How long to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway on my motorcycle?

How long to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway on my motorcycle?

Budget at least 2 days for your motorcycle ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway –

Map - How long to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway?

Getting to the Blue Ridge Parkway is a days ride for half the population in the US.

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Blue Ridge Parkway – Humpback Rocks Overlook in Virginia

While you can ride the entire 469.1 mile long Blue Ridge Parkway on your motorcycle trip in a single day, I strongly advise against it. I’ve done it, and trust me, you will not enjoy the experience like you should. It takes strategic planning and uncomfortable endurance to go end-to-end in a day on a motorcycle ride.

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Blue Ridge Parkway – Some tricky curves await on this great motorcycle ride!

The simple math is misleading – at an average speed of 45 mph and 469 miles to cover, it seems like a little over 10 hours of saddle time on your motorcycle tour does the trick. For many riders on a fully laden bike, the challenge of the mountain roads leads to a speed closer to 35 mph. You’ll also come across car traffic which finds this reduced speed more comfortable and few opportunities to pass.

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This sign is a legacy to when gas was available on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It should now read “No gas next 400 miles”. There is no gas on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Additionally, there is no gas on the entire ride. You’ll need to leave the parkway to fill up. Choose the wrong exit and that gas station may be 15 miles down a steep and twisty mountain road. Most of us like to eat, and there is only one Park Service Lodge left on the ride, so you’ll be diverting into nearby towns adding additional time.

So how do you do it best when time is tight?

I recommend starting at the north end in Waynesboro, Virginia. If you are going to try to cover as many miles as possible with few stops, do this in the Virginia section. The road is a bit more relaxed, the elevations not as high, and while the views are outstanding, they are not as spectacular as those in North Carolina. There are more wooded sections, and it gives you a chance to get used to the curves before you get into the more serious challenges to the south.

photo - Virginia blooms on the Blue Ridge Parkway

June on the Blue Ridge Parkway means flowers! A great time to enjoy the ride.

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Blue Ridge Parkway – Rocky Knob Cabins – a nice stop but come prepared with your own food and drink.

Set your sights to get across the border and into North Carolina on that first day. You’ll still have time to stop at some of the nicer overlooks and if you’re making good time you can even visit some of the roadside attractions along the way. As you get near the border you’ll find lots of places to lay over for the night. In Virginia, I usually head for Floyd or Hillsville, or take one of the many cabins located near the Parkway. Be aware, if you do choose a cabin along the way, you’ll need to bring in your own food or eat before you get there. Chateau Morrisette has great food, and you can stuff a bottle in the bags to bring to the cabin.

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Grandfather Mountain south of Boone starts the climb into the high mountains of North Carolina

Photo - View of the grounds at the Switzerland Inn

The Switzerland Inn – A beautiful Resort on the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my favorite stops

On the North Carolina side of the border, most choose to stay in or around Boone. You’ll find lots of lodging options here, and plenty of good places to eat in town, though you will have to deal with the traffic. If you are making really good time, the last place I’d suggest is the Spruce Pine / Little Switzerland area, the Switzerland Inn is a fabulous stop right on the parkway with nice rooms and great food as is the Skyline Inn nearby. Once south of here, there is a long stretch of empty road before you come into the city of Asheville.

Savor your second day. Once you get south of Boone, you start to climb into the high mountains. This is the time to slow down, take advantage of the numerous overlooks, and get those photos. You’ll also hit some of the trickiest turns and curves. Take your time, relax, and enjoy.

Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks - highest point

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

Strategic planning is critical on the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll be riding through long remote sections of road with few facilities nearby. I suggest fueling up in Asheville. You’ll find gas stations closest to the parkway here. It’s also a good place to stop for food, it’s hard to find a bad meal in Asheville. While it’s the second largest city on the Blue Ridge Parkway (after Roanoke, VA), it’s easy to navigate and a fun place to spend a little time. While the only remaining Park Service Lodge, the Pisgah Inn,  is just south of Asheville, and has great food and views, expect a wait to get served.

Blue Ridge Parkway-motorcycle-view

The southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway is worth the wait. Take your time and enjoy!

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Blue Ridge Parkway – Devils Courthouse, one of many spectacular sights on the ride.

