Twisty detour off I-40

Tennessee Highway 32 provides a twisty detour from I-40 north of Asheville, NC
Tennessee Highway 32 provides a twisty detour from I-40 north of Asheville, NC

Maybe you need a diversion from riding the I-40 super slab, or the crowds of Gatlinburg, TN?  Here's 8 twisty miles (above) in the center of this 22 mile detour right off I-40 NW of Asheville, NC, and 25 miles east of Gatlinburg on US 321.

See larger map.

 

Gatlinburg is a great destination and puts you in the heart of great riding. Head south on US 441 to the Sugarlands Visitors Center, then west on Fighting Creek Gap Road to The Sinks and Meigs Falls. Click here for some nice photos.

 

"Meigs Falls is viewable from a pull off along Little River Rd between Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Townsend Wye. Nearby on the Little River is an area called The Sinks with a small but powerful cascade. You can also access the Meigs Creek Trail from The Sinks parking area which will take you on a moderate hike to the 18' high Upper Meigs Falls.

Directions: From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive west on Little River Rd for 11.8 miles and turn left into the parking area right before the bridge. This is also the parking area for the Meigs Creek Trail and is very busy during tourist season.

Meigs Falls photo by Martin Belan
Meigs Falls photo by Martin Belan

To see Meigs Falls, drive another 1.1 miles and look for a long pull off area with a retaining wall on the left. Meigs Falls is maybe 100 yards or more up Meigs Creek before it empties into the Little River. There is no trail to this waterfall. The parking and viewing area for the Sinks received a nice makeover a few years ago. You can view the cascade from the parking lot by getting out and looking over the wall, but you can also take a very short trail to another viewing area." http://www.ncwaterfalls.com/meigs1.htm 

 

Martin Belan posted this nice photo on his blog page in June of 2015.  http://blog.martinbelan.com/2015/06/meigs-falls-a-smoky-mountains-waterfall-right-along-the-road/

Meigs Falls is right off the road but easy to miss.  The GPS for Meigs Falls is 35.668972, -83.675110.
Meigs Falls is right off the road but easy to miss. The GPS for Meigs Falls is 35.668972, -83.675110.

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Tennessee - 100 mile Knoxville ride

Highway 116 offers some twisty riding near Knoxville, TN on this Google map. Click the map to see the entire 100 mile route.
Highway 116 offers some twisty riding near Knoxville, TN on this Google map. Click the map to see the entire 100 mile route.

 

Ride about 25 miles north from Knoxville, TN to the city of Rocky Top, where highway 116 takes you down the valley southwest thru Fratersville and Briceville. A few miles later the road suddenly doubles back northward over the mountains and becomes a great deal more exciting.

Ten miles later, the highway crosses the New River and heads southwest again toward Fork Mountain. Then there's 5 miles of twisties, as shown in the photo above. Finally, our 100 mile route follows highway 62 back to Knoxville. Click on the Google map to see the entire route.


Big Ridge State Park is about 25 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Big Ridge State Park is about 25 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Wikipedia photo by Brian Stansberry - Own work, CC BY 3.0
Wikipedia photo by Brian Stansberry - Own work, CC BY 3.0

"Big Ridge State Park was first developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s as part of the greater Norris Project. The park was one of three of the project's demonstration recreational areas that eventually became state parks (Norris Dam State Park and Cove Lake State Park are the other two)." 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Ridge_State_Park

 

 


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Virginia Fall Color at 4000 feet

This maple tree on US 58 shows off it's fall color.
This maple tree on US 58 shows off it's fall color.

Yesterday we went west on US 58 and found splendid color in the elevations above 4000 feet. The scenery between Mouth of Wilson, VA and Damscus, VA was very colorful - what a nice ride.

 

Nice color at elevations above 4000 feet near Grayson Highlands State Park in SW Virginia.
Nice color at elevations above 4000 feet near Grayson Highlands State Park in SW Virginia.
This highway has lots of color this weekend. You can take US 58 across southern Virginia.
This highway has lots of color this weekend. You can take US 58 across southern Virginia.

