During the last four days the weather has been outstanding here in southwest North Carolina. We’ve taken advantage of the clear skies and warm temperatures to take the motorcycle out for three rides on some long and winding roads. The first was a trip across the Cherohala Skyway, a 43 mile Scenic Byway running across the mountains from Robbinsville, NC to Tellico Plains, TN. The road has elevations ranging from 900 feet at Tellico Plains to just over 4,500 feet near the North Carolina / Tennessee state line.
The next day we jumped back on the bike and road about 80 miles north to revisit the Blue Ridge Parkway. We had been up there last week (see an earlier blog) and wanted to see if the leaves had become more colorful. We were not disappointed.
Ride number three involved a return to a ride from last year. This is one of the best motorcycle rides you’ll find in the U.S. called the Tail of the Dragon. Like the Cherohala Skyway, this ride crosses the mountains from North Carolina to Tennessee. But unlike the Skyway, the Dragon does not include much altitude or beautiful vistas. The Tail of the Dragon involves sharp curves, and lots of them. They claim the Dragon has 318 turns in 11 miles. We didn’t count the turns but 318 sounds about right to us. The road has dozens of switchback turns and tight curves, providing a great ride if you take your time. If you try to take the Dragon at a high rate of speed you may end up like the bike below.
Much of the ride just to get to the Tail of the Dragon is pretty impressive. As we passed the Cheoah Dam (used in the filming of Harrison Ford’s movie “The Fugitive”), they were releasing water, creating a kodak moment.
We took our time going through the curves and had a great ride. Last year we road the Dragon from Tennessee to North Carolina. This year we reversed course and began on the North Carolina side at a crossroads called Deal’s Gap, which is a restaurant, motel, and t-shirt store at the start of the Dragon.
Wow, three beautiful days and three outstanding rides! But we still have two more weeks here in beautiful Murphy, NC so more rides are on the horizon.