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post #1 of 31 Old 07-29-2014, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Planning a solo trip...could use some suggestions

At 4pm on August 30th I'll be boarding the Auto Train in Sanford, FL (Zimmerman lives in the Daytona Beach area now, so I'll be safe!) and will arrive 9:30am the next morning in Lorton, VA. From there I plan to ride over to Skyline Drive & continue on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. That should take the 31st and the 1st. In TN I want to hit the Dragon & the Cherohala Skyway and then I'd like to make my way to The Snake. Not sure of the best way to get there though?

Here's where I could use a lot of help. I don't know anything beyond that. I want to get up through KY, WV and into Pittsburgh, making my way back to Lorton, VA to catch the 4pm train back to FL on September 6th.

I will have almost 7 full days to make this trip & would like to avoid as many highways as possible. I get enough of that in FL...itching for roads that twist, turn & change elevation!

So any help on what roads to take would be most appreciated!

Also, if anyone has any experience with the Auto Train and would like to share I'd appreciate that as well. I'm kind of OCD when it comes to preparedness. It's a 17 hour train ride and I'm afraid I'll not have something at my seat with me that I'll need & I doubt they'd let me go to the bike to get anything.

And in case you're wondering, I'm taking the train because the ride from Fort Pierce, FL to Savannah, GA is about the most boring ride you could ever make!

Thanks in advance!!!
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post #2 of 31 Old 07-29-2014, 11:39 PM
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Ft. Pierce to Savannah might be boring, but it's only 5 hours by moto... just sayin'.

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post #3 of 31 Old 07-29-2014, 11:56 PM
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I'll tell you from experience , don't overbook yourself , as it can take the joy out of the ride. Every road you have listed is worth hitting twice , but as has been mentioned here before , plan Deal's Gap (and for that matter Hwy 28 as well) on an off day , meaning not Friday thru Sunday. Hit it early and have fun. 421 (the Snake) is also a good road , a little beat up in some areas , but well worth the trip , but not nearly as known by everybody and their sport car buddy , so it should be clear about any time. Savor your trip , enjoy the roads , and it will be most rewarding.

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post #4 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Ft. Pierce to Savannah might be boring, but it's only 5 hours by moto... just sayin'.
It feels more like 15 hours though. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... lol

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Originally Posted by Black Rhino View Post
I'll tell you from experience , don't overbook yourself , as it can take the joy out of the ride. Every road you have listed is worth hitting twice , but as has been mentioned here before , plan Deal's Gap (and for that matter Hwy 28 as well) on an off day , meaning not Friday thru Sunday. Hit it early and have fun. 421 (the Snake) is also a good road , a little beat up in some areas , but well worth the trip , but not nearly as known by everybody and their sport car buddy , so it should be clear about any time. Savor your trip , enjoy the roads , and it will be most rewarding.
I should be in TN on Tuesday the 2nd so I don't think I'll be fighting the crowds! Last time I was up there I was on a Vulcan 1500 Classic, on a Saturday. Really looking forward to hitting it with the Vee!
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post #5 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 08:52 AM
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CP If you have time before you leave pick up a copy of MAD MAPS Smokey Mountains Regional Scenic tours S.E. PT1 you can get one at J P cycles in daytona. they show most major scenic rds. Along with lodging and other pertinent info PS I would avoid Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area unless you like crowds and slow moving traffic.

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post #6 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 09:35 AM
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I just did a 1500 mile round trip to New Smyrna Beach and it was NO Interstate at all. I went a different route each way. Mapped one out myself for the way down, & let my GPS pick the way back.

Stay away from Gatlinburg, I went through it on a Tuesday before peeling off towards Newport and it was wall to wall people. 441 from Cherokee to Gatlinburg was also pretty backed up with all the tourists. If you want to avoid those clogs and want to get over to TN & KY, take 209 or 63 east of Asheville, hit 66 between Greeneville(TN) and Rogersville(TN) and follow it up through Sneedville(TN). 66 will lead you to 63 and if you turn right on 63 you are a few miles from KY so you can do some exploring up there. 70 out of Newport(TN) and 251 north side of Asheville are also nice rides.

These other roads I mentioned are virtually empty of traffic. Be careful since some of them give the Snake a run for it's money. Compounding positive & negative banked increasing and decreasing radius turns are the norm and 66 is one of my favorites. I have not been on the Snake since the 90's...it truly has turned into a big circus, so if you go hit it mid week...not a weekend.

If you are looking for a place to camp, I have a gazebo in my pasture next to a swimming hole in Big War Creek(Hancock County TN). I'm 25 min to KY, 40 min to VA and an hour from the foothills of the Smokies. You are welcome to pitch a tent of hang a hammock there, just PM me and let me know the dates.