 

"Near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia's two highest mountains, Grayson Highlands SP offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. Scenic horse trails and a horse camping area with electric and water hookups, stables and parking for trailers are available. The park provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail."  http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/grayson-highlands#general_information


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Louisiana's Long Bridges

No land in sight on Lake Pontchartrain Causeway near New Orleans, Louisiana
No land in sight on Lake Pontchartrain Causeway near New Orleans, Louisiana

Louisiana has 3 of the 10 longest bridges in the world.

 

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway - 126,122 feet

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge passing over water, the waters of New Orleans's Lake Pontchartrain to be exact. The bridge is so long that for 8 of its 24 miles, you can't see land in any direction.

 

Manchac Swamp Bridge - 120,440 feet

Back in Louisiana, approximately one third of I-55 passing through the state is carried across swamplands on the Manchac Swamp Bridge. Since each of the concrete piles had to be driven more than 250 feet into the swamp, each mile of the bridge cost an average of $7 million to complete.

 

Atchafalaya Basin Bridge - 96,100 feet

When driving through Louisiana, it sometimes feels like you're never not on a bridge, especially when you're driving down I-10 between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. This stretch of highway passes over the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the United States.

 

See the entire top 10 list at: 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2013/04/28/10-longest-bridges-to-drive-across/2118739/

 

Our 202 mile route in southern Louisiana crosses 3 of the longest bridges in the world.  Click above to see the Google map.
Our 202 mile route in southern Louisiana crosses 3 of the longest bridges in the world. Click above to see the Google map.

Baton Rouge Weather

 

Find more about Weather in Baton Rouge, LA
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Click to order this book at Amazon.com
Click to order this book at Amazon.com

 

Tabasco Tours at Avery Island

 

South of Lafayette, off US Hwy 90, you can visit the home of Tabasco Brand Hot Sauce and see how this famous sauce is made. Note: The Bottling line is open Monday - Thursday. http://www.tabasco.com/avery-island/visitor-information/

Tour the grounds where the famous Tabasco Pepper Sauce is made in Avery Island, Louisiana.
Tour the grounds where the famous Tabasco Pepper Sauce is made in Avery Island, Louisiana.

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Roanoke Virginia Highway 311

Virginia Hwy 311 runs through Paint Bank as it crosses the mountains north of Roanoke into West Virginia.  The Paint Bank General Store, Swinging Bridge Restaurant, and Tingler's Mill are all at the one location.
Virginia Hwy 311 runs through Paint Bank as it crosses the mountains north of Roanoke into West Virginia. The Paint Bank General Store, Swinging Bridge Restaurant, and Tingler's Mill are all at the one location.
The Paint Bank General Store - Google maps photo by TWatkins
The Paint Bank General Store - Google maps photo by TWatkins

"The Paint Bank General Store has "a little bit of everything"... come see for yourself when you visit our authentic, small-town general store located in the heart of Paint Bank.

From the old wooden floors to the tin ceilings of yesteryear, the heart of the old-time, genuine country store is still present. You will find everything from grocery items to gift items. You can purchase our own delicious, farm-raised buffalo meat, with have many different cuts available, including burgers & rib-eye steaks. Call the store to order by phone either for pickup or we can ship to you.

Upstairs you will find many gift items and our year 'round Christmas shop. Feel free to take a stroll across our real swinging bridge and enjoy our realistic wildlife displays and carvings.

After your shopping is done, be sure to visit The Swinging Bridge Restaurant, located inside The Paint Bank General Store. Established in 2006, The Swinging Bridge offers you a unique dining experience in a cozy setting. Outside dining is available on the screened-in back porch. On your way out to visit Tingler's Mill, stop for a game of horseshoes or corn hole. Bikers, take note! Scenic Highway 311 (Paint Bank Road) takes you right into town."  http://www.paintbankgeneralstore.com/

Tingler's Mill in Paint Bank, VA - Google maps photo by TWatkins
Tingler's Mill in Paint Bank, VA - Google maps photo by TWatkins

"Tingler's Mill has a long and varied history. As a present-day decorative fixture of Paint Bank, its presence makes a grand statement about revitalization and historic preservation. In the past, however, it was an important element of everyday life in the town of Paint Bank, Virginia, serving area farmers and residents as a source of grain and flour by grinding corn and wheat."  http://www.tinglersmill.com/


Nearby Lewisburg, WV serves up it's Chocolate Festival each spring, to benefit the United Way.  http://lewisburgchocolatefestival.com





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Virginia - Big Walker Lookout on US 52

View from Big Walker Lookout on US52 near Wytheville, VA - Google maps photo by likethelivindead
View from Big Walker Lookout on US52 near Wytheville, VA - Google maps photo by likethelivindead
105 scenic miles on US 52 from Mt Airy, NC to Bramwell, WV. Click the map to see it in Google maps.
105 scenic miles on US 52 from Mt Airy, NC to Bramwell, WV. Click the map to see it in Google maps.

I-77 runs through Virginia / West Virginia from Columbia, SC on it's way to Cleveland, OH. It crosses over and through the Appalachian Mountains (there's even a couple of tunnels). But there is another way - US Highway 52 meanders through the countryside. Catch US 52 north out of Mt. Airy, NC (Andy Griffith's hometown) for a ride you won't soon forget.

The old Sheriff's car in Mt Airy, NC reminds us of the Andy Griffith Show. Mt Airy was Andy's real hometown.
The old Sheriff's car in Mt Airy, NC reminds us of the Andy Griffith Show. Mt Airy was Andy's real hometown.

Approaching Fancy Gap, VA you climb over 1000 feet on this twisty stretch of road. In Fancy Gap, I've enjoyed both The Gap Deli and the Lakeview Restaurant (good catfish, but no lake view), and you can grab a drink or snacks at the gas station or the Dollar General. There's also an entrance for the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can visit the Blue Ridge Music Center (south) or Mabry Mill and restaurant (north - just past Meadows of Dan), each within 20 miles. While you're in Meadows of Dan follow your sweet tooth to Nancy's Candy Company. The black licorice is wonderfully soft, unlike most hard licorice you find today.

Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, VA
Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Meadows of Dan, VA

"The sounds of the fiddle, banjo, and guitar are likely to welcome you when you visit the Blue Ridge Music Center. Experience regional traditional music each day of the week with FREE local Mid-Day Mountain Musicians playing on the breezeway of the visitors center from Noon - 4 PM.

The Music Center hosts a summer Roots of American Music Concert Series. Concerts take place in our beautiful outdoor amphitheater (capacity 2,500) at the base of Fisher Peak, feature local, regional, and national touring performers and bands, and are presented most Saturday evenings from late May through September."

http://www.blueridgemusiccenter.org/


See the Mayberry Trading Post page on Facebook.

Mabyerry Trading Post just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MM180 between Fancy Gap and Meadows of Dan, VA has an interesting assortment of goodies for sale, but no gas here.
Mabyerry Trading Post just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MM180 between Fancy Gap and Meadows of Dan, VA has an interesting assortment of goodies for sale, but no gas here.

Continuing north of Fancy Gap on US 52 there are nice views both north and south of the next town, Hillsville, where US 58 is turned into a huge flea market each Labor Day.

North of Hillsville, US 52 quietly crosses the New River, far below the busy I-77 overpass before continuing north to Wytheville and on to Big Walker Lookout and the BW Country Store.

"At an elevation of 3,405 feet, Big Walker Lookout affords one of the  most spectacular views of the Appalachian Mountains to our visitors."

http://www.visitwytheville.com/big-walker-lookout.html


 "A "Rails to Trails" project, the New River Trail State Park meanders through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe and Pulaski counties in southwestern Virginia and parallels the scenic and historic New River for 39 miles. Hiking, biking, horseback riding and boating on or near the trail. There are many different access points along the trail, with the southern end beginning in Galax going 57 miles to the Town of Pulaski in the New River Valley. Information and parking at Shot Tower Historical State Park; at the Fries visitors center; and at the Cliffview visitors center, near Galax." http://www.virginia.org/listings/OutdoorsAndSports/NewRiverTrailStatePark/


Pinnacle Rock State Park near Bramwell, WV - Google maps photo  by MarkTurner777
Pinnacle Rock State Park near Bramwell, WV - Google maps photo by MarkTurner777

 

"Located along Route 52, near historic Bramwell in Mercer County, Pinnacle Rock State Park is one of the more interesting day use parks operated by the West Virginia State Park system.

Towering above the rugged mountains of southeastern West Virginia, Pinnacle Rock is an unusual sandstone formation reaching 3,100 feet above sea level. This park provides a relaxing picnic area in an unusual scenic setting. http://www.pinnaclerockstatepark.com/

The Corner Shop in Bramwell, WV has a soda fountain and candy counter.  Burgers and other food is served.
The Corner Shop in Bramwell, WV has a soda fountain and candy counter. Burgers and other food is served.

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69 miles in 2 days, Virginia & WV

Harrisonburg, VA is only 69 miles south of Winchester, VA on I-81, but 488 miles on our more scenic route.
Harrisonburg, VA is only 69 miles south of Winchester, VA on I-81, but 488 miles on our more scenic route.

 

Ride for a couple of days, mostly in West Virginia on two US highways. US 50 is the northern leg from Winchester, VA to Parkersburg, WV and crosses the western tip of Maryland for about 10 miles.  See the Google map.

 

The southern leg is on US 33 from Ripley, WV to Harrisonburg, VA. There's more to ride just south on US 250, which travels northwest from Staunton, VA all the way to Sandusky, OH on Lake Erie.

 

This ride is just south of Pittsburgh, near Front Royal, VA (the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive) and is easily accessible from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. It touches I-77, I-79, & I-81. Enjoy the ride.

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Coal country curves on VA / KY border

There's plenty of curves on this stretch of Hwy 160 crossing the KY / VA border
There's plenty of curves on this stretch of Hwy 160 crossing the KY / VA border
Country music legend, Loretta Lynn
Country music legend, Loretta Lynn

 

On the Kentucky side you can stop in Lynch and visit an underground coal mine at Portal 31. Two miles further west stop at the Kentucky Coal Mine Museum in Benham, where "Country music legend Loretta Lynn, "The Coal Miner's Daughter," has housed some of her personal collection on the third floor of the museum. Her floor of the museum is now open." 

http://www.benhamky.org/Museum/

 


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Luxury camping in NW Georgia

Yurts and other camping options in NW Georgia at Cloudland Canyon State Park

"Cloudland Canyon has many options for overnight camping, and a few yurts for some glamping. These more modern, quirky yurts are an extremely popular choice among those looking for a few more amenities than a tent provides, so make sure you reserve early."

http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/georgia/glampgrounds-in-ga/

Cloudland Canyon State Park is 2 hours from Atlanta, a few miles from Chattanooga
Cloudland Canyon State Park is 2 hours from Atlanta, a few miles from Chattanooga

"Cloudland Canyon State Park is a 3,485 acre (14.10 km²) Georgia state park located near Trenton and Cooper Heights on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. One of the largest and most scenic parks in Georgia, it contains rugged geology, and offers visitors a range of vistas across the deep gorge cut through the mountain by Sitton Gulch Creek, where the elevation varies from 800 to over 1,800 feet.[1] Views of the canyon can be seen from the picnic area parking lot, in addition to additional views located along the rim trail. At the bottom of the gorge, two waterfalls cascade across layers of sandstone and shale, ending in small pools below."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloudland_Canyon_State_Park

Cloudland Canyon waterfall - photo by Ronmacal at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain
Cloudland Canyon waterfall - photo by Ronmacal at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain
Click here to buy yours today from Amazon
Click here to buy yours today from Amazon

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Back of the Dragon - VA Hwy 16

There's a slideshow of aerial photos from VA Hwy 16, aka Back of the Dragon. 

Visitvirginiamountains.com has a nice slideshow of aerial shots from VA Hwy 16
Visitvirginiamountains.com has a nice slideshow of aerial shots from VA Hwy 16

 

"Thirty two miles and over three hundred curves, the Back of the Dragon is the premier riding road in the nation! Ideal for sports cars or motorcycles, this road offers the most spectacular views you can find in the Appalachians. Crossing three mountains in its course from Marion, Virginia to Tazewell, Virginia, the Back of the Dragon offers knee dragging curves, switchbacks, limited access and elevation changes that no other motorcycle route can offer." http://www.virginia.org/Listings/OutdoorsAndSports/BackoftheDragon/

 

Virginia Highway 16 has lots of curves between Marion and Tazewell, VA.
Virginia Highway 16 has lots of curves between Marion and Tazewell, VA.
Virginia Travel Guide

This laminated, easy to fold Virginia map is a great, quick reference tool while travelling.
This laminated, easy to fold Virginia map is a great, quick reference tool while travelling.

