My Adventure Story
Before my wife and I had our first child, I went on a cross country trip which took me to San Diego, Ca and back to Virginia. With our second child on the way I planned another, albeit shorter trip. Learning lessons from my first long trip, I decided to bring some company along.
My friends Mike and Dan agreed to come along for the trip, with the only destination I wanted was Deals Gap so I could ride on the Tail of the Dragon.
Day One 8/19/11:
I packed up the night before, and was on the road about 3am. I met up with Mike and Dan along the way, and we headed south. The first part of the trip was pretty much all slab until we got down to Grenta, Va where we found a little diner on the side of the road and had some breakfast. A local recommended the country ham, which was pretty good.
We got back on the road, and headed southwest into North Carolina. Got rained on a little bit as we stopped for gas, but nothing that kept us from riding. We made a left turn when we should have turned right, and ended up about 100 miles from where we wanted to be. We made up some time by jumping on I-40 west, which actually turned out to be a great section of interstate. Two lanes, through the mountains, and no trucks allowed in the left lane. We had looked up a side road before getting on 40, and turned off at our exit.
The road turned into gravel, but we decided to continue on. The gravel lasted about 3 miles, and then turned into a great section of road in the middle of no where. No debris on the road, only one other car, and great turns. I actually ended up having to back off since my front brakes faded on my 800 pound bike.
We ended up in Gatlinburg, TN for the night. Ate at Dicks Last Resort, which was some good times. I've never been there before, and it was an experience. Part of the "charm" is the servers are complete dicks to you. Our server made fun of us, and even ate some of our food. We got the best parking in town, right around the corner from our table. Camping and some rain rounded out the night.
Day Two 8/20/11:
Woke up early the next day, packed up and hit the road. We headed back into Gatlinburg for some breakfast, and ended up at Dunkin' Doughnuts. We used the same parking as the night before. We headed south out of town and onto some nice back roads. Everything was still wet from the night before, so we took it easy until things dried out.
We tried to just stay on back roads to get us to our destination, and ended up on a one way road through a park, which also had a self guided vehicle tour. The views were great, but traffic was moving only 3-5 mph most of the time. The bikes started to over heat, so we ended up working our way past the cars and got out to the exit about 1.5 hours later, traveling about 6 miles. Won't be going down that road again...
We backtracked a bit, and finally found our way out to the Dragon. Headed through a "sobriety" check point, before heading up to the outlook. We pullover for some photo ops, then waited for a break in traffic. Mike and Dan headed out first, and I brought up the rear, knowing I would hold the other two up. The riding on this road was great. I wish the road was longer, but what can you do? We got to the bottom, and stopped at the store. We were all wearing grins when we took off our helmets. We hung out at the store for a bit and watched some of the other bikes coming in and out. I picked up a couple of souvenirs for my display case, and we headed back on our way.
Mike wanted to take us into Helen, Ga, so we headed that direction. He showed us a lot of the roads he learned to ride on, all equal or better to the dragon. Once we got into Helen, we stopped at a small restaurant just outside the center of town. We realized at this point we hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, so we ordered some appetizers to share. Traffic headed into Helen was terrible, and claimed a Harley clutch. We could hear the bike revving in traffic, but it wasn't going anywhere. The woman riding seemed to not know what to do, so Dan and I ran out and pushed her trike out of traffic.
We finished up our late lunch, and headed south towards Atlanta. We ate dinner at Papadeux, a seafood place. I tried frog legs for the first time, which was kinda cool. Sweeter than chicken, but more tender. I had some crabcakes for dinner, with a skewer of shrimp and scallops on the side. Once we finished there, we headed out to another bar which had some beer that Mike wanted us to try.
The beer was a blueberry wheat beer, which was pretty good. It was very sweet, but wasn't heavy. We hung out at the bar for awhile, just people watching. Once we finished there, we decided to get a hotel for the night. We ended up at a Marriott in Alpharetta, checking in about midnight. It was a great day of riding, and a slight disappointment since we knew the next days riding was not going to be as good.
Day Three 8/21/11:
On the first day of the trip, we had decided we were going to head to the beach. Aside from some cool scenery, the ride pretty much was straight and flat. Dan had some bad luck after breakfast, and ended up filling his helmet with gas while filling up the bike. He struggled with it for a couple of hours, before taking it off to let it air out a bit when we got into South Carolina.
We stopped for some snacks and coffee outside of Columbia, SC. The guy who came in before us actually ended up buying us our doughnuts and coffee, which was awesome. We sat and talked to a couple who had ridden up on a Harley, who were impressed by our ride so far. They were able to give us some advice on where to eat when we got to the coast, so we found it on a map, and headed there.
We stopped in Calabash, NC and found an all you can eat crab leg place. While we were sitting at dinner, a storm rolled in, which caused us to just stay and eat more food. We provided some entertainment for our server, who was unhappy from working two shifts in a row.
Once dinner was over, we headed to Carolina Beach for some camping on the beach. It was a good idea, but once we got there we realized there was no way we were going to make it to the campground through the sand. We ended up at a hotel again for the night after striking out again at another campground. At least this hotel gave us breakfast in the morning.
Day Four 8/22/11:
Our last day was pretty much the same as the day before. Long, straight sections of road with almost nothing to see. We wanted to see the beach before heading out, so we headed out to the coast. On the way, Dans bike started acting up, and we ended up at a shop to get some spark plugs. Dan replaced them and we were able to head on our way.
We headed up 17 into Virginia and through Portsmouth, Va and then towards Richmond. We attempted to find a unique place to eat, but never did find anything. We actually ended up eating at a McDonalds which was disappointing. Another customer kept talking to us about motorcycles, and when he used to ride and race. Once we were able to end that conversation, we super slabbed it up to about Fredricksburg, then jumped on some back roads into Broadlands to meet everyone for our normal coffee night.
This trip had lots of good riding, food and company. We all had a great time, and I'm sure we will be able to plan something else in the future. After riding on that gravel road, I've decided I want to get a dual sport so I can do more off road riding. Hopefully I'll be able to add a bike to the garage in a couple of years and make that possible.
Only a handful of pictures have been loaded, and the rest can be found here: http://s48.photobucket.com/albums/f209/JRider82/Deals%20Gap%20Aug%202011/