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Thread: BRP from Roanoke, VA to the Southern end at Cherokee, NC

  1. #11
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    Thanks for the tips and the closure around Roanoke. As of now, my rough itinerary is:
    Day 1: Ride down to Roanoke, spend the night. Day 2: Head south and hit the BRP around MP 136 (Thanks Cowboy). Got a few stops planned, but nothing to time consuming. Mabry Mill, a few over looks. I'll stop in Boone, which looks to be about MP 290 ish. Spend the night there, check out Blowing Rock, etc. Should be an easy day. Day 3: Hit the BRP south, stop off around Little Switzerland. Ride the Diamond Back loop (Thanks Chuck). May check out the town also, we'll see. Get back on the BRP south. Maybe a few more stops, but I've ridden that area before several times, around Asheville. Will see how time goes. I will be spending 3 to 4 nights in Cherokee, so if I need to hop off the BRP and bee line to Cherokee if it starts getting dark, that's fine. I can ride the rest of the BRP the next day.
    As for my time in Cherokee, lol. Yeah, got lots of plans. Figure Foothills Pkwy. May make a loop of that , the Dragon and the Cherohala Skwy. Want to make sure I get my time on 28. LOVE that road. Another day, I'll ride thru the park, maybe over to Townsend. Got no real plans for those 3 days, just riding and enjoying life.
    If anyone has other suggestions, please share. Thanks all!!
    1983 GS750 E - gone forever
    Yamaha FJ-09 - My retirement Bike (For when I retire)
    1996 Honda XR-600R - a Man's bike
    2007 Suzuki DR 200SE - Oh Yeah
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  2. #12
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    Sounds like a fantastic plan! I'm envious!
    If you have time towards the leisurely end of your trip, North Carolina 215 and US 276 criss crossing over the Blue Ridge Parkway like a really nice figure 8 loop.

    Also, if it is open when you are passing through, the cafe in Little Switzerland makes a real nice stop. There's a bookstore / coffee shop next door. It's at the top of 226a right where it nears the Parkway and runs parallel to it over to 226. Directly across from the post office.
    I just checked and they do appear to be open for the season, but closed on Tuesdays. Hours are 11-4 pm.
    https://switzerlandcafe.com/

    '77 GS750
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  3. #13
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    The poop straight from the NPS on the closures:
    https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

    Yeah, you could plonk from one end to the other in a couple of days, I guess, but why would anyone want to do that unless you really enjoy minivan spotting and pirate parades?

    I will echo the above; the BRP's popularity, ridiculous speed limits, and often zealous Federal enforcement (not to mention the legendary un-friendliness of the Gendarmes in Virginia) do not make a fun combination for longer jaunts. You'll definitely want to avoid all but short stints on the BRP, especially on weekends.

    Anyway, if you think of the BRP more as the "spine" connecting "rib" routes to either side, you can use it as the basis for any number of absolutely epic riding days in the mountains. So instead of just plodding from one end to the other in a couple of days breathing Hawg fumes, I'd take five days or a week or more.

    There's also lots of hiking at various points if all the Federale radar guns are starting to make your brain warm and mushy.

    Much the same goes for the Cherohala; the really fun parts are all the unpaved roads off to the sides.
    1983 GS850G, Cosmos Blue.
    2005 KLR685, Aztec Pink - Turd II.3, the ReReReTurdening
    2015 Yamaha FJ-09, Magma Red Power Corrupts...
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  4. #14
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    I have hardly been on the BRP in Virginia, but I'm very familiar with how strict their traffic enforcement regulations are especially regarding offenses that motorcyclists can commit (SPEEDING!). I believe anything over 5 mph above the limit is considered Reckless Operation in Virginia. In Ohio, 20 mph over the limit constitutes a Reckless Operation charge, which is a hefty 4 points against your license, of a maximum allowable 12 points. Or maybe you lose your license at 12 points accrued within 2 years?

    Honestly I think I've only seen police with radar guns out one time in my many visits to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the North Carolina area which have all been primarily during prime riding season.
    Have others experienced a heavy frequency of speed traps on the BRP in this vicinity?

    '77 GS750
    920cc, 4-1, GS1100E swinger, 18"rims, Fox Factory Shox, twinpot dual disc, VM29's, Yoshi cams
    '99 Kawasaki KDX220 rugged terrain ripper
    '74 Rickman VR250MX
    PROJECTS:
    '77 Suzuki PE250 Pure Enduro trail beast, ported, Wiseco, TüBliss, Fox Factory Shox/RaceTech
    '76 Rickman CR GS1000-1120cc roadracer, Yoshi cams&4-1, RF900R fork, Works ProRacers
    '79 GS425 489cc, GR650 cams, GS650 fork, twinpot discs, DID rims, GS1100E swinger, Fox Factory Shox
    '77 GS550 650-740cc susp/brake mods

  5. #15
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    One funny story about my bike tuning experiences at 5,000+ feet on the BRP... I changed engine configurations but did not spend much time rejetting my mains at home, 900 ft above sea level, before departing on my road trip... I noticed I was lacking in passing power on the BRP. I stepped down 2 sizes on main jets. Yet still, this was not enough, as my friend was no longer following 100-150 ft behind me after many long hours riding per day. Eventually at our next stop, he said the reason he was niw consistently 500 ft back was because of the fumes of my bike running too rich, particularly on the high altitude sections! Oops...
    Last edited by Chuck78; 04-19-2021 at 05:41 PM.

