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Discussion Starter #1
I'm headed up to the Smokies next week and am interested in going through Cades Cove and riding the unpaved Parson Branch Road that is a one-way out to US-129 in the middle of Deals Gap. I'm going to be by myself and wondered if it was a good idea? Is it very rough, or just gravel? I'm probably going through that area on Tuesday morning, so if anyone is in the vicinity and would like to ride the same route let me know. I'll be staying in Pigeon Forge all week and have laid out some good routes from the last two years. Unfortunately, I won't be on my newly acquired '08 DL650 as I don't have enough luggage space (yet), but the GS instead.
 

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I did it a couple years ago with a few local guys.

One was on a Honda 700 Nighthawk.

The water crossings are paved, there were a few steep spots where I was spinning a half-worn Tourance going uphill.

It shouldn't be an issue unless it's been torn up over the winter.

Check to make sure it's open.

BTW, the Nighthawk sustained a slighlty dinged header tube.

Hope this helps.
 

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You shouldn't have any problems. One of our local hard core riders does it on his 500 Ninja and 650 Burgman all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys! I knew you'd have the answers.

How about a Concours C-14? My neighbor has decided to come along. We may end up giving the off-road a miss this year.
 

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I'll be riding the Smokies in two weeks and just put this road on my list. There's a YT video that shows what its like. (Parsons Branch road - YouTube). If you watch the vid towards the end you'll see a sedan driving through it.

If it's possible while you're on the road, please let us know how the conditions are. Given the winter washouts plaguing the Cherohala, BRP, etc. I was wondering about it being completely passable. I don't think Parsons Branch road would be high on the fixit list when so many roads are still being worked on.

Does anyone know if the BRP near Mt Mitchell will be open before May?

Enjoy your ride, maybe I'll see you in our travels
 

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i'll be riding that road when i go up for the rally...i'm thinking of staying up there through the 26th of may. I'm hopeing it will be passable in my miata so my wife can enjoy it too, since whe won't ride my bike that far.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update

We arrived via the newly repaired US-441 over the mountain yesterday. It was a mighty steep drop where it washed out, but the new surface looked and felt good. We did Deals Gap and the Cherohala today and both were in great shape. Some minor construction on the Chero, but it only slowed us for a minute. My riding companion sounds like he's going to wimp out on me and I'll have to do SR-209 from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs by myself. This is a pretty desolate road during a weekday and I was hoping to have another rider with me. He's complaining about "painful wrists" so I think I'll have to go it alone. We got to the Dragon about 9:00ish this morning and had only two cars in front of us and both pulled off so we could pass, so it was pretty nice. Mostly Adventure and sport bikes at the Resort when we stopped there to buy the obligatory souvenir. Just a few HDs. I wish I could train myself to stop more often to take pictures. I always get home and wish I had.
 

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i'll be riding that road when i go up for the rally...i'm thinking of staying up there through the 26th of may. I'm hopeing it will be passable in my miata so my wife can enjoy it too, since whe won't ride my bike that far.
I love Parson's Branch.

I wish I didn't have to endure Cade's Cove to ride it.

I was thinking about you on Sunday when I was in Ft. Lauderdale and saw a surfer tethered to a kite thingie.

Look forward to meeting you, I'll be the one who smells bad.
 

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Tuesday Update

Today we did 160 miles. We started north (from Pigeon Forge) to Newport TN. Neat little town, quite busy for its size. On to Hot Springs. We were supposed to take US-70/25 all the way, but apparently there's a bridge out somewhere and we got detoured onto SR-107 for many miles. Great road! It really took us out of our way, but the curves and scenery were better than anything 70/25 had to offer. From Hot Springs we climbed the mountain on SR-209 south. Very nice mix of hairpins and sweepers at altitude and green valleys down low. We picked up I-40 north of Lake Junaluska and exited 22 miles later at Hartford to take the backroads as far as we could towards Gatlinburg and then back to the motel. Supposed to rain tomorrow, but in the afternoon. I think we'll try to do Cades Cove and Parsons Branch road if the weather looks like it will hold off.
 

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Supposed to rain tomorrow, but in the afternoon. I think we'll try to do Cades Cove and Parsons Branch road if the weather looks like it will hold off.
You'll want an early start at Cades Cove anyways.

Have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah, I learned that from last year. I got there around 9:00am and there was a long line of traffic already. The worst part is: in spite of multiple signs saying not to do it, people keep just stopping in the middle of the single traffic lane to ogle a couple of deer. There are plenty of places to pull over and allow traffic to pass, but they won't! Hopefully the rain will hold off until late afternoon/evening.
 

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Day 3 Update

Well, I was awakened by a knock on my door this morning. My riding buddy had decided not to go out today and to leave for home Thursday morning. Didn't hurt my feelings any. I was tired of hearing about either his medical complaints or stories about his misspent youth. I decided to do Cades Cove but not Parsons Branch. Rain was predicted for afternoon so I wanted to stay close to base. Arrived at the cove around 9:00 am and had a very good ride. Very few cars, and they all moved over politely! Nothing alive to see other than a pair of deer, but the road to get there is meant for motorcyclists! After the rain left I went on the "Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail" out of Gatlinburg. Pretty cool sights even with a 10 mph speed limit it was worth the time. Late in the day there is little traffic. I actually took lots of pics here because I love to see rocky streams beside the road and especially with water mills. Tomorrow is going to be either the Ocoee loop or the Devil's Triangle.
 
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