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Thread: Vacation plan help needed for Blue Ridge area

  1. #1
    Registered User bmwrider79's Avatar
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    Vacation plan help needed for Blue Ridge area

    Dear Fellow Riders;

    Need advice for a vacation that includes the Blue Ridge parkway. We are planning on leaving July 3rd and getting home on the 12th. Using the truck & trailer 1 day travel each way getting there & back. Needing 1 day of rest when we get there. Yes that is right we are candy asses.

    Our situation, My wife and I are not Iron Butt people. We prefer our camper to sleep in over B&B's and Hotels. We usually stay in our area Northern Illinois & Wisconsin, triple towing our 5th wheel & bike in tow behind camper. Then do some day riding in the countryside.

    This summer were thinking of setting up camp some where along the BRP around mid section of parkway and then going north for a day staying at north end over night at a hotel then back to camp rest a day or so then do the same for south end. 200 to 250 miles per day is usually enough when we are 2up. We have done 400 mile days but the wife does not like that much saddle time in one day. This should be more of a leisurely trip versus a max miles per day trip.

    I have done some rule checking on triple towing and supposedly if I stay on major roads interstates & state hwy's the LEOS will leave us along concerning the triple tow. Please advise if you have any other info on this matter.

    The cost of pulling the trailer vs staying at hotels is not a major consideration unless diesel goes back up to $4.50 a gallon.

    We do want to see the Biltmore, sight seeing along the way, nature & scenery photography, & do a little shopping. Were not into museums, unless it is a Motorcycle Museum. 

    We are not dying to do Deals Gap. I would by my self but that is not my wifeÔÇÖs idea of good time. Not that we cannot do some twisties, but that is not the goal here. Doing the Cherola Skyway and any other like road. Less traveled the better. We ride a LT not a GS for what its worth.

    What are my specific questions?

    1. Best location to stay Middle, North end, or South end?
    2. Hotels to stay?
    3. Campground to use for a base camp?
    4. Besides BRP & Cherola SkywayÔÇÖs any other parkways or like roads?
    5. Places of interest & why you suggest them.

    Thanks in advance for your help
    Mike G BMWRider79

  2. #2
    Rally Rat
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    BRP Suggestions

    We usually set up "camp" in a condo in Blowing Rock, NC. for about 2 months each summer. Just a few miles south of Blowing Rock is a nice campground on the parkway. There is also a campground about 1 hour north of Blowing Rock--Doughton Park. Both have RV sites with no hook-ups, but with the Golden Age pass are only about $8 per night.

    If you use either of these as a base you can be to the south entrance at Cherokee SC in about 200 miles. There are dozens of hotels in town if you can stand the honky-tonk. If not, Mt Pisgah on the Parkway at about mile 60 has both hotel and campground spaces. The Biltmore is about an hour from there.

    Going North, the best place to stay near the end of the Parkway is the Peaks of Otter. Again, there is both a hotel and campground. I have stayed at every campground and hotel on the parkway, none are bad and all are in the $100/nite price range.

    There are dozens of motels just off the parkway, the NPS has a newspaper guide to these.

    You should also plan to ride the Shenandoah NP (Skyline Drive). There are several hotels and campgrounds that are also nice. Same price and same arrangement.

    The choices for riding off the Parkway are endless.

  3. #3
    BSGMike
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    Ditto Tom's recommendations on the Pisgah Inn and Peaks of Otter. These are regular stops for us, although we have not camped there but instead stayed in the lodges. Good food at these locations, too; especially at the Pisgah Inn, where they will prepare box lunches for you to take along on a hike or ride. Be prepared for 35 mph speed limits on the Shennandoah Parkway as compared to 45 mph on the BRP. - Mike

  4. #4
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Another great place is the Big Lynn Lodge, on 226A, just south of Spruce Pine NC, just off the BRP.

    Great view the wife and you can enjoy, and the accommodation's are not new, but clean. They also include a full dinner and breakfast with the price in the lodge. Family owned/operated.

  5. #5
    Registered User bmwrider79's Avatar
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    I get the magazine!

    Quote Originally Posted by Statdawg View Post
    Bryson City, North Carolina is covered in the new Roadrunner magazine. If you can't get it send me a PM and I can mail you mine.

    http://www.roadrunner.travel/issuedetail.php
    We have been trying to do this trip for 3 years. due to situations beyond our control could not happen.

    This article put life back in the plan. Thanks for the info so far keep'em coming

    Thanks
    Mike G
    Northern Illinois Packer fan
    Bikes: 2009 R1200RT

  6. #6
    That road looks good! Norwood's Avatar
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    South end... near Cherohala Skyway... BRP and some great riding...


    www.ironhorsenc.com

    The owners own a LT as well...
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  7. #7
    Registered User bmwrider79's Avatar
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    Resevations??

    How critical are reservations? We are going to get down there July 3rd.

