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From frozen Ontario to (almost ) frozen NC

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 2:55 pm
by pgfireman
HI everyone, last week my brother in law and I road from Kingston Ontario to Bryson City NC for a little play on the twisties down there. Here's how it went:

OMG! It is colder in NY State than Kingston. And let me tell you I can tell you that from very up close and personal experience!

So our day started like this

Yep that’s snow on my bike this morning – it was 0 degrees (32f)

We left Kingston at 2 pm, the roads were clear, but it was windy. I guess there’s a first time for everything, I drove straight up to the border! NO line up! AND they let me in! As we got further south in NY (around Syracuse) it started to snow, we pulled off for a delicious cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and let the weather change. After about half an hour and lots of “Mericans asking us if we were cold and crazy (we were) we headed out. All the fields around us were snow covered. I’m pretty sure the ski hill is still running. At Binghamton it was 2 degrees and a wind chill of about minus 7. We stopped at a rest stop and warmed for half an hour. We soldiered on and are in Scranton PA for the night, our room is like a sauna as we try and recoup our core heat. We dined at the local Chinese buffet (all you can eat for $ 10) and now we rest.

Hey everyone,

Not much to say today – lots of kliks under our belt. We started off with a cool 5 degrees – made it up to 11! Not for long though, the rain and cooler weather started about 2.30 and we made it safely to Waynesboro Virginia, the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway at about 4. So travelled about 600 km and are now resting at the Super 8 after a delicious Cracker Barrel supper!

What a day! Last night’s rain really hung on and it poured all night. This morning we decided to wait it out as long as we could pushing our check out time all the way to 11. By this time we had a good walk to Wally world and picked up some snacks for the road. We pulled out of the hotel at 11.15 and within 10 minutes were on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 469 miles of scenic curves along the Blue Ridge Mountains, yep the ones John Denver sang about and Laurel and Hardy BTW.

This road is amazing! Started in the thirties and finished after the war it is now a State Park. This morning the temps ranged from 11 in the low spots to 3 at the 4000 ft. mark. The clouds never let up, and at times we were in them! Literally, driving at 10 kmh with hazards on and only seeing about 30 ft. ahead of us. Most of the time all was good. The road curves and swoops over and over again with 100 ft. drops on the sides at times. If you have ridden a bike, this is what it is made for. If you never have it is like riding your skis on the perfect hill, or surfing the sidewalk or wave at its best. It really is hard to describe the awesome thrill of the corners and being part of the machine. We followed the BRP to Mount Airy for the night. This is the hometown of Andy Griffith from Mayberry RFD and The Andy Griffith show, tonight we are sleeping at the Mayberry Inn, and we were checked in by Aunt Bea and went over to her barbeque spot for supper. Tres tres cool. 400 km today and the same to come tomorrow. LOVE IT!


So imagine you are a kid, and then imagine that you have been given a pass to Disney World. But, there’s nobody else there, and your favourite ride is there for you and you alone AND when you have ridden it, Uncle Walt has made sure it is ready to go again – just for you. That’s what the Blue Ridge Parkway is to bike riders. Beautiful smooth curvy tarmac, (today) empty of others except a few cars and other bike nuts. It is the bestest roller coaster ride through the loveliest scenery you can imagine! I have driven down highway 81 and 95 quite a few times, and always seen the signs for the BRP, thinking to myself “I would like to see that one day”. If you have ever thought that and you can add one extra day to your south or north journey I urge you to drive this wonderful road and see some of the most beautiful sights of America.

So, 300 km of fun took us most of the day due to 2 detours for construction and repairs on the BRP. We stopped for a men’s lunch in a little town.Spam, Jerky and chocolate milk, YUM. Back on the road we headed to Ashville NC for a late stop and then we discussed supper. Now Al and I needed to re-visit the great Mexican restaurant we discovered last year Mexi-Wings in Athens TN – so we popped over to have dinner there – 300km on the other side of the Great Smoky Mountains.


Today was the best of the weather 23c and bright sun and absolutely the best of the riding too. Leaving Athens (home of the best Mexican food north of the country) we headed for Tellico Plains where the Cherohala highway begins. In this part of the Great Smokey Mountains the Cherokee forest and the Natahala forest split the hills on one side and another. The US government built a road so the good folks could enjoy the view – seriously, there’s really no other reason for the road. So the Cherohala was sent down from heaven for motorcycles and cars! Take a look at this:

Long slow sweeping turns, rising up to almost 6000 ft., it’s so cool to go from warmth and green with beautiful leaves to cold and grey with no leaves on the trees (too high this early) . At the bottom of this great road you have to go visit Richard at Thunder mountain general Store, he is always friendly and entertaining in his stories of the road – the thrills and spills of the accidents included for no extra charge! We left there to head to the Moonshiner 28, a highway that’s history goes back to the days of homemade liquor being run from the revenuers by guys in custom cars, these very skilled drivers were the beginnings of Nascar. Over at Deal’s Gap there is a still set up so you can see how the Hooch was made. Last stop today and for tonight and tomorrow is the Fryemont Inn; a 1920’s all wooden inn. Complete with house cat (Punkin) and a ghost that haunts the halls. Yes , we ate too much, the food here is crazy good so now here I sit close to the fireplace (HUGE) and write this to you.


Today we set off about 845 after a great brekkie and a fond farewell to the folks at the inn; we headed for Cherokee NC where the Blue Ridge Parkway starts in the south, the other day we stopped at Asheville and today we rode from Cherokee back to Asheville.

Thus we conquered the whole 469 miles (760 km) of wonderfulness. The weather and the views were so incredible! We were above the clouds reaching just over 6000 ft. at the highest point. On the way home we decided to miss as much as I 85 as we could taking the 220 north from Lexington VA to PA, another brilliant road that varies from twisty to sweeper and is so quiet compared to the super slab. Thanks, USA we had a great trip.

Re: From frozen Ontario to (almost ) frozen NC

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 10:09 pm
by Viking
Great trip report. I could almost feel the twisties. Thank you.

Re: From frozen Ontario to (almost ) frozen NC

Posted: Sat May 09, 2015 10:32 pm
by redial
Yep, except for the cold temps, that sounds as though it is something for my bucket list. Great write up, and thanks for sharing.