Smokey Mountain Ride In 2016

Goldwing Road Trip
Road Trip Background …

Nothing says summer like attending the Smoky Mountain Ride In that takes places in Bryson City, North Carolina every year about this time. Bob (Monk) will be riding over from Arkansas to my area (Dover, Tn) on Monday, June 20th and Gene (Onan) will ride up to Dover, Tn from Missouri early on Tuesday, June 21st for us to form a group of 3 Wingers and begin our sojourn over to the Smoky Mountains. We will be laying some tread on those roads and enjoying times with friends and making new ones over the next several days. I will be blogging this road trip and will be posting some daily thoughts and pictures below. If you can't make it you can see what you're missing here :-)

... here's my spotwalla link if you want to see the roads we take.

Monday - June 20' 2016

Seems’ Bob was in need of a Red bike to follow to ensure he made it into Dover, TN. I was obliged to help him out and left out today just before 10am with plans to meet up with him.
A look at Kentucky Lake … as I passed over on the longest day of the year and the first day of summer 2016. Savor this moment!

Bob and I rendezvoused in Dyersburg, TN around noon had lunch and managed to roll back into Dover, TN with enough time left over for me to give Bob an escort along some curvy local roads for about an additional hour of riding.

Gene should arrive in Dover, TN around 7:30 a.m. in the morning and then the three of us will make our way over to Bryson City together.

Tuesday - June 21' 2016

Gene arrived right on time as per normal and we were all on the road heading east out of Dover, Tn by 8:00 a.m. We dove down and around the Clarksville and Nashville areas by taking some back roads that I knew and easily made out way over to Crossville, TN and on to highway 68 heading towards Tellico Plans. Our original plan was to take the Cherohala Parkway on the way over to Bryson City, North Carolina but some rain managed to pop up in the area by early afternoon so we stopped for lunch early in Sweetwater to revaluate our plan while filling our stomachs. We ended up modifying our route more to the North to avoid the rain and went through Deals Gap and road the Dragon on the way in instead. We all arrived safely at the motel just a little after 5:00 p.m.

Steve (Weikosteve on the site) was kind enough to invite everyone up to his place for an Early Bird Cookout. Gary and Shorty helped out by riding a few of us up to Steve's place in a cage since it was rather a challenge to get there by just following directions. It's basically on the top of what they call mountains around here. Once there the view from his deck and the food were both worthy of note. Check the pictures below …
How would you like to have this view from your deck? Awesome!
Everyone was enjoying the wonderful dishes that were prepared and each other company
That was some mighty fine food and plenty of it.

After dinner there was a brief raffle drawing for some prizes from some of the local shops and restaurants in the area. Steve and Gary and many others help put the SMRI event on each year for the sole purpose of raising money to help out underprivileged kids in the local community. It's also a great way to meet other riders and re-connect with friends. Our thanks to Steve and Gary and all their helpers that help make this event thrive year after year.

After dinner it was back to the motel to start planning out our ride and routes for tomorrows adventure. Another plus for today was that I was able to once again get yet another shot of UNCLEJOHN riding on the back of something.
This time in the back of a pickup truck. Does this guy really ride a Goldwing or does he just like being ridden around?

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Wednesday - June 22' 2016

Rise and Shine … time to rock and roll.
These Wings are always ready to roll.

We were too … that is … right after we finished a good breakfast at Everette's Diner down the street from the motel. By the time we got back to the motel and got ready to roll the number of riders in our group swelled to 7. Usual suspects Bob (Monk), Gene (Onan), Craig (5thGear), Jim (Big Jammer) and Gary (Mr. Machine). Attending his first SMRI we welcomed Mike (One Fat Burrito) to our group.
That's Mike … center stage in the picture above on his 2005 Goldwing. First motorcycle he's ever own. Mike likes to start with the best. We're still working on improving his self inflicted nickname since "One Fat Burrito" just isn't going to work Mike :-)

Bob and I mapped out a route of about 260 miles for today's run that would take us down into Georgia to partake in some of those sweet roads. However, right out of the box and while it was still morning and cool we rolled on to the Cherohala Parkway. Always a great ride through there but we did encounter a little fog.
We have to take it down a notch when the road gets foggy.
What's better …. The riding or chatting and sharing stories with each other? BOTH no doubt!

We continued on south out of Tellico Plains and found a little Bar-B-Que place for lunch right around noon. Then it was down to …
Suches, Georgia …. Intersection of Highway 60 and Highway 180. Both excellent roads
With us … no ride is complete without Ice Cream and as per usual Bob leads the way. He's just a natural born leader when it comes to ice cream lol.

Great start to the riding week here in the Smoky Mountains and we all made it back safely to the motel.

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Thursday - June 23' 2016

Todays route was a short but sweet one primarily because we wanted to get back a little early for the parking lot party at Gracy Manor tonight.
Today's Route would take us down to Aunt Sue's in South Carolina for lunch. The only question we had was how many crooked roads could we find between here and there. Fortunately for us there were quite a few of those however today we would be only a party of 4 in our group as Gene and Craig went up to the Blueridge Parkway and Mike went to see the Wheels Through Time Museum.

We rolled out around 9:00 a.m. and had a spirited ride down to South Carolina arriving at Aunt Sue's place just a little after it opened.
Good food combined with and Ice Cream Parlor … how can you go wrong?
Aunt Sue's place is right next to Table Rock Park

After lunch it was back up and on to highway 215 to the BlueRidge Parkway. What a super road Highway 215 is … definitely one of the more enjoyable twisty road you'll find over here.

We hit the Blue Ridge Parkway for the last leg of our journey and I don't care how many times I've ridden this road or taken in the scenery from its many turnouts it never never disappoints. Take a look at these pictures and tell me you don't agree. Plus the temperatures were significantly cooler and on a hot day it was much appreciated.
No words needed
Seeing and taking in this magnificent landscape I'm reminded of this saying …

"We do not remember the days. We remember moments" and we should treasure every single one of them. One day they will be no more. Don't waste them sitting on a couch. Get out here.

Once we allowed the beauty to fully sink deep into our being and fully processed the moment we mounted back up on our steeds and proceeded on down the beautiful park way at an astounding speed of 45 MPH …
Oh The Humanity … that a stellar road such as this should have to suffer with slow moving cages and RV's day after day plodding along at a snails pace. If only they would come to their senses and closed this road off to creepy crawlers like that and let us motorcyclist have full reign and dominion over it. I promise I would take care of it.

We continued on and rode back to Bryson City to get cleaned up for the Parking lot party.

As the evening approached there was a flurry of activity as Gary and Steve and many others volunteers rushed around setting up and cooking up a fine meal with all the fixens. What an incredible effort that goes into to making this event a huge success year after year. Check it out …
Give people a good reason to stand in a long line and they will :-)
With so many tickets for a chance to win a gift from the local merchants everyone was sure to win something.

We were also honored to have a very special couple attend all the way from Israel!
Dan and Rachel Sanderovich.
Dan and Rachel serve as the Deputy Directors (Overseas) GWRRA
Now that's a long way to ride a Goldwing lol. We were happy they were able to attend.

Party continued well into the evening and everyone seem to have a really great time visiting and sharing time together for a great cause to help out the community and the underprivileged kids.

The greatest gift a person can give to someone else in this life is their time and we are all thankful for the time that Gary, Steve and so many others put into this event


Resting tonight in Bryson City with a slightly fuller stomach than normal thanks to all the great food.

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Friday - June 24' 2016

Never a good omen when you're woken up with the sound of thunder and rain outside but that's exactly what roused me out of my beauty sleep early this morning. It seemed some storms and showers were making their way into the area. With the day starting off under dreary rainy conditions our only hope was that it would dissipate as the sun rose and the day got under way. Thankfully our hopes were realized within a couple of hours as the stormy skies vanished and blue skies started to appear in time for our departure.
Today's Route …

We were a pack of 5 wingers today and we welcomed a Big Cat into our riding group for todays ride. Jim (Big Cat) rides and a Honda F6B and he joined Bob, Gary and Jammer for today's ride.

We rolled out around 9:30 a.m. and after a great run down Highway 28 to Franklin, NC with little to no traffic we unfortunately ran into a parade … Everybody loves a parade right … not this kind.
Yuck … sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don't

We suffered through it and eventually made it down to War Woman Road in Georgia. A great little twisty and winding road that took us from Highway 28 over to Dillard, Georgia and to our lunch destination at …
Awesome place to eat if you're every in the area …
Grumpy old men … Why? … because I made them take just one second to stop eating to get a picture lol.

After lunch it was over to Wayah Road. It's a wonderful little road that runs by Nantahala Lake and a large part of it was recently freshly paved. Little to no traffic except for one truck that was determine to run with us. It was fun to see him struggling trying to go faster than us while still staying on the road. We played along as best we could and it was a great run through there with him leading most of the way … but eventually …. he turned off …
and the roads are all ours again.

Here's a shot of Nantahala Lake …
Funny …. I din't know you could sell a lake ;-)

Finally our last destination was Deals Gap and the tail of the Dragon again. Gary had not been there before so we gave him the grand tour.
Here's our group next to the Tree Of Shame. From left to right ..
Bob (Monk), Me, Gary (Mr.Machine), Jim (Big Cat) & Jim (BigJammer)
The crashed bike parts are so numerous now you can't even see the base of the tree any more. Lot of riders got their egos put back into place here.

Once we had our fill it was another quick run down the road and back to the motel in Bryson City, N.C.

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Saturday - June 25' 2016

Well, it was finally here. It was our last day in riding paradise and for today's route we just decided to run our most favorite roads again for the last time …
Another picture perfect day to enjoy.