    Please advise.
    Mike G
    Northern Illinois Packer fan
    Bikes: 2009 R1200RT

  8. #8
    Registered User nplenzick's Avatar
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    I would suggest two base camps. One towards the north end maybe the southern end of Shenandoah National Park and a southern one like near Ashville, NC. This way you can take nice lesiurly day rides with plenty of time to visit some of the sites you'll want to stop and see. Trust me there are many. Your planning your trip at a very busy time of the year so I would suggest making reservations at a campground ASAP. Great Smoky Mtn national park is something you would like to see on your way to the skyway. If your going to the Biltmore (I would strongly suggest you do it) Lake Lure is a few miles to the east. It's the second most photograph lake in the country. The town of Bat Cave and Chimney Rock are also on the way. I'm not sure how tall your trailer is but on the southern end of the BRP there's a tunnel with a 10' clearance. It wasn't fun backing up our MH with trailer a mile so we can turn it around! I'm not really sure about your triple towing as I've only noticed stuff like that out west. If your travel with a dog I would highly suggest Four Paws Campground east of Ashville. A really great place run by great people and I would even stay there if we didn't travel with our dog.
    ALL THE ROADS ARE GREAT going to and from the BRP. I did Deals Gap on my LT in 07 and wasn't impressed one minute with it. I thought the roads going to and away from it were far better! There are so many neat winding and twisty roads along the the BRP it's hard to recommend one or two, there are hundreds of them! It will be hot and sticky that time of the year in the valleys so make sure your bring your hot weather gear, however as you climb up to the BRP you'll find it very pleasant and for the most part shady and comfortable. If you didn't know you can check out campgrounds at RV Park review.com . You can also PM me and I'll try to remember some of the campgrounds we stayed at in the past. You and your wife are really going to enjoy this it's some of the best ridding in the country and I for one couldn't be more pleased that the MOA national is being held in that area this year!

  9. #9
    Club President HankPfister's Avatar
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    Roanoke/Salem Virginia

    BMWRider 79,
    Roanoke and Salem VA are right about the middle of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would suggest the Dixie Caverns RV Park and Campground. It is on US 11/460 and right off of I-81 just west of Salem VA. If you are pulling a camper pulling a bike trailer this would be easily accessible for such a rig. You wouldn't want to venture too far off a major high way with that long a rig. Even our US highways can be very twistie.
    The Parkway goes right thru the southern edge of Roanoke at milepost 120. It would be an easy day ride up to milepost 1 at I-64 where the Skyline Drive begins in the Shenendoah National Park. You could actually do a day ride up and back to base, or at least to Peaks of Otter for lunch.
    Its a bit farther down to the Smokies, but that would be a great 2 day ride, or even 3. Don't miss the Biltmore! You could spend most of a day there easily. Wine tasting and fine food, as well as several levels of tours. If you go to the Biltmore after 3pm, your ticket is good the next day. Lots of lodging options in Asheville.
    Reservations would be a good idea since you're talking about a holiday time.
    Let me know if you need anymore info on the Roanoke area.
    Sounds like a great trip!

    http://www.dixiecaverns.com/camping.html
    http://www.nps.gov/archive/blri/peaks.htm
    Hank Pfister
    Copper Hill, VA
    pfestus1@yahoo.com
    2007 R1200GS, 1973 R75/5/Dnepr, 1984 R100RS/Motovation.
    www.twinvalleyriders.com

  10. #10
    Registered User bmwrider79's Avatar
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    Plans Are Being Made

    Thanks to all the good suggestions. Still open to more& what ever we can fit in.

    We are leaving the 5th wheel at home yea ha!

    We will trailer the bike down to the north end stay 3 days for Rest, Ride and Exploring

    then travel to the mid section stay 3 days more R,R&E

    then go to south end and stay 4 days More R,R&E

    Only taking truck due to luggage & comfort. Her first long MOTO? trip

    Thought about shipping clothes etc... but the trip from Illinois to Virginia and back again in July would leave wife very uncomfortable even if we did it over a couple of days. We have nothing to prove.

    Plus going thru Illinois and Indiana are not what one would describe as riding nirvana! Those that live know what I mean So the truck will serve as the express vehicle to and from.
    Mike G
    Northern Illinois Packer fan
    Bikes: 2009 R1200RT

  11. #11
    GlennM86
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    Your trip south in July

    Mike,

    The international rally is only a few days after your planned trip. Any thought of sliding your trip right a week and catching the rally as well?

  12. #12
    Hopelessly lost subagon's Avatar
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    Mike,

    I lived near Asheville for many years and spent many nights at the local campgrounds. I would suggest either of these two sites for your southern base camp.

    Davidson River near Brevard in the Pisgah National Forest

    A large campground with many sites. Can be busy at times so call ahead and make reservations. A bit off the Blue Ridge (14 miles up a nice twisty road). A don't do the RV thing (tent), but the place is very RV friendly (easy RV setup, etc). A lot of interesting things to do and see close by.

