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Discussion Starter #1
I am going on a 9 day trip in mid May and would love some advice for roads and points of interest. I have never been down this way before so I am after major highlights to visit. The main destination of this trip is to go to the Ozark to ride the twisties and hike.

I will stay approximately 2 days and 2 nights at each location. I will be traveling solo and on pavement only. I am looking for the route with the best roads and the best food. I generally take my time at each place so I do a lot of eating and sightseeing.

Routes Considering:
Option 1 - Chicago > St Louis > Fayetteville > Memphis > Nashville > Chicago
Option 2 - Chicago > St Louis > Memphis > Fayetteville > Kansas City > Chicago
Option 3 - Chicago > St. Louis > Memphis > New Orleans > Fayetteville > Chicago

Which route would have the most interesting roads and sightseeing opportunities? Any road recommendations? Are there any other cities in this area that I should stop by? Is Fayetteville a good central location to ride/hike the Ozark?
 

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Option1. Memphis has great BBQ, Beal Street for music and people watching. Tom Sawyer campground is in West Memphis, AK on the river. Nice but noisy with the river traffic.
Nashville = good food and all the music you want. Little places downtown have live music during the day. If you get that far east the Smokies are right there for riding and hiking. TN has many good roads for riding [most of them]. US129 The Dragon -- just to say you did. Avoid Gatlinburg unless you like big crowds.
 

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Nashville is the northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway which then runs 400-odd miles to Natchez, MS. It gets boring after a while though. A good trip is Nashville to Florence, AL via the Natchez Trace Parkway, then east from Florence to I-65 at Athens, AL and then south to Birmingham, AL. The Barber Motorsports Museum is in Birmingham and is worth the ride south from Chicago all by itself.

From Birmingham head north on I-59 to Chattanooga and then you are in the East Tennessee mountains. The Cherohala Skyway (gorgeous!) and the Dragon are just to the north of there.
 

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Dont forget that there will be a gathering mid May near the Dragon at Ironhorse Lodge.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the replies! I already went on a similar trip to the Dragon last year so I want to try something different.

Are there a lot of fun roads in around Nashville? I'll definitely look into the Natchez Trace Parkway.
 

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Are there a lot of fun roads in around Nashville? I'll definitely look into the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Not really. There are some but nothing truly mountainous-twisty. Even the Natchez Trace Parkway is pretty tame. The northern 12 to 15 miles are a lot of fun but after that it tends to flatten out which is why I said it gets boring after a while. It is a very historic ride though and there are pull-offs every mile or two listing some sort of historic event or other.

Nashville is pretty much the division between the flat Mississippi River delta country to the west and the Smoky Mountain country to the east. Go west and it gets flat, go east and it get mountainous. Because of that most of the interesting motorcycle roads are to the east of Nashville. Even so, Nashville is hilly and there are some decent roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not really. There are some but nothing truly mountainous-twisty. Even the Natchez Trace Parkway is pretty tame. The northern 12 to 15 miles are a lot of fun but after that it tends to flatten out which is why I said it gets boring after a while. It is a very historic ride though and there are pull-offs every mile or two listing some sort of historic event or other.

Nashville is pretty much the division between the flat Mississippi River delta country to the west and the Smoky Mountain country to the east. Go west and it gets flat, go east and it get mountainous. Because of that most of the interesting motorcycle roads are to the east of Nashville. Even so, Nashville is hilly and there are some decent roads.
Thanks Scott! After being in Chicago, anything remotely scenic or hilly would be a treat. I've been through Tennessee before and it's quite a beautiful state. Too bad I won't have time to ride to the Smoky Mountain again. Nashville is so close to the Dragon, maybe a long day trip...

Looks like Nashville is the winner. From what I have read, there's a lot of history and culture there so that should be really fun.
 

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Thanks Scott! After being in Chicago, anything remotely scenic or hilly would be a treat. I've been through Tennessee before and it's quite a beautiful state. Too bad I won't have time to ride to the Smoky Mountain again. Nashville is so close to the Dragon, maybe a long day trip...

Looks like Nashville is the winner. From what I have read, there's a lot of history and culture there so that should be really fun.
Well, in all honesty the mountains do start not that far to the east. Fifty miles or so and the terrain really starts to change. The farther east you go the steeper things get. Tellico Plains is about 180 miles from here and it is the west end of the Cherohala Skyway.

Every area has its share of history and culture, it just depends on the kind of history and culture that one enjoys. Nashville has a LOT of country music "Stuff" (clubs, museums, shows, etc.) so if you are in to that it's got a lot to offer. There are also a lot of civil war sites in the area, Trail of Tears, etc. And, as mentioned, the Natchez Trace Parkway is quite historic.

Let me know if I can help.
 

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If you make it to Nashville area over a weekend, let me know. I'd be happy to meet for a bite or show some roads. I live and ride mostly north of the city, but do have a few favorites around the Nachez Trace area too (southwest). I also have spare space if you need a place to crash...weekend travel not required for this last one. ;)

North and east of the city can get into some twisties as you ride up to the plateau ~about 1 hour away from the city.

North and west is rolling hills and farmland.

Both have their merits.

Have a great trip,
Mike


Sent from Motorcycle.com App
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you make it to Nashville area over a weekend, let me know. I'd be happy to meet for a bite or show some roads. I live and ride mostly north of the city, but do have a few favorites around the Nachez Trace area too (southwest). I also have spare space if you need a place to crash...weekend travel not required for this last one. ;)

North and east of the city can get into some twisties as you ride up to the plateau ~about 1 hour away from the city.

North and west is rolling hills and farmland.

Both have their merits.

Have a great trip,
Mike


Sent from Motorcycle.com App
Thanks for the offer Mike! I'll definitely let you know if I make it to Nashville. Glad to know some good roads are not too far away.
 

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I live near Fayetteville, Ar. Buy the butler motorcycle map for the Ozarks. having lived here and been on these hwys for a few years I'd say the map is pretty spot on for the best roads.
 
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