experience and beauty. Cell service comes and goes with the breeze, and the wind rarely blows – you’ll be chucking quarters into the pay phone to reach the rest of civilization. Isn’t it time to embrace our new reality and offer a wireless network?

Other Reviews from Trip Advisor

_______________________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch
Wayne Busch – Cartographer
– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed and comprehensive and up-to-date motorcycle pocket maps of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains to help you get the most of your vacation experience. See them here – AmericaRidesMaps.com 

 

 

Share