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International First time in U.S.A.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by drjay555, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. Hi all. Just thought I'd share a little road trip I have just done on my first visit to the U.S.
    I came over for a conference in Nashville but looking at the map found that the mountains of North Carolina were only a three hour drive away. Some rather famous (or infamous) motorcycling roads exist in these parts. Did some net surfing and came across Sportbike4hire.com . Got in touch with the owner Greg McCoy and hired an SV 650 S for two days.
    Now never having driven/ridden on the right(wrong) side of the road before I decided it would be prudent to hire a car and do some driving. With plenty of help from Dr.Google and Mr.YouTube I got driving. Each time you start keep reminding yourself " stay on the right". And it worked. Drove down to a little town called Robbinsville and parked near Greg's shop come cafe called The Hub. Actually drove down the Tail of the Dragon (318 bends in 11 miles). How come us riders from down under never count the bends on the Omeo hwy or from Thredbo down to Khancoban !? Anyways, where was I ?

    Day 1 - yesterday ( the first sunny day in over ten days, lucky me) - decided to take some slightly easier roads towards the south. Went thru 6 counties and 2 states - North Carolina and Georgia. Good roads. Included some double lane hwys . Passed a small hamlet called Wolf Creek, with a Wolf Creek Baptist Church. Didn't stop to check them out. Made a long loop thru Bryson City, Whittier, Franklin, Hayesville, then detoured into Georgia and made another long loop thru Hiawasee, Clayton and back to franklin before heading back to base via Murphy and Andrews. About 320+ kms. Roads are good but there are long stretches without any signs indicating the number of the road or the destinations. When I asked a local he said that's because "people steal 'em! They are in people's houses or sheds or garages !" At such times it's handy having your mobile phone GPS handy to put you on the right track. People are generally tolerant when us visitors get stuck at intersections. Haven't had a single finger or fist or horn waved/tooted at me yet.

    Day 2 - again dawned sunny but with predictions of rains in the arvo. Spent a bit of a restless night dreaming of two roads. The first was U.S.129 or specifically a section of 129 - the aforementioned Tail of the Dragon, 11miles long, and secondly the Cherohala Skyway 51 miles long. Did a bit of googling and youtubing and learnt interesting facts about them. The Dragon with its death/injury toll, the Tree of Shame etc, etc....
    The Cherohala Skyway on the other hand , longer but easier. The TOtD being a twistier, narrower road with more traffic including both racing cars and bikes streaming up and down. Driving down I had also noticed more leaf litter from the previous weeks rains. The CS as I was to discover wider, bendy but not as tight with much greater inclines (max elevation 5400ft) and with guard rails. Also having plenty of spots to pull over take photos.
    Set out just after 9am. 6degC temp. Fuelled up and headed for the CS. Found it so enjoyable I reached the end turned around and came right back 102miles. Headed for Deals Gap which is at the bottom of the TOtD. Had a bite, took a breather and wondered " should I do it?" Early morning I had a txt from a friend which just said " stay safe". While I pondered the situation I noticed a crashed R1 being loaded in the back of a ute. Not to mention the fairly vast numbers of leather clad young men on very sporty bikes roaring up nod down. To top it all, like out of Fast n Furious 1-7 along come 5 really flash rally sports cars.

    Nope ! Nope! Not today. Not so far from home. I don't have anything to prove to anyone. I was there to enjoy and I had in the two days. No need for any 'brown pant ' moments or worse. To further confirm my decision, no sooner had I handed the bike back to the shop than the heavens opened. Remember the old adage - He who fights and runs away, lived to fight another day. I am happy I survived a drive down the dragon's tail (for a while being chased by two rally cars too). I have my stickers from the souvenir shop to say I visited. Hopefully in a few days I will be home to ride on the utterly dull, flat roads of the Riverina (and dream about dragons and skyways). Cheers
    Shall try to upload some pics but the wifi in this place sucks.

    • Like Like x 8
  2. What's up Doc?? :p

    Where are the pics? Don't tell me, you were too busy riding...
  3. image.

    Attached Files:

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  4. Some more pics

    Attached Files:

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  5. Some from Graceland and the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. image. image. image. image. image.
    • Like Like x 4
  6. Are you going back ?
    If so , I found it was cheaper to buy a bike and store it there .
    West Virginia , Kentucky , Indiana and Nth Carolina have some pretty amazing riding .
    I haven't got to your ride areas yet but did like the Blue Ridge Parkway.
    Your story brought back a lot of memories and rekindled the fire to get me back next year.

    Thanks for that .
  7. Hmmm. Something to consider. Wouldn't mind going back again but next Feb my son and I are doing two weeks South Island, NZ. Can't wait