Motorcycle Rides In Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area

Let’s get the obvious out of the way right now so we can enjoy the rest of the story, “There are more great Motorcycle Rides in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains than anywhere else”. You knew it was coming, and now being said, we can move on.

photo-view-from-room

We had a nice view from our room at the posh 4 Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, AZ.

We flew into Phoenix, stayed in Scottsdale. 

While many riders fantasize about riding cross-country to reach those far-off destinations, I’m so over that. Droning along on the interstates through days of monotonous and uninteresting landscape is a waste of time and tires to me. With just 6 days of travel on my calendar, it would have taken 8 just getting there and back on the bikes. Once again, we flew in and rented a motorcycle to maximize our quality riding time.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - A balloon ride

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - A balloon ride really helps you appreciate the harshness of the desert and the general landscape.

Phoenix is a city of 1.5 million people who choose to live in a scalding moonscape unfit for sensible human habitation. Endless months of triple-digit temperatures preserve the volcanic origins of the region as if it was a recent event in geologic time. The rocky remnants of those ash-spewing calderas rise on the horizons like mountainous islands peeking above a deep, deep, rolling sea of gray-brown boulders, rocks, and dust. The entire region is one big blast and fallout zone.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Spines, thorns, prickles, barbs

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Spines, thorns, prickles, barbs, horns, needles, spikes, everything wants to hurt you!

5% humidity deprives most living things any chance of thriving.  Oxymoronic “river” signs mark parched sandy gulches where runoff collects for a few short minutes before re-vaporizing for the next few weeks – or months. Most every living thing is so bent on survival it threatens all others with spines and needles, fangs and venom to keep them at a distance. Nature has obviously posted the “Do Not Enter” sign.

A long motorcycle ride looping north from Scottsdale

We stuck to local sights the first day, visiting Cave Creek for lunch, and Natural Bridge to the north. The next day, we followed 74 northwest to US 60, then veered north on 89 near Wikenburg. The ride to Wikenburg was pretty miserable, just dry empty desert, highway traffic, vast open spaces.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale - Natural Bridge, AZ

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale - Natural Bridge, AZ, one of the side trips worth taking.

Route 89 soon climbs through a nice section of switchbacks to gain some elevation. The terrain gets a little more green and hospitable and the riding improves as the road seeks the better passage between the rolling hills. Riding along you are taunted by the “No trucks over 50 ft length X miles ahead on 89”, and when you finally pass through Wilhoit the ride gets nice and curvy and fun.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - A break near Prescott.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - A break near Prescott. Returning the phone calls that come in while I'm riding.

89 then passes through the town of Prescott which so interested us, we discussed the potential for basing there for a future trip. It seems to have a lot to offer. North of Prescott, we veered east on 89A for the best section of road I found this trip – the mountainous portion known as the Mingus Highway.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Jackie gets ready to descend from the Mingus Highway

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Jackie gets ready to descend from the Mingus Highway through Jerome, the best section of road this trip. Really put the softail through it's paces here!

The Mingus Highway twists and carves through the elevations much like the roads I so enjoy at home in the Smoky Mountains, though the arid scenery could easily convince you it’s a canyon ride in California. Exiting north, the roads plunges down from 6000 foot heights passing through the tiny hamlet of Jerome, clinging to the edge of the slopes nearly a mile above the valley below. A popular stop, we could not afford the delay, though next time it’s worth exploring.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - How pretty is Sedona?

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - How pretty is Sedona? Approaching from the west, this is the least scenic of the 3 routes into town.

We passed through Clarkesdale and Cottonwood, to reach the apex of our days ride – Sedona. As beautiful as it was, Sedona was just our lunch stop today, a first visit for me. Surrounded by the red rock monuments, the destination town is a vortex for tourists and caters to the crowds who flock there.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Cruising through Sedona

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Cruising through Sedona, the town is surrounded by the red rock formations on every horizon.