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post #7 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcom View Post
CP If you have time before you leave pick up a copy of MAD MAPS Smokey Mountains Regional Scenic tours S.E. PT1 you can get one at J P cycles in daytona. they show most major scenic rds. Along with lodging and other pertinent info PS I would avoid Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area unless you like crowds and slow moving traffic.
Thanks! The one time I was up there we went through Pigeon Forge. On a Saturday. Never again!

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Originally Posted by Motor7 View Post
I just did a 1500 mile round trip to New Smyrna Beach and it was NO Interstate at all. I went a different route each way. Mapped one out myself for the way down, & let my GPS pick the way back.

Stay away from Gatlinburg, I went through it on a Tuesday before peeling off towards Newport and it was wall to wall people. 441 from Cherokee to Gatlinburg was also pretty backed up with all the tourists. If you want to avoid those clogs and want to get over to TN & KY, take 209 or 63 east of Asheville, hit 66 between Greeneville(TN) and Rogersville(TN) and follow it up through Sneedville(TN). 66 will lead you to 63 and if you turn right on 63 you are a few miles from KY so you can do some exploring up there. 70 out of Newport(TN) and 251 north side of Asheville are also nice rides.

These other roads I mentioned are virtually empty of traffic. Be careful since some of them give the Snake a run for it's money. Compounding positive & negative banked increasing and decreasing radius turns are the norm and 66 is one of my favorites. I have not been on the Snake since the 90's...it truly has turned into a big circus, so if you go hit it mid week...not a weekend.

If you are looking for a place to camp, I have a gazebo in my pasture next to a swimming hole in Big War Creek(Hancock County TN). I'm 25 min to KY, 40 min to VA and an hour from the foothills of the Smokies. You are welcome to pitch a tent of hang a hammock there, just PM me and let me know the dates.
Fantastic info & thank you! I won't be doing any camping on this trip, but that doesn't mean it will never happen!

Frankly, I've been in FL for 3 years now and I'm pretty much done with it. I've ridden all up through there & it does nothing for me. I'm gonna take a relaxing train ride to where the good stuff is & let 'er rip! Don't worry though...I know my limitations!

Honestly, I may very well end up in the Chattanooga area in the next year or so. I love it there! I've been casually looking, but haven't gotten totally serious about it yet. But I suspect that will change soon.
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post #8 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 10:59 AM
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Years ago I took my first trip to the Dragon. My route was from central Ohio, thru WV, then VA, etc. In VA, I went to see Burkes's Garden, a valley on top of a mountain, kinda neat, then a little west to Tazewell where I caught 16 south which would take me to I 81 and then towards the Dragon. While I was on 16, I thought if the Dragon is worse than this, I'm in deep trouble. I surely didn't count the curves, switchbacks, or anything, just focused on not crashing and burning. And very little if any traffic. I honestly thought the Dragon was easier. Check it out if it's near your route. I've ridden the Dragon a couple of times since, and there's just too many people on it, a lot of them in your lane, just ride at your own pace.
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post #9 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 11:31 AM
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Heading into PA you might check out Wellsboro, I haven't been yet but have read good things about it on EatSleepRide. It's east of Pittsburgh, maybe then head to the Hawks Nest on the Delaware River and then start meandering back toward Lorton?

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post #10 of 31 Old 07-30-2014, 01:03 PM
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I've made the trip from Skyline Drive down to Deal's Gap a few times so here's my $.02 worth. I would suggest that rather than getting on SLD at Front Royal (north end) that you make your way from Lorton to Warrenton, VA and take 211 west and get on the second SLD entrance at Thornton Gap instead, near Luray. It's well worth riding 211 all the way to Luray (fill up, etc.) then backtrack on 211 the few miles to the Thornton Gap entrance. 211 is one of those must-ride roads on a lot of lists. Keep in mind that the ONLY gas station between Front Royal and the furthest end of the Blue Ridge Parkway is at Big Meadows which is at about the 50 mile marker on SLD. Otherwise you have to get off and find gas along the way. (I put together a gas locator sheet for one of my trips and it comes in handy. I can send it to you if you want, it keeps you from wandering aimlessly off the parkway too much). From my experience you will get pretty antsy after a while and will likely want to get off the parkway to make better time, but WHATEVER you do avoid I-81 anywhere north of Roanoke, VA but I-40 is actually a pretty nice ride especially west of Hickory, NC. Once you make it to Asheville by whatever route, Route 19 from Asheville through Maggie Valley (motorcycle friendly) and Cherokee (casinos) is nice and it takes you to the Robbinsville/Deal's Gap area. Anyway, I work about 20 miles from the Lorton Amtrack station and you will literally pass by my house if you decide to try 211 to Luray, so let me know if you need anything while you're in the area!

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