Ride about 150 miles east of Seattle, WA to enjoy this view on Badger Mountain Road, east of where US Highway 2 follows the Columbia River. Another couple of hours gets you to the Grand Coulee Dam. Click on the Google Map below.
"Grand Coulee Dam forms Lake Roosevelt, extending 151 miles upstream to the Canadian border. It has a 600-mile shoreline and a surface area of 82,000 acres. In 1948, Congress designated Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, which is operated by the National Park Service.
Grand Coulee Dam provides water to irrigate approximately 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. In addition to its irrigation and power functions, Grand Coulee Dam is a primary factor in controlling the floods on the Columbia River."
"Grand Coulee's laser light show, One River, Many Voices, is held nightly at Grand Coulee Dam starting the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend through September 30. The show lasts about 30 minutes and is free of charge."
Accommodations near Grand Coulee are few. Steamboat Rock State Park has campsites and cabins. "After a day of discovery, your tent, RV or cabin site will be a welcoming place to watch the evening glow. ... Steamboat Rock State Park is a 5,043-acre camping park with 50,000 feet of freshwater shoreline at the north end of Banks Lake and a columnar, basaltic rock with a surface area of 600 acres. Three campground areas and a large day-use area are protected from winds by tall poplars." https://parks.state.wa.us/590/Steamboat-Rock
St. Louis is famous for lots of things like the Gateway Arch, Anheuser-Busch, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. There's also lots of historic motorcycles stored in museums around the city.
"The first Indian motorcycle was created by the Hendee Manufacturing Company in 1901. George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom became co-founders of what was soon to be an award-winning brand. ... However, Indian’s success ran out in 1953, when the company went bankrupt ... By 1998, brand-exclusive production of Indian Motorcycle models resumed. Then, in 2003, Indian Motorcycle Company of America went bankrupt again and ended production. The tumultuous history of the Indian Motorcycle Brand ends on a good note, because in 2011 Polaris Industries acquired Indian Motorcycle, and Indian has been in production ever since."
If you are planning a trip to see The MOTO Museum, please call ahead to confirm it will be open for viewing. The Museum is also an event venue and there may be a private event during normal business hours. https://www.themotomuseum.com/contact/
Since you're nearby, you might want to stop by Fast Lane Classic Cars in St. Charles to see their current inventory of cars and bikes.
Artist Drive in Death Valley National Park is 3 hours west of Las Vegas, and 5 hours northeast of Los Angeles. Click on the Google Map below.
“Camping in Death Valley will offer you a once in a lifetime experience. Imagine 3 million acres of mystical desertland filled with abandoned ghost towns, gold mines, 300 miles of road and some of the darkest skies in the United States. Welcome to Death Valley National Park, located a mere two hours away from Las Vegas and right on the border of California and Nevada.”
“Rain is rare in Death Valley, in fact, Death Valley is the driest place in the USA. In 1929, there was not a single drop of rain recorded in Death Valley and on July 10, 1913, the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded on the planet was recorded at Furnace Creek, topping out at 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Visitors can pick up a free novelty postcard from the Visitor’s Center.”
See the photos and more of this article at http://www.roundtheworldmagazine.com/camping-in-death-valley/
The National Park Service has more Artist Drive photos. Also check here for park closures. https://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/photosmultimedia/artists-drive.htm
The Devil's Kitchen is an easy 0.2 mile walk to a scenic view of a formation that reminds you of Bryce Canyon, but way smaller.
While the Devil's Kitchen is a nice stop along the Nebo Loop Road, you are only 180 miles north of Bryce Canyon National Park. We stayed at Ruby's Inn located on Hwy 63 just north of the park entrance, or there's camping available at Otter Creek State Park along the way.
"There is no place like Bryce Canyon. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! Descriptions fail. Photographs do not do it justice. Bring your sense of wonder and imagination when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park."
Zion National Park is very different from Bryce Canyon. You look down into Bryce Canyon, but look up at the spectacular peaks towering above Zion National Park.
Located in Lindon, Utah "Timpanogos Harley-Davidson® proudly offers what we call Timp Tours, which is a ride-planning service where you can book a guided tour for your group essentially anywhere you’d like to go." There are vintage motorcycles on display throughout the 2-story building.
"The Royal Gorge Bridge is a tourist attraction near Cañon City, Colorado within Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, a 360-acre amusement park located along the edge of the Royal Gorge around both ends of the bridge. The bridge crosses the gorge 955 feet above the Arkansas River and held the record of highest bridge in the world from 1929 until 2001 when it was surpassed by the Liuguanghe Bridge in China. The Royal Gorge Bridge maintained the title of the world's highest suspension bridge until the Beipan River Guanxing Highway Bridge was completed in 2003, also in China. The bridge remains the highest bridge in the United States and was among the ten highest bridges in the world until 2012."
The Gorge is located 58 miles SW of Colorado Springs, CO.
"There are multiple ways to experience the grandeur of the gargantuan Royal Gorge Bridge. Stroll across to stand 956 feet above the Arkansas, marvel at the structure’s complex engineering and peer over the edge to spot whitewater rafters cruising the rapids down below. Or glide across to soak up jaw-dropping 360-degree panoramas of the rugged canyon and neighboring mountains from the comfort of a slick aerial gondola. ... The Cloudscraper ZipRider is North America’s highest zipline and allows intrepid visitors to soar 1,200 feet above the Arkansas using the latest harness and breaking systems. Open March 11, 2017–January 7, 2018, the zipline is a hand-free, bucket-list-worthy ride. The Royal Rush Skycoaster, which drops visitors in a 50-mile-per-hour free fall and dangles them above the river, is another stomach-flipping experience. Up to three people can embark on the ride together — so you don’t have to brave the coaster alone! ... With slides, nets, tunnels, 20-foot towers and a splash pad, the park’s new Tommy Knocker Playland keeps little ones occupied for hours. Other grin-inducing activities for kiddos include gold panning and a classic carousel. Meanwhile, the new Visitor Center is the place to watch zipliners fly across the gorge from the sunny deck, grab a bite to eat amid incredible views at Café 1230 and pick out souvenirs at the gift shop. And shutterbugs will delight in the numerous Photo Lookout Areas located throughout the park — making it super easy to capture Insta-worthy photos of the bridge, gorge and surrounding area."
"This road is not for novice riders. It is not for sissies. There are very few guard rails. Death and danger lurk around every curve."
"Shunkawauken Falls cascades down the side of White Oak Mountain, and is an unusual fall in that most falls of this magnitude do not occur this close to a mountain's summit. At this point, most streams are mere trickles. There is a small plateau on the summit of White Oak Mountain containing several small ponds which give Horse Creek its unusual size." http://www.carolinatrails.com/NorthCarolina/Polk/Shunkawauken/Shunkawauken.htm
A far away, but decent view of the falls can be found in downtown Columbus, from point such as the Food Lion parking lot, especially in the winter and in wet weather." https://www.wncwaterfalls.info/waterfall/1047/Shunkawauken_Falls
"Are you looking for a fun motorcycle ride near Asheville, North Carolina or Greenville, South Carolina or Charlotte, North Carolina or Spartanburg, South Carolina or Tryon, North Carolina? Can you find your way to Columbus, North Carolina? Columbus is the county seat of Polk county. If you are traveling west on Interstate 26, Columbus is the first exit across the South Carolina North Carolina state line. It is exit number 67. From downtown Columbus, ride up to the top of White Oak Mountain. ... This road is not for novice riders. It is not for sissies. There are very few guard rails. Death and danger lurk around every curve. There are plenty of curves. There are plenty of extreme curves. When you get to the top, you can see all the way to Walt Disney World. ... The highlight of the ride will certainly be Shunkawauken Falls on Horse Creek." http://rondclimer.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-waterfall-motorcycle-destination.html
"Shunkawauken Falls is a roadside 150-foot tall waterfall just outside Columbus (near Tryon and Saluda) on the twisting, scenic White Oak Mountain Road. Along the way, see some panoramic vistas as you climb 2,000 in elevation in five miles to the top of the mountain. ... Start your drive up White Oak Mountain Road at the First Peak Visitor Center for Polk County in downtown Columbus (20 East Mills St). From the center parking area, turn right onto Houston Road. Drive a short distance and Houston Road will fork to the right. Then turn left onto White Oak Mountain Road." https://www.romanticasheville.com/shunkawauken.htm
"The winding road crosses the falls in 2 places for easy, drive-by viewing. There isn’t room to park or walk along the road. Continue up the road .7 miles to Sunset Rock overlook. Enjoy the views, then head back down the way you came." https://www.visitnc.com/listing/shunkawauken-falls
The Cumberland Mtn General Store and Rock-A-Billy Diner is between Knoxville and Nashville, north of I-40 on US 127. They host Friday night Cruise-ins during May thru October. The 50's style diner serves old fashioned burgers, hotdogs, fish, fries, onion rings, milkshakes, hand-dipped ice cream and more! There's syrup flavors for your fountain drinks. Check their limited hours, especially on weekdays. See the menu here.
FREE Ride Maps at West Fork General Store, Alpine, TN
Go North of the switchbacks, also on our 140 mile route. Charles Childers says on Facebook — "If you are ever in Alpine TN at the junction of TN85 and TN52 make sure you stop in and talk with the owner Kathy Smith; you won't meet a nicer business owner/lady/person. Kathy exemplifies country charm and kindness which seems to have been lost in society today, especially the big cities. While you're there, buy something, have a snack and/or a sandwich which Kathy will be glad to make for you.
The West Fork General Store is a rare gem I didn't think existed anymore. The West Fork General Store is also located on a superb motorcycle ride, "Aces and Eights" (best done in a clockwise direction) just north of Crossville TN. Kathy has plenty of maps provided by wildrides that illustrate the "Aces and Eights" ride as well as many others in NC, SC and TN.; the maps are available free along many popular motorcycle routes in these three states."
Standing Stone State Park has campsites, cabins, and group lodges.
"The park has 36 campsites, each with grill, picnic table, water and electricity. There are also 17 historic WPA cabins and seven more modern cabins available that can be reserved up to a year in advance. All cabins are completely equipped for housekeeping including appliances, microwave oven, cooking utensils and linens. The park has three group lodges ranging in size and accommodations.
The famous National Rolley Hole Marble Tournament is held here every September. The largest of its kind, the tournament has been an annual event at the park for more than 30 years. This traditional marbles contest draws some of the country’s best players to a tournament where players match wit and skills with special flint spheres on a smooth dirt surface. The festival includes kids’ games, marble making, swap meet, tournament play, demonstrations, music and food. (Registration is required for the Rolley Hole Tournament.) This one of a kind family experience has been featured by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, CNN, Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic and Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strip. Watch the great video our friends at Wild SideTV made about this internationally recognized tournament." http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/standing-stone
You have a great chance to see the total solar eclipse this month as it crosses the US from Oregon at 10:15am PDT to South Carolina, exiting at 2:50pm EDT. The eclipse will be viewable from most locations, but it won't be a total eclipse unless you are close to the path - so check the NASA maps here.
Maine will only see a 50% to 60% eclipse, 75% in San Francisco, 85% in Orlando and Chicago, 60% in Los Angeles, and San Antonio, TX. 80% eclipses for Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and DC. Check the NASA maps here.
Total solar eclipse on Mon, August 21, 2017
about 2:30 pm over western NC.
The 2017 eclipse path crosses the US from Columbia, SC to Salem, OR.
Headed east after Sturgis there's a nearby museum with over 275 classic cars, 60 tractors, 60 motorcycles, and tons of antiques and memorabilia. The Pioneer Auto Museum is 160 miles east of Sturgis, just off I-90 in Murdo, SD. http://www.pioneerautoshow.com/
Mitchell, South Dakota, 75 miles east of Sioux Falls on I-90, is home to the Mitchell Corn Palace, an impressive structure covered with corn and other grains. I had lunch with Bill & Cheryl, riders from southern Wisconsin, who visited on a trip to Mt. Rushmore. There's even a Corn Palace Festival.
National Park Service to increase price of Senior Passes.
"On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase for the first time since 1994. The additional revenue will be used to enhance the visitor experience in parks.
The lifetime Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80. ... The current passes are lifetime passes and will remain valid. ... US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older are eligible for the Senior Pass.
Annual and lifetime Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies: National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, US Army Corps of Engineers.
The passes cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees. ... traveling companions can also enter for free. The Senior Passes admit pass owner/s and passengers in a noncommercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas and pass owner plus three adults, not to exceed four adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.) Also, at many sites, the Senior Passes provide the pass owner (only) a discount on Expanded Amenity Fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).
Senior Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site, including national parks, that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. Proof of age and residency is required. See the complete list of sites where the pass is available (PDF).
Passes can also be purchased online or through the mail from USGS; an additional $10 processing fee will be added to the price. Visit the USGS store to buy the pass online or find instructions for purchasing by mail."
PLEASE NOTE THE COMMENTS BELOW:
"We are experiencing a major increase in Senior pass sales. If you need your pass in less than two months, consider purchasing your pass at the first site you visit. Online Senior passes are currently being processed within nine weeks. Mail in Senior and Access pass applications are currently being processed within twelve weeks.
All eligible Senior pass orders postmarked before August 27 will be processed at the $10 price. Lifetime Senior pass orders postmarked after August 27 will be processed at the $80 price. Additional processing fees of $10 apply."
Order your pass online today at https://store.usgs.gov/senior-pass
"The Curtiss Museum exhibits a truly excellent and varied collection of vintage motorcycles and antique motorcycles. More than half of the motorcycle collection pre-dates WWI. Of special interest is an exact reproduction of Curtiss's 1907 World Record V8 Motorcycle (136.4 mph). Another interesting bike is the 1915 Williams "Clady's Model" that sports a three-cylinder rotary engine fixed to the rear wheel." http://www.glennhcurtissmuseum.org/motorcycles.php
"The Curtiss V-8 motorcycle was a 269 cu in (4,410 cc) V8 engine-powered motorcycle designed and built by aviation and motorcycling pioneer Glenn Curtiss that set an unofficial land speed record of 136.36 miles per hour (219.45 km/h) on January 24, 1907 ... Curtiss remained "the fastest man in the world," the title the newspapers gave him for going faster than any vehicle, on land, sea or air, until 1911, when his absolute record was broken by the 141.7 mph (228.0 km/h) Blitzen Benz automobile. No motorcycle surpassed the record until 1930. Curtiss's success at racing strengthened his reputation as a leading maker of high-performance motorcycles and engines."
The Letchworth State Park is advertised as "The Grand Canyon of the East", and it certainly is quite impressive and beautiful, even though it cannot stand comparison with the Grand Canyon. This video shows views from the Gorge Trail and from West and East rims, with the Lower, Middle and Upper falls.
THE CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS - "There are some experiences so incredible you can't wait to do it again. The Corning Museum of Glass is one of those places, offering a glimpse of more than 3,500 years of historic glass, daily live glassblowing shows, demonstrations by special guest artists from around the world and a chance to make your own glass. We're sure you'll be mesmerized by the largest collection of art glass in the world. Oh, and kids 17 and under get in free!" http://www.corningfingerlakes.com/towns/corning
"THE ROCKWELL MUSEUM (Corning, NY) tells the story of the American experience through fine art. Housed within the Old City Hall building of Corning, this diverse collection includes a mix of nineteenth-century American paintings, historic bronzes, and Indian artifacts as well as twentieth-century modernists, illustration art, contemporary photography, and historic firearms. Featured galleries represent the works of Andy Warhol, the Taos Society of Artists, and masterworks of Remington and Russell." https://rockwellmuseum.org/exhibits-collections/collections/
"Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is a historic carousel factory building located at North Tonawanda in Niagara County, New York. The factory complex was constructed between about 1910 and 1915 and consists of six primary structures and five contributory additions. The primary structures are: the Mill Building (ca. 1910), Carving and Pattern shop (ca. 1910), Paint Shop and Storage Building (ca. 1915), Roundhouse (ca. 1915), Machine Shop (1915), and Assembly and Testing Building (1915). Also on the property is the Number One Special Three Abreast portable carousel, built in 1916. ... The Herschell Carousel Factory Museum is located at the original factory site on Thompson Street. It was first open to the general public in 1983, with a full operational carousel from 1916. The first floor of the factory has been opened up to provide exhibits and demonstrations. Two operating carousels give visitors first hand experience of the magical ride and authentic band organ music." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschell_Carrousel_Factory_Museum
Jell-O Museum, LeRoy, NY - "Anyone in Western New York for any period of time needs to make tracks for the Jell-O Museum and Gallery in Le Roy. Run--do not walk!--to Le Roy. This is one of those small, quirky, joyful roadside oddities that make America great. I'd add that the employees were extremely knowledgeable and personable; their kindness and enthusiasm are unfeigned and contagious. I really, really enjoyed this museum." https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48041-d215743-Reviews-Jell_O_Gallery_Museum-Le_Roy_New_York.html
When in operation, Andrews Geyser shoots water continuously to a height of about 80 feet. Its water supply is drawn from a pond located at the current site of the Inn on Mill Creek, a local Bed & Breakfast. The Inn's property contains the original dam constructed by the railroad in the late 19th century, and the pond formed by the dam with the water of the Long Branch of Mill Creek. A 6-inch-diameter (150 mm) cast iron pipe runs from the dam, through a hidden gate valve, then underground approximately two miles downhill to the fountain. The water comes out a half-inch nozzle pointed skyward, and the 500 feet of elevation difference creates the pressure that drives the fountain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrews_Geyser
Mount Mitchell - "The mountain, previously known as Black Dome for its rounded shape, was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who first explored the Black Mountain region in 1835, and determined that the height of the range exceeded by several hundred feet that of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, commonly thought at the time to be the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Mitchell
"Craggy Gardens, just north of Asheville, North Carolina, is one of the most dramatic viewpoints on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Stunning vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains stretch far into Tennessee to the west and toward central North Carolina to the east. These views can be enjoyed from the parking area near the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center and along nearby hiking trails. ...
In early summer, Craggy Gardens becomes a mountain-sized bouquet when the rhododendron thickets on the upper heights cover the landscape in pink and purple. A favorite hiking trail, Craggy Pinnacle, leads hikers through a "tunnel" of rhododendron to the summit which offers 360-degree view. This 1.5 mile round trip is an easy walk." http://www.blueridgeheritage.com/attractions-destinations/craggy-gardens
"The Great Craggy Mountains are an area of exposed rock surfaces and high peaks that provide breathtaking views of distant southern Appalachian ridges. Large expanses of native rhododendron cover the slopes and summits of the Craggies. The area has long been known as Craggy Gardens. Throughout the summer, smaller native wildflowers cover the ground with vibrant splashes of color. ... Our favorite hike here is the Craggy Pinnacle Trail. It's a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike to the top for exceptional panoramic views (pic above) that are hard to top in Western North Carolina." https://www.romanticasheville.com/Craggy.htm
The Folk Art Center is home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians. In addition to an Eastern National bookstore and Blue Ridge Parkway information desk, the center houses three galleries, a library and the Guild’s oldest craft shop. Beginning in March each year, visitors can see live craft demonstrations daily in the Folk Art Center lobby. The Folk Art Center is located in east Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a five-minute drive from downtown. http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/folk-art-center/
"Newspaper Rock is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records perhaps 2,000 years of human activity in the area. Etched into the desert varnish are symbols' representing the Fremont, Anasazi, Navajo and Anglo cultures. The exact nature of these symbols meaning is still not clearly understood. But they are typical of many sites throughout the U.S. in their use of universal symbols, be it graffiti or a true "newspaper," recording events of the times and earlier." https://www.desertusa.com/newut/du_newut_vvc.html
Southeast Utah has lots more to offer besides Monument Valley on the Arizona border and Arches National Park near Moab, UT. Ride 25 miles south of Moab on US 191 and you'll find Wilson Arch, a natural sandstone arch with a span of 91 feet and height of 46 feet, visible from the road to the east. There are turnouts for parking. Further south, Utah hwy 211 takes you to the Newspaper Rock petroglyph shown above.
Or click this link for a 360 degree view of Wilson Arch at http://www.naturalarches.org/panoramas/UTwilsonarch.html
"The Needles district is named for the Cedar Mesa sandstone spires that jut up from the landscape. Located in the southwest section of Canyonlands National Park ... The Needles district can be accessed from towns along Highway 191 by heading west on Highway 211 to the Visitor Center, which is open year-round. From there, a scenic road winds through a section of the Needles to Big Spring Canyon Overlook for an expansive view. Stops along the way include Roadside Ruin, Cave Spring, Pothole Point, and Slickrock Trail. Short interpretive trails at these stops are a great way to experience the park for visitors with only an hour or two to explore."
"There are three small campgrounds in the Needles district to accommodate overnight visitors: Squaw Flat, Wooden Shoe, and Split Top. Squaw Flat Campground is the largest, with 26 sites, bathrooms, grills, picnic tables, tent and RV pads. Campgrounds fill fast from March to October, and reservations are required for large groups."
Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum
"Visit Edge of the Cedars Pueblo, a village inhabited by the ancestors of contemporary Puebloan peoples from AD 825 to 1125, and climb down a ladder to enter the 1,000-year-old kiva. View the largest collection of Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) pottery on display in the Four Corners area. Enjoy programs for adults and children, including archaeology and art exhibitions. Our goal is to inspire and educate museum visitors about the prehistoric and contemporary American Indian cultures of the Four Corners region." https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/edge-of-the-cedars/discover/
Camping is available along US 291- Devils Canyon: https://www.recreation.gov/camping/devils-canyon/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70568
For more scenic byways in Utah's canyon country: http://www.utahscanyoncountry.com/utah-byways.html
Donate to be eligible to win National Motorcycle Museum's 2017 Indian Chief Vintage, MSRP $20,999.
"The non-profit National Motorcycle Museum is one of America’s motorcycling treasures. Large in scale with over 450 motorcycles from over a dozen countries, with diverse collections and interpretive exhibits, it tells the great stories of American motorcycling. So we are always grateful for your support; you have helped make it happen. We hope the new larger facility with more motorcycles, more memorabilia are something you feel part of, something you can say you helped to create through your support."
"The drawing for the two winners*, motorcycle and jacket, winner will be held on Friday, December 29, 2017 at 2:00pm. ... "
"The National Motorcycle Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that relies on donations and fund-raising activities including this raffle to help preserve and present the exciting history of motorcycling."
"For many motorcycle enthusiasts, North Carolina Highway 209 is as good, if not better, than either the “Dragon” or the “Snake.” There is almost zero traffic, great scenery, and a little bit of everything: high-speed sweepers, twisties, elevation changes, and a couple of scenic valley straightaways."
"Best of all, you have all of the amenities of Hot Springs at the finish line — places like Iron Horse Station — and Trust General Store & Cafe to break up your run.
Trust General Store & Cafe is the perfect pit stop, sitting almost smack dab in the middle of I-40 and Hot Springs. We have plenty of parking, fuel, food and refreshments, T-shirts, hats, and more. If you’re planning a motorcycle run on NC-209 with a large group, give us a call in advance and we’ll make sure we’re prepared for your arrival. Just call (828) 622-7455 and let us know you’re on your way!"
Hot Springs, NC at the northern end of Hwy 209 has the only hot mineral spring in the state of NC. Rent a hot tub for an hour, or book a cabin or campsite at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa. (Read the description and click the link below.)
Hungry? The Smoky Mountain Diner received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. "We had a huge breakfast here our last morning in town. Coffee was good, food was good and a lot of it. The pancakes were just like grandma's! We got a sandwich to go for the trail and they were huge. Perfect Diner!"
Hot Springs Resort & Spa
"Come to where Mother Nature waved her magical wand and created one of the most natural of all wonders, Natural Hot Mineral Waters. Heated deep within the earth, these crystal clear carbonated waters are world famous for their mineral content and legendary healing powers. ...
Hot Springs, located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and cuddled along the banks of Spring Creek and the French Broad River, is a town rich in history and beaming with natural charm, this town serves as an intersection along the historic Appalachian Trail and is part of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. ...
Located across the road from the Mineral Baths is the Hot Springs Campground. Here you can find peace of mind with ease and comfort. We feature eight primitive camping cabins, over a hundred tent sites (primitive, group & sites with partial hook up) & Full RV Hookups. ...
Hot Springs Resort & Spa also offers other lodging options for those looking for a relaxing getaway." https://www.nchotsprings.com/
"Caesars Head is one of South Carolina’s most famous natural landmarks. At 3,208 feet above sea level, Caesars Head provides a panoramic view of the mountain country.
Another significant landmark in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area includes Raven Cliff Falls, a 420-foot mountain cascade that awaits day-hikers at the end of a moderately strenuous two-mile trail.
This area of the Blue Ridge Escarpment ends in South Carolina with an abrupt drop of some 2,000 feet to the foothills below, where the state’s Piedmont region begins. This escarpment affords spectacular scenic vistas and waterfalls, and provides a protected environment for many rare and endangered plant and animal species."
"... Every fall, from the easily-accessible overlook atop the rocky peak of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, sight-seers are treated to the Hawk Watch program and a spectacular view that extends into North Carolina and Georgia. ... One of the most popular trails at Caesars Head is the four-mile, round trip Raven Cliff Falls trail. This hiking trail leads to 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls, where a suspension bridge offers one of the two publicly accessible overlooks to the falls as they plunge deep into the mountain cove below." http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/caesarshead/introduction.aspx
Here's a continuation ride on US 276 from yesterday's post. Further south, after crossing into South Carolina, stop at Caesars Head State Park for some awesome views. This loop includes SC Hwy 11, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway which passes on the south side of Table Rock, shown above. Click the Google map to enlarge it.
If you'd like to camp at Caesars Head, check the camping info page. http://www.southcarolinaparks.com/caesarshead/camping.aspx
"Looking Glass Falls is one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. And it's perhaps the easiest to view ... The name "Looking Glass" comes from Looking Glass Rock, where water freezes on its sides in the winter and then glistens in the sunlight like a mirror or looking glass. ...
It's easy accessibility makes Looking Glass Falls a popular spot for travelers along U.S. 276, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway, near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest. Enjoy nice views from the parking area along the road. Or take a short walk for a closer look. The waterfall is 60 feet tall.
Steps lead down to the falls for a close-up view. You can venture onto the rocks in the stream below the falls, and even do some wading and swim underneath the falling water when water flow is lower. For photographs, the sun comes up over the waterfall in the morning. So afternoon lighting or a cloudy day is best. And visit during the winter to see beautiful ice creations. ..." https://www.romanticasheville.com/looking_glass_falls.htm
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.
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.
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/
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Someone on our Facebook page recommended the 120 miles of US Highway 50 between Winchester, VA and Grafton, WV. So here is a detour that begins and ends at I-81. It's about 100 miles from Baltimore, Pittsburgh, or Richmond, crossing the Appalachian Mountains twice - on US 50 and US 250.
Mountain peaks, sand, and water - that's Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado, near Alamosa.
"Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is nothing short of a natural wonder even among a diverse terrain of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes and tundra. ... with views along the way of many of Colorado’s famous 14ers (mountains exceeding 14,000 feet above sea level).
None of Colorado’s famed 14ers lies within the park, though—park elevations range from 7,515 feet to 13,604 feet above sea level. Still, there’s no shortage of awe-inspiring scenery. If it weren’t for the towering alpine peaks in every direction, you might imagine you’re lost in the Arabian Desert. ... In early spring to late summer (the only months water flows through the area), activities include skimboarding (which is sort of like surfing in very shallow water) and building sand castles on the shore of Medano Creek. After traversing the creek, you can hike up the dunes to “sand-sled” down, or hike above tree-line into wilderness.
Yet with all these options, the park offers exceptional solitude and quiet and, according to the National Park Service website, some consider it to be the quietest national park in the 48 contiguous United States."
There's lots of area info and a free travel planner at www.alamosa.org
"The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad excursion train rides take you through breathtaking mountain valleys and passes through charming and historic western towns from the heart of the San Luis Valley. See Colorado's unspoiled territory as it was centuries ago. Relive the golden age of railroads and discover a Colorado few get to see.
