Road Trip-combined and moved to Ride Reports
Planning the first big road trip for the new RT. My wife and I are going from SWFL up to the Smoky Mts., over to Asheville (Biltmore,) to Southern Pines (family stopover) to Savannah, GA (family stop over) and back home.
I'd love to hear any your opinions of roads to take and stuff to see. We only have about a week, so I think some 75/95 riding is a necessity, but would like to be off the slab as much as possible. It looks to be without side trips about 1700 miles or so round trip.
Let 'er rip, and thank you in advance for your thoughts!
Trip complete FL to TN & Back
I copied this from just riding as I guess I put it in the wrong place. Initially I posted there for some pre-trip advice, and here is the post trip report. Moderators, please do with this as you wish, I hope it helps someone.
Yes, we did it!
2262 miles in a week.
She had never ridden more than 4 hours before. There were a couple of difficult patches...hitting Atlanta traffic for 2 plus hours of stop and go afternoon riding on a Saturday, AFTER riding for 6 pretty long hours. That was at the tail end of the second day. Getting totally lost (again in bad traffic) in Charlotte during the 5th day.
Other than that, and some minor issues (poor lodging or food service choices) it was overall just a tremendous time, and we would do it again.
I found the seat to be a little hard on the backside after about 3 hours of straight riding. That's more than my normal days ride, so I am debating a change there. My wife found her seat to be most comfortable. She was not happy though with the buffeting she was getting in the back seat on the highway, even with the stock windshield all the way up, so that change is in order. That's a tough call to make though as I do like having a little breeze on me for circulation. I am sure that there's a happy medium.
So, here's how it went. Evening prior to day 1. Short trip from Cape Coral, FL to Tampa right after work to alleviate a little time from day 1 driving. Pouring Rain. Walk in the park.
Day 1 Tampa to Alpharetta GA. All Interstate driving. What should have been a 6.5 hour drive was almost 10 by the time traffic and stops were figured in. Just a little too long for the first driving day on a road trip for the uninitiated. But, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Would highly recommend against stopping within the first 100-150 miles or so coming up I-75 in GA. Found the worlds nastiest rest stops ever.
Day 2 Alpharetta, GA to Gatlinburg, TN Pleasant trip with few if any issues. Our scenic route took us up RT 60 & 129 Got the Dragon ride in as a part of the trip. Then Foothills Parkway into Gatlinburg. What a nice day overall! Lots of wildlife & great views. We live in SW FL. All the roads are FLAT and NO CURVES. The first hour on 60 getting used to the hills and turns was a little intense for me, as was the Dragon from all the build up about it.
Day 3 Driving around... Went back & rode the Dragon again & got some pictures. Met some incredible people there, including a couple from England on a 7.5 week motorcycle tour. They shipped their GS over from England to ride here. Also rode "Hellbender 28" through Fontana, (this was an amazing ride) great combination of challenge & sights to see...without the pressure of a zillion riders like the dragon. Then up 441 through Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Very pleasant ride, and actually saw an Elk on the way, among other neat things.
Day 4 we rode through the park again & went to Cades Cove, and took the riding tour there (if 11 miles at ZERO to 10 mph is your thing, you'll love this.) Then up to the highest peak in the park Clingman's Dome, fun ride. There were a lot of bikes at the summit. As soon as we put the kickstand down, we heard the sound of some unfortunate guy dropping his bike on the hilly terrain (another flatlander bites the dust) so we, (and about 10 other riders,) rushed over to help out. Just another sign that the distance riding bike community is comprised of a lot of good people. Met quite a few people there interested in our RT and our take on the bike for the trip. I was talking to one Harley guy who seemed to really want one, and had a lot of questions about the bike, when one of his friends walked up to him & said "either swap titles, or let's go." Finished the day riding out of the park & took the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, NC. More great scenery, and we met some guys at an overlook that were heading the way we came, that had ridden all the way from Ontario. What neat folks, and what a terrific day.
Day 5 we rode around in Asheville, (almost hit a wild turkey,) and found a nice BBQ place for brunch. Then headed out to Whispering Pines about 5 hours away. 5 Turned to about 8 or so by the time you factor in Charlotte traffic, and getting lost trying to avoid same. But we made our destination none the worse for wear.
Day 6 Asheville, NC to Savannah, GA. Uneventful driving on 2 lane and 95. Dodged a couple wicked pieces of road debris, but made it in to Savannah to meet family for a great dinner on the river. We met a couple great BMW riders at rest stops along the way, and some terrific iron butt Harley riders at the hotel in Savannah. Went to dinner at Vic's on the river, which I would highly recommend to anyone looking for fine dining there. At our servers recommendation, we had desert at a place called Lulu's Chocolate Bar. Wow! It was an incredible time!
Day 7 Savannah, GA to Tampa, FL Drove to Bonaventure Cemetery and around the historic section of Savannah. Incredible place to see, and looking forward to going back. The original plan was to stop at Cassadaga, FL for the night, but my wife changed her mind & wanted to go back to the casino in Tampa. No argument there, and we made the trip. Traffic in Orlando (a fixture there it seems) and rain from a tropical storm made it take a little longer than we'd hoped. My wife doesn't really dig riding at night or in the rain, so this way she got to do both. Made it in time for a late dinner & some casino time. We had the pleasure of giving back our winnings from the evening prior to day one. Spent the night & had a quick trip back to the house in the tropical storm.
All in all, just a marvelous time.
Comfort Inn and Suites - State Fairgrounds, Tampa,FL
Hard Rock Casino - Tampa, FL
Hilton Garden Inn - Alpharetta, GA off Windward Pky.
Firefly Restaurant- Alpharetta, GA
J. Christopher Breakfast - Alpharetta, GA
Comfort Inn & Suites - Asheville, NC
Beer & Papa's Mexican Restaurant - Across from Comfort Inn & Suites Biltmore Plaza Asheville, NC
Comfort Inn & Suites - Savannah Gateway, Savannah, GA
Vic's on the River-Savannah, GA
Lulu's Chocolate Bar-Savannah, GA
Hilton Garden Inn-Gatlinburg, TN
Howard's Restaurant-Gatlinburg, TN
The bike was great, we met great people, and had a tremendous time. My wife actually enjoyed herself, even if it was a bit harder than she expected.
Thank you for reading.
Hot Tip: better late then never?
Hey for future reference purposes, since you are obviously comfortable (at least) on a computer (I see you're posting here)- Trip Advisor.com.
Folks post reviews there on restaurants and hotels at minimum. It's a user-review site and the owners or management are able to comment back to positive or negative reviews, if they so desire. I post reviews there and live by it if I'm going on vacation somewhere I've not been before. I'm busy working my PC for routing, distances, travel times, etc anyway- so it's a natural next step for me.
Trip Advisor will transform any vacation to one with zero "misses". I rarely leave home without it.