Blue Ridge Parkway ride report - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-06-2019, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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Blue Ridge Parkway ride report

Last year I thought that the Blue Ridge Parkway was history for us. We like to ride it about 60 MPH, not "fast" but "steady" on the throttle, not slowing much (if any) for the curves. They had tared and chipped the road and it was awful. Lose gravel was everywhere so we left early. I was going to stay all summer.

We gave it another try this year and I'm happy to report we were still able to fly around the curves faster than recommended or legal. LOL It's rough but the lose gravel is mostly (if not all) gone. The pavement was much better before they did what they did but it's ride-able for us again. If it was wet that would be another story. It is heavily tared and could be slippery when wet. If it was wet, I'd stay in the middle of the lane where the car traffic hasn't brought the tar up to the surface quite as much.

Note that some of the areas that needed repairs got nothing. Go figure. From Hwy 19 towards Cherokee, there are potholes and heaving pavement but from Hwy 215 to 276, it's still the old pavement in good shape. That's by far the best pavement we saw. North of 276 the pavement is heaving in spots and uneven.

The new surfaces are very hard on tires. The sides of my tires are rough and showing a lot of wear for the mileage on them. A few more trips on that pavement will due them in.

There was a crash while we were there. Some guy from Florida. Ranger said he walked away breised but ok. He told us the average person involved in a crash is a 57 year old white man on a Harley. He said they get lost in the view and look off at the "to die for" views whereas the flying crotch rockets, watch the road.

I had another trip planed for the Cherohala Skyway but we decided to cancel that one and go to the parkway again sometime later this summer. Temps in Maggie Valley hovered around 82 down lower but I saw 60 up on top. Some days I had to add a layer under my riding jacket.

Saw a Turkey standing in the same spot three different times. Finally had to go back and make sure it wasn't fake. It just stood there all three times. First on Monday and then twice on Tuesday, two hours apart. Thought it might be a joke but it moved upon inspection.

Saw no bears this time until we got home to TN. While driving home, the wife saw one run into the woods next to our place. I'd rather it moved on up into the wildlife lands north of us. I shot off a few rounds into dirt to let it know this wasn't the place to call home but with all the fireworks the next day, who knows what direction it ran.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-06-2019, 08:20 PM
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Reconstructing from memory and maps (accuracy of either questionable), seems like we three adventurers (two KLRs, one with a sidecar; one Versys 650) departed the Blue Ridge Parkway onto Highway 19 (Soco Road) down toward Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum. This segment of our ride was notable, because . . . seems like for MILES on this stretch, Highway 19 had NO shoulders, or abrupt transitions from shoulder-to-serious-dropoffs. These road conditions appeared rather hazardous to any motorcyclist who got out of shape on this section.

The owner of Wheels Through Time mentioned the dangers of this part of the highway (I'd guess, visitors to his museum had unfortunate experiences here). Since you went to Maggie Valley, could you comment on the condition of Highway 19 from the BRP to Maggie Valley today?

DISCLAIMER: If I have my roads and locations mixed up; please disregard this post!

“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-07-2019, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Reconstructing from memory and maps (accuracy of either questionable), seems like we three adventurers (two KLRs, one with a sidecar; one Versys 650) departed the Blue Ridge Parkway onto Highway 19 (Soco Road) down toward Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum. This segment of our ride was notable, because . . . seems like for MILES on this stretch, Highway 19 had NO shoulders, or abrupt transitions from shoulder-to-serious-dropoffs. These road conditions appeared rather hazardous to any motorcyclist who got out of shape on this section.

The owner of Wheels Through Time mentioned the dangers of this part of the highway (I'd guess, visitors to his museum had unfortunate experiences here). Since you went to Maggie Valley, could you comment on the condition of Highway 19 from the BRP to Maggie Valley today?

DISCLAIMER: If I have my roads and locations mixed up; please disregard this post!
Doesn't sound right to me. There's really 4 ways down from the parkway to Maggie. 276, 215 take you through Waynesville. 74 is a 4 lane and heavily traveled so you have to gas it. 215 is the most aggressive way down followed closely by 276. From the parkway down 19 to Maggie it's a good road. Probably the easiest way down. It's nothing. There's even those solar powered arrows making the curves. Just stop at one of the fruit stands so you can figure out how to transport a watermelon on a motorcycle and watch for elk. Sometimes they are there and also up in the field where the parkway meets 19. It's probably the easiest road we ride down from the parkway to Maggie.

It's not that way on the south side going 19 down to Cherokee. It's dark and winding with lots of traffic. You really can't ride it fast because you're always behind some minivan. It's winding and not very wide with no place to pass (going south). We knew a guy who got killed on a motorcycle on that part of the road. He was hit head on by a van. Could have happened anywhere but there are some blind curves on that side of the mountain. I'm not sure who was at fault but the result was the same either way. Nice guy. Anyway,,, End of story. We ride that road some and I wouldn't avoid it but the parkway goes from 19 down to Cherokee, so we almost always go the parkway to Cherokee. Less traffic and better views and road.

Granny's restaurant is on 19 down from the parkway on the outskirts of Cherokee. Get the Chicken. It's all you can eat so be prepared to waddle out the door feeling so full you can't ride anymore .

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens

Last edited by Toney; 07-07-2019 at 09:27 PM.
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post #4 of 5 Old 07-08-2019, 06:47 AM
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Thanks, Toney; appreciate the clarification; as previously mentioned, I claim no infallible memory! I DO remember an effectively shoulderless road, coming down from the ridge. (WAIT! I said, "I remember?")

As to elk . . . the merest sighting produced an instant traffic jam; scores of motor homes blocking the road for miles in each direction . . . I think my memory of this phenomenon is valid!

“You better put down that gun. You got two ways to go, put it down or use it. Even if you tie me, you’re gonna be dead.” "John Russell" (Paul Newman), Hombre
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-08-2019, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Thanks, Toney; appreciate the clarification; as previously mentioned, I claim no infallible memory! I DO remember an effectively shoulderless road, coming down from the ridge. (WAIT! I said, "I remember?")

As to elk . . . the merest sighting produced an instant traffic jam; scores of motor homes blocking the road for miles in each direction . . . I think my memory of this phenomenon is valid!
Bears are worse than elk. It's almost like they are holding stop signs.

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself , much more happiness , truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.” Hitchens
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