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Discussion Starter #1
I've been wanting to do this trip for many years and since I get laid off for the winter as of October 5th, this seems like the perfect time to do it. This would be my first longer trip on the bike. I plan on leaving around Oct7th and would like to be away for around 7-10days max.

I'll be camping and tenting along the way. I've never camped before:confused: but I'll have a new tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad before I go (and I will try out the tent first hand too). I've also never even taken the bike south of the border. Totally looking forward to it!

I have done a few 1200km-one day rides touring in Ontario, but that's about it. I'm hoping to average about 8-10hrs a day in the saddle and cover about 600km a day. I'll do some slab on my first day to get as far south as possible on day 1, but hopefully backroads from there on.

As for sightseeing, I'm very much into nature, so beautiful scenery accompanied by twisty roads is what I'm looking for. I was thinking about doing a lot of the Blue Ridge Parkway, passing through Deals Gap and surrounding area and then hitting the Barber museum in Birmingham.

I know some of you have done lots of longer trips and some out to the museum from this neck of the woods...

Any suggestions? Must hit roads? Cheap places to stay? I'd like to keep things a bit flexible as to what I'm doing or where I'm going as I go along. Some structure is fine, but I have no planned itinerary and would like to keep my costs down seeing as much as possible.

All insight and help is appreciated!
Cheers:)

edit: forgot to mention that the only place I've settled on staying at so far is Fontana Village near Deals Gap. Other than that, I still have to figure out where I'm sleeping each night. Is camping by the roadside (away from traffic) or on parkland a no-no? I could just stay at campgrounds and such, but have no experience with what I am required to do to plan for that.
 

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Barbers

The 2010 Barbers Vintage Motorcycle Festival is Oct 8-10......literally 1,000's of bikes show up for this event.....400 space swap meet, vintage racing all weekend (road racing, MX, Trials, Hare Scrambles), air shows on Sat/Sunday, bike shows and the Bator Motorcycle Auction on Saturday.

Lots of motorcycle campgrounds located in N.Ga and NC....check the internet. You should be hitting the Fall colors about that time.....expect some traffic if in the mtns. Gatlinburg is nice, but crowded that time of year.
 

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For the Spring V-Strom meet at the Ironhorse I setup the following route for our group. We started the route in Kingston as that's where we all met. After the Ironhorse we went down to Birmingham.

day one from Kingston:

Johnson St to I-68 W - Google Maps


Our day two and three:

I-68 W to Co Rd 1236/Lower Stecoah Rd - Google Maps

Here is our route from the Ironhorse to the Museum:

http://tinyurl.com/yfaufz3

We had a great lunch at:

Jeff & Helen's Kitchen
225 N 3rd Ave
Chatsworth, GA 30705-2535
(706) 695-1238

Jeff and Helen's Kitchen - Google Maps


Amazing home cooked food! Tell the we sent you (the Five Canadians back in May) if you stop in there!


I can give you this route in a gps format if you want to use any orall of it. I think everyone really liked the route!

..Tom
 

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Take V-Tom's route!

I missed this year's ride but went South with him, and the Road Toads, last year. The trip South was so good (constant twisites) that the Dragon was just another road along the way.
 

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Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville to Cherokee...my favorite section. A great loop off that section: 276 to Brevard, the 64 to 215, then 215 all the way back to 276 near Cruso, then back to the BRP.

There are more roads than you can possibly ride. WV, VA, NC, eastTN, NorthGA: great roads of all kinds just about any direction.

The Barber Museum is awesome. Worth the trip all by itself. Sometimes being laid off isn't all that bad.
 

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Hmmm.... between jobs myself and thinking of heading down from Burlington to the AMA races at Barber next week. Thanks for the routes!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is it illegal to camp by the side of the road (far enough away from traffic) or just in some national park as I'm passing through (like along the BRP)?

Are there any special state laws that may affect me (like vagrancy laws) which i need to be aware of when passing through states like PA, WV, NC, TN, AL or GA?

What are KOA campgrounds like?

Thanks for the great routes Tom and I'm really looking forward to the Barber festival.

Also, I stopped eating meat a few years ago and was wondering if anyone here knew of any good vegetarian restaurants along the way. Up here there are so many multicultural options that it never is a problem finding an awesome restaurant that serves just vegetarian food.

Cheers!
 

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Be careful on Blue Ridge Pkwy. The rangers are tough on tickets. Also the rubber neckers just stop in the middle of the road to look at the wildlife like pigeons etc. it is a great road, Skyline drive is also good. Also the Cherahola skyway down by deals is good. Also when you get off deals just before you get to a gas station on the right, there is a road with a sign saying something about a national park (it is just a little sign)that also is a great road leading into Pigeon forge. sounds like you are headed for a great trip.
 

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Tenting to BHM

Be careful about overnight on side of highway. The land will be privately owned.
Try to stay @ a campground.
The Barber is the best and the grounds have many pieces of large art.
 

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I live in Indiana but I love riding in West Virginia. Just about any non - interstate highway is good. Going North or South, it would be in your best interest to travel through WV. Of course that's just my opinion, but I'm right. :biggrinjester:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Eddie - I sent you PM.

aldntn: I've also been reading through that budget travel thread on ADV and there is some great and highly useful information in there. Good to know about the dispersed camping!

Today I was thinking that it would be very interesting to drive even further south to see the gulf coast damage and New Orleans. I don't watch TV anymore and rarely read the paper, so I'm very out of touch with the oil spill and the aftermath of Katrina, but thought it would be a nice thing to do to at least go down, see it firsthand and support the local establishments a bit.
 

