Top 10 Motorcycle Rides – The Cherohala Skyway

“One of the finest motorcycle rides you’ll ever enjoy”  –

Fall color on the North Carolina end of the Cherohala Skyway

Fall color on the North Carolina end of the Cherohala Skyway

The Cherohala Skyway takes the motorcycle rider on a long and sweeping romp through the mile high ridge lines of remote national forests just west of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stunning long range views can be enjoyed from overlooks and rest areas along the park-like road. Traffic is typically light and the curves are challenging and consistent for the 50 mile town-to-town ride through some of the most wild and scenic areas in the Blue Ridge mountains.

The Cherohala Skyway is near The Dragon at Deals Gap. It runs from Robbinsville, NC to Tellico Plains, TN.

The Cherohala Skyway is near The Dragon at Deals Gap. It runs from Robbinsville, NC to Tellico Plains, TN. Click on map for larger view.  Source – America Rides Maps Motorcycle Pocket maps – AmericaRidesMaps.com

Enjoying a summer motorcycle ride on the Cherohala Skyway

Enjoying a summer motorcycle ride on the Cherohala Skyway

The majority of motorcycle riders are drawn to this remote mountainous area to experience the thrill of riding US 129 a.k.a. “The Dragon” which skirts the western border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park nearby. A good number of them find the ride on the Cherohala Skyway far more enjoyable. It’s a relaxing contrast to the commotion and crowds that race back and forth through the Dragon’s legendary curves.

The Cherohala Skyway runs east to west connecting the small towns of Robbinsville, NC, and Tellico Plains, TN. Between them lies a large undeveloped mountainous section of the Cherokee (TN) and Nantahala (NC) National Forests. The made-up name “Cherohala” comes from a combination of the names of the remote forests it runs through.

Motorcycle flying through the mile high curves on the Cherohala Skyway

Flying through the mile high curves near the middle of the long wonderful ride

From either end the road makes a gradual climb to reach the 5000 ft heights near the middle section. Two broad lanes with sweeping curves arc through the mountain passes. Scenic overlooks, some with rest areas, yield views of a vast forests often free of visible human impact to the horizon. While the towns at either end have food, gas, and lodging, there is nothing but empty pavement on the 40 or so miles between them.

Springtime motorcycle ride on the Cherohala Skyway

Springtime on the Tennessee end of the Cherohala Skyway – nice long view of road, click to enlarge

Riding the Cherohala Skyway on a motorcycle you’ll find smooth pavement with good traction save a few bumpy patches here and there and the occasional bit of gravel dragged into turns by cars that run wide. The speed limit is 45 mph though there are many turns where a prudent rider will carry a bit less and the experienced rider will find satisfaction at speed. The overlooks and pull outs are well marked, paved, and have ample parking. Elevation signs along the road signal each 1000 ft change. It’s very much an experience like riding through a national park – similar to riding the the Blue Ridge Parkway (less than an hour east).

Stop to enjoy the views from the nice overlooks on the Cherohala Skyway

Stop to enjoy the views from the nice overlooks on the Cherohala Skyway

As relaxing as that “park-like” experience sounds, the road challenges the motorcycle riders’ skill. The Cherohala Skyway is  “big brother” to the nearby Dragon with it’s back-to-back tight turns. The Cherohala Skyway is a ‘super-sized” version of it. The curves open up and relax a bit but they keep coming one after another with the added dimension of long winding climbs and descents.

The Cherohala Skyway and the Dragon are often ridden together in a 123 mile long loop ride which runs north on US 129 to via TN 72, then to Vonore, TN, then south via TN 360 to Tellico Plains, TN, then across the Cherohala Skyway to Robbinsville.  When you ride both roads , the contrast is obvious -the need to be hyper alert and vigilant in the parade of bikes on the Dragon is relieved on the Cherohala Skyway. It seems empty by comparison, you can relax and it has all this gorgeous scenery too!

Great views, nice pavement, low traffic, and miles and miles of sweeping curves make the Cherohala Skyway a top motorcycle ride.

Great views, nice pavement, low traffic, and miles and miles of sweeping curves make the Cherohala Skyway a top motorcycle ride.

The best time for a visit is fall when the leaves are changing. Staying at the eastern (NC) end of the road places you near several other great motorcycle rides like the Dragon and NC 28. Robbinsville, NC is the larger town with more food / lodging options though many like the west end in Tellico Plains, TN for the camping.

The Cherohala Skyway is open all year (except when snow blocks) making it one of the first destinations for southern riders in the spring and a winter play spot for the hardcore adventurer.

Motorcycles starting up the grade from the North Carolina end of the road on the Cherohala Skyway.

Starting up the grade from the North Carolina end of the road on the Cherohala Skyway.

Tips and Advice – 

  • It’s about 50 miles with no gas. Fuel at either end. Be safe – top off.
  • 3000 foot elevation change – it will be cooler, more windy, and wetter at the higher altitudes. Dress for it.
  • It’s a long, long way if you need help. Ride with that in mind.
It takes a little effort, but visiting Bald River Falls on your Cherohala Skyway ride is worth it

It takes a little effort, but Bald River Falls is worth the trip

Make a side trip to Bald River Falls –

You’ll see a sign for Bald River Falls near the start of the Tennessee end of the Cherohala Skyway. Follow barely paved River Road for several miles, it’s obvious.

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Wayne Busch

– Wayne Busch produces the most detailed and comprehensive motorcycle pocket maps of the hundreds of great roads in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains so you know where the best roads are and how to spend the bulk of your riding time on them.

You’ll find the Cherohala Skyway on America Rides Maps –

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Feb 9, 2013 – Fresh photos of the landslide on the Cherohala Skyway

Feb 9, 2013 – Fresh photos of the landslide on the Cherohala Skyway

With temps nearing 60, I took the opportunity to ride out and see the landslide up close.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway - Temporary stoplights

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – Temporary stoplights regulate the flow through the area where one lane of this outstanding motorcycle ride is closed.

A few weeks ago the Smoky Mountain area was hit with drenching rains which caused a number of landslides. The most significant of them is on US 441 in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many of these situations have already been addressed, but some will have effects into the early motorcycle riding season.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway  - one lane is closed.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – fortunately there was enough room for a detour, only one lane is closed.

We hope the worst is behind us, but realize we’re only half way through winter. There is still the potential for more slides as the freeze / thaw cycles break rock and this is the time of year when most of them happen. Heavy rain is unusual and this slide is quite extensive. I suspect a retaining wall will eventually be constructed, but I wouldn’t count on a quick fix on this remote section of road.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway - The guardrail hangs dramatically

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – The guardrail hangs dramatically over the abyss

The slide happened on the North Carolina section of the road about a mile from the border with Tennessee. There are big overlooks on this scenic road located on each side of the slide. It at about 4800 feet elevation though the highest parts of the road are well above 5000 feet high. Views are gorgeous.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway - The pavement is undercut

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – The pavement is undercut here, getting near the edge made me nervous lest it give way! You can see how extensive and deep the chasm is in this photo.

A lot of soil was lost. It doesn’t seem practical to try to fill it in, the area seems to go 800 – 1000 feet down the mountainside. It has undercut the pavement, getting close to the edge made me a little nervous!

Landslide on the Cherohala  Skyway - remaining slope at the edges.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – This photo shows just how much soil moved. You can see the difference compared to the remaining slope at the edges.

No telling why this section off the road let loose while others remain intact. It doesn’t appear much different or more steep than many other sections. It’s at one of the higher elevations so you wouldn’t think there was a lot of subterranean water flow, yet it happened.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway - - A view from the other side

Landslide on the Cherohala Skyway – A view from the other side helps you realize just how big this slide is.

I don’t expect a quick fix. While this is a popular and scenic road, it is not a vital through-way. It’s about as far away from civilization as you can get in this area of the mountains. The North Carolina county in which it occurred is one of the poorest in the state, and there is far more impact on tourism related to the major landslide on US 441 in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Landslide on the Cherohala Skywway  For all the hype it's a minor inconvenience

Landslide on the Cherohala Skywway – For all the hype it’s a minor inconvenience on this outstanding motorcycle ride!

It’s not so bad! The traffic lights are quick. There is rarely much traffic on this outstanding motorcycle ride, its still one of the top 10 motorcycle rides in the US despite this minor inconvenience. I would not change my plans, heck, there’s one more unique thing to see on this ride. The overlook closest to the North Carolina side has bathrooms, so it’s a popular place for a break. DO IT!

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wayne busch - Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider.com

Wayne Busch

– 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

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Learn Total Control

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

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Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map

Three roads are consistently on the top 10 motorcycle rides list – The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon at Deals Gap, and the Cherohala Skyway. This map shows how connect them.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map – how to connect 3 of the best motorcycle rides – click for larger view

Many who ride motorcycles on the The Blue Ridge Parkway when motorcycle touring then go on to ride The Dragon at Deals Gap. If you can afford the time, you can make a nice loop ride which connects The Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway using TN 72 / 360.

Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks - highest point

Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks – highest point. The long sweeping overlook compliments the great sweeping views

The southern end of the The Blue Ridge Parkway is near Cherokee, NC. The map includes Maggie Valley / Waynesville as it’s one of the best locations to stay to enjoy the wealth of great motorcycle rides in the surrounding area.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map - riders come from around the world to experience the Dragon at Deals Gap.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon Map – riders come from around the world to experience the Dragon at Deals Gap.

Time / distances are from the eastern junction of the roads for riders starting from Maggie Valley / Waynesville. US 74 is the principal 4 lane road – scenic for a highway, the most direct route east / west. US 19 leads west from Maggie Valley, passes through Cherokee and Bryson City. It’s more curvy, passes through the Cherokee Indian Reservation, and takes a bit longer due to traffic.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon map - Cherohala skyway

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon map – The Cherohala Skyway offers sweeping curves and views to match with scenic overlooks at 5000+ ft.

Approaching Deals Gap and The Dragon, NC 28 is also one of the top rated roads in the area a.k.a the Hellbender or Moonshiner 28 and leads you to the start of the best section of The Dragon near the NC / TN state line.

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon map - NC 28

Blue Ridge Parkway to Tail of the Dragon map – NC 28 leads you to The Dragon. It traces the shoreline of Fontana Lake and is both beautiful and challenging.

So long as you are in the area, don’t forget about another well known motorcycle ride in Georgia – The Gauntlet. It’s only a short ride to reach it, and you’ll have experienced the best of the southern Blue Ridge motorcycle rides.

The Gauntlet Motorcycle Ride in Georgia

The Gauntlet Motorcycle Ride in Georgia – rounding a curve on GA 348

Several America Rides motorcycle pocket maps cover the Dragon / Cherohala area – see them here;

#7 The Best Motorcycle Rides SOUTH of GSMNP –http://shop.americaridesmaps.com/7-The-Best-Motorcycle-Rides-SOUTH-of-GSMNP-NC021.htm

#8 Best Rides NORTH of Smoky Park – http://shop.americaridesmaps.com/8-Best-Rides-NORTH-of-Smoky-Park-NC020.htm

12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides – http://shop.americaridesmaps.com/12-Classic-Deals-Gap-Motorcycle-Rides-NC007.htm

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wayne busch - Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider.com

Wayne Busch

– 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

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Learn Total Control

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

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Motorcycle training: Tell all the Harley riders this really works!

Motorcycle Training – Comment from one of the participants in a Lee Parks Level 1Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic this weekend – “Tell all the Harley riders this stuff really works!”

Motorcycle Training

Motorcycle Training: Learn to take a lowered bike through the curves without scraping the hard parts

Total Rider Tech held it’s first class in the Maryville,Tennessee location this weekend and we had a diverse mix of both bikes and riders. The advanced rider training in a Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic focuses on cornering skills with an emphasis on traction and control.

Motorcycle Training: Gain confidence handling a big bike in tight conditions

Motorcycle Training: Gain confidence handling a big bike in tight conditions

Regardless of what type of bike the riders brought, they all saw a specific and measurable improvement in their riding by the end of the day and challenged themselves to take their riding skills to a higher level.

Motorcycle Training: Get more enjoyment out of the performance your bike can deliver

Motorcycle Training: Get more enjoyment out of the performance your bike can deliver

Total Rider Tech provides instruction for the experienced rider who has progressed well beyond the basic techniques learned in an MSF or similar courses, but is not ready or interested in a full blown high dollar race track school. The emphasis is on street riding in real world conditions, though those with racing aspirations certainly gain valuable skills which are applicable for them as well.

 

Motorcycle Training: Several women came to improve their riding skills.

Motorcycle Training: Several women came to improve their riding skills. This experienced rider has been to Alaska and back!

The diversity of this class truly demonstrated how the techniques taught work on all bikes. We had all types of motorcycles. There were cruisers, big touring bikes, sports tourers, sport bikes, and even a motard bike that participated in the class, and everyone benefitted and gained skills applicable on the road on every ride.

Motorcycle Training: This woman wanted to sharpen her street and track skills and get more out of her riding

Motorcycle Training: This woman wanted to sharpen her street and track skills and get more out of her riding

Total Rider Tech teaches riders the technology of how their bike works and how what they do on their bike affects its ability to maintain traction and control. Learning the  science behind the riding techniques gives students the understanding of what specifically they can do to maximize their motorcycles built-in cornering capabilities while being safer out on the road.

Riders leave with the knowledge to identify riding problems while out on the road, know the solutions, and apply them on the fly. Classroom presentations provide the foundations for each skill, followed by live demonstrations of proper and improper technique on the course. Riders then practice applying these skills on their motorcycle with coaching that helps them learn how to perform them on their bike when out on the  road.

Motorcycle Training: This rider wanted to get better at managing traction

Motorcycle Training: This rider wanted to get better at managing traction

The way the material is presented and the coaching provided is designed to embed these principals and techniques so they will be remembered and incorporated once the riders leave the class and go out riding on their own. They can then take these skills an adapt them to their motorcycle, their style of riding, and their physical capabilities to become better and safer riders.

Motorcycle Training: This woman wanted to improve her skills and confidence in tight conditions

Motorcycle Training: This woman wanted to improve her skills and confidence in tight conditions

It’s the ideal skill set for improving your enjoyment and saftey of mountain riding, though they apply regardless of the terrain and situation. That Harley rider on a lowered bike was so glad to learn the skills to corner faster, smoother, and without scraping the floorboards in tight corners, he implored me to pass it along to others. It really works!

Motorcycle training: Static exercises help riders become more confident at high lean angles

Motorcycle training: Static exercises help riders become more confident at high lean angles

 

The next Total Rider Tech courses in the mountain area will be in Maryville, Tennessee  on June 5-7, then in Robbinsville, NC on July 14 -15. See calendar of courses here –

 

Motorcycle Training: This racer was so impressed with what he learned he may pursue becoming an instructor!

Motorcycle Training: This racer was so impressed with what he learned he may pursue becoming an instructor!

http://www.totalridertech.com/calendar.html.

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If you want to get the most enjoyment out of your motorcycle and appreciate the performance of a modern sports bike, cruiser, tourer, adventure bike, bagger, motard, dresser, dual sport, or custom, AND be safer on the road, this class will take the experienced rider to a new level of riding performance and enjoyment. If you typically ride with a passenger, bring them along and develop your skills together.

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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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

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Motorcycle Friendly – Tapoco Lodge @ The Tail of the Dragon

Photo-Tapoco Lodge Sign

The Tapoco Lodge

The most luxurious and convenient motorcycle friendly lodging nearest the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, the Tapoco Lodge is historic, unique, classy, and about as close to The Dragon as you can stay.

Greg McCoy from SportBikes4Hire.com had often mentioned the fine dining at the Tapoco Lodge near the Dragon at Deals Gap, but I’d never stopped in to check it out. Honestly, it’s so close to the Tail of the Dragon, I usually blast right past it enjoying the curves on this section of US 129. This week I had the chance to pay a visit and I was impressed with what I found.

Photo-Tapoco-Dam

The Cheoah Dam - a.k.a. "The Fugitive" Dam, where Harrison Ford's character takes the big leap in the movie "The Fugitive".

The Tapoco Lodge was built in the 1930’s by the Alcoa Corporation which was subsequently involved in building the many power generating dams along the Tennessee River to provide power for the aluminum plants in Maryville and Knoxville, Tennessee. At one time as many as 2000 people lived in the area working both in construction of the many dams nearby and substantial timber operations in the surrounding mountains. What is now the Tapoco Lodge saw service as a hospital, theater, residential and operations headquarters for the company, and you’ll find the lodge filled and adorned with historic artifacts from this era.

Photo-The-Tapoco-Lodge

The Tapoco Lodge - exclusive, luxurious, AND motorcycle friendly

Visting today, there is little evidence of the thousands of people who lived and worked here in those times past. As the many dams were completed the lakes which formed behind them submerged the roads, railroads, and small communities, and the area seems remote and isolated, pristine and natural, as if it all never happened save the dams which and lakes which remain as a legacy and still generate power.

