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Road Trip 2014 Southern Appalachia

Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
4,594
Location
Out Riding
This was supposed to be ride report for a week of dual sporting based out of Ouray but was a bust due to me having a stomach virus right at the time John was supposed to be flying in from Central, NY. After I was feeling better John suggested maybe we meet half between Fort Worth, and New Berlin, NY and spend some time riding around checking things out more than we have in the past. We spent a lot of years buzzing around the country to ride in all the lower 48. We passed through a few places in a hurry that would have been fun to spend a little more time in. Unfortunately for me the best area to meet half way in I had visited twice last year:

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87134

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85668

This trip our goal was to ride as much twisty stuff as we could stand riding a lot of roads we had never ridden before with only a couple tourist stops all week. Armed with a still hot of the press Butler Map. I quickly put together some day rides that connected as many of the Butler colored roads as practical.

http://www.butlermaps.com/motorcycle-road-maps/southern-appalachia-map-al-tn-nc-sc-ga/

But first we both had to get to our meeting point at the McDonald’s in Athens, TN. We planned on meeting there sometime on Sunday afternoon.

Day 1 Fort Worth to Savannah, TN.

Hitting the road at 6:50 am.

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I have been more than a little apprehensive about doing long street bike rides the last few years as there aren't a lot places I have ridden through in the lower 48. It is one of the reasons I have returned to my roots by doing more dual sport riding instead of long distance street rides.

The start of this trip was no different. The first 100 miles I kept thinking, why did I say I would do this ride. Then a funny thing happened about 200 miles in. I got in the groove and as if by magic I having a great ride.


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My first stop was in Hope, AR for gas and to put some more clothes on. It had been drizzling and cool and I was in vented gear and quite chilled. Three days before the trip it was 102 when I road home work. Today 53 with a light drizzle.

As I was leaving three guys on Harley’s pulled and they looked frozen. They told me it was 115 three days ago for them, and they were headed back to Canada.

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It seemed like in no time flat I was crossing the Mississippi at Memphis.

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On the East Side of Memphis my low light was blinking so I stopped for gas.

It wound up being a place I sure wouldn't want to be in after dark. To top it off the gas pump leaked on my hands and there was not bathroom. The good part was I had been on the road less than 7 hours and had already ridden 520 miles.

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At this point if I stayed on the interstate I would be in Athens a day early, so I decide to take the scenic route the rest of the afternoon along the Southern border of Tennessee. I have been the route before and the roads easy and the scenery nice.

I have been through Adamsville twice now and the museum was closed both times, but you gotta love a sign entering town that looks like this:

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A few miles later I would cross the Tennessee River and call it a day in Savanah.

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Since I skipped lunch I headed out for an early supper. Growing up in the North East and now spoiled by Texas Barbecue I may be turning into a barbeque snob in my old age. This place filled my belly nicely but was missing a lot of flavor. I needed to apply waaaay too much sauce for the ribs to have any flavor.

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After supper I went for a walk around town. Grants headquarters was here during the Civil war.

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Grant was staying here until shots were heard to the South that preceded the battle of Shiloh.

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My walk continued to the historic part of town that was full of beautiful old houses.

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With a full belly and a good walk in it was time for little TV at the room and good nights Sleep.


Day 2 Savannah to Athens, TN

After a good nights sleep I walked to Huddle House for breakfast. I had heard from John last night and we were both going to try and get tot the meeting point around 2pm. While walking my brain woke up and remembered I was still in the Central Time Zone and needed to get on the road sooner than I thought.

Across the street from the Hotel there were a couple examples of petrified wood. I had no idea there was was such a thing in Southern Tennessee. They only other place I had previously seen petrified wood this big was out West.

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I didn't gas up at the end of the day yesterday so I needed gas after 100 miles or so.

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I had left with my liner on as it was pretty cool when I left in the morning so I made a quick stop to remove my liner and put on some lighter gloves. Linda and I stopped at this same place last year on the Wing. As a reminder this road is on the Trans America Trail.

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The roads were getting very twisty and scenic but were not great for making time. This is was great stretch of road going over a big know but unfortunatley was closed down to one lane.

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Soon enough I would pull in to the McDonald's in Athens and see John's FZ1 in the parking lot. He beat me by about 30 minutes. We went back out to the highway and got a room at the Scottish Inn. Not a great place but it was cheap and we only be there one night.


