Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014 Ride Day 3

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Ride Day 3 route Bryant, AL to Asheville, NC via the Blue Ridge Parkway

Today is the 3rd ride day but the first leg of our Blue Ridge Parkway motorcycle ride. We arrived at my ol’ Air Force buddy’s, Larry C., on Friday. We spent the last couple of days resting up after our first two days riding out in the rain. There are 5 motorcycles and 8 riders riding the Blue Ridge Parkway. The riders are Larry T, Janet and me, Larry C. and Jo, Alfred and Jean, and James…

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Loading up getting ready to roll…

Bryant, AL to Asheville, NC via the Blue Ridge Parkway (254 miles)

We were up early.  Jo, being a southern belle,  always cooks us a good breakfast. Larry C. and I loaded the bikes and the trailer Larry C. is pulling. Alfred and Jean  arrive shortly and load their ice chest and luggage into the trailer. It was nice having a trailer to carry drinks and extra stuff.

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Riding through one of the many tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Blue Ridge Parkway Pullout & photo op…

We are meeting two other riders, Larry T. and James  at a Hardee’s near Cleveland, TN. Alfred knew the way to Hardee’s so Alfred and Jean led the way.  The weather was cool and sunny which made for a nice ride to Hardee’s. Larry T. and James met there for breakfast and waited for us to arrive. James is a friend and former co-worker of Larry T. After we arrived we spent a short time visiting and checking out James’ custom Harley. We were back on the road with Alfred in the lead again. We are heading to Cherokee, NC where we will pickup the beginning of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley

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Wheels Through Time Museum

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a slow and relaxing ride. The Parkway has stunning long-range and close-up views of the rugged Appalachian mountains. The Parkway twists and turns for 469 miles, revealing opportunities to enjoy all that makes the Parkway so special.

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Taking a break at the Wheels Through Time Museum

Once on the Parkway, we knew we were in for a very picturesque ride. It was a short , 21 mile scenic ride to Maggie Valley, just off the Parkway. In Maggie Valley, we stopped for lunch at Country Vittles. If you like home style southern cooking, Country Vittles is the place for you.  Good food, prices and service,

Just down the road is the “Wheels Through Time Museum”. If you are in Maggie Valley, this is a must see. I’ve been to a number of motorcycle museums and I would have to say this is the best I’ve seen. My only regret is we couldn’t stay longer. There is so much to see you could spend days taking in more than 325 classic motorcycles. We also enjoyed the friendly staff that took the time to talk shop and swap stories. All of the motorcycles in the museum are said to run. I’ll have to take their word for that since I didn’t see any run… but they all looked as though they could run. I would have loved to take a few of them out for a ride.

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View from the Blue Ridge Parkway

From the museum it was back on the Parkway. We took advantage of the many pull offs for photo opportunities as we meandered our way along the Parkway.  It was a short 75 mile ride to Asheville where we were staying for the night…

It was a fun day riding the scenic Parkway with good friends, taking many pictures and creating wonