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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I just picked up my first Ducati. Bought a 04 ST3 off ebay last week, and two days later took off for the Blue Ridge, Deals Gap, etc. I rode with my dad and brother for the last week and put 2300 miles on it this past week. Rode the entire Blue Ridge from Cherokee to Skyline Drive in VA. I LOVE IT! I also have a HD Road King in the garage that I'll be putting up for sale! :D
 

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Oh, now I understand your canister question. Your endorphins are surging from your recent purchase and LONG first ride! Congratulations! I have been on various bikes for years (more decades than I car to admit!). The Ducati ST3s is a wonderment to me. I have never ridden such a combination of power, suspension (I tweaked mine some), and braking. All in a comfortable light weight package. Awesome!
 

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Nice to see positive press about Ducs... especially from those new to the brand. Welcome aboard. Now... you've really got me looking forward to our ride to BRP next week.
 

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mcd said:
Now... you've really got me looking forward to our ride to BRP next week.
The best section of the BRP is between Cherokee and Asheville, NC. This is the most scenic. You also may not want to stray too far form posted speed limits, as the fines have significantly increased for speeding up there over the last two years....BTW, my driveway is 52 miles away from the overlook at Hwy 215 and the BRP.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As soon as you get through Cherokee, it's all good!!! I just hate the traffic in Cherokee. As far as cops, many other people warned us also; however, I didn't see one cop from Cherokee through the Skyline. None...and that was memorial day weekend through this past week, so yes, unusual...but nice that we never had to brake or check our mirrors!
 

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You guys read my mind regarding heading towards the Cherokee area. Unfortunately, I don't see any other logical way to get out to Asheville from Chapel Hill than to superslab it on I-40. Once there, the bike gets parked and a pint or two of that good Asheville brewed beer (Highland Brewing Co, French Broad Brewery) will be in order. Friday will be the day we have freed up to ride the area as we are going to the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival Saturday and then need to head back home. The wife will be with me so I'm not sure what makes more sense... a ride out towards Cherokee on Friday or up the BRP. The objective is to come up with a fairly good mix of spirited roads and scenery. Any recommendations?
 

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One suggestion for an alternate route: Off of the BRP (as you go from Asheville to Cherokee), you can catch Hwy 276 north until it hits Hwy 215, then take Hwy 215 south, back to the BRP. These two roads are nice and twisty and some of the scenery is sweet. There are a couple of waterfalls that are visible from the road (specifically Hwy 215 almost at the BRP). This route is about 40 miles or so detour for a five (?) mile stretch of the BRP.
 

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As the saying goes... sure pays to get in good with the natives. Thanks for the info Desmo. Living out in your neck of the woods... Lord knows the grin that must be locked on to your face.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I'm not mistaken...isn't Blueridge motorcycle campground right off 276? We camped there two nights. Nice to kick tires with other enthuestists.
 

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Gas Stops

Cycleman6 said:
If I'm not mistaken...isn't Blueridge motorcycle campground right off 276? We camped there two nights. Nice to kick tires with other enthuestists.
Yes, it is in Cruso, NC, about 10 miles or so north of the Blue Ridge Parkway. My wife and I stayed there with a few folks from www.carolinariders.com about a month and a half ago.

As a reminder, there are not a lot of gas stations on the Parkway, and you may want to try to plan gas stops accordingly. From Asheville, there are a few gas stations on Hwy 191 north, just outside of Asheville. After that, it's a while.....There is a campground/hotel/restaurant/gas station on the BRP about 2-5 miles east from the Hwy 276 intersection, but they were not selling gas last fall. I have no idea if they are selling gas now, either. There are some gas staions in Cruso on the north side of Hwy 276 from the BRP, but going south on Hwy 276, you'll have to drive all the way down to Hwy 64, just outside of the Pisgah National Forest (there is a Pizza Hut and El Chappala's for Mexican food at that interesection. El Chappala's is in a strip mall nearly across the street from the Citgo station).....Side note, there is a nice waterfall in the Pisgah Forest called "Looking Glass Falls" and they just redid a small parking lot for tourists. The waterfall is directly off of Hwy 276 south from the BRP going toward Brevard and is visible from the road. The lower part of Hwy 276 winds along a trout stream and is quite nice and scenic.

Past Hwy 276, going toward Cherokee, you can head south on Hwy 215 for about 5-7 miles and get to a gas station that takes CASH ONLY. For gas north on Hwy 215, you pretty much have to drive the 20 or so miles to where Hwy 276 meets Hwy 215, and there is a gas staion both left or right once you hit Hwy 276, on 276 (going into Waynesville can also give you some places to eat.)

Past Hwy 215 toward Cherokee, it is a bit of a drive to find gas. The nearest place I can remember is getting off of the BRP at Hwy 74/23 west of Waynesville (I think it is Balsam?). Also in this area at Bryson City, just outside of and west of Waynesville is the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad ( www.gsmr.com ) where you can take various train rides. This is also the railroad that was used for the prisoner bus/train crash in the movie "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford. Most, if not all, train rides will take you past the wreckage from the movie that shows the bus and locomotive on the side of the tracks.

Anyway.....LOTS of stuff in this area that can take up your time. ;)
 

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Desmo_Demon said:
....