Excursion trains offer a great seat any day of the week. Pick the class of service and prepare to discover a ride full of train history, mining tales, wildlife sightings, and geology. Come see why USA Today named the RGSRR a Top Ten Ride."
"Piñon Flats is a National Park Service campground located one mile north of the Visitor Center. It is open April through October each year." See the campground details at the link below.
"The campground is situated among pinon pines and sagebrush beneath the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Most sites have beautiful views of the snow-covered peaks.
A wide variety of grasses and wildflowers can be found throughout the area, and mule deer are commonly seen in and around the campground."
Travel 25 miles north of Boone, NC on US 421 across the NC/TN line to the small town of Mountain City, TN and ride "The Snake" and it's 489 curves in 33 miles.
"The Snake" is about 200 miles northeast of the "Tail of the Dragon", the most famous of all rides in the Smoky Mountains, with it's 318 curves in 11 miles.
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"The Beaver Bridge in Beaver, Arkansas is a historic one-lane suspension bridge carrying Arkansas Highway 187 over the White River at Table Rock Lake. Built in 1949 by the Pioneer Construction Company, the structure is the only suspension bridge open to traffic in Arkansas. The Beaver Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990."
One of my favorite roads in NW Arkansas was the 25 miles from Harrison to Ponca on Hwy 43 with the early morning fog in the valley below. See more NW Arkansas riding.
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Ride this 109 scenic miles on the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway. We begin in Yreka, CA, 35 miles north of Mt. Shasta, near the Oregon state line. From Main Street we ride north on Hwy 263 then west on California 96, which follows the Klamath River to Happy Camp, where this Bigfoot Statue waits. Greyback Road takes you north to O'Brien, Oregon. Many locals call this area the "State of Jefferson".
The State of Jefferson
“In October 1941, the mayor of Port Orford, Oregon, Gilbert Gable, said that the Oregon counties of Curry, Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath should join with the California counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc to form a new state, later named Jefferson.
On November 27, 1941, a group of young men gained national media attention when, brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the state of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" and would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice." ...
On October 24, 2014, Modoc and Siskiyou Counties delivered their declarations for
independence from the state of California to the California Secretary of State's office. On January 15, 2015, three more counties, Glenn, Tehama, and Yuba, submitted their official declarations
as well.” Click the link below for more info.
This ride map includes two caves, trout fishing, and the Minnesota Amish country. It's south of I-90, where Minnesota meets Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Mississippi River. Niagra Cave, on highway 30 near Harmony was rated #2 on the USA Today 10 Best list. “The top 10 winners in the category Best Cave are as follows:
Besides our winners, the following caves were also nominated:
Lanesboro, is in the heart of Minnesota Amish country, which includes Preston and along US
52, near the SW corner of our route. Here’s a map to some other Amish country businesses. Maybe you'll even see a bison in a parade,
outside downtown Lanesboro's Iron Horse Outfitters and
Preston, also known as "Minnesota's Trout Capital", is a welcoming family-fun destination offering visitors a variety of entertaining, educational, & recreational activities to choose from:
“Visit Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to see natural wonders above and below ground. In the summer, beat the heat with a visit below ground. Explore the world of Mystery Cave with its stalactites, stalagmites, and underground pools. Park naturalists provide tours of the cave throughout the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. The temperature stays at a constant 48 degrees Fahrenheit. … Above ground, stop by Historic Forestville, a restored 1800s village … Five camper cabins are available year round. … Reserve a cabin in advance …” http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/forestville_mystery_cave/index.html
See the park camping and lodging page. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/forestville_mystery_cave/camping.html
Do not rely on your GPS unit or online driving directions when visiting the main park or Mystery Cave area, as you may be routed to a closed bridge!
Park Entrance: Approximately 5 miles south of Wykoff. Entrance to the park is 4 miles south of State Highway 16 on Fillmore County Road 5, then 2 miles east on Fillmore County Road 118.
Mystery Cave Entrance is 6 miles south on County Road 5 from State Highway 16. Right-hand turn on 180th street west, 3/4 mile, turn right on Old Cave Road, travel 1/2 mile north. On your left is Mystery Cave Entrance Road.
This easy to follow 90 mile loop, just off I-94, offers a scenic ride thru western Minnesota. This route has fewer highway changes than the nearby 150 mile Otter Trail Scenic Byway, which shares some of the same roads. There's lodging and restaurants in Ottertail. Get some BBQ at Elmer's Authentic Texas Bar-B-Que or stop at Zorbas on Ottertail Lake for some handmade pizza. Glendalough State Park has campsites and cabins.
Glendalough State Park
Kayak rentals are available as well as canoes and rowboats. They are available first-come, first-serve unless you have a canoe-in site reservation.
Staying overnight? There are 22 cart-in sites; 3 canoe-in sites; 1 group camp and 1 camper cabin. The camping and lodging facilities close for the season on Sept. 3, but the park remains open for day users.
A Minnesota state park permit is required for each vehicle. You can buy them upon entry.
There are no restaurant facilities at the park. Bring your own food and stove, or forget the stove and cook over a campfire.
Begin at I-84 near Bliss, Idaho and follows US 30 southeast through Twin Falls to Idaho 50, then north on Idaho 50 to I-84. Also US 93 from Twin Falls north to I-84.
“The Thousand Springs Scenic Byway winds through 67 miles of the most remarkable geology and natural beauty in Idaho. Here, you’ll find thousands (really!) of incredible waterfalls, soothing hot springs, charming small towns, and Idaho’s famous trout.
The byway drops almost immediately into the massive Snake River Canyon. ... There are waterfalls and hot springs everywhere. ... Have a soak yourself at Miracle Hot Springs, Banbury Hot Springs, or 1,000 Springs Resort. Both have public and private pools, as well as camping and RV facilities. … Towering Shoshone Falls is worth a side trip; this spectacular waterfall is 212 feet — higher than Niagara! See it at its peak in early spring ... While you’re at Shoshone Falls Park, get on the Centennial Trail. You’ll see unbelievable panoramic views and the launch site of Evel Knievel’s ill-fated 1974 jump.”
Order your free southern Idaho visitors guide.
“In 1974, Mr. Knievel decided he would jump 1,600 feet across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. Before thousands of spectators and thousands more on a closed-circuit television broadcast, he took a rocket-powered motorcycle up a 108-foot ramp at 350 miles an hour and soared some 2,000 feet over the canyon floor.
See the Smithsonian Channel video about the jump.
East of Aspen on CO Hwy 82, Independence Pass crosses the Continental Divide. It's closed in winter. Get current road info at the Colorado DOT website.
"Independence Pass, originally known as Hunter Pass, is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. It is at elevation 12,095 ft (3,687 m) on the Continental Divide in the Sawatch Range. The pass is midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, on the border between Pitkin and Lake counties.
State Highway 82 traverses it, in the process reaching the highest elevation of a paved Colorado state highway on a through road. After Cottonwood Pass to the south, it is the second-highest pass with an improved road in the state, the fourth-highest paved road in the state and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the U.S. Because of the heavy snowfall at its elevation, it is closed in wintertime, isolating Aspen from direct access from the east during the ski season.