Around mid morning while on Highway 129 just north of Robbinsville we stop at a gas station to take a break and ran into a most unusual group of motorcycle riders ….
Notice any thing special about these riders? I'll give you a hint —> No Men Allowed!

Estimated about 40 to 50 all female riders. After chatting with a few of them for a little while we ascertained they had all ridden their motorcycles from all parts of the country here to participate in their first ever camping event they called "NoMansLand". The furthest away had ridden all the way from New Jersey. Pretty awesome. I'll let your mind wander from there :-) I'm keeping my comments to myself.

We stopped for lunch at the Highlands BBQ place just north of Highlands, N.C. I have to say it's under new ownership since the last time we visited and I was not impressed with my meal today at all. Maybe it was just a one time deal but I'm not sure however I'm not going to be that eager to go back there during my next visit to this area.

After lunch we looped around and managed to get another run at War Woman Road in Georgia going in the opposite direction before heading back north to the motel. Today was Saturday and more traffic than normal littered the good curvy roads with slow moving cages and made it really tough to enjoy some sections. We managed to do the best we could but this raises and important issue and a pet peeve of mind I'd like to share. So here's my observation and my Public Service Announcement …

We've all seen this I'm sure. You riding and enjoying an excellent road and all of a sudden a slow moving cage (car) comes into view ahead. As you slow down and approach the vehicle you begin to size up the situation and try to determine when and how you're going to safely get around. We'll take the double yellow line dilemma out of this equation for the purposes of this discussion (I could write a book on that lol) and lets' assume there will be a legit place to pass at some point. However, all of a sudden the person in the cage sees you in their rear view mirror and seems to go berserk and starts changing what they are doing. They either slow way down in an effort to help you or they frantically speed up or almost drive off the road looking for a place to pull over when there isn't one to get out of your way. This drives me nuts. My advice to those people when this situation occurs is to do nothing. In other words I wish they would just continue to drive their drive and continue to do what they are doing and let me worry about getting around them. The last thing I need when trying to get around a driver in a cage in this situation is another "variable" to deal with. Instead what I need is a "constant". Keep doing what you're doing and I'll be out of your rear view mirror in no time. When you start changing your behavior and driving style you make it more difficult for me to get around. Ok .. I feel better now … please let all your cage driving friends know lol.

We made it back to the motel and got cleaned up for the final goodby dinner at Ryan's Steak House where we enjoyed a great meal and said our goodbye's …IMG_7973
Great final meal … I'll post the totally number of attendees and how much money was raised for the kids on tomorrow final post. Steve had all the number and he had a previous engagement and wasn't able to attend the dinner tonight.

Few left early today but most of us will pull out in the morning the head back to our respective homes.

Resting one final night tonight in Bryson City. N.C.

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Sunday - June 26' 2016

As the parking lots of both the Rosewood and Gracy Manor slowly empty out there is a calm satisfaction that settles over me as I too pack up and prepare to head home. It all seems so magical to me as I look back and reflect on this one week. A week where we all paused and took a brief detour from our normal reality and instead stepped out from that to enter an alternate exhilarating reality. A reality totally focused on our love of riding while confirming existing and creating new friendships along the way. Now the detour is over and we return to our respective lives all the better I believe for having boldly pursued our passion. I like to think for every week I ride I add another two weeks to my life. Nothing makes me feel more alive than riding.
The magical machine that turns my passion into pleasure. Faithfully waiting for its rider while the engine purrs and the speakers embrace the sounds of Pink Floyd's Empty Pages. I breath a heavy sigh, mount up, and ride on.

Still time for a little icing on the cake as I get to hit Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon on my way out back towards Dover, Tn and my home. I saunter through the turns this time only interested in savoring each and every one of them.

By lunch time I was already in Murfreesboro, Tennessee stopping to enjoy my favorite burger … A Smash Burger. The only location in this state where I can get one. With lunch done it was time to take the final leg of the journey home and there remained only one more thing left to do that I did not get a chance to do while riding with my buds for the last week (primarily because of Bob (Monk) … Test out the low fuel light on the Wing!
220 miles on this tank and I was pleased to see my low fuel light still works. You just never know until you test it :-). I keep trying to convince my riding buds about this highly important wing maintenance procedure but I'm afraid they just don't get it. Ride with me long enough and you will.

Gary Baker called me last night after I got home and gave me the totals from the event. Even though there were less people attending the SMRI event this year (approximately 50 - 60 people) than previous years they were still able to raise more money for the kids. This years total was approximately $4,500. That's a good chunk of change to benefit the local underprivileged kids in the Bryson City area of North Carolina. He wanted me to thank everyone that came out and contributed to this very worthy cause.

For those of you that were not able to attend this year, except maybe virtually through my words and pictures on this blog, I hope you have enjoyed my journal and the journey with me as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. These have been …. Words of Mine … Voices in Time.


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