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Florida to the Adirondacks

 

Part 1 of our journey takes us 600 miles north to Durham, NC, home of Duke University. We'll mostly follow US 301 to Orangeburg, SC and then US 601, US 1, and US 501 with about 20 miles on I-85 near Durham. See the Google map.

In Florida, you can pickup US 301 anywhere north of Tampa. You'll have a few smaller cities, like Wildwood, Ocala, and Starke, to deal with traffic lights. There's also a lot of open space in between. In Baldwin, near I-10, you can stay on 301 or follow our route via FL 121 before connecting again with 301.

If you're familiar with US 1 along the Florida east coast, you'll be surprised to find it inland in North Carolina. You'll pass the former Nascar track, Rockingham Speedway, which is now up for auction.

Further north, Southern Pines is a quaint little town in the heart of golf country. Nearby Pinehurst is world famous. "Pinehurst No. 2, the centerpiece of Pinehurst Resort, remains one of the world’s most celebrated golf courses. It has served as the site of more single golf championships than any course in America and, in 2014, hosted 14 days of championship play with back to back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships for the first time in their history."  http://www.pinehurst.com/golf/courses/no-2/

If you have the time to spend, this 600 mile ride is much more enjoyable than I-95. Leaving Durham, we're taking US 15 north thru Virginia and Maryland, into Pennsylvania. Click the button below.

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Georgia waterfall ride

Panther Creek Falls in Rabun County, Georga

"Georgia is known for having some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the entire country. We’re talking truly breathtaking cascades. Some people will flock all the way from out-of-state just to hike those gorgeous Georgia trails and wind up at a majestic waterfall. But did you know there’s a way to see a majority of the most alluring waterfalls in Georgia in just one trip?

 

That’s right. We have come up with the ultimate waterfall road trip. Whether you’re already making your summer bucket list, or you’re ready for a last-minute weekend getaway, we’ve found 10 of the most stunning waterfalls in all of Georgia and made a comprehensive road trip for you to use as your guide. Get this; the trip is less than 200 miles and clocks in at just above five hours travel time."

http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/georgia/waterfall-road-trip-ga/

 

200 mile ride in north Georgia covers 10 waterfalls
200 mile ride in north Georgia covers 10 waterfalls

 

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Pennsylvania 760 miles on US 6, 209, 322

Our 350 mile northern leg follows US 6.  See larger map with directions.

160 miles on mostly US 209 is next.  See larger map with directions.

250 miles along mostly US 322 returns us to the starting point near Erie, PA.  See larger map with directions.


"However, my favourite feature is the “Plan winding route” function which suits my spur-of-the-moment sense of adventure and the need to try different roads. I reckon it’s brilliant and just what many bike riders have always wanted. We don’t always head out with a clear intention of where we are going, so this is very handy for those riders."

http://motorbikewriter.com/tomtom-rider-gps-review/


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NY Hwy 30 Adirondacks and Catskills

The Adirondack Park is a popular outdoor destination.
NY Highway 30 takes you almost 300 miles through the Catskills and Adirondack Mountains.
NY Highway 30 takes you almost 300 miles through the Catskills and Adirondack Mountains.

New York highway 30 travels north and south through both the Catskills and the Adirondacks, nearly 300 miles to the Canadian border. Lodging is available in Malone, NY at the end of this ride.

Historic marker in Malone, NY boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder. Trip Advisor traveler photo.
Historic marker in Malone, NY boyhood home of Almanzo Wilder. Trip Advisor traveler photo.

Adirondacks map by Peter Fitzgerald, User:Jackaranga, User:Algorerhythms, User:Daniel Case, OpenStreetMap  [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.
Adirondacks map by Peter Fitzgerald, User:Jackaranga, User:Algorerhythms, User:Daniel Case, OpenStreetMap [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.

"However, my favourite feature is the “Plan winding route” function which suits my spur-of-the-moment sense of adventure and the need to try different roads. I reckon it’s brilliant and just what many bike riders have always wanted. We don’t always head out with a clear intention of where we are going, so this is very handy for those riders."

http://motorbikewriter.com/tomtom-rider-gps-review/


Map by Pfly (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Enlarged Wikipedia map shows the mountain ranges in the northeastern US.
Enlarged Wikipedia map shows the mountain ranges in the northeastern US.

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Tail of the Dragon supersized 326 miles

Harley-Davidson shop on US 129- Tail of the Dragon
Harley-Davidson shop on US 129- Tail of the Dragon
Ride Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28, Wayah Road all on one 326 mile route
Ride Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28, Wayah Road all on one 326 mile route

Making the trip to ride the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap, NC ?  What about the Cherohala Skyway, Wayah Road, and Moonshiner 28. They're all here plus more on this 326 mile route. You can shorten the ride to just 217 miles by deleting the figure 8 that crosses over into SC.  If you have more time to spend, head on down to Suches, GA for more great riding.


Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson is west of downtown Maryville, TN on US 321
Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson is west of downtown Maryville, TN on US 321
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500 miles on US 219 - VA to Buffalo, NY

US 219 runs 500 miles from Virginia to Buffalo, NY
US 219 runs 500 miles from Virginia to Buffalo, NY


The Highland Scenic Highway

"The Highland Scenic Highway, a National Forest Scenic Byway, is the highest major roadway in West Virginia and extends 43 miles from Richwood to U.S. Route 219, seven miles north of Marlinton. The Highway follows State Route 39/55 for 21 miles from Richwood to the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center.  It then turns onto State Route 150 for the 22 mile Parkway section and rises from an elevation of 2,300 feet to over 4,500 feet.

Four scenic overlooks located along the Parkway portion of the Highway provide spectacular views of the Allegheny Highlands. Drivers, however, don’t have to wait until they get to an overlook to enjoy the continual beauty along the Highway.  Each stretch of road offers breathtaking scenery, intriguing perspectives, and incomparable glimpses. The heart-stopping dips take your breath away." 

http://www.pocahontascountywv.com/highland_scenic_highway.aspx

 

"West Virginia Route 150 is a 22.5-mile long north–south scenic state highway in the Marlinton and Gauley Ranger Districts of the Monongahela National Forest in southeast West Virginia. The southern terminus of the route is at West Virginia Route 39 and West Virginia Route 55 northwest of Mill Point. The northern terminus is at U.S. Route 219 and WV 55 north of Edray, near Marlinton."

"WV 150 is designated as the parkway portion of the Highland Scenic Highway. Dedicated in 1980, the road is specially designed to be a scenic byway with a meandering course along mountain ridges that reach an elevation of 4,545 feet (1,385 m).[2] Due to these geographical conditions, the road is not maintained in the winter months. (Access is not prevented during the winter, however.) Furthermore, commercial traffic is prohibited and the speed limit is 45 miles per hour (72 km/h)."

"The parkway section provides several scenic overlooks of Cranberry Glades and the Cranberry Wilderness to the west and of the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians to the east, from numerous points along the Allegheny Front. The overlook at Black Mountain also provides an educational boardwalk that explains the irresponsible timbering practices that led to a destructive forest fire that left the area barren for decades."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Virginia_Route_150

WV Highland Scenic Highway
WV Highland Scenic Highway
WV Tea Creek Campground is located a mile north of the Highland Scenic Highway SR 150

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Everglades National Park

 

"The Everglades National Park covers more than 1.5 million acres in South Florida. While most of the park is remote and inaccessible, there are plenty of spots within a few minutes of Miami and Naples, where you can get a feel for the “River of Grass”.

 

"Your first decision in visiting the Everglades is which entrance to use; there are three and they are hours apart from each other. If you want the opportunity to observe the heart of the everglades you can either enter through Shark Valley in Miami or the Main Entrance of the Park in Homestead. However, if you are looking to explore the Gulf Coast, then you should plan to take a boat trip at the Gulf Coast in Everglades City."

 

"At Everglades City the Gulf Coast Visitor Center is the park's western saltwater getaway. Narrated boat tours explore pristine Ten Thousand Islands and coastal mangrove. At Shark Valley the wildlife-viewing tram tour through sawgrass prairie includes a stop at a 65-foot tower for spectacular views."

 

http://www.nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/placestogo.htm

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Gatlinburg TN to Cades Cove

Meigs Falls is on the road between Gatlinburg, TN and Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain NP
Meigs Falls is on the road between Gatlinburg, TN and Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain NP

We're off to Meigs Falls this spring.  Looks like a fun road.  See larger map.

See more area info and photos on our Blue Ridge Mountains page.

 

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Marietta Ohio loop - Hwy 26, 148, and 7

A 2014 Victory Cross Tour was our rental for riding along Ohio 7
A 2014 Victory Cross Tour was our rental for riding along Ohio 7
Ohio 26 is one of many great roads in southeast Ohio.
Ohio 26 is one of many great roads in southeast Ohio.

See larger map. This Marietta loop is 10 miles from US 250, which connects Sandusky, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia.  It crosses the Appalachians between I-79 and I-81. See our 240 mile US 250 ride. There's more to see on our Ohio River page.

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I-40 detour to Hot Springs, NC

NC Hwy 209 to Hot Springs NC
NC Hwy 209 to Hot Springs NC

 

Last year I rode across I-40 from Asheville, NC to Knoxville, TN. It's heavily traveled by 18-wheelers heading over the mountains. So here is a scenic bypass you can try the next time through. See larger map.

 

The Appalachian trail and the French Broad River both travel thru Hot Springs. There's accommodations at the Iron Horse Station and Treehouse Cabins, or camping and rustic cabins at Creek Ridge Camping. The Mountain Magnolia Inn is a historic property with restaurant and spa, adjacent to the hot mineral springs.

 

"Soak in the hot mineral springs at the end of the day’s activities. Heated deep within the earth, the 103-degree crystal-clear carbonated waters are said to have curative qualities that will relax and rejuvenate you." http://hotspringsnc.org/play/relaxation/

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US219 thru West VA and Pennsylvania

US219 travels thru all of West Virginia and Pennsylvania
US219 travels thru all of West Virginia and Pennsylvania

US219 runs from Virginia, near Blacksburg, thru scenic portions of West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Okay, the city of Bradford, PA (Kendall Oil) isn't so scenic, but 219 is two lanes for most of this 447 miles.

You can take it on to Buffalo, NY if you're heading to visit Niagara Falls.

"From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niagara_Falls

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Rocky Top Tennessee I-75 side trip

Need a break from the super slab as you head for Daytona Bike Week?

You may like this 30 mile side trip 25 miles north of Knoxville on I-75. 

See larger map with directions.

 

Here's the final 3 miles up close.

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Providence Canyon State Park

Georgia's "Grand Canyon" is nothing close to the size of Arizona's amazing Grand Canyon, but it is worth a look if you are traveling in west central Georgia.


About 35 miles due south of Columbus, GA as the crow flies, go 7 miles west of Lumpkin, GA on Hwy 39C.  It's only 150 miles from Atlanta, an easy ride from Macon, Montgomery, Dothan, or Tallahassee. Here's the map with directions from Atlanta.


See our SW Georgia page for more information.



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Andrews NC yard art



Cherokee County Cycles on US19 / US74 in Andrews, NC had some cool yard art on display when we rode by last week on the way to Maggie Valley.



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Incredible ride - Blue Ridge Parkway

Last week we rode 230 miles southbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Floyd, VA and Asheville, NC. It was a pleasant 83 degrees in Boone, NC while North Wilkesboro at the base of the mountain was 90 and humid. Thursday's traffic was light until we neared Asheville.

 

Here's a Parkway tunnel list, including the Twin Tunnels in the photo (MM344).


"Linn Cove Viaduct (above) is a 1,243-foot (379 m) concrete segmental bridge which snakes around the slopes of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. It was completed in 1987 at a cost of $10 million and was the last section of the Blue Ridge Parkway to be finished. The viaduct was needed because of the damage that a traditional cut-and-fill road would have caused to Grandfather Mountain. The viaduct was designed by Figg and Muller Engineers, Inc. Construction began in 1979. It is 1,243 feet (379 m) long and consists of 153 segments weighing 50 tons each. The bridge's segments were precast at an indoor facility at the south side of the parkway. After being transported to the bridge site, each section was lowered into place by a custom crane placed on either edge of the existing structure. The only work done at ground level was drilling for the seven footings which support the viaduct. In particular, there was no access road other than the Blue Ridge Parkway itself. The bridge has received eleven design awards."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linn_Cove_Viaduct

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