The ride turned south out of Sedona onto one of the most scenic rides you’ll find as Route 179 winds between the colorful rock formations to Oak Creek. Once you pass the casino at the edge of town, the road runs through unremarkable desert to intersect Interstate 17 and we continued south on the highway for a distance.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Some of the best and easiest views are right along Route 197 south of Sedona.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Some of the best and easiest views are right along Route 197 south of Sedona.

We turned east when we reached Route 260 and started climbing into the higher elevations and more interesting and scenic riding. Temperatures dropped as we climbed to 7000 feet and entered the high pine forests. Route 260 became Route 87 as we continued south through the small towns of Strawberry and Pine, and the larger sprawling town of Payson.

Motorcycle rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Sedona is a popular destination for motorcycle riders for obvious reasons.

Motorcycle rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Sedona is a popular destination for motorcycle riders for obvious reasons.

Progressing south from Payson on Route 87 the road gains another lane then gradually leads you down from the heights and back out into the Sonoran Desert returning to the city. We covered a little more than 400 miles on this loop ride, the longest of the trip.

 A nice loop ride east of Phoenix / Scottsdale

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale - Riding 188 south is a nice cruiser

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale - Riding 188 south is a nice cruiser ride that includes sections along Theodore Roosevelt Lake

I saw this ride described as a great “cruiser” road and I’ll concur with the assessment. It’s easy riding with nice scenery and relatively little traffic. Route 87 north led us through the gentle sweeping curves that climb to the high desert. We made up names like “boulder city” and “the cactus jungle” to describe distinct areas along the route, and rolled through the essentially treeless national forest to reach Route 188 and turn southeast.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Turning on to Route 188

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Turning on to Route 188. When you're from the Smoky Mountains, a straight road is a rare sight deserving of a photo!

Route 188 formed the long side of the triangle we rode on this loop. More gentle flowing two lane curves through the dry hills lead to a long ride aside cobalt blue Theodore Roosevelt Lake. It’s pleasant and relaxing riding with the nice contrast of scenery and color.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Very pleasant ride along Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Very pleasant ride along Theodore Roosevelt Lake. Jackie and I pause for a cool drink and to admire the bridge.

Along the way, we stopped at Tonto National Monument to see the historic cliff dwellings. It’s a steep walk up the trail and I wouldn’t wan’t to do it on a hot day, but we enjoyed our visit and the sights.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Tonto National Monument has historic cliff dwellings

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Tonto National Monument has historic cliff dwellings with a steep hike, but it's a great stop along Roosevelt Lake.

We turned onto the third leg of the triangle, Route 60 in Claypool, and started west toward Phoenix. We passed through miles and miles of massive mining operations and the mountains of tailings, then entered a wonderfully scenic canyon near Top-of-the-world. The steep drop through the spectacular rocky cliffs dumped us at the edge of a vast flat desert basin and a long arrow-straight drone back to the city. We covered about 250 miles on this day.

Sedona Highlights – what to see on a short visit

Sedona is one of the most scenic towns you’ll visit in the southwest, surrounded by towering red rock monuments on every horizon. We spent a day exploring the area and here are my suggestions on how to get the most out of a short visit.

Route 89A approaches town from the west, then exits north. Route 179 junctions with Route 89 in the heart of town leading south.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Looking west on Route 89A from Sedona

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - Looking west on Route 89A from Sedona

Approaching town from the west on 89A, to get one of the best views ride to the top of Airport Road. The view from atop the mesa overlooks the entire town and panorama of breathtaking geography.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - one of the best overlooks of Sedona

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - For one of the best overlooks of Sedona, ride up to the top of the mesa on Airport Road. Wow!

North of town, 89A follows Oak Creek Canyon along the river. The deep canyon is forested with tall pine trees that partially obscure the views of the towering cliff walls and you wind you way north. The road gets tighter and tighter than makes a dramatically step climb through a series of switchbacks to top the rim at over 6000 feet. it’s worth the ride to see and experience. Once atop the canyon, 89A continues to Flagstaff and connects to Route 66.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - View from the rim of Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - View from the rim of Oak Creek Canyon north of Sedona. Follow it into Flagstaff and connect to Route 66.

The easiest way to see the red rocks in all their splendor is to ride down Route 179 south from Sedona. I wouldn’t bother with the Red Rock Loop Road, it’s not as scenic as touted and there is an unpaved section near the middle – more effort than reward. Use the pullouts at the monuments for the nice views and don’t miss a ride up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross for some great views and photos.

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - View from the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Motorcycle Rides in Arizona: Sedona, Scottsdale area - View from the Chapel of the Holy Cross just outside Sedona. A short drive with a nice view.

__________________________________________________________________

Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

Total Rider Tech Logo

Learn Total Control

– 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

Wayne is an advanced motorcycle instructor for Total Rider Tech teaching Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Courses. Isn’t it time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely? It can transform your mountain riding experience.  Total Rider Tech

____________________________________________________________________

Share

Jay Leno Recommends Visiting Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC

 

Photo - Jay Leno at Event

Jay Leno at Pebble Beach Event

See the interview at Jay Leno’s Garage, here.

In mid-August 2010, Wheels Through Time Museum Curator and Founder, Dale Walksler, was bestowed the honor of displaying two rare American racing motorcycles from the museum collection at the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California.  Regarded as the world’s premier gathering of automotive history, the sixty year-old invitation-only event annually brings together several hundred of the rarest and most desirable vehicles ever produced for a one-day spectacle that attracts tens of thousands of fans and spectators from around the globe.

2010 marked the second year in which motorcycles were displayed, with a total of twelve two-wheel machines gracing what is often referred to as the best finishing hole in golf — Pebble Beach’s 18th Fairway.   When the judging was complete, Walksler and both museum machines in attendance came away with two out of three of the shows top honors — the rare 1909 Reading Standard placing second, and the one-of-a-kind 1929 Harley-Davidson DAR placing third.

While at the Concours, both Walksler and the two Wheels Through Time motorcycles garnered particular attention from fans and specators alike, including one of the most famed celebrities in show business, Jay Leno.  During the show, the avid car and motorcycle enthusiast, and host of NBC’s Tonight Show, conducted an in-depth, six-minute interview with Walksler highlighting both the prestige and excellence of those machines lucky enough to be invited to the once-a-year gathering.

During the interview, which was recently released on the “Jay Leno’s Garage” website, a subsidiary of NBC’s Tonight Show, Walksler and Leno discuss one of the award winning machines from Wheels Through Time — the 1929 Harley-Davidson DAR board track racer — addressing both its rarity and significance in the history of American motorcycling, and how it holds a special place in the museum’s collection of over 300 of our country’s most historic two-wheelers.  Walksler shares the intimate details of how the machine was found after sitting idle for over 70 years, and the process in which it was brought back to its former, ear-splitting glory.

Photo - Jay Leno and Dale Walksler from Wheel Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley

Jay Leno and Dale Walksler from Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC

Jay also offers high praise for the Wheels Through Time Museum itself during the segment, citing it as one of the best museum’s in North America.  During the interview Walksler and Leno share the origins of the museum — a dream of Walkslers since he began collecting over 40 years ago — and the museum’s focus on rare, all-American motorcycles, particularly those with great stories and exceptional pasts.

“Having the opportunity to display two machines at Pebble Beach is an outstanding honor for myself and the entire museum staff,” said Walksler.  “We’re so proud to share these machines with the rest of the automotive and motorcycle world, and Jay has played a big part in sharing them with a wider audiencethan ever before.”  During the segment, Leno even addressed his hopes of coming to shoot another piece at the museum in the future.

The interview can be seen on the Jay Leno’s Garage website, located at www.JayLenosGarage.com, accessed by visiting the videos page and clicking on the “motorcycles” link on the left side of the page.  Titled “Motorcycles of Pebble Beach 2010”, the video also touches on other rare motorcycles featured at the Concours.