Riding through the area you may come across the Chillowhee Dam on US 129 north of The Dragon, the Santeetlah Dam just north of Robbinsville, the Calderwood Dam viewed from the popular overlook at the Tennessee end of The Dragon, but the most impressive and notable are the Fontana Dam on NC 28 (a.k.a. The Moonshiner 28) and the Cheoah Dam just up the road from the lodge.

Photo-historic-gas-station-at-Tapoco-Lodge

Visiting the historic Tapoco Lodge is like visiting a living museum!

The Fontana Dam is one of the highest and most impressive, and is a popular stop for riders in the area. The Cheoah Dam is commonly referred to as “the Fugitive Dam” as it was the structure Harrison Ford’s character in the movie “The Fugitive” jumped from (the movie was shot in the surrounding area).

As operations in the area wound down, the Tapoco Lodge property transferred to private ownership and for many years after was used as a corporate retreat center for the company and others. In 2010, it was sold to the current owners who have renovated, upgraded, and restored  the property to a glorious and historic lodge with outstanding accommodations and fine dining in an exclusive setting.

photo-tapoco-lodge-interior view

History surrounds you at the Tapoco Lodge

Unfortunately my untimely visit happened just as the Tapoco Lodge was shutting down operations for the year. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to sample the sumptuous 5 course dinner at Jasper’s Restaraunt ($44 per plate, reservations required) nor the more casual fare in served in the Slickrock Riverside Grill. I trust Greg’s recommendations the food matches the quality of the rest of the establishment.

Photo-Jaspers-Restaraunt-at-Tapoco-Lodge

A quick peek at Jasper's Restaurant

Nor have I had the opportunity to enjoy the luxurious rooms, though I did get the quick tour of the lodge and they are outstanding. I passed on the opportunity to see the cabins this time.

Photo-the-bar-at-the-Tapoco-Lodge

A treat in a dry county! Save me a seat.

I’m particularly interested in the very comfortable looking bar, a unique feature in the last dry county in the State of North Carolina. It looked well stocked and I noted a good variety of wines. I love having a comfy place to enjoy a libation after a hard days riding and this bar will serve the purpose well.

Photo-room-at-Tapoco-Lodge

Spacious and comfortable rooms

I’m really looking forward to a stay at the Tapoco Lodge as it’s the ideal location for riding some of the best motorcycle rides in North Carolina and Tennessee. it’s on the popular Cherohala Skyway / Tail of the Dragon loop ride. Roll out the driveway, and you’re on the ride.

photo-Tapoco-Lodge-view-of-river

Enjoy sitting along the Cheoah River which flows beside the Tapoco Lodge

They are already booking groups for next year, it’s an ideal location for gatherings and they can accommodate a lot of people. Initially, the price of a stay seems high, but once you factor in the cost  of the 5 course dinner and cooked to order all-you-can-eat breakfast, which are included in your room cost, it works out to be an affordable way to enjoy a luxurious, convenient, and comfortable stay in the area.

You won’t find better food, you won’t find anything like it for accommodations, and you don’t have to ride to the next county to enjoy a cold brew at the end of the day.

 The Tapoco Lodge

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

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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. It’s time you looked into advanced rider training to ride more confidently and safely, it will change your mountain riding experience. It worked so well for me I became an instructor! Total Rider Tech

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 I’ll be adding The Tapoco Lodge to America Rides Maps Map #7 – Best Motorcycle Rides SOUTH of GSMNPMap #8 – Best Motorcycle Rides NORTH of GSMNP and map – 12 Classic Deals Gap Motorcycle Rides
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Ride the Dragon Like a Girl!

A short video of a woman motorcycle rider showing the boys how to ride the Dragon like a girl.

Ride The Dragon Like a Girl!

Location: North Carolina / Tennessee border at Deals Gap

Chasing a Lady Dragon Slayer on the Tail of the Dragon. This girl could ride. Starts at the Calderwood Dam overlook at the Tennessee end.

http://youtu.be/XEG-AvXjOg8

I’ve been updating the Motorcycle Ride Videos Page here at Smoky Mountain Motorcycle Rider. I was out at the Dragon at Deals Gap this week when I met this young lady Dragon Slayer who took us on a run through the curves. It was a lot of fun and this girl can ride!

Lots more motorcycle ride videos in the works, check back!

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Wayne Busch

Wayne Busch - Cartographer

 

– Wayne Busch lives in Waynesville, NC, where he produces the most detailed, 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
 
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This motorcycle training changed everything for me

A Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic taught me how to ride a big cruiser, dual sport, sports bike, or touring bike better and more safely. After 37 years, it has changed the way I enjoy riding any motorcycle, and now I’m working to make this knowledge available to you.

SportBikes4Hire

Contact Greg McCoy at http://SportBikes4Hire.com

Earlier this year I got a call from Greg McCoy at SportBikes4Hire.com. Greg is an outstanding rider and occasional track racer with an impressive stable of performance motorcycles (see them here). He had taken a Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic and was so impressed with it he felt compelled to bring this advanced motorcycle skills training to the Smoky Mountains so others could benefit and enjoy this powerful knowledge and be safer on the twisty roads we love.

Logo- Total Rider Tech

http://TotalRiderTech.com

Greg called me because he needed help. He’d  been working with Total Rider Tech, one of the companies which offers Total Control training as well as other motorcycle rider programs. Both SportBikes4Hire.com and Total Rider Tech run very professional and service oriented businesses with high standards and great results. Based in Milwaukee, Total Rider Tech does a lot of programs with Harley-Davidson and the states throughout the mid-west. As much as these instructors love the chance to come ride the best roads in the nation in our Smoky Mountains, bringing them in to teach classes is costly. Greg needed to find local candidates to become instructors. Was I interested in helping him out?

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www.americaridesmaps.com

Looking back, I might have thought harder before I jumped at the chance. I had no idea how much time and investment would be required to meet the goals, but I trusted Greg’s judgement and was honored he thought I might be up to the task. The first step was to take a class myself, see the program, and experience what it offered.

I took my Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic this summer in Robbinsville, NC, near the infamous Dragon at Deals Gap (read about my student experience here). After my class, I was sold. My riding improved immediately and dramatically. My enjoyment of riding since has skyrocketed. The knowledge I gained about how a motorcycle works on the road and how I can ride it better is astounding.

photo-total-rider-tech

Altering your center of gravity while turning with correct body position is critical on any style motorcycle.

What most impressed me is the way Total Rider Tech teaches. You don’t learn “riding tips”, you learn and understand the technology of riding a motorcycle so you recognize how to improve your riding for the rest of your life. What you learn you take away and won’t ever forget because you understand how and why it works. You can apply it to any bike, in all conditions, even with a passenger.

Over the past couple months I’ve been studying, training, and shadowing classes. Honestly, I’ve had to put much of my America Rides Maps business on the back burner, a tough and costly decision. I sacrificed time on the road for time studying and perfecting my presentations. Hours of video sit unedited. Digital map formatting was stopped in its tracks. I’ve barely had time to post to my blogs and networks. Everything has been on hold as I devoted all my effort to my Total Control instructor training.

Photo - Wayne Busch and Lee Parks

New instructor Wayne Busch & master Lee Parks

I am proud to announce I’ve just returned from Milwaukee, WI, and Geneva, IL, where I successfully completed a week of training with Lee Parks and Total Rider Tech to become the first Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic instructor in the Smoky Mountain region. I’ve demonstrated to Lee Parks I have the extensive foundation knowledge, can perform and demonstrate the advanced riding skills, and have shown my ability to observe and coach students to develop their skills on the riding range. Greg will be following along this same path to become a Total Control instructor for Total Rider Tech.

Sport Bikes 4 Hire and America Rides Maps have teamed up with Total Rider Tech to bring Lee Parks Total Control Advanced Rider Clinics to the top motorcycle riding area in the nation, the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.

Last Chance in the Smoky Mountain Area:

While we are scheduling classes for next year, there is one more opportunity to get into a Total Control Advanced Rider Clinic in the Smoky Mountain area this year – October 15 & 16th in Maryville, TN. You need to register right away to take advantage of it – (go here to sign up). I promise you it, regardless of your previous experience and training, Total Control will dramatically improve in your riding and safety on the road. LAST CHANCE THIS YEARSign up now!

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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
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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.

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

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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;

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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 

 

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

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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.

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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

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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

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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 

 

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US 129 Motorcycle Pit Stop at The Dragon

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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.

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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.

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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 
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