After getting settled in we rode the bikes back into the center of of Athens parked and went for a walk. Sine Athens had a College we expected there to be some people out on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. It was very quiet with hardly anyone out.


On the way to downtown we stopped at the VFW to check out the monuments. Pretty impressive bird for a VFW.


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Finally downtown for a walk.


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Day 3 Athens to Maggie Valley, NC

Today would be one of the two days this week that we actually had a schedule we had to loosely meet. It will also be our shortage mileage day at around 180 miles.


First stop would be at the Start of one of m favorite roads in the area, the Cherahola Skyway.



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Next stop would be at Bald River Falls.


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Last year when I visited the falls I wound up taking a dirt road back up the mountain to get back on the Cherahola. This year I found a blacktop road roughly as wide as a single car driveway to get back on the mountain.


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The Cheoah Dam that Harrison Ford “jumped” off in The Fugitive.


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Next Stop the Deal Gap Store for a stretch. Not packed but still pretty crowded for a Monday morning.



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We left the store and headed down Moonshiner 28 had the only issue we would have on the road the whole week. A couple miles down the road we met a bunch of guys on fast moving sport bikes and the second bike was in my lane on a right turn. That was our que to get away from the squids near the Gap.


Next stop would be Fontana Dam. The highest Dam in the TVA at 480 feet.


First at the bottom.


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And then from the top.



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Time was starting to get away from us so didn't stop until getting on a short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) between Cherokee and Maggie Valley. This short stretch would be very pleasant to ride complete with a few tunnels.


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We would soon be at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley.

http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/


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Highest placing Harley in the history of the Iron Butt. I placed 3rd.


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I took a lot of photos. The above are just a sampling of them. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area.


After we were through at the museum it was time to find a room for the next two nights. We settled on a little 10 room Hotel called the Cardinal Inn. It was a spotlessly clean place for $59 a night. Soon after the we checked in a quick shower blew through to cool things off a little.


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The owner recommended a little place down the street for supper. And a walk.


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Had a nice walk after supper but didn't make it back to the Hotel before getting rained on a little.

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Day 4 Maggie Valley to Maggie Valley.

Today we planned to make a roughly 230 mile to the South that took in as many Butler Map highlighted roads as possible. The front had passed and the weather looked great for today.

The question for the day is, is it possible to ride too many curves in a day?

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Breakfast of champions.

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When were gassing up this interesting creature was was on one of the the gas pump hoses.


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Our day would start with getting back on the BRP where we got off yesterday.

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We would soon be climbing back out of the valley.

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After going past the Highest elevation on the BRP we would soon be getting off it and getting on some smaller more remote twisty roads.


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After leaving here we took a great rode by mistake, that is great until it turned to a steep uphill dirt road. We turned around and got back on track again.

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When we got out of the woods we be turning South on NC 28.


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We where thinking we would get a break from endless curves, but soon enough the road got twisty again as we approached a big gorge.

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Shortly after the gorge we went by this scenic gem where you could ride behind the Waterfall.

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We would continue to meander South until we were in Georgia.

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And then on to South Carolina.


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We stopped at here for a break and what become our normal lunch of water and trail mix.



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We would soon be headed back towards Maggie Valley. We still had a long way to go and both us were getting mentally tired from all the curves. When we got to Brevard we decided to take straighter roads the rest of the way back to Maggie Valley as we were both starting to get a little sloppy riding from our brains being full.

So to answer the question, yes it possible to ride too many curves in a day.



Day 5 Maggie Valley to Kingsport, TN

Today would another day that we would ride more curves than should be allowed by law. It was time for some more curves today with two more "named roads" in the area. Neither are as famous Deals Gap but both are fun and different in their own ways. We got up to a cool and foggy morning.


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We headed out of Maggie Valley to the East to tame the Rattler.


http://www.209therattler.com


Almost there


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On the Rattler


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Soon enough we would be done with the Rattler and headed East to ride some more of the Butler Maps highlighted roads.



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Gassing in up in Boone, NC.
*

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Leaving Boone and heading west again would be a hoot as we kept changing states every few minutes.