For more information about the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Jay Leno’s Garage, or the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call (828) 926-6266.

Read the story and see more pictures on the Wheels Through Time website.

Matt Walksler

Wheels Through Time Museum

P.O. 790 / 62 Vintage Lane

Maggie Valley, NC 28751

(828) 926-6266

mattw@wheelsthroughtime.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

Pre 1916 Coast to Coast Motorcycle Race Going On? Here are the photos!

http://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/ – here are some of the photos I took this morning.

Photo - Cannonball motorcycle run

Bust? Highly likely

I can’t adequately describe this event so I’m just going to give you the link right off the bat. See for yourself, follow them as they progress, it’s just hard to believe it’s actually happening.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle run

7:30 AM and getting ready

For those of us in western North Carolina, it’s not all that unusual to see vintage motorcycles from time to time thanks to Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley.  Not only does he have one of the most extensive collections of early motorcycles, and a historical representation of the Harley Davidson line, but they all run and he races them. More than once I’ve been cruising through Maggie Valley when he pulls up alongside on one of the vintage motorcycles out for a spin.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle run

Not all the bikes were vintage - THIS WAS MY FIRST ROAD BIKE! 1974 Harley Davidson 90cc

I watched the bikes straggle in last night. They filled the A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley as well as 2 others. I got to talk with the support crews and some of the riders.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Excelsior Motorcycles were well represented

What’s it like riding one of these? They’re lucky to hit 50 mph so you don’t get windblown. The seats are fairly springy. It’s not all that bad – so they say.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Plenty of early Harleys

On the other hand, going up hills is a challenge. I think those pedals get used. Things fall off – like brakes.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Lots of Indian Motorcycles

Electrical problems, particularly magnetos, are a problem that can stop you dead and tough to resolve.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Somehow they got the magneto repaired on this Indian.

A lot of these guys were up till the early morning hours in Wheels Through Time repairing the bikes to keep them running.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Not all the bikes were restored to original condition

It was interesting to see what it took to make these bikes run. The right fuel mix, careful coaxing and monitoring, and a lot of attention.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Some bikes were in mint condition

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Would you race this baby across the country?

48 bikes started the race. Some had already dropped by this 3rd day. Will any make the west coast?

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Getting them started is a challenge

They average about 200 miles per day. The longest day is 300 miles. No interstates. Only one rest day. Holy cow.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

I wouldn't know where to start to work the controls

I hope they make it. I’d like to see it become an annual event, though I don’t know how long the bikes could make repeated trips.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

You couldn't pay enough to duplicate the finish on this machine.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

The detailing on this machine attests to its authenticity

It’s something to see motorcycles nearly 100 years old not only running, but racing.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Best to get an assistant to do the starting

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Is that a "cheater tank" on this Harley?

Some of these guys were stopping to fill up every 20 miles.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

With VERY limited range, this was the way to go.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

A police escort helps

it’s pretty cool to see these old bikes. It’s even cooler to see them run. But when you see them take off down the road to race, it just defies coolness and becomes something beyond.

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

People came from surrounding states to see the event.

Follow the progress, read the trails and tribulations of the riders a thttp://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/

 

 

 

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

The race is on!

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Another racer hits the road

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Dude, that flag is gonna slow you down!

Photo - Cannonball Motorcycle Run

Horsepower Ok. Dog power - disqualified.

If you like this you need to pay a visit to Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum in Maggie Valley, NC.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

Cannonball Vintage Motorcycles in Maggie Valley

I just got a couple photos this evening, bikes were still coming  in and heading to Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum on the Cannonball cross country vintage motorcycle race.

Photo - vintage Harley

One of three similar vintage Harleys in the Cannonball motorcycle race.

I’ll head over first thing in the morning when things get organized and the bikes are all together to head out and get some more pics. They’ve taken all the rooms at the A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley.

The bikes were just rolling in this evening. Too scattered for good photos. More in the morning.

