The Great Smoky Mountain Tour Via Harley

It's not where you are going, but rather, the ride that is so fun.

Page 1 of 5         July, 2004

 
 
    

For several years now, I've dreamed about riding my motorcycle to far away places where the roads are not so traveled and where they wind slowly along side and through the hills.   Well - I dream has been fulfilled and I only now wished it was longer as it was one fantastic ride.  WOW...

I have always heard so much about the Blue Ridge Parkway from other riders and now that I'm living in Florida, I almost forgot that they aren't that far away.  Over the holiday's, I was invited by Candice to visit her parents home in South Carolina in the small town of West Union.  It's located in the Western most part of the state next to several major state and national parks.  When looking at the maps on my computer, I noticed that they were located very close to the Smoky Mountain National Park.  Once I heard this, I posted a message on a motorcycle forum dedicated to touring motorcycles asking if there were any good roads that could be recommended.  I immediately got a rash of responses telling me that I was asking about motorcycle heaven with regards to beautiful roads.  There was the Blue Ridge Parkway (a portion of it), the Tail of the Dragon which is famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles, the Cherohala Parkway (a $100,000,000 road that is spectacular, the Foothills Parkway and 441 which traverses the Smoky's itself.  I knew that I not only had to go, but I wanted to share this experience with Candice who has never ridden on a motorcycle for any length of time and never over night.  Her response, well, she noted that she had seen the Smoky's over the past 20 years, but never had she experienced it so close, seen so much and became so exhilarated.  The senses become totally enlightened by the spectacular sights, the smells and just the raw beauty of the countryside and pristine lakes around every corner.  The back roads just getting there were like no other I've ever traveled. 

I'm from New England and I never thought I could be riding there.  I'm told that the fall colors rival those of New England. 

A visit to the Smoky's once in your life is a must, if not many more times.  It is pure heaven and being on a motorcycle is just that much closer.

Enjoy our journey.

 

Click on each picture to view a enlarged view.


   
 
We start our drive from Delray Beach, FL to West Union, SC in our truck with the bike loaded. The bike is a 2001 Harley Electra Glide.  It's a 12 hour drive and we make good time.  From there, we stay one day and scout out the local area.  The map above is the journey we plan on taking via the motorcycle into the Smoky's.  I can't wait. 

We are told that the Cherohala Skyway, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon are roads of great scenery and excitement.  We'll see.

 

   
 
The roads in the surrounding areas all have a similar feel.   Basically, they're all great and you really can't pick a bad road.
   
 
Once we get to West Union, SC, a sleepy town near the edge of the Smoky's, we take a ride to a local, but hidden wonderland where we explore a place called Stumphouse Park.  Here Candice and I have our backs to the waterfall in the background. It's really pretty here.
   
 
Candice and Phil at Stumphouse Fall from a new lookout.  It had just rained, but still very nice.
   
 
Candice getting caught in the rain, but this time, she's in her cool outfit that helps to keep her dry.
   
 

Once back, we are met my friends of Candice's parents.   Left to right:  Charlie, Dotty, Phil, Candice, Sonnie and his wife in West Union, S.C.

 

 

   
 

The next morning, we pack the bike and set off for our 3 day, 2 night motorcycle journey - a first for Candice.  On route, we stop off along the scenic Chattooga River.  It is nearby that they filmed the movie DELIVERANCE.  I can still hear the ghosts of the pigs squealing....OUCH !!!

 

 

   
 

An abandoned bridge on the Chattooga River.  

Downstream, the water gets rough and there are many rafting company's offering white water rapids treks.

   
 
We hit the road again.  Here a view from the bike back at us.
   
 
We find our way over to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  This is a road that I want to come back to and ride the full length.  The Smoky's are in the background and we climb to about 5800 feet.  The riding is great. 
   
 
There is the constant haze created by the fog that covers close to the trees.  Now you can see why they call it the Smoky's.
   
 
We stop at the "Next to Heaven Horse Stables" where you can ride horses and do so unescorted.  Candice dreaming of riding the the back of 4 legs instead of 2 wheels.