When the pass is open in warmer weather, it is a popular destination. A scenic overlook near the pass allows visitors to take in the alpine tundra environment above treeline, and offers excellent views to the east of Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak and the second-highest mountain in the contiguous United States. Rock climbers are drawn to nearby bouldering opportunities, and informal paths lead to nearby mountain summits of even higher elevation. Backcountry skiers make use of the slopes during the late spring and early summer. Since 2011 the pass has been on the route of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge."
Northern California has great riding, for example, 200 miles on Highway 36. Or try CA 96 which follows the Klamath River before turning south at Happy Camp. Click on either map to enlarge it.
This section of the Historic Lincoln Highway is not far from the Pennsylvania / Maryland border and includes Gettysburg, Bedford, Lancaster, and the Flight 93 Memorial near Stoystown. Dutch Wonderland is an amusement park with 3 roller coasters. The Historic Lincoln Highway is close to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Philadephia.
Along this 200 mile stretch of the Historic Lincoln Highway is the town of Bedford, PA where the covered bridge loop is a Trip Advisor favorite. Catch a movie at the Pitt Theater, in operation since 1939. Pinball fans may enjoy a stop at Pinhead Amusements.
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 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)."
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.
"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
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:
Baton Rouge Weather
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/
This 100 mile detour begins and ends on I-10 near Palm Springs, and may just be the highlight of your trip across southern California. The route heads south from Banning, CA and loops back north thru Palm Springs. Other areas of interest nearby are Joshua Tree National Park and the Salton Sea.
Joshua Tree National Park
Night Sky Festival: October 28-30, 2016
Salton Sea History Museum & Visitor Center
"Originally opened in 1959 as the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club, the newly renovated building is now a historic site. The Albert Frey designed building was re-opened on May 1, 2010 and is home to the Salton Sea History Museum & Visitor Center." http://saltonseamuseum.org/salton_sea_history.html
"Welcome to one of the world’s most unforgettable stretches of coastline. This roughly 90-mile-long stretch of redwood- and fog-trimmed waterfront between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Hearst Castle has no specific boundaries, no urban core, drawing you (and writers like Henry Miller and Beat Generation darling Jack Kerouac) in with a magic allure that is almost palpable. This is, quite simply, a place you want to be—bluffs, sea, and sky.
Drive Big Sur’s length via twisting Highway One, with plenty of pullovers at places like seen-it-in-a-million-car-commercials Bixby Bridge..."
"Another favorite photo op: McWay Falls, a silvery cascade that falls some 70 feet from the sea cliffs to a remote beach below. Look up to see endangered California condors, North America’s largest birds, or look down to scan the swells for migrating whales or sea otters floating among dense beds of kelp, California’s signature seaweed. Try the famous Ambrosia burger on the deck of Nepenthe, then nurse your beer to watch the sunset."
"Want a short hike with a huge reward? The ½-mile/1-km round-trip Waterfall Overlook Trail at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park could be the biggest-bang-for-not-much-work hike on the planet. The almost flat stroll ends an oceanfront overlook with flawless views of McWay Falls, a favorite spot of Big Sur pioneer woman Julia Pfeiffer Burns, for whom the park is named. Let’s just say Julia had good taste. The plume of water drops some 80 feet/24 meters from the top of a granite cliff to a sandy cove below (not even footprints on the sand mar the perfection, as this beach is closed to the public)."
About 400 miles west of the Texas Hill Country, Big Bend National Park, one of the least visited parks, has 800,000 acres of wild country. Typical September high temperatures are 80's and low 90's. October is typically 65 - 85 degrees. Click here for daily temps on Wunderground.com.
"In the heart of Big Bend National Park, you'll find the uniquely located Chisos Mountains Lodge nestled in the basin of the majestic Chisos Mountains. As the only lodging in the park, our accommodations provide modern comforts with our famous Texas hospitality. Our guests are treated to stunning scenery and serenity, as well as a vast undisturbed wilderness, all within a quick walking distance to our services and easy access to many of the park's world famous hiking trails." http://chisosmountainslodge.com/
On the way from Denver, CO to Mt. Rushmore, about 35 miles north of Cheyenne, WY on I-25 is the town of Chugwater, population about 244.
"The Chugwater Soda Fountain is Wyomings oldest and still operating Soda Fountain. We make sodas the way they did at the turn of the century. Sodas, shakes, malts and great tasting soda fountain drinks in a variety of flavors." http://www.chugwatersodafountain.com/
These books are available at Amazon.com
"Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S. The Genesee River roars through the gorge over three major waterfalls between cliffs--as high as 600 feet in some places--surrounded by lush forests. Hikers can choose among 66 miles of hiking trails. Trails are also available for horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Letchworth offers nature, history and performing arts programs, guided walks, tours, a summer lecture series, whitewater rafting, kayaking, a pool for swimming and hot air ballooning. Experiencing Letchworth by hot air balloon is unforgettable, as seen in this video clip."
"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 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/
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.
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.
"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."
See the Mayberry Trading Post page on Facebook.
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."
"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/
"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/
"When applied ACF-50 forms an 'Active' ultra-thin clear film that will kill any existing corrosion cells and will protect your bike against new corrosion forming. On areas such as switches or under the tank and seat, one application will last up to 12 months. Other more exposed areas will need topping up more regularly. ACF-50 has the ability to 'chemically neutralise road salt' and water will bead on contact and literally bounce off. Ideal for the bike that is used all year round in all weathers, a superb service spray as ACF-50 is also a lubricant and penetrant (without loosening structural attachments) and if you put your bike away for the winter, applying ACF-50 will ensure that moisture will not be allowed to cause any damage! Untreated moisture will creep into cracks and will not freely evaporate - ACF-50 actively ejects moisture from these areas." http://www.acf-50.co.uk/motorcycle/streetbike.htm
"ACF50 comes from the aerospace industry and the list of companies approving the product is rather serious. Firms such as Boeing Helicopter, Cessna, British Aerospace and Sikorsky all find the product acceptable, as does the FAA ... Application is easy on a bike and a tin lasts a long time. The best approach is to put a tiny blob on the surface to be treated and wait for it to disperse between any cracks. For example, the un-plated horn on our Suzuki V-Strom was an absolute certainty to corrode but it remains perfect after four years.
Any surplus can be spread externally with a finger or brush. Surprisingly, because chemically things which work are normally dangerous, ACF 50 is completely non-toxic and your finger won’t drop off if you touch it.
Once applied, the treatment lasts up to two years. ... As a by-product, it’s not a bad light duty lubricant for things like locks and cables, as well as being approved by its Mil-Spec (Mil-C-81309E Type II) for use in switches and on contacts." http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2013/03/article/acf-50-corrosion-preventative-review/
The 13 oz aerosol can is currently available for less than $13 plus shipping, which was $16 and $18 from Pilotshop.com and skygeek.com. Amazon's price + shipping was much lower. Click below to buy now.
California has some serious riding fun. The mountains north of Malibu north of LA have many twisty roads for your enjoyment, like the 10 miles on Latigo Canyon Road. Looks like a west coast version of Tennessee's "tail of the dragon". Anyone counted these curves?
