Author [NL] [FR] [ES] [DE] [SE] [IT] Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy  (Read 5349 times)

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  • Offline mgmoto

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    Offline mgmoto

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    Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    on: Sep 21, 2015, 06.03 pm
    Sep 21, 2015, 06.03 pm
    I finally had the time to long trip on the new Trophy. It rained 5 out of 7 days but it really was not all that bad. The highest temperature I experienced was 98 degrees in Roanoke, VA and the lowest was 48 degrees on the BRP northeast of Asheville, NC. Here are some details, pictures and recommendations.

    Day 1 – Pittsford NY to Winchester VA – 360 miles, 6.5 hours
    I left work early to get on the road. There were big thunderstorms all afternoon and I tried to time my departure to avoid the worst of it. I rode through a huge thunderstorm near Bath, NY where the temperature dropped 20 degrees in 10 minutes, but it was dry after that. I rode Rt 15 and Rt 81 to get to Winchester VA to stay near the north entrance to Shenandoah National Park. Front Royal is closer than Winchester but I had hotel points to stay at the Aloft.

    Day 2 – Winchester VA to Roanoke VA – 250 miles, 7 hours
    Now the fun can start. I rode Skyline Drive and BRP all the way to Roanoake, VA. It was a long day in the saddle and very hot when I came off the parkway. I had ridden most of this section before, but being a Wednesday, there was very few cars and it turned out to be a great ride. I stopped and had breakfast at the Big Meadows Wayside cafι. It was pretty decent and good place to stop for snack and gas if you need that too. Skyline Drive has many great views, but is a little boring on a capable bike like the Trophy. The speed limit is 35 mph and I rode mostly at 45 mph. The rode is perfectly maintained with many new sections and no bumps or potholes to speak of. BRP is posted at 45 so you can have a little more fun. In spots the pavement is a little rougher but not as bad as many roads in New York.

    Day 3 – Roanoke VA to Robbinsville NC – 360 miles, 9 hours
    This was a long day in the saddle with occasional light rain. It never really poured but was damp most of the day. The 25 mile section north east of Asheville NC is spectacular. Great twisties, high elevations and stunning views. This is probably the closest you will come to riding in the Alps here in the states. I made a quick stop at an ABC store in Asheville. ABC stores are state sanctioned stores that sell liquor. Robbinsville is in a dry county so you can’t buy any alcohol. Restaurants cannot serve either, but most let you bring your own. I stayed at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. It was pretty basic, but comfortable. They have campsites, cabins and bunk rooms. I was able to do my laundry, have a decent dinner but it was raining again and no one else was hanging around.

    Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge

    Day 4 – Robbinsville NC to Lexington KY – 370 miles, 11 hours
    Another long day in the saddle with more rain but worth all of it. I woke up while it was still dark so I could ride the Tail of the Dragon shortly after sunrise. It was a Friday morning and raining so I had the road to myself. I never caught up to the back of anyone and no one ever caught up to me. The 11 miles of the Dragon is mostly 2nd gear. Very tight and technical and I got more than a few wiggles out of the front tire mid-apex. I rode East to West and then turned around and rode back through West to East. I finished before 9 am and decided to have breakfast in Robbinsville before heading through the Cherohala Skyway. This was also a very nice ride but it was really foggy and raining the whole ride for me. After that I took Rt 360 north to Vonore TN on my way to Lexington KY. This road had more houses and traffic, but was still a good ride. If you wanted to do a day loop, the Dragon, Rt 360 and Cherohala is a great ride.

    Fontana Dam

    Big Surpise – More Rain!

    There are a bunch of photographers along the Dragon who take pictures of every vehicle that goes by. You go to their website and can order the files or photos

    At the NC end, there are two stores to buy Dragon merch

    Cherohala Skyway started out promising but got really foggy at elevation

    Day 5 – Lexington KY to Carmel IN – 200 miles, 4 hours
    This was my shortest day in the saddle, and I was very tempted by the Bourbon Trail signs but I wanted to meet my boss for a late lunch in Carmel where he lives. The biggest mistake I made on this trip was not having a rest day with no riding. I was quite sore, even with my AirHawk, and am currently shopping for a better seat. For the MotoGP race on Friday and Saturday night, they close Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to cars and let the bikes park all over. It was mostly a Harley affair but still a lot of fun. I guy with a new Kawasaki H2R was showing off his $50,000 and 300 hp toy by revving the piss out of it.

    North of Lexington KY I found this

    Many bikes gathering at Monument Circle

    Day 6 – Moto GP race and ride to Columbus OH – 200 miles, 3 hours
    I purposely got my tickets under cover in case it rained (and it did) and I sat right by the first turn where there is a ton of passing.  The Moto 2 race was the most entertaining because there was a pass for lead every lap in Turn 1. Marquez won the GP race with a late pass. It was my first time seeing a race in Indy and also my first MotoGP. Too bad they announced they won’t race there anymore. After the race was over, I went back to the hotel, loaded my gear and headed to Columbus OH to get me closer to home.

    Day 7 – Columbus OH to Pittsford NY – 400 miles, 7 hours
    A long and boring day that was all highway. The last half hour home was another huge thunderstorm. I did not even bother with my rain gear and it was a good way to get the road stench out of my jacket after a long, humid and sweaty week.

  • Offline Stelyn   gb

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    Offline Stelyn

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #1 on: Sep 21, 2015, 06.33 pm
    Sep 21, 2015, 06.33 pm
    Great photo's mgmoto, looks like you had a great time , thanks for sharing the experience ..... :821:
    `Only a Motorcyclist  knows why a dog rides with his head out of the car window '

  • Offline Zebraranger   us

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    Offline Zebraranger

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #2 on: Sep 21, 2015, 10.50 pm
    Sep 21, 2015, 10.50 pm
    Rain or not, it looks like you had a great trip and lots of fun rides. Thanks for sharing the photos. I love that region and try to make it up there once or twice a year as work permits. Again, great photos.

  • Offline DaMonk45   us

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    Offline DaMonk45

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #3 on: Sep 22, 2015, 01.25 pm
    Sep 22, 2015, 01.25 pm
    Great Roads.....Check
    Good Race.....Check

    Safely Home....Check

    All in all sounds like a nice ride.

  • Offline dsinned

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    Offline dsinned

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #4 on: Sep 22, 2015, 05.30 pm
    Sep 22, 2015, 05.30 pm
    Thanks for the report and all the photos.  Except for all the rain, you must of have a great time!

    How did your (Airhawk?) seat cushion work out for you?  Is you rider's seat the heated version, and do you have heated grips on your bike?  Were they of any benefit on such a long trip in inclement weather?
    Last Edit: Sep 22, 2015, 05.40 pm by dsinned
    Original owner of 2014 Lunar Silver Trophy SE, and 2015 Custom Silver & Black Bonneville T100.

  • Offline w8d4it   us

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    Offline w8d4it

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #5 on: Sep 23, 2015, 02.46 am
    Sep 23, 2015, 02.46 am
    Nice write up but I have to disagree with your comment on the Alps.  I went to graduate school for 3 years in Virginia just 6 miles from the BRP and am intimately familiar with the whole region. I cannot count the number of times I've ridden the BRP both on a bicycle and a motorcycle.   I also lived in North Carolina for 4 years.  I lived in the French Alps for 5 years.  If you want a taste of the Alps here in the USA you need to get out west and experience the Rockies. Various parts of the Rockies have similarities to the Alps although not the same intimacy with the mountains one feels when riding in the Alps.   The Blue Ridge Mountains, although one of my favorite regions and one of the most beautiful areas of the USA, are similar only to some of the areas outlaying the Alps. Not the Alp regions itself. 
    Proudly Riding Triumph Since 1968
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  • Offline geoffyboy

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    Offline geoffyboy

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #6 on: Sep 23, 2015, 06.55 am
    Sep 23, 2015, 06.55 am
    Thanks for the write up and pics. Very educational this forum. Just back from hiking in Turkey and our group included a very well travelled gentleman from Boston, who was quite surprised that someone from outside the US had heard of the BRP, Deals Gap etc. He had done a lot of hiking in these places over the years and obviously loved them.  :460:
    Life isn't a dress rehearsal so enjoy it.

  • Offline gfxmonkey   gb

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    Offline gfxmonkey

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    Re: Blue Ridge Parkway, the Dragon and the Moto GP Race at Indy
    Reply #7 on: Sep 23, 2015, 10.27 am
    Sep 23, 2015, 10.27 am
    What a great write up, apart from the rain (which is normal here in the UK) you obviously had a great time. Glad you are making the most out of your bike.  :821: