Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Three High Rides!

We made it back from our incredible trip of riding the highest points in the Smokies, and I have to say it was one of the best rides I've ever been on! 2 days, 656 miles, perfect weather (which is rare this time of year) and so many curves that you could see visble wear on the sides of your tires at the end of the day

Originally we wanted to call it this ride The Smoky 5, but we found that you can't actually ride to the highest points in South Carolina and Virginia, only close to them.

However, you can ride to the highest peaks in North Carolina (Mt Mitchell - 6,684 feet), Tennesee (Clingmans Dome - 6,643 feet) and Georgia (Brasstown Bald - 4,784 feet), and all of them are just spectacular!

There were three of us that made the trip. Bob was on a BMW R1200RT, K.J. on a Triumph 1050 Tiger, and myself on my  Ducati Multistrada. This is the type of sport touring ride these bikes are made for, and while the Duc and the Tiger were more nimble on the really tight roads, there was no debate that the BMW was the plusher ride.

Our megaloop started in Knoxville, so we hit the closest peak first, Clingmans Dome. To avoid the traffic of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg we went through Townsend and followed River Road ( a great road itself) which brings you out just above Gatlinburg at the Sugarlands visitor center.

Once over the mountain we picked up19 in Cherokee and followed it to Blairsville Georgia. Blairsville is on 19/129 and is the closest town to Brasstown Bald. Its very easy to ride past Brasstown Bald, because the road it's on, 180, isn't shown on many maps. This was actually the first time I had been there, despite passing by it for years.You have to ride a shuttle to the tower and museum located at the top, but it's well worth the $3 fee. 

Leaving Brasstown Bald we meandered on 76,106, and 64 towards Asheville. This route takes you through the incredible beautiful (and high rent) areas of Highlands, Cashiers, and Sapphire N.C. You can almost smell the money as you ride through! Traffic picks up noticeably in these towns, as does law enforcement, so be cool. We actually had one officer follow us for several miles, we suspect that Bob's helmet cam got his attention. Maybe he thought we were going to do standing wheelies through town and post it on You-Tube .

On Day two we picked up the Blueridge Parkway in Asheville, continuing North to Mt Mitchell. The temperature on the Parkway was in the mid 70's, and there wasn't a drop of rain to be found. The humidity was low, and the views were Incredible.
Mt Mitchell also has a restaurant, one of the few places you can get food on the Parkway.

From Mt Mitchell we continued North on the Parkway to Deep Gap where we turned off on 221 to West Jefferson N.C. From there we took 194, 88, and 421 (back to Boone) and 321 to Elizabethton. All of these roads are excellent, but you need to recondition yourself to look for traffic after riding so long on the BlueRidge. You can also feel the temperature go up as you drop from the higher elevations.

In the next few weeks I'll be making more post of places we stopped, and things to see along this route. 

Also, Cycleblend wants to recognize the people that make the ride to these peaks. 

Send us pictures confirming you visited each location, and well post them on the site and send you something that shows that you made "The Three High Rides"  (We're still deciding what that's going to be, maybe a sticker, key fob, or something else of high value!) the thing is, you can't get it if you don't ride it. We also want to hear about cool places you visited, good places to eat, and any other details of your adventure you would like to share. Well get more info posted on this ASAP. In the meantime. if you make the rides, make some notes and take some pictures!

Connecting the three highest points could be done in one long day, but I don't know if I would advise it. These are great roads, and the curves just keep coming. Trust me, at the end of the day you'll know you've been on a ride.

1 comment:

  1. I just did a similar ride through Cashiers and Highlands, plus made a pit stop at the Wheels Through Time Museum. I too smelled the money in Highlands and it smelled pretty good. Nice blog. I like the borders.