The bikes were just rolling in this evening. Too scattered for good photos. More in the morning.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

Cycle Sportz in Swannanoa, NC – Great Prices, Great Service, minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo - Cycle Sportz Motorcycle Shop

Cycle Sportz Motorcycle Shop in Swannanoa, NC - just a few minutes east of Asheville

The care and service of your motorcycle is all part of the relationship you have with it. For some, doing all the work themselves is it’s own reward. As for me, I’d rather be riding, and have neither the time, location, nor the proper tools to do the job efficiently. There are some things that I only trust to the dealer. If they’re going into the engine, I want somebody who does the same job day in and day out, who knows every little foible and trick specific to my particular motorcycle year and model. And the little things, like changing oil and filters, lubrication and adjustments, I prefer to do my self. For the rest, I’ve found a place that does the job well and inexpensively – Cycle Sportz in Swannanoa.

Photo - gear and supplies at Cycle Sportz

One section of the storefront at Cycle Sportz. They have a good selection of gear and supplies. What they don't have on hand can be gotten quickly.

I was introduced to Cycle Sportz by Mark Cresswell, one of the promoters of the Asheville Bikefest, Sturgis, Laconia, Panama City, and other large rallies. Having owned a motorcycle shop for many years, he knows quality work and a good shop when he sees one. His recommendation was sound and now it’s my turn to pass it along to you.

Photo - the shop area at Cycle Sportz

I've never seen the shop when it wasn't spotless. Everything is neat and organized, the kind of place you can trust to do the job well.

I’ve used Cycle Sportz three or four times now so I can provide a reliable report. Don can be trusted. His prices are excellent. While you may find a tire online at a lower price, by the time you factor in shipping, mounting, and balancing, he’ll most likely beat it. The work is quick, they are ready for you when you show up, and I’ve always been permitted to observe and even ask questions.

Photo - my motorcycle getting serviced.

New front tire done. He knows his merchandise from experience and will help you find the best for your application.

As to Harley’s, there’s probably nothing I wouldn’t trust him to tackle. He’s built many customs. He’s also knowledgeable with BMW’s and there’s always one or two in the shop. You’ll also see a lot of custom sport bikes in these photos. Don and his staff are versatile and knowledgable.

Photo - installing my new chain

A fresh rear tire, new chain and sprockets going on. So shiny on my dirty bike.

In at 10, out by 11, and ready to go with everything clean and shiny once finished. I drive by several shops and my dealer just to have Don and team do my service.

Photo - wrapping up the job

Quality parts and a little bling. Now to scrub in those new tires on the way home. Happiness!

Cycle Sportz is located on Hwy 70 just a few miles east of Asheville. Exit I-40 at exit 55, then turn right at the traffic light. It’s just a few miles up the road. The nearest Blue Ridge Parkway exit is US 74 which is within sight of I-40. Go east to the next exit. It’s a handy place to know about if you need something while passing through on your Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle vacation.  Put (828) 298-7888 in your cell phone just in case.

Quality work, great prices, and efficient service. Wayne recommends Cycle Sportz.

_______________________________________________________________________________

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

New US 129 Harley-Davidson Store at the Dragon – Photos

Photo - US 129 HD at the Dragon

New US 129 Harley-Davidson at the Dragon

I paid a visit to the Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort at the Tennessee end of the Dragon yesterday (trying to get the last few miles out of my tire before the new one goes on) and made a stop at the new Harley-Davidson Dragon Store to see what they have to offer. It’s a satellite store for Smoky Mountain Harely-Davidson in Maryville, Tennessee.

Photo - long view of US 129 HD

Located right on the lake on US 129, a.k.a. "The Dragon", the location couldn't be better to serve all the Harley riders who stream by.

I’ve passed by many times wondering what was inside. It’s not a full dealership with bikes nor service facilities. It’s primarily a merchandise store with Harley brand clothing and accessories.

Photo - Dragon sign at US 129 HD

The unique sign emphasizes you're about to "enter the Dragon"

There’s a nice porch to kick back and take a break, or this time of year, a good place to cool off in the A.C. or get out of the afternoon rain showers.