    '77 GS750
    920cc, 4-1, GS1100E swinger, 18"rims, Fox Factory Shox, twinpot dual disc, VM29's, Yoshi cams
    '99 Kawasaki KDX220 rugged terrain ripper
    '74 Rickman VR250MX
    PROJECTS:
    '77 Suzuki PE250 Pure Enduro trail beast, ported, Wiseco, TüBliss, Fox Factory Shox/RaceTech
    '76 Rickman CR GS1000-1120cc roadracer, Yoshi cams&4-1, RF900R fork, Works ProRacers
    '79 GS425 489cc, GR650 cams, GS650 fork, twinpot discs, DID rims, GS1100E swinger, Fox Factory Shox
    '77 GS550 650-740cc susp/brake mods

  6. #16
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    Good points Brian. I am basically using the BRP as a more scenic route to Cherokee. Thought it'd be fun. I think I will have plenty of time once I get to Boone to check out their local twisties. Plus I'll have 3, maybe 4 days of riding to do, since I'm staying in Cherokee. Should be able to hit all the really fun stuff. Saving your SE rally route maps also.

    Quote Originally Posted by bwringer View Post
    Anyway, if you think of the BRP more as the "spine" connecting "rib" routes to either side, you can use it as the basis for any number of absolutely epic riding days in the mountains. So instead of just plodding from one end to the other in a couple of days breathing Hawg fumes, I'd take five days or a week or more.

    There's also lots of hiking at various points if all the Federale radar guns are starting to make your brain warm and mushy.

    Much the same goes for the Cherohala; the really fun parts are all the unpaved roads off to the sides.
    1983 GS750 E - gone forever
    Yamaha FJ-09 - My retirement Bike (For when I retire)
    1996 Honda XR-600R - a Man's bike
    2007 Suzuki DR 200SE - Oh Yeah
    2005 Yamaha TR125 - Little Man's bike

  7. #17
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    DOH! lol Not the same thing, but a guy and myself travelled to Harrisburg for work several years ago. He rides a Harley. Open pipes. On the way home, I stayed behind him for maybe 10 miles. I had the Concours at that time. Told him, and he knew, that it was too loud behind him. lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck78 View Post
    One funny story about my bike tuning experiences at 5,000+ feet on the BRP... I changed engine configurations but did not spend much time rejetting my mains at home, 900 ft above sea level, before departing on my road trip... I noticed I was lacking in passing power on the BRP. I stepped down 2 sizes on main jets. Yet still, this was not enough, as my friend was no longer following 100-150 ft behind me after many long hours riding per day. Eventually at our next stop, he said the reason he was niw consistently 500 ft back was because of the fumes of my bike running too rich, particularly on the high altitude sections! Oops...
    1983 GS750 E - gone forever
    Yamaha FJ-09 - My retirement Bike (For when I retire)
    1996 Honda XR-600R - a Man's bike
    2007 Suzuki DR 200SE - Oh Yeah
    2005 Yamaha TR125 - Little Man's bike

  8. #18
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    While I'm at it, any suggestions for Day trips out of Cherokee are welcome. I have 1 day sorta planned. 74 out of Cherokee to 28 up to Deals Gap. Prolly ride the Dragon up and back, buy my ceremonial pink dragon and move on. Then ride the Cherohala towards Tellico. This would be a week day, so hoping the traffic and LEOs won't be abundant. I'm undecided on this section of my plan. Another option is to skip the Dragon at that point, ride 129 S From Deals Gap to the Cherohala. Catch 360 N out of Telico, up to 411 N to 72 S and ride 129 south, thus the Dragon on the south run. I can't tell if 360 N out of Tellico is pavement or gravel. ha ha. The FJ can handle gravel, but eh. Anyone have experience on that 360 N out of Tellico?
    After those decisions, I would head down 129, catch 74 N at Topton. Catch 28 south, as I just can't get enough of 28. Prolly 28 to 23 N and meander back to Cherokee.
    As for another day, I figured the same route to the Dragon, ride it North and catch the Foothills Pkwy to Townsend. May do some sight seeing, catch Cades Cove. I am fairly familiar with that area, Townsed/Pigeon Forge, as we have rented cabins around there before. I know some cool back roads up into the park, bypassing all the tourists crap. But open for suggestions. I would prolly end up riding the main drag thru the park back to Cherokee. But any suggestions would be great.
    Day 3, not got there yet.