    Lake Powhatan near Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest

    A small, out of the way place, often overlooked. Might be a little tight for your trailer rig ??? Call to find out. THis place is right off the Blue Ridge and (2 miles?) and about the same to the interstate (but you'd near know). Close to Asheville & The Biltmore House. I use this site often since they aways seem to have a site open. I tend to never make plans and risk it

    Avoid Sunburst near Canton in the Pisgah National Forest, it only has 10 sites can't handle large RVs.

    I pulled this from here; http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/southern/pisgcmp.htm

    Davidson River - The campground, stretching out along Davidson River, has eight loops
    - Sycamore, Apple Tree, Dogwood, Hemlock, Riverbend, Poplar, Laurel,
    and White Oak (and a connection spur). Some campsite, designated as
    premium, back up onto Davidson River. Although it has large hemlock
    trees, Sycamore Loop is the most open. Hemlock and Poplar Loops
    have the best privacy and thick canopies. Riverbend Loop features huge
    Rhododendruns and an informal river swim area. A large level field exists
    between Hemlock and Dogwood Loops. Shade is provided by a pleasant
    mixture of hardwoods and conifers giving campground a spectular color
    display during Fall season. Rhododendrun and Dogwood enhance Spring
    foliage. Firewood is available for a fee.

    This is a nice family campground with lots to offer including day trips to
    the Blue Ridge Parkway where spectacular views of North Carolina are
    possible. Also available are bike and horse rentals and interpretive programs.

    Lake Powhatan - The campground, adjacent to Lake Powhatan, has four loops -
    Hardtimes, Big John, Bent Creek, and Lakeside. The campsites are
    tucked in among a mixed forest of deciduous and conifer trees. Well
    spaced campsites with a thick middlestory makes for good privacy.
    Although Lakeside is closest loop to the lake, the campsites have
    no view of it. Convenient to Blue Ridge Parkway and mile upon mile
    of trails, this campground is good for transient campers, long weekend
    and vacation campers. Possible day trips are Asheville, Blue Ridge
    Parkway and Cradle of Forestry Visitor Center. Check the fee board for
    interpretive programs held during the summer season. Firewood and
    ice are available for a fee.
    Mike Barfield - Plant City, FL
    '07 R1200 GS - '75 R90/6 - '93 R100GS PD - '71 R60/5 - 2 X '73 R75/5 LWB - '83 R80 ST
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  13. #13
    DavidBMWRT
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    Cades Cove

    I think I could write a book on this one. There are so many different ways to do this and there is probably no wrong way.

    I ride to Asheville every year in June and from a Hampton Inn off I-240 (less expensive) I take the Parkway East one day and West the next. The view will draw your breath and make the hair on your arms stand up.

    The Biltmore House is in Asheville and although it is a little expensive you do not want to miss seeing (at least) the first floor and hearing the Organ play "Daisy".

    Going East on the Parkway there is a store that sells local art. Quilts, Pottery, Wood crafts, paintings and the like. It is almost worth the trip.

    On the trip West, ride to Cades Cove. God lives there and I fully intend on having my ashes dropped here. If the traffic is not heavy, Bear, Deer, rabbit, raccoon and the rest seem to have realized they can't be hurt and roam around as if to say, "This is my house". The quite solitude and a few moments of reflection is what we are looking for at Cades Cove. The scenery between those mountains is heavenly. But Cades Cove is not a secret anymore. Traffic was so bad the last time I was there it would have been better not to have made the trip. I don’t know how to predict or plan for this.

    Keep your hands on the handlebars and your eyes on the road. Let your wife do the waving. There are many "Pull Offs".

    The Dragon Tail is OK but I would not want to make this a priority. Just a lot of Nuts Cases riding too fast on a bad road with not much scenery.

    Don't overdo it. You can't see it all and you will ruin everything if you try. Ride 30 MPH on the parkway and remember that you can at anytime get off and take a fast trip by Interstate, back to the Motel.
    Last edited by DavidBMWRT; 01-22-2009 at 06:58 PM.

  14. #14
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider79 View Post
    Thanks to all the good suggestions. Still open to more& what ever we can fit in.

    We are leaving the 5th wheel at home yea ha!
    if this is the case, you might consider making the blue ridge motorcycle campground a base camp. you will be there with like minds.

    now, us276 is a might twisty as you head down from the parkway. but if you're in a truck with a trailer, you should have no problem.

    an alternate route, if you're approaching from the south, is to exit the BRP at balsam gap, take us23/74 to exit 102, which is us276. go through waynesville.

    an alternate route, if you're approaching from the north, is to exit the BRP at US70/I40, take I40 west to us23/74 to exit 102, which is us276. go through waynesville.

    the other recommendations you are getting are very good. i second the recommendation of lake powhatan.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  15. #15
    Registered User bmwrider79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennM86 View Post
    Mike,

    The international rally is only a few days after your planned trip. Any thought of sliding your trip right a week and catching the rally as well?
    Yes there are thoughts, actually burning desires, but I do have to go back to work.
    Mike G
    Northern Illinois Packer fan
    Bikes: 2009 R1200RT

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