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"I was thinking that it would be very interesting to drive even further south to see the gulf coast damage and New Orleans"

That kind of thinking will ultimately put you in Argentina. You gotta be careful with good ideas. I really like Louisiana folks and the food they cook. You don't have to go to the big cities to eat great. I particularly like the Henderson, Breaux Bridge, St. Martinville area. New Orleans is a fun town.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'd love to go to Argentina.....
Actually, I was just having this conversation with my girlfriend... I know there is only so much I can do, so I'll just have to ride it out and see how far I can make it. And yes, sometimes it's not a bad thing being laid off and it does help having no fixed return date...

It's a bit tough to determine how far I will travel each day... I'm used to riding easily for 10hrs, but 10 hrs on twisty roads sometimes doesn't take you very far... I'll be hitting up the local CAA (like AAA) office for some maps and other things to make my planning easier..

I just tried out my new tent yesterday and set and take down was a breeze, so things are slowly starting to fall into place... still have to buy my sleeping bag and stove...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Anyone know what kind of temperatures I can expect this time of year camping along the Blue Ridge at night?

I see that in Birmingham it's hot during the day and still quite warm at night and so I'm wondering just how cold it will be at night in the higher elevations further north in Penn or Virginia. Any snow at this time of year?

I just bought a Eureka Puffin 400 (-14degF) as my sleeping bag and MSR Dragonfly stove. Grabbed a set of Givi E41's for cheap, so it seems I'm all set including new tires and oil change happening this coming week.
 

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For what it's worth, I slept this weekend in my tent up at Wilberforce. it was down to 3c (37f) at night and when I got up. Sleeping on my Exped Synmat 9 dlx pump and in my Wiggy bags I was too warm and had to take off the overbag. I was very comfy in my tent (same as yours) but remember to leave the vents open if there is any moisture at all to avoid condensation.

..Tom
 

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If you're coming down Skyline Drive and The Blue Ridge Pkwy. near the end of the BRP there is "Wheels Through Time" museum in Maggie Valley NC that you should also visit. Good reasonable motels there as well.
I've been to both museums and they're both good in their way.
Home*-*Wheels Through Time
As for temps along the Blue Ridge, we're to get a cooler shift beginning next week. Right now night temps will be upper 50's to lower 60's. Next week it'll drop 10°-15°
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thx for the temperature heads up and I would be interested in the other museums. I do plan on doing the Skyline and BRP. In fact, I wanted to do the whole thing from start to finish and end up passing through Deals and then on to Barber's. Time isn't really an issue, so long as I can make it down to Barbers in 3 days and then take a longer route home if need be.

Tom - Sorry I missed you all in Wilberforce - it looks like it was just as fun as last year. The sleeping bag I got is good down to -10C or 14degF, so hopefully I'll be just fine. I tried it out in my condo and it was super comfy with the thermarest. Thanks for the heads up about the venting at night.

Next question: How the hell are you supposed to get the sleeping bag packed back into the bag that comes with it? I broke a sweat trying to take the air out and get it back in. Once it's in, it's easy to take the remaining air out and compress it, but damn... getting it back in will be the thorn of this trip....
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
So here's my proposed route. As always, your comments and advice is very helpful in making the journey that much more enjoyable.

I've read elsewhere that some roads get so twisty in some areas, that 300miles can be a full day. I'm accustomed to knocking off 600miles+ in a day, but that's usually at an average of 55m/hr on faster sweepers as opposed to tighter, technical roads. I'm hope that each day I can accomplish what I have estimated, but since I want to make camp each night while there is still some light out, I figure I may have to change my route as I go. I don't want to ride at night and chance it with the wildlife. I'm an early riser, so I hope to be on the road each day by around 8am, unless I go hiking around. One thing is for certain - on my way back, I do want to do the BRP from end to end. I hope there is no road closures...

Route Day 1 - October 6th - 867 km
Camping in Monongahela National Park (Day Run Campground) - close to Marlinton (US219) Monongahela National Forest Campgrounds

Route Day 2 - October 7th - 448miles (720km)
Camping with some other riders heading down from Toronto in Deals Gap or:
(Fontana Village - View Accommodation - Fontana Village Resort ) or
(Ironhorse - Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge near Deals Gap and Cherohala Skyway)

Day 3 October 8th - 291 miles (481km) Fastest route from Deals Gap to Barber Museum to get there as early as possible.
Barber : Directions

Day 4 October 9th - Barber Museum - day to relax and check out the sights

Route Day 5 - October 10th - 248miles (399km)
Leave Barber around noon, swing over to Mississippi, and ride along Natchez Parkway to Meriwether Lewis Monument (Free camping at milepost 385 near Hohenwald, TN)
(http://www.nps.gov/natr/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=90434)

Route Day 6 - October 11th - 378 miles (608km)
Meriwether Lewis Monument back to Deals Gap

Route Day 7 - October 12th - 290 miles (466km)
Deals Gap to Boone KOA (along the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC)
Boone KOA - (Boone North Carolina Camping, Boone Campground in North Carolina - KOA in Boone)

Route Day 8 - October 13th - 312 Miles (500km)
Boone KOA to Lewis Mountain Campground ( along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park)
Lewis Mountain: http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/upload/lewis_mtn_campground.pdf

Route Day 9 - October 14th - 376 miles (605km)
Shenandoah to Allegheny National Park (Hearts Content Recreation Area)
Allegheny National Forest- Recreational Activities

Route Day 10 - October 15th - 237 miles (381km)
Allegheny National Park to Toronto
 
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