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We would soon be at the snake.


http://www.421thesnake.com/



The Snake was a great fun road that was very twisty and and lightly traveled. Unfortunatly, we didn't stop to take any pictures until we got near the end.*



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We would soon be in Bristol, TN or was that Bristol, VA? for gas and to figure out where we were going to stay.



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We decided we would go towards Kingsport and possibly stay there. *We would ride in Virginia for a few minutes and then back into Tennessee.



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We found up calling it a day in Kingsport at a Red Roof Inn.


Another awesome day of riding in the books.



Day 6 Kingsport TN to Sheperdsville KY

After 3 days of endless curves, it was time for a drink. We were headed to Kentucky today to visit the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY, but first we head to get there. Looking at their tour hours I threw my root for the day out the window and took the quickest way there to make sure we could get a tour today.

We woke up and it overcast and humid as it had been everyday this week.

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We would very quickly be in Virginia again.


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Hard to see but my odometer reads 111111


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Heading West the fog we get really thick riding up over a big knob. Thick enough that it started raining on us for a few miles. It is shame that we couldn't see much because we passed a few overlooks that looked like they may have had great views on a clear day.

Soon we would be heading down and the rain and fog cleared.

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Tennessee here we come again. Note the clear sunny weather.

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Entering the Cumberland Gap Tunnel

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What a change a tunnel makes. On the Kentucky side of the tunnel is was a lot cooler and overcast and foggy in places.


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The weather finally cleared and were at our 2nd and final tourist destination of the week. For a little history on Jim Beam click the link below:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Beam


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The tour lasted a couple hours and was very interesting. During the tour we learned that another famous US landmark company now had a foreign owner. Jim Beam had recently been soled to a Japanese company for $16 billion dollars.



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Alcohol being distilled from the beer the rate of 45 gallons per minute.

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A fresh pour from the barrel


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The small run bottling line set up.


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The large run bottling line.

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Click next one for short video.

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Tour is almost over

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The have roughly 2 million barrels of aging at all times.


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A little more of the grounds.


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To keep this tour motorcycle related. LOL


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At the end of the to our we were given a small glass and a little electronic gadget that let us sample three different products. Being a beer drinker and having never developed a taste for Bourbon, I thought they all sucked ! LOL

We wanted to stay in Bardstown for the night as it looked like there was a lot of history and things to look at. However it was the annual Bourbon festival weekend, and there were no rooms to be had at any price. We headed up the road to Sheperdsville and found a room at a Super 8 for the night.


Day 7 Sheperdsville, Ky to Athens, TN.

What goes up must come down. We were on the home stretch of this ride, so it was time to head back to Athens, TN for us to head towards home in the morning.

Yesterday's quickest way to Jim Beam was an ok ride. We were hoping the route back to Athens would be more pleasant.

After about 10 miles on the Interstate we started our back road ride back to Athens. The roads were curvy and the scenery was nice, and the weather was perfect.

It warmed up quickly and we soon stopped to shed a layer.


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Today's route was planned to go through Greensburg, KY on the to Athens. One John's buddies from back East bought a small place to spend the winters in when he retires, and John was curious what the town looked like.


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Greensburg was setting up for some kind of festival and parade and looked like we were riding through town right when they were getting ready to close the main drag to traffic.


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We decided we were going to have BBQ for lunch instead of skipping lunch as we all day to go 275 miles.


We stopped in Burkesville, KY for gas and lunch, it was a little early but we stopped anyways. We had no idea how early It really was. We were in Eastern time in Shepardsville, and headed to the South East. The guy at the counter at Hamilton's BBQ thought I was nuts when I was looking at the clock and asking him what time is was. Somehow even though traveling East we were back on Central Time. So we had lunch at 9:45 instead of 10:45.


All I can say is you know it is has been a good vacation when you don't know what day or time it is.


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Back in Tennessee

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The roads were getting more hilly and curvy again.

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While traveling through tiny Pall Mall a little sign get my attention. Pall Mall was the home town of Sergeant York. Any of you old guy remember him? For those that don't click this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_C._York

We hide to kill so we stopped to check things out.


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After visiting the Cemetery we stopped at the little historical area in the town.


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From here would be on the home stretch back to Athens.


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Day 8 Athens to Fort Worth

We had seen some some animals over the week, so John and I both decided would wait until first light to go in opposite directions to head home.

Fueled up, watered up and ready to hit the road.

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Looking at the weather and not wanting to take same basic route back home I decided to take the Southern route home which means basically means I-75 to I-59 to I-20. We hit the road at about 7:10am.

First State change

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Second State Change

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When I got to the East side of Birmingham traffic on I-20 was a lot heavier than normal for a Saturday morning. I started noticing that most of the cars had either Crimson Tide or Gators stickers and magnets all over them. I then dawned on me that they were all headed to Tuscaloosa for Alabama vs Florida College Football game. I had been making great time but was now a little worried about traffic slow downs the closer I got to the the football field.

I managed to snap this one picture.

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I stopped for gas just East of Tuscaloosa. The gas station was jammed with people loading up coolers with provisions for tailgating before the game. Almost all the people wearing Alabama colors.

The traffic need did slow down. Third state change.


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Next gas stop was in Vicksburg, MS where I also chowed down a gas station hot dog and refilled my drinking water. The gas station was basically right on the bank overlooking the Mississippi river


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Time for another State change.

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I must have been getting a little punchy because I didn't take a photo of my GPS.

I was getting a little tired and needed a good stretch so I stopped a little sooner this time with only about 200 miles on this sitting just over the Texas border from Shreveport.


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When I was getting ready to leave, two truckers talking to each other and smiling, said hey that’s the guy that passed us back in Tennessee earlier this morning.

Linda told me Friday night not to push and come home in one day. The problem was I was only a couple hundred miles from home and it was only 4:30 in the afternoon local time. So I had disobey her request and finish riding home.

Linda had been watching my spot and when I pulled in the driveway after 13.5 hours and 882 miles with three quick stops, the garage door was open and she was waiting to give me a big hug. It was a prefect ending to wonderful trip.


This was our basic route:

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=b364540a7581b5b4b

Trips Stats

3021 miles ridden
11 states traveled in
???? Curves ridden in the mountains
112,548 Ending mileage on the old ST1300

Next year will try for a week of dual sporting in Ouray again.
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
681
Location
Houston (Heights)
Another great report Rich. We rode a lot of those roads on our Trippin Connies 2 trip. I was doing curves in my sleep for days after it. For some reason I couldn't see any of the pictures after the 111,111 mileage picture. Looked at the report later and all the pictures were there.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2005
Messages
2,359
Location
kilgore
Great report, Rich. I need to devote a little more time to that part of the country.
Glad you finally found time for a 2014 trip.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,755
Location
Huntsville
Hey Rich, what is the road number for the "Rattler"? Some of the pics on that one looked real familiar.

The Jim Beam distillery and the York Grist Mill were both really cool. Thanks for the pics!
 

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,151
Location
North of Weird
What a great trip (and report).

I found the motorcycle museum pics and Jim Beam pics very interesting. Hadn't been to either place, but much of the rest you brought back a flood of good memories. :sun:

You mentioned the oldest Harley, then said "I got third". I didn't know you did the Ironbutt rally... And third - wow. :hail:
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,755
Location
Huntsville
Highway 209 goes North up to Hot Springs, NC
That is what I thought. I recognized the overlook with the wooden fence. We stopped there on my last trip out there in 2012. That is part of one of my favorite loops.

Did you run Big Laurel Rd East over to I-26? It starts off of NC 208 just West of Hot Springs right before 208 hits 212. That is another superb ride. That place is like a spaghetti ball of great roads!!
 
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
4,594
Location
Out Riding
What a great trip (and report).

I found the motorcycle museum pics and Jim Beam pics very interesting. Hadn't been to either place, but much of the rest you brought back a flood of good memories. :sun:

You mentioned the oldest Harley, then said "I got third". I didn't know you did the Ironbutt rally... And third - wow. :hail:
Not me. That was the highest placing ever Harley in the Iron Butt. It placed third.
 
Joined
May 29, 2005
Messages
4,594
Location
Out Riding
That is what I thought. I recognized the overlook with the wooden fence. We stopped there on my last trip out there in 2012. That is part of one of my favorite loops.

Did you run Big Laurel Rd East over to I-26? It starts off of NC 208 just West of Hot Springs right before 208 hits 212. That is another superb ride. That place is like a spaghetti ball of great roads!!
We sure did that was the road where the old barn with the tabacco drying was.
 
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