"Mulholland HIghway is an amazing road, a ribbon of blacktop that meanders through the Santa Monica mountains overlooking Los Angeles. It’s a popular destination for anyone who loves to drive or ride. But one section is revered above all: The Snake, a two-mile stretch that ends with what could be the most crashed corner in Southern California." http://www.wired.com/2014/02/mulholland-the-snake/
Take a few hours and ride east from Portland, Oregon along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Stop at Vista House for the great views. You also pass Wahkeena Falls, and Horsetail Falls (aka Ponytail Falls). This old highway is a delight for motorcyclists and hikers.
"The Vista House was built in 1916 at the same time as Highway 30 (what is now the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, and the only way to reach Crown Point). The building was designed to be a place of refreshment and enjoyment of the Columbia Gorge.
The octagonal building with its green ceramic tile roof houses a museum, gift shop and interpretive display of historic and geologic points of interest in the Gorge."
"Beautiful Bridal Veil Falls is an elegant and graceful lady that can be fully appreciated from the deck of a viewing platform rebuilt in 1996. The creek hustles down from the top of nearby Larch Mountain, tumbles over the cliff and eventually flows into the mighty Columbia River.
No visit to the Columbia Gorge should be considered complete without a tour of the area of Bridal Veil and a visit to Bridal Veil Falls State Park."
West of Little Rock on I-40 take this 2 hour detour into the Arkansas countryside between Russellville and Clarksville. If you've never had the pleasure of riding here, this route will show you some of what you're missing.
See the Google map with directions.
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.
"The Freedom Rock is a large (approx. 60+ ton) boulder located in rural Iowa that is repainted every year with a different Thank You for our nation's Veterans, to honor their service to our country. The artist, Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II, was inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan, as well as, wanting to give Veterans a unique recognition on Memorial Day." http://www.thefreedomrock.com/
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."
"As the second-largest canyon in the United States, it is roughly 70 mi long and has an average width of 6 mi, but reaches a width of 20 mi at places. Its depth is around 820 ft, but in some locations, it can increase up to 1,000 ft. Palo Duro Canyon has been named "The Grand Canyon of Texas" both for its size and for its dramatic geological features, including the multicolored layers of rock and steep mesa walls similar to those in the Grand Canyon."
Looking to go camping? "Choose from campsites with water and electricity, primitive drive-up sites, equestrian sites, or backpack camping areas. Stay in one of three cabins on the canyon’s rim or four limited service cabins on the canyon floor. Rent our new pavilion for a wedding, reunion or meeting."
Caprock Canyons State Park has more formations, 2 hours southeast of Palo Duro. Plus you can check out their Bison herd. "History was made on Aug. 19, 2014 at Caprock Canyons State Park as cow #120 took the first steps to lead the Texas State Bison Herd into their new range within the park. The herd now has over 10,000 acres to roam. This legendary bison herd was started by famed cattleman Charles Goodnight and his wife Mary Ann in 1878. It is one of the five foundation herds credited with saving this magnificent animal from extinction."
Warning! Highway 242 has steep drop-offs with no guard rails.
It is not recommended for inexperienced riders.
"Dee Wright Observatory (Hwy 242 is closed Nov - June) is an observation structure at the summit of McKenzie Pass in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The structure is an open shelter constructed with lava stone. It is located in the midst of a large lava flow, and offers an exceptional view of numerous Cascade peaks."
"The observatory is an open shelter built with lava stone found at the construction site. The viewing windows are cut to specifically highlight the neighboring mountains. These "lava tube" viewing holes allow visitors to easily identify the different Cascade peaks. There is also a 36 inch (90 cm) diameter, bronze azimuth-like "peak finder" on the observatory’s roof to help visitors locate nearby geologic features as well as the surrounding mountain peaks. From the top of the observatory, visitors have a panoramic view of the Cascade Mountain Range including Mount Hood in the far north."
"The half-mile long Lava River Interpretive Trail begins at the observatory, and takes visitors on a 30-minute walk through lava beds. The trail is paved and easy to follow. Interpretive panels, located along the trail highlight the geology of the area. The trail also offers open vistas of the surrounding landscape."
"Kaaterskill Falls is a two-stage waterfall of Kaaterskill Creek, located in the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York, on the north side of Kaaterskill Clove, between the hamlets of Haines Falls and Palenville in Greene County's Town of Hunter. The two cascades total 260 feet (79 m) in height, making it one of the highest waterfalls in New York, and one of the Eastern United States' tallest waterfalls.
The waterfalls are one of America's oldest tourist attractions, being depicted or described by many books, essays, poems and paintings of the early 19th century. Long before Alexis de Tocqueville's famous essay on America, Kaaterskill Falls was lauded as a place where a traveler could see a wilder image, a sort of primeval Eden. Beginning with Thomas Cole's first visit during 1825, they became a subject for painters of the Hudson River School, setting the wilderness ideal for American landscape painting. The Falls also inspired "Catterskill Falls", a poem by William Cullen Bryant."
"This is one of the most popular hikes in the area, in part because everyone likes waterfalls, and in part because it’s a relatively short hike to a huge, 260-foot payoff, divided over two drops.
Another highlight along the way is the smaller-but-still-awesome Bastion Falls, which flows past the trailhead and is easily visible from the road."
Mike Todd has posted some nice photos in a Picassa Web Album here.
"Enjoy history, bluff-top views, outstanding trails and charming river towns along the Wisconsin Great River Road—Wisconsin’s only designated National Scenic Byway. The Wisconsin Great River Road parallels the Mississippi River for 250 miles ... Nearly two-thirds of the Wisconsin Great River Road passes along or through protected natural areas ... Scenic overlooks along the Wisconsin Great River Road are some of the best places in North America to see bald eagle ... The Wisconsin Great River Road passes through a region filled with farms, orchards and pastures ... For an unforgettable family road trip, a great getaway or a weeklong vacation, explore the Wisconsin Great River Road."
See Google map with directions.
Over 1700 miles of US highway 12 begins at Wayzata, MN and ends in Washington state at the Pacific Ocean. A highlight of this ride is central Idaho, the Lewis and Clark Trail.
"Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America."
Painted Wall is one of the highlights of a visit to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, Colorado. This NPS photo by Lisa Lynch shows the Gunnison River flowing along the bottom of the shear canyon walls. See this and other photos at the link below.
Is this 30 miles on Highway 92 (above) Colorado's version of the "dragon"? Combine these two maps for a half-day adventure from Montrose, Colorado featuring some nice curves, scenery, and the not well known Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
"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."
"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."
"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. 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."
There's a slideshow of aerial photos from VA Hwy 16, aka Back of the Dragon.
"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/
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.
"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."
If you're looking for solitude and have an extra 4 hours, you might enjoy this 71 miles to nowhere. Then the pavement ends and dirt continues east to Riverbend, Montana and I-90. See the map of the entire route.
Ice Cream sold here
There's at least 3 chances to enjoy a local ice cream shop on US Highway 15 in Virginia - Effee's Frozen Favorites in Warrenton, Pa Pa Jim's in Troy, and Dillwyn Dairy Freeze in Dillwyn are all on this ride.