    I should change the name of this thread to "Help Me Plan my Twisty Get Away to NC".
    1983 GS750 E - gone forever
    Yamaha FJ-09 - My retirement Bike (For when I retire)
    1996 Honda XR-600R - a Man's bike
    2007 Suzuki DR 200SE - Oh Yeah
    2005 Yamaha TR125 - Little Man's bike

  9. #19
    bwringer's Avatar
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    Yes, 360 out of Tellico Plains is paved. The area is pretty populated, so it's going to be more of a cruise.


    Cades Cove is best avoided if at all possible. It's a bleak inescapable hellscape of brainless minivan pilots from Nebraska going .00001 mph and stopping dead in the middle of the road whenever exotic creatures like squirrels or deer are spotted.

    And yes, black bears are often spotted, which leads to an instant half-mile backup as people abandon their vehicles in the middle of the road to get as close as they can to the wild animals with claws, teeth, and immense strength. If there are bear cubs, there will instantly be a couple dozen people competing for their Disney moment, waving corn chips, cameras, and Slim Jims at the beasts... it's honestly pretty terrifying, even if you're not sitting on an overheating motorcycle with your tasty flesh exposed. It's kind of amazing we don't read daily news stories about eviscerated tourists.

    I'm not exaggerating in the slightest; Cades Cove used to be the route to a few interesting dirt roads (AFAIK, Parson's Branch is still closed, and it seems unlikely they'll ever re-open it; Rich Mountain road back to Townsend is neat, but not worth the aggravation), so I've been on it many times while dual-sporting. Overall, it's a horrible experience and not even that incredibly scenic.

    I guess you know what 441 is like already... I've always done my absolute best to avoid it unless I'm headed to a hiking trail or something. As long as you're fine with breathing diesel and staring at RVs at 5mph for a few hours, it's fine. It is mighty damn scenic, and you'll have plenty of time to gawk!


    South of Townsend, off 74, Wayah Road and many or most of the surrounding roads are paved and a lot of fun. Some parts can get a lot of traffic. Many are paved but only one lane, so you have to be super-careful about sight lines. There are tons of great roads around and through Franklin, Highlands, Cashiers, etc. and down into Georgia.
    1983 GS850G, Cosmos Blue.
    2005 KLR685, Aztec Pink - Turd II.3, the ReReReTurdening
    2015 Yamaha FJ-09, Magma Red Power Corrupts...
    Eat more venison.

    Please provide details. The GSR Hive Mind is nearly omniscient, but not yet clairvoyant.

    Celeriter equita, converteque saepe.

  10. #20
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    Ahhhh yes...Wayah Rd!
    Go that direction!

    Also, I just remembered River Rd through Cherokee National Forest... This sort of runs parallel below the Cherohala Skyway down far below it (elevation) whereas the Cherohala is like a ridge running BRP type road but more wide open turns that you wouldn't have to slow down below 90mph to navigate 97% of them... After jaunts on the BRP, & tons of amazing WV / VA / NC / TN tighter twisties and breathtaking scenery starting from Southern Ohio & running the course of nearly my entire route by the time I usually make it to the Cherohala (usually right after US129), I'm over the Cherohala with not as tight of curves and more similar views...

    So River Rd is my preferred last run through that area, typically on my week long journey to Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival every October, usually my last mountain motorcycle camping road trip of the year every season, ending the 1st weekend of October.

    River Rd is jaw dropping in a remite back country way, following an amazing boulder filled bedrock bottom river with abundant cliffs and rock outcroppings the entire way... And a couple of very epic waterfalls nearly roadside. I believe one is called Bald River Falls?
    If starting at the Western end of the Cherohala Skyway, River Rd starts/ends not far into the Cherohala on the south side of the Skyway - quite a good return trip option to Cherokee I'll add!
    Eventually River Rd heads south deep into the forest and away from the Skyway, but you'll have opportunities to run back up to the Skyway before the two part ways. I believe there's also a River Rd East extension or something of that sort, which goes under the Cherohala Skyway at some point by a National Forest service building, and then you can link back up onto the Skyway, but that route is partial gravel iirc?

    Definitely look into this scenic gem of a paved forest service road... It took my breath away in a scenic backcountry sense...
    Keep in mind, it's not a twisty racetrack whatsoever, but does have nice pavement.
    Last edited by Chuck78; 04-26-2021 at 12:08 PM.

    '77 GS750
    920cc, 4-1, GS1100E swinger, 18"rims, Fox Factory Shox, twinpot dual disc, VM29's, Yoshi cams
    '99 Kawasaki KDX220 rugged terrain ripper
    '74 Rickman VR250MX
    PROJECTS:
    '77 Suzuki PE250 Pure Enduro trail beast, ported, Wiseco, TüBliss, Fox Factory Shox/RaceTech
    '76 Rickman CR GS1000-1120cc roadracer, Yoshi cams&4-1, RF900R fork, Works ProRacers
    '79 GS425 489cc, GR650 cams, GS650 fork, twinpot discs, DID rims, GS1100E swinger, Fox Factory Shox
    '77 GS550 650-740cc susp/brake mods

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