Photo - interior of US 129 HD

The fresh new store is as nice inside as it appears from the road.

In addition to clothing and accessories, there is also a selection of oils, lubes, and thankfully, batteries to help keep you on your travels.

Photo - US 129 HD supplies

In addition to accessories, they stock lubes, oils, and batteries

For you non-Harely riders there’s another good reason to stop – gas. It’s strictly pay at the pump, and the prices were some of the best I saw in the area. I paid 20 cents more per gallon on the ride out.

Photo - gas pumps at US 129 HD

Some of the best prices on gas are another good reason to stop.

Looks like there’s another thing to add to my maps of the area and one more place to see and visit on your motorcycle vacation.

Harley-Davidson Dragon Store

Smoky Mountain Harely-Davidson

Punkin Center Motorcycle Resort

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

Brighten Your Day With Some Motorcycle Parody Videos

Is Harely Too Cool For Buell?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izzlN2zC8PU

Teutonic BMW Trick or Moped Magic?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh1wnZrSVq8

We Can Always Use A Little More Training, Can’t We?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryqse5mX1Nk

CHiP’s Off The Block (of cheese)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYTucV5kYsU

And If you haven’t wasted enough time, the exciting CHiPs CHaSe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tXR-kq2BEw&NR=1

Share

Video (NSFW) – Motorcycle Crash At Tail of the Dragon – Analysis

(Not Safe For Work – profanity) One of my favorite videos form the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap at the North Carolina / Tennessee border. There’s just so much wrong here, but could a more skilled motorcycle rider have pull it off?

Excessive speed and crossing on a yellow line are not atypical illegal practices on this notorious stretch of road and for these guys it was a big mistake that ended badly. But the more I look at it, the more I think it could have turned out differently.

It looks like the first rider could have reacted better. It appears he panics, sits up, fixates on the target ahead, and just grabs a handful of brakes. Unfortunately, he grabs the wrong brake (both of them do) locking the rear wheel and loosing grip just when they need it most. Rookie mistake, I’m not seeing the dive that would have come with better use of the front brake, and that’s why you now see so many new bikes with linked anti-lock braking systems.

Had he pitched into the turn I suspect a more skilled rider could have scrubbed off enough speed to make the next bend, though it would still have been hairy and left a nasty stain on the seat. I’d take going down trying to make the turn over just riding into the abyss any day. Even on an overweight behemoth of a bike like these Harleys, shifting your body makes a huge difference in negotiating a curve, and might have saved the day. Then again, it’s easy to judge from the safety of my comfy chair.

Bottom line, the “Dragon” bites another rider, though he did everything he could to provoke it.

See blog post “Move Your Ass to Save It” for tips on avoiding a similar fate – http://smokymountainrider.com/?p=131 and other mountain riding tips in posts nearby.

Share

Harley – Is Image Enough?

Reading the paper this morning I see the predicted demise of GM despite it’s recent infusion of bailout capital and my thoughts turn to our home-grown motorcycle, Harley-Davidson. The iconic manufacturer of the “American” motorcycle has fallen into the same quagmire that sucks the auto giants down and could also stand an infusion of capital to stay afloat. It’s not the first time, and I’ll bet they survive, though will they emerge a different company?

The buzz talk seems to be the automakers need to retool, to produce a different product, become more competitive and less expansive in scope. The behemoth gas guzzling land yachts are a thing of the past and we need to embrace new technologies for the future. What does this portend for the “SUV of motorcycles”, the Harley-Davidson?

Those who ride American iron do not do so for the cutting edge technology, the outstanding performance, or the economies of purchase price nor operation. Foreign brands trump them in spades in every category. Harley survives on it’s image, and to ride one is to become a part of a subculture, but admission to that exclusive club carries a hefty price.

As we go forward, I wonder how Harley will address this imbalance. Is image enough to overcome the competitors that offer twice the bike at half the price? As the competition perfects cutting edge technologies and they become just another standard feature, will Harley sink to the category of old school clunker? Just how much is pride really worth in an ever tightening market?

