2007 Asheville motorcycle trip
Day 6

June 20

Our plans for today read like a who's who for motorcycle riding...US321, Foothills Parkway, Tail of the Dragon, US28, Cherohala Skyway.

Our first stop on our motorcycle pilgrimage will be the American Pancake House for a hearty breakfast. This was our first Pigeon Forge stop in 2005. When we arrived at the pancake house...it was gone. Only a concrete foundation remained. Hmmmmm. Undaunted, we went across the street to Mel's Diner. Mel's was a fine substitute for the defunct pancake house.

Wear's Valley area.

Mel's Diner is conveniently located at the turn off to US321, so after breakfast we headed east. US321 is curvy at first, then straightens out in the Wear's Valley area, followed by more curves. We pulled off at Townsend for gas. There were several bikes here already and lots going back and forth on the highway. This is the first day of the Honda Hoot in Knoxville so we expect to see even more Goldwings. I think Mike has wood.

Ten miles north on US321 we turn left (west) onto the Foothills Parkway. The Foothills Parkway is similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway just shorter. It runs the ridge of the mountains on the west side of the Great Smoky Moutains National Park. There are pulloffs to view the Maryville valley and the Lookout Rock trail.

Someone had left a fresh skidmark.

Action on the Tail of the Dragon.

Zee Foto pictures of us on the Dragon.

The south end of the parkway ends at US129 and Lake Calderwood. We turn left and in a few miles we are riding the Tail of the Dragon. Technically, the Dragon isn't any worse then US74A or NC226 we'd ridden earlier in our vacation...there's just 11 miles of it. It's also neat to be riding a famous motorcycle road. On this Wednesday morning the traffic on the Dragon is light. We are only passed by one crotch rocket. He passed us on a curve and didn't give us time to let him by. Jerk.

We finished the Dragon in one piece. In fact, none of us even scraped a floorboard. We pulled into the Deal's Gap motorcycle resort for pictures, pins, stickers, and souvenoirs.

From Deal's Gap we took 'Hellbender' US28 to Fontana Dam. US28 is another very curvy road so the dam is a nice place to park the bikes, stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and get more stickers and pins.

After soaking in the beauty of the Fontana Dam area we continued down US28 and NC143 to Robbinsville. The main theme of this road seems to be downhill and 55 mph sweepers. We gassed up then ate lunch at a Subway.

Our next destination was the Cherohala Skyway. The Skyway is NC143 and turns into TN165 at the border. Coming from Robbinsville the Skyway doesn't officially start until you're passed the lake. The highway leading to that point is pretty crappy. Once you cross a bridge on the west side of the lake the road surface improves greatly.

It offers views similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway but it's not as well maintained. There are some places where you can catch views of the road winding through the mountains. We pulled over near the west end for a break and decided we were pretty much 'curved out' for the day.

The curves ended soon and the road followed a shallow river for awhile before coming to Tellico Plains. We took TN68 to Madisonville where we gassed up. It was around 4:30 pm and our goal was to be back in Pigeon Forge by 6:00 pm so we could eat and make the 8 pm show at Country Tonite. The rest of this day's trip was about covering ground so we highballed it up US411 to Marysville and then jumped on US321 back to Pigeon Forge. We pulled in the driveway at 6:13 pm, but still had plenty of time to clean up and eat at the Great American Steak and Buffet before the show.

The air conditioning and soft chairs at Country Tonite were a welcome change after 212 miles on the bikes. The show was much different than in 2005 but there were still some familiar faces. After the show we talked to some of the performers and picked up some more pins and stickers.

After the show we rode up the road to a food store and picked up a few items. A short ride later and we were home to clean up and hit the hay. We had ridden many of THE motorcycle roads today and we had the pins, pictures, and sore butts to prove it. It was a good day.

212 miles of pure motorcycle riding.

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