Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tail of the Dragon, 10.18 - 20

It's really a fantastic thing to have your birthday in the fall, especially when you're living in a place with as much good late season motorcycle riding as we were. We were working for Amazon at the time in Kentucky, and as the busy season hadn't really gotten rolling yet, still had three days off each week together. When Karla asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I did a quick weather check and got out the map. Could you believe we were a half day's ride away from the Tail of the Dragon? The Dragon as it's called is probably the most famous motorcycle road in the country. It's 11 miles long with 318 beautifully maintained curves. Nirvana. Well, very busy nirvana. No biggie, we were off during the week, something we had requested when we were hired, just for this reason: to avoid crowds! I plotted a course and we had three days of motorcycling and camping bliss!

We'd been to the Dragon before, Karla and I rode out with John to meet up with a bunch of friends there about a MONTH after she started riding. She did amazing! Now it was time to return with some more miles under her belt.

Since it was now a half day's ride, instead of a full three, we enjoyed winding two lanes. Check out this nuclear power plant we found on the way.

We opted for Hunt's Motorcycle Lodge and Campground, it's run by a nice couple who ride and it's well reviewed. The place was completely empty and perfectly quite. Add in some fall color and excellent weather and:

Really was a great spot for some photos, so as always here are too many...

I think this one is my favorite.

Wednesday was perfect. Seriously. I couldn't have been happier. It doesn't get any better than that day!! First we hopped on the Cherahola Skyway, which started almost on our doorstep. Famous for excellent views, taking you high (well relatively high) in the southern Appalachian Mountains. It was up here we got our best picture of the day, I look forward to framing it.

Next up is the Dragon. Had lunch at the start of the road, there's a big store, gas station, restaurant, motel and campground there. Everyone congregates, loads of bikes to gawk at. Our motomule trailer got a lot of attention! Bellies full we were ready to return to pavement. Still some traffic midday on a Wednesday but nothing like a weekend! Derby did incredibly well even with all those twists and turns. Good girl.

Derby and I even made the highlights of the most popular and well known professional photographer on the Dragon. It's a really big deal and total bragging rights to make his weekly highlights. Vain, I know, but come on!!

I'd heard good things about some gravel forest roads in the area, and another called River Road. They take a similar track as the Cherahola, so would lead us home. This might have been the highlight of the day! NO traffic, beautiful color, very quiet.

We think Derby enjoyed the slower pace and so many things to see.

My second favorite picture from the trip!!

Bald River Falls was fantastic. I've been to the area many times and never knew this existed.

Only one picture from the way home, found this cute little place for lunch. It rained off and on, probably why I didn't get the camera out much.

I had the best time! Everyone should have so much fun on their birthday.

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