August 2007 - The Kids Make a Road Trip and Run The Gap

Parked Outside the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

As much off road riding as our family has done together up until this point we had never really done any street riding together. By this time Julie and I had gotten to the point that we had done a good deal of on road riding and were enjoying it tremendously. Naturally we wanted to share that with Bryan and let him experience it and see if he would enjoy it all. Obviously Bryan was game, and invited his sweetie, Jordan, to go along with us.

We made arrangements to borrow a motorcycle and then
worked out the logistics for the trip. Bryan really wanted to ride U.S. 129 and see The Dragon, which was fine with us. That way we could also show the kids some of the other great riding and beautiful sights that are in that area.
We would leave on Saturday morning, ride the back roads west and taking in the sights, ending up in Robbinsville, North Carolina and then stay the night. Then we'd get up early Sunday and ride until dark being sure to at least ride the Cherohala and the Dragon that day. Get up Monday and then take a leisurely ride home.
We had booked the 'Vacation Condo' at The Two Wheel Inn in Robbinsville and would use it as a base camp. This way we could leave the extra luggage at the room and only carry what we needed during the day, plus we wouldn't have to search for a room each night.
Saturday didn't go as well as we'd hoped. It was very hot that day and the route we'd chosen was one we'd never been on before. It ended up being a slow moving grind with lots of stop lights in many little towns. Before we'd made it to the mountains both the kids had gotten so hot they weren't feeling well. They troopered on after a brief cool off stop to Maggie Valley where were planning to visit the Wheels Through time Museum.
The parking lot at the museum was shady and cool and every one's spirits were lifting. Then we went in the museum and found that either the place wasn't air conditioned or it wasn't working. The place was stifling.
After a little while we were all miserable and decided to leave and find a cool spot. We found a little restaurant that looked neat and went in.
It had no air conditioning either. But at least it was breezy. We ate and then hung out on the porch that was out front, continuing on after everyone felt more like riding again.
My pal Billy offered to let us use his VTX1300 for the kids to ride. Thanks a bunch Billy!!!

We've managed to 'collect' some motorcycle specific luggage in the last few years so we had enough for everyone to use on both bikes. Julie and I used a T-bag and the hard bags on the Nomad. Jordan and Bryan used a set of Dowco Iron Rider bags that are designed to stack and be used as a unit. As the VTX didn't have saddlebags the kids had to stuff everything in the Dowco bags and pile them up on the luggage rack of the bike. The stack of bags were so high that Jordan could barely been seen from the rear sitting on the bike!
Julie and I at the entrance to the Cherohala Skyway on the North Carolina side.
Bryan and Jordan.
Looking out at the peak and Tennessee.
The road leading up and over the mountain.
First stop going across the Cherohala

We stopped near the summit on the Skyway to stretch our legs and take a photo op.

Summer time view from a top the Cherohala.
At the top of the falls.

We took the kids to see the Bald River Falls near the end of the Cherohala Skyway. We rode into Telico Plains, Tennessee for lunch, then went on up through Tennessee, then back over to North Carolina and made our first trip down The Dragon.
Another view of the falls.
Close up of the falls.
I love this picture. Bryan is focused on coaxing the VTX through the turn, Jordan is obviously relaxed, holding the camera and looking off in the other direction. Too cool. Jordan is a rider!
We transition the "S" while the kids are exiting out of the right hand entrance turn .
Bending the Nomad into the turn.
Mom and Dad dragging the pipes as the kids set up the turn.
Bryan and Jordan going into the turn, boards down low.
In transition at the apex.
Jordan and Bryan exiting the turn.
Bryan and Jordan. Ain't they purdy?
Bryan, Jordan, Julie and Bruce at the Resort.

After running The Dragon we stopped at Deals Gap, got some grub, bought some shirts, hung out, checked out bikes and took some pictures.

We left here and rode down "Hellbinder" or U.S. 28 all the way to Franklinville, North Carolina. From there we followed some local routes back to Robbinsville and back to the motel.

The next day we headed home, the long way. We made a run north on 129 up to the Foothill Parkway, then toured around the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. We crossed the mountain on U.S. 421 and then headed towards U.S. 64. We went through Cherokee and Lake Lure and had an enjoyable day and ride.

After a few stops we made it home before dark. I don't remember the total mileage, a little over 1000 I think, but we had a ball!