Start Time: 8:45 AM EDT
Stop Time: 6:06 PM EDT
Start Location: Laurel Springs, NC
Stop Location: Stecoah, NC
Lodging: Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge
Breakfast: Campsite (bagel with cream cheese)
Lunch: East Village Grill (hamburger steak and mashed potatoes)
Dinner: Iron Horse Motorcycle Campground and Lodge (fried chicken, green beans, cucumber salad)
Miles Traveled Today: 261
Weather: 62-81, Sunny Most of the day with one 2 minute shower
Blueridge Parkway, US-441, US-74, NC-28, Gunter Gap Road.
Today was the twin to yesterday, sexy roads all day long with stunning scenery to boot.
The scenery just begs to be photographed, but I’ve ridden this route twice before, and stopped at tons of the overlooks taking photos all day long on each of those two trips. This trip, I limited my stops and just rode the road.
Limited photos or not, there still were enough photos taken to say I’ve been there and done that.
One of my favorite overlooks is the one that reveals the road you will be riding in a few moments off in the distance. I love the way this bridge clings to the mountainside (and I always say a quick prayer that it does not lose its clingyness while I’m riding across it).
To add a cherry on top of an already spectacular ride day, as I was checking my email yesterday evening, I saw one from an old friend and former business associate, Sven Lauden. Sven was asking where I was at, and thinking he could join me.
When I emailed him back with details, it turned out that he was in the same area I was going to ride today just yesterday. And he stated his regrets at missing the opportunity to ride together.
This morning I texted him and demanded that he go get on one of his bikes and get his butt over here, even if he had just risen in the area yesterday. Sven did just that. Just before lunch we were able to meet up on the Parkway.
If you look very closely over my shoulder, you can see one of Sven’s riding lights.
Sven brought his camping gear and decided to stay at Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground with me, and will be joining me for The Dragon at Deals Gap tomorrow.
This was the first time either of us had stayed at the Iron Horse, and boy were we glad we did. As I sit here typing this, I’m hearing the rushing water of the stream that runs right through the middle of the campground, and is less that 15 feet from my campsite.
Trust me when I say that photos do not do this place justice. I’m fairly sure this is my 24th night at a campground on this tour, and this place tops everything, and I mean everything by the power of 10.
As I mentioned earlier, our campsite is right on the stream that runs through the middle of the campground.
The campground offers breakfast every morning, and dinner 3 or 4 nights a week, and fortunately for us, tonight was one of the nights they offered dinner.
By the way, they did not short me on the fried chicken, I just didn’t think to take the picture until I had just about finished eating my chicken.
After dinner, they start a campfire, and lots of campers gather around to tell all about their motorcycle adventures. Sven and I stayed up until 11:00 just talking, so we were the last of the road riders to call it a day, and what a glorious day it was.
Tomorrow we are off to ride down and back up The Dragon Tail (318 curves in 11 miles), then back to Robbinsville where Sven and I will part ways. Sven is heading over to the Nantahala area to look into a rafting trip for he and his niece, who will arrive from Germany on Saturday. I’ll pickup Cherohala Skyway just outside of Robbinsville, and then point Sweet Baby JIL towards Smyrna for the last few miles of this epic journey.
Thank you Lord for allowing (or orchestrating) these two opportunities to meet up with old friends, and for providing us safe passage today. Bless us tomorrow as we go attempt to tame The Dragon one more time.
Work staying at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground into your next overnight ride, you will be glad you did (they do have cabins for you non-campers out there, even large cabins for large groups).
I’ll try to edit this post later to add a link and more details, but I wanted to make sure to include a 5 out of 5 star review for the handle bar risers I purchased just a month or so after getting my bike.
Our very first trip was a long one, over 700 miles in a single day, and not only did we both suffer greatly with numb butt syndrome, but I was really hurting between my shoulders.
I’ve heard a lot of riders complain about this knot of tension that forms between your shoulders, and just aches.
I was fortunate to get some good advice very early on from multiple members of my local Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) about getting the bar risers.
I don’t recall the name of mine, but I’ll add that when I get home and look back at my receipts. They raised my bars just a little, and moved them back towards me an inch or so, which made all the difference in the world for riding long.
Well, just one more day of riding, and one more blog post about that ride and this adventure will be drawing to its inevitable conclusion. I will try to add one final post summing up the tour, and any thoughts I have for those that want to take on a Four Corners Tour.