Past Hwy 215 toward Cherokee, it is a bit of a drive to find gas. The nearest place I can remember is getting off of the BRP at Hwy 74/23 west of Waynesville (I think it is Balsam?). . ;)
Yup, Balsam Gap..
 

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flynfink said:
Yup, Balsam Gap..
Dude that is the best map I have ever seen of the parkway. My wife and I are riding down to the Parkway on Monday. We are taking 5 days to ride it. I cant wait. Does anyone have some advice on riding and where to stop. We are trying to get all the way to the Great Smoky Mountain Natl Park. We are staring in Va by Monticello. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Does anyone know the length and the amount of turns???
 

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Dez & Fink...

... you've made my life a whole lot easier. All packed up, armed with some great info (thanks to you guys) and ready to head out in the A.M.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
1upDuc said:
Dude that is the best map I have ever seen of the parkway. My wife and I are riding down to the Parkway on Monday. We are taking 5 days to ride it. I cant wait. Does anyone have some advice on riding and where to stop. We are trying to get all the way to the Great Smoky Mountain Natl Park. We are staring in Va by Monticello. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Does anyone know the length and the amount of turns???
Lenth of the Parkway from Cherokee to VA (not including Skyline drive) is something like 459 miles I do believe. We rode the parkway very relaxed and casually in about 3 days. We found that 150 miles a day was an easy day, allowed for several stops, and ventures off the parkway. If you have time, and you want to go down around Deals Gap, I would recommend going on the way down to ride the Cheroholla (sp?) Parkway. That runs down to Tellico Plains, TN. Very nice (mini blueridge)...about 49 miles across it. When we went, we camped pretty much all the way, 5 nights. We rode from south to north. I enjoyed stopping at the Mabry Mill for breakfast one morning...right on the blueridge. Also Little Switzerland is a nice place to stop that has a good bookstore/sandwich shop for lunch as a stop, or for breakfast the inn in Little Switzerland had a good all you can eat breakfast buffet for $7. If you are camping on the blueridge I would recommend Blueridge Motorcycle Resort in Cruso, and also Willville Campground, which is just inside VA going North on the parkway. Just my $.02.
 

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Interesting comments from everyone, but let's kick this off right:

Congratulations, Cycleman6!

Welcome to the club. We're all jealous of your trip!
 

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Desmo_Demon said:
you can catch Hwy 276 north until it hits Hwy 215, then take Hwy 215 south, back to the BRP. These two roads are nice and twisty and some of the scenery is sweet.
Affirmative on that!

Thanks for the suggestion Desmo Demon! Your suggested ride turned out to be a great one on Friday. Thought for sure we were going to get soaked a number of times on the way out there Thursday but it seemed that, every time we got to where there appeared to be a threatening area, the clouds had already parted. Then, when we left late Saturday afternoon, it sounds like the weather came in shortly thereafter (talk about timing...). A great time had by all and, as luck would have it, we were greeted by a big H.O.G. rally in Asheville when we arrived. Thought about entering my dry clutch 3s in the bike show (yeah right...) but the wife said she'd buy me a pint when we got back home if I didn't. Clearly, her offer was the better of the choices.

1-Up-Duc... I suspect your weather stories aren't going to be quite so rosy. Hope you brought your rain gear and hope you and the wife come away from your trip having made the most of it.
 

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mcd said:
Affirmative on that!

Thanks for the suggestion Desmo Demon! Your suggested ride turned out to be a great one on Friday.
I'm glad it worked out well for you. I really like those roads, especially that section of Hwy 215. Going south on it (uphill) is a lot smoother than going north on it. I believe the way the curves are, they are just more fluid and smoother as you go up the mountain, and you can carry a little more speed than going down the mountain....at least for me it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
MarcP said:
Interesting comments from everyone, but let's kick this off right:

Congratulations, Cycleman6!

Welcome to the club. We're all jealous of your trip!
My dad and brother do a trip once a year. We are already planning our trip for next summer up to New England, Maine area. It's a great father/son time and great enjoyment on the bikes.
 

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Cycleman6 said:
My dad and brother do a trip once a year. We are already planning our trip for next summer up to New England, Maine area. It's a great father/son time and great enjoyment on the bikes.
The lighthouse at Cape Neddick is one of the most photographed ones in the USA, if you work your way over there. The beach/shoreline of Maine is beautiful.

Since you'll be heading over there from IN, you may want to consider a ride in the mountains of NY, maybe go over toward Lake Placid for a scenic ride. For a break, there is a scenic train ride that goes from Lake Placid to a neighboring town....that I missed when I was in the area. A MUST DO for your route whould be to ride to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. It is the second highest point in the eastern USA (after Mt Mitchell in NC by about 6'), and you get a neat sticker to put on your bike. The roads around there are really sweet scenic ones, too. I forgot, offhand, which roads we took, but one of them had a neat waterfall just off of the highway (Cascade Falls, I think).

I'm attaching photos of the lower section of Lake Saranac (near Lake Placid), of the lighthouse at Cape Neddick, a shot of an observation building on the top of Mt Mashington (with huge chains to keep it from blowing off the mountain), and a picture of the train that goes to the top of Mt Washington (note the angle of the boiler).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Excellent, thanks for the tips on our next trip. We are looking to trailer the bikes from IN to PA, stay at a relatives house, then start the bike trip from PA.
 
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