If you find yourself running short on gas towards the end of the ride, the next best option for fuel is Maggie Valley at US 19 / Soco Gap (MP 455.7). You also find food there, and the Wheels Through TIme Motorcycle Museum is worth the visit. Maggie Valley is the place I most recommend for staying near the end of the parkway as it is so well located for the wealth of great motorcycle rides in the surroundings, and there are lots of rooms available at good prices.

Arriving at the south end of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, NC, you are at the southern entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cherokee has a good number of rooms, but it’s also quite “touristy” so you’ll have some traffic to deal with. No alcohol on the reservation, and the best food is probably at Harrah’s Casino. While I’ve stayed there in the past, I suggest looking at all your options depending on which way your travels take you next.

Enjoy a Blue Ridge Parkway view on a motorcycle trip

Blue Ridge Parkway view – While 2 days will get you there, if you have more time you’ll find plenty to enjoy on a more relaxed motorcycle tour of one of the top 10 rides in the country.

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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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Hurricane Weekend in Maggie Valley on my Motorcycle

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A little cloudy and rainy was as bad as it got atop Mt. Mitchell

While curiousity got the best of me and I did cruise up to Mt. Mitchell to get a close look at the hurricane, the Smoky Mountain weather was beautiful for motorcycle rides and I took advantage of it with a bunch of local favorites. Judging from all the other bikes out on the road, a lot of coastal folks hopped on the hog and ran for the hills. It was a good decision.

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Thunderhawg Motorcycle Rentals, Maggie Valley

Friday found me visiting my friends at ThunderHawg motorcycle rental which just opened at the corner of US 276 and US 19 after my ride north on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell. Peggy and Mark rent Harleys and it’s nice to have a local rental place again in Maggie Valley. They’ve got tons of info, maps, and they love to meet and greet motorcycle vacationers to the Smoky Mountains. Stop in and see them when you pass through.

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A Holiday Motel - Saturday night

Saturday, I rode the Blue Ridge Parkway the other way to Cherokee and Bryson City to stop in at The Gear Head Inn, then hopped on some of the great roads south of there. I ended up at A Holiday Motel in Maggie Valley to pass the time while my wife ran in the 8K Maggie Valley Moonlight race.  Always popular with motorcycle vacationers, the A Holiday Motel was full of bikers who came to enjoy the splendid weather. The bonfire was going out front and I was able to cheer Jackie on and spend a little time with the riders. Dale from Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum came by with a couple of Australian visitors who had borrowed a couple of his antique Harleys.

The view from Riders Roost Restaurant is awesome

The view from Riders Roost Restaurant is awesome

Sunday, I cruised NC 215 and US 276, then followed the Blue Ridge Parkway back to Maggie Valley to stop in at Riders Roost Restaurant in before we headed back up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the crystal clear evening skies that came in after the storm.

No matter which way you point your wheels from Maggie Valley, you’ll find outstanding riding. The Best section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is right up the hill. It’s a great place to base out of for your motorcycle trip to the Smoky Mountains as so many great rides are within easy reach.

Check out AllRoadsLeadToMaggie.com when planning your visit. Maggie Valley is the heart of good motorcycle riding in the Smoky Mountains.

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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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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

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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Another racer hits the road

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Dude, that flag is gonna slow you down!

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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.

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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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Motorcycle Friendly Lodging – Maggie Valley, NC – Creek Wood Village Resort

I’ve found another place which welcomes the motorcycle vacation traveler looking for a place to either spend the night or base out of to enjoy the hundreds of miles of great motorcycle rides just over the hill. It’s just a few miles off the Blue ridge Parkway from the Soco Gap exit.

Photo - aerial view of the cabins on the roaring creek

Aerial view of the cabins on the roaring creek at Creek Wood Village Resort

Photo - motorcycleCreek Wood Village Resort is located in the heart of Maggie Valley, directly behind the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds on three and one half FLAT acres with easy access for motorcycles and trailers. It’s convenient to most everything in town including the restaurants, shops, waterholes and Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum.

They have one, two and three bedroom cabins, all with full kitchens, fireplaces, color cable T.V. and the most beautiful views of the mountains.

Photo - one of the cabins

Historic and comfortable cabins are waiting for you.

No hectic life style here. Just kick back and set on your porch, enjoy the mountains, reflect your day in the quiet pond or listen to the water rushing through the nearby creek,  and take in the views after a great day of riding some of the best touring rides around.

Totally motorcycle friendly, they also have two fishing ponds and 650 foot of rushing creek.

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