Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Twisties all day up and down in Southern Appalachia

We left the hotel in Cleveland, TN at 7 am, just as the sun was starting to rise. Thunderstorms were predicted for later this afternoon, and we were excited about a day riding in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Thanks to Butler Motorcycle Maps we had two major rides planned:  The Cherohala Skyway and then the Moonshiner 28.

On our way to the start of the Cherohala Skyway we followed narrow, 2-lane paved roads that wound through the countryside outside of Cleveland. We stopped at a gas station to ask directions, and the helpful woman at the counter told me to be careful on TN 30 since 'it's really twisty'. Just what we were looking for!

The Cherohala Skyway winds its way for 40+ miles through the mountains and Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee and the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina; hence the name.

We had the highway to ourselves in Tennessee, giving Mike the opportunity to sweep through the corners and curves around the mountains at whatever speed felt good to him. We climbed from 900' above sea level to 5400' at the top, watching the clouds build all around us. As we started winding our way down on the North Carolina side, we rode into the clouds for a few miles before breaking out again into the sunshine.

We found a perfect spot for a photo of the bike next to a small lake as we neared the end of the Skyway in Robbinsville, NC.

Our next destination was the 100+ mile Moonshiner 28 that twists through the mountains just south of the famous Tail of the Dragon. We saw a few more motorcycles on this twisty route, but most of the way we once again had the road to ourselves.

Mike got into a rhythm of swinging the BMW back and forth through the twisties that never seemed to end. Check out this video to get a sense of all the fun we had:

We started on Moonshiner 28 in North Carolina (our 11th new state), wound south into Georgia for a few miles, then finally into South Carolina, our 12th new state.

Just before we reached Highlands, NC, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls, a 120' waterfall that cascades over the original path of the road. We've never ridden the BMW behind a waterfall before!

Our day riding twisties and sweepers in the mountains wasn't over yet, as we turned north onto NC 107 to finish our day's ride.

7 hours after we left our hotel in Cleveland, TN we pulled into the Waynesville Inn Golf Resort & Spa in North Carolina for the night. After we unloaded the BMW, the thunder and rain started, reinforcing our decision to make an early start today.

Not only is zooming through the mountain curves a lot of fun, it's also much cooler at the higher elevation. We had a perfect day on the BMW, and are looking forward to riding part of the Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow. The rain should end tonight, giving us another clear day on the bike.  Here is today's route

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