Skyline Drive, Bluridge Parkway, Smokey Mountain National Park, Deals Gap - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 10:00 pm Thread Starter
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Skyline Drive, Bluridge Parkway, Smokey Mountain National Park, Deals Gap

Eleven BMW's, and an FJR. We left New York on Saturday the 11th, first stop was Front Royal Virginia. Next day we started out early on the Skyline Drive lots of twisties, and a couple of switchbacks. Skyline Drive feed us into the Blueridge Parkway, as we made our way to the Smokey Mountain National Park. The Blueridge Parkway is a great road, and we came across an unexplainable traffic jam only to see a baby black bear three feet off the road. I got hung up with the 4 cars, and 12 motorcycles looking at the thing, and suddenly realized, I had no way out if mama bear showed up, With that Mama appeared, thank god she was calm probably feed by people, but what a comedy act the twelve of us trying to get the hell out of the way with our bikes loaded down with camping gear. My Zumo 550 went crazy up on the Blueridge Parkway, everything was 20 miles away, and it was just plain crazy until we got out of the mountains, and set up camp in the Smokey Mountain National Park. It rained all night like nobodies business, some tents leaked I was lucky with my Catoma Conga keeping me high and dry. The next day we relaxed gathered some um refreshments, and firewood. No showers in the park, and the river was cold, but in 90 degree weather it felt great. Tuesday we hit the Blueridge Parkway, and headed to Deals Gap. I must say it was an interesting road, no Police at all, and honestly I thought the place was a bit of a tourist trap. I never got out of 2nd gear during the 318 turns in 11 miles. For me I'd rather be on the Blueridge Parkway, or Skyline Drive. Wed. we headed off for the MOA Rally, and it was as expected, but I was somewhat disappointed with the venue, I guess I was spoiled by the Wisconsin site in 2007. We camped at the Rally and left for New York on Saturday Morning arriving back on Long Island about 8PM. All in all a great ride with some good friends. I really got to test the capabilities of the GT, and I can say I'm impressed, even though the heat of the South brought on some BBS, nothing I can't live with only in 1st gear, and under no load. Maybe one of those Power Frk thingies is in order down the road. More picture to follow these were e-mailed to me by our group photgrapher
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 8:09 am
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Nice write up on your trip.

Great pictures - it was interesting that you never got out of 2nd gear at the dragon!

2009 KGT1300 Apple Red (mine)
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 12:25 pm Thread Starter
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The Tail of the Dragon is one turn after the next, and I noticed it's banked a bit which helps to navigate the Dragon, but 2nd gear on the GT easily takes me up to 50 MPH which I don't think I ever hit on the Dragon. No matter how you slice it the GT is nearly 700 lbs, and not a Sport Bike. There are guys who stay at the motel at Deals Gap, mostly sports bike types, and ride the Dragon back and forth all day long. They seem to have every nuance of the road committed to memory, but they are they same guys who regularly contribute to the Tree of Shame. The Tree of Shame is a monument to crashes, and unfortunately several fatalities each year. Here is a video of the tree, plenty of tupperware up there:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o3fPCT3-Xk

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 2009, 5:23 am
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Deals Gap is toursty, but fun. I did enjoy the roads getting there maybe better. I had my GT loaded to the gills but spent most of the time in 3rd and 4th.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2009, 12:56 pm
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Yeah, I remember going by there when it was just a road with a closed gas station and hotel at the bottom of it. The gas station "tried" to open at various times. It would be open one trip and then closed again the next. Sometimes selling gas, others, just being a "general store".

One time the gas station started selling T-shirts and popularizing the road. They also had some motorcycling essentials (oil, chain lube, gloves, rain suits, etc.). It stayed open and became more of a bike hang-out. There was a display of pictures (the old paper kind) that people had of them riding the area.

People wore the T-shirts, articles were written about the road, etc. Fame spread. Last time I was there, they had recently opened the big restaurant, and were planning time-shares (!) across the street. There was a competing gift shop across the street as well. And of course, full time photographers on the road itself.

Fortunately, there are plenty of less famous roads to ride up there that are just as good or better. My Dad retired in the region, partly to enjoy those roads, so I am up there fairly frequently (but less frequently than I'd like!).
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Jul 29th, 2009, 5:45 pm
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I just return from a 2 weeks vacation that took me from the Adirondack mountains down the SLD and BRP, and the Dragon tail then east to Cape Hateras, all on back roads. We were lucky to get minimum rain. The return was quicker (read return home via express ways) due to my friends's broken swingarm on his Harley and his girl friend (also on a Harley) missed a curve in the BRP so the pace was somewhat ''affected'' after.

But nevertheless, this was a 6000 klm of almost pure riding fun, only the waiting for the friend's Harleys to catch up was a bit tedious

Bests Regards

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2009, 6:36 pm Thread Starter
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Finally got the rest of the pictures, here is a sampling. Sorry, we did not get any pictures of Mama bear. No one was waving a camera when she came down onto the road we were all busy getting the hell out of her way. The Hooters girls are optional.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2009, 8:15 am
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Talking

Thanks for sharing. I'm new to this site but not new to motorcycles. How was the guy feeling about the FJR? Before I decided on the K1200GT I was seriously considering the FJR or the new Concours 14. I decided to get a BMW with a couple years and a few miles on it = to the same price as a new FJR or Kawi because the BMW seemed to be a better finished bike over all. I hope to visit that area next year.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Aug 24th, 2009, 1:37 pm Thread Starter
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The FJR is sweet he has no problems at all with the bike. The guy is get this 68yrs old, and rides like a bat outta hell on that bike. Last year he went with us to Newfoundland, again the bike was flawless. I came off an RT, and was strongly considering the FJR, but could not get a dealer to give me a test ride. I was shocked, and no way I'm buying a bike without a test ride. So back to BMW had a test ride on an 06 at Max BMW, and I was sold. Within a week bought the bike. Almost forgot welcome aboard.

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