Going north from Research Triangle / Raleigh / Durham area of North Carolina? US Highway 15 takes you from Durham, NC to Harrisburg, PA about 40 miles north of the Maryland border.
Turn west on Main Street in Orange, VA to visit
Montpelier, home of our 4th President, James Madison.
"MONTPELIER was home to President James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Architect of the Bill of Rights, and Dolley Madison, America’s first "First Lady." It was here at Montpelier where James Madison shaped the ideas that would become the U.S. Constitution. For six months Madison sat in his upstairs library, where he meticulously studied past forms of governments and organized his thoughts into what he believed were the ideal principles for a representative democracy. Madison’s ideas would become the “Virginia Plan,” and later the framework for the Constitution."
Beautiful Wagner Falls, south of Munising earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence.
See larger map with directions
Need a map?
UP guide book?
A few miles west of Paradise, on Michigan highway 123
"Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls.
The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent."
Sable Falls, Grand Marais
"Just past the restrooms, you’ll find a sign that directs you to ether the Grand Sable (French for “big sand”) Dunes or Sable Falls. Make a right toward the falls and you’ll arrive at a few hundred wooden stairs just waiting to carry you down to your destination. ... This was our first time to Sable Falls but I’d seen some absolutely beautiful pictures of the place, and it did not disappoint."
Woodland Park Campground, Grand Marais
"This sandy, wooded campground overlooks a breathtaking Lake Superior beach in a stand of mixed pines and hardwoods with facilities for the entire family. Owned and operated by Burt Township, Woodland Park is a full service campground with 125 grassy sites plus group areas, fire pits, two bath houses, cable TV, wireless Internet, electric, water hook-ups, dump station, an open-air picnic gazebo, playground, basketball & tennis courts, and public phone with good paved and gravel interior roads. No pull-throughs. Open from April 15 through October 15."
"Explore the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks. Come visit Ausable Chasm for an assortment of adventures you will not find at any other single location in the Adirondacks. Hike, float and/or climb as you go back in time as you experience one of the oldest natural attractions in the United States (Est. 1870). Immerse yourself in a primeval Adirondack forest as you stroll past Rainbow Falls, Elephant's Head, Column Rock, Hyde's Cave and the eerie quiet of Mystic Gorge. Descend hundreds of feet to walk on natural stone walkways and gaze upon eons of geologic history etched in stone." They have cabins and a campground. http://ausablechasm.com/
Hero's Welcome General Store was built in 1899 and run by the Trudhope family for 90 years. Restored in 1993, they have a generous assortment of trinkets, and their famous sandwiches on their deli menu.
"Fort Ticonderoga is home to one of America’s largest collections of 18th-century military material culture. Fort Ticonderoga's artifact collections are among the most important of their type in the world. Preserved within the collection is 18th-century military weaponry, unique military uniforms, artworks of all types, and a vast collection of archeological artifacts recovered on site during its restoration.
- Weapons - Muskets, Bayonets, Pistols, Swords, Pole Arms, Artillery
The weapons collection is composed of over one thousand muskets, bayonets, pistols, swords, pole arms and cannon representing most of the major types of weapons used in the colonial wars and struggle for American Independence. The museum’s collection of 18th-century artillery is considered the largest collection of its type in the western hemisphere." Ticket info.
"Travel a short drive to the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Explore the golden valleys of a majestic byway and discover historic towns along the way. The Talimena Scenic Drive offers you more than 50 miles of the most breathtaking vistas ..." http://www.talimenascenicdrive.com/
Do take the time to ride 89 miles east of our route in Calvin, OK and enjoy the Talimena Scenic Byway. from US 271 in Oklahoma to US 71 in Mena, Arkansas. It's similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with no trucks allowed and many views.
Dallas to Omaha - 653 miles
"The Kansas prairie, with it’s open skies, seemingly endless horizon, and tall grasses waving in the wind attracted homesteaders from all over the world.
When Charles P. Ingalls, his wife, Caroline Lake Quiner Ingalls, and their daughters, Mary and Laura camped on the Kansas prairie in 1869 they had no way of knowing that it would change their lives and children’s literature forever.
The cabin that now sits on the Little House on the Prairie Museum site was reconstructed according to Laura Ingalls' own descriptions by Brigadier General William A. Kurtis and his wife, Wilma Horton Kurtis, with the help of volunteers from the local chapter of the Jaycees from Independence in 1977."
Omaha, Nebraska to the Canadian border - 586 miles
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park
"Fort Atkinson was the first United States Army post to be established west of the Missouri River in the unorganized region of the Louisiana Purchase of the United States. Located just east of present-day Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the fort was erected in 1819 and abandoned in 1827. The site is now known as Fort Atkinson State Historical Park and is a National Historic Landmark. A replica fort was constructed by the state at the site during the 1980s–1990s.
The post, which included soldiers, traders, trappers, and other frontier people, has been credited by the Nebraska State Legislature as the first town in Nebraska. Founded almost 30 years before the creation of the Nebraska Territory, Fort Atkinson had more than 1,000 residents. It included a brickyard, lime kiln, stone quarry, grist mill, saw mill, and cooper shop."
Why Carter Lake, Iowa is located in East Omaha
"As it so often did in the 1800s, the Missouri River changed its course during an ice jam in 1877 that dug a new river channel near Saratoga Bend. When the waters shifted, a crescent-shaped body of water called Cut-Off Lake was all that remained of the river’s previous channel. Alongside the lake, which still had the Missouri River lapping into it from the east, was a small slice of land owned by Council Bluffs resident Thomas Jefferis that had been on the Iowa side of the river before the flood. ...
One of the plants was the Carter White Lead Works – which later evolved into Dutch Boy Paint – owned by a man named Levi Carter. The lake and the town itself assumed the name Carter Lake in 1909 after his widow donated much of their land along the shoreline to the city of Omaha. ...
Council Bluffs officials, however, saw Omaha’s intrusion as a brazen attempt to snatch land that rightfully belonged on their tax rolls. The ensuing legal battle over whether Iowa or Nebraska had jurisdiction over Cut-Off Island went to the Supreme Court. In its 1892 ruling, the court sided with Iowa on the basis that state lines remain the same when a river avulsed, or dramatically altered, its path in 1877. Therefore, the land had never left Iowa, despite its position on the Nebraska side of the river."
from the 2012 article by John Schreier, email@example.com
"The Gilmore Car Museum began in the early 1960s when Donald S. Gilmore began collection vintage automobiles. We know know that some of the first vehicles in his collection included 1927 Ford Model T, a 1913 Rolls Royce, a 1930 Pierce Arrow. Restoring that classic Pierce-Arrow—which is still on display at the museum—ignited a passion. ... To accommodate his collection, he acquired 90 acres of farmland in southwestern Barry County, Michigan in a small town off of Gull Lake known as Hickory Corners. He also purchased several historic barns, had them dismantled, and moved to the site—a stroke of inspiration that gives our museum its unique character. It was Genevieve who came up with the idea of turning the collection into a museum, which would allow future generations access to Donald’s one-of-a-kind collection. The Genevieve and Donald S. Gilmore established a non-profit foundation and opened the museum to the public for the first time on Sunday, July 31, 1966."
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."