Share

Memories of My First Road Bike – a Harley at Age 15

T’was the summer of ’72 when the laws of the Sunshine State permitted a youthful 15 year old to drive; not alone mind you, an adult was required as co-pilot, and only during daylight hours except for motorcycles. For a kid yearning for freedom, and parents all too ready for him to be self-sufficient, the outcome was as set as stone.

I’d been riding the old Honda 50 scooter my dad brought home one day all over our little slice of creation since I was in elementary school. A friend had given it to him after sitting idle for years in the back of his garage. For my brothers and I, it became a daily diversion. We put thousands of miles on it back and forth around the 10 acres we lived on with occasional sneaked forays around the surrounding farms and nurseries. Any one of us could tear it down and rebuild it in a matter of an hour or so when needed and we all became experts at siphoning gas out of mom’s car. It was the perfect machine for a bunch of rowdy boys, almost as indestructable as we were, and there were few games or fantasies we couldn’t work it in to.

Now the day had come when I would get my first real bike, a bike that would take me out on the open road and free the world to me. Best yet, I could ride it to school! When you’re 15, that alone elevates your level of coolness exponentially, and my time had come.

There was but one limitation imposed by the state, a limit of 5 brake horse power. This essentially capped the displacement at 100 cc’s or less and restricted you from riding on the highways (at least in theory). We set upon the dealerships to determine which to choose from. I pretended to look at them all, though in my heart I knew what I wanted. At 15, you’re very in tune to what’s the coolest based on your circle of friends, and the bike of the day, the primo ride, was the Honda CB100. It was the fastest, the most powerful, producing just enough below the 5 BHP limit to pass muster, and the best built of the class, at least in my small piece of the planet. To have one of those was to rank at the top of the status.

The lessons of adulthood do not come easy though, and despite my summer spent bagging groceries and hiding the illicit tips we accepted for carry outs, I was coming up short. The Honda was priced at $600 and I had socked away but a little over $400. The parents weren’t budging. As my birthday drew closer, the prospect of that Honda grew dim.

Then came the day when my dad and I piled into the truck and he pulled into the Harely-Davidson shop. I was bedazzled by the ruthless machines that lined the floor, the throaty roars that bellowed from the service department behind the store, it was a trip to fantasy land. We worked our way through the various models all of which were obviously way out of reach, yet my mind flooded with images of me on one of these beasts. And we found it.

There, in the back corner of the shop was a tiny little bike, mostly drab in appearance and somehow lacking in any visible evidence it had come from the same gene pool as it’s beastly brethren. It was the Harley 90, a two stroke diddler that had little more going for it but the less than prominent name on the tank. Gutless and frail, a product of Harley’s acquisition by some company that made bowling balls (AMF), this was not their finest hour. But, the price was right at $400, and comforted by my dad’s assurance that my grandpaw had ridden a Harley so it was in my blood, the papers were signed.

Some laughed when I arrived at school. Harely’s reputation at the time was about as low as you could go and my bike was the embodiment of that perception. It struggled to squeeze 45 mph with its 4 speed gearbox, while my friends with Honda’s could hit 65 with a good tail wind and had an extra gear to play with. Still, I rode that thing everywhere that year, and I entered the world of motorcycling that would remain with me from then on.

I never saw the demise of that bike. My brother 11 months my younger “borrowed” it one day, and when I found it missing the next reported it had caught fire and burned. He claimed he abandoned it in the woods somewhere but I’ll never know for sure. It was soon forgotten when it’s replacement was found as I was now old enough to ride whatever I wanted and a new bike entered my life, a faded orange metal flake Honda CB 450. It was another pig, but I rode the hell out of it and learned the skills of road riding that would stay with me to this day, but that’s a story for another day.

Wayne@americaridesmaps.com

>> Go to America Rides Maps.comhttp://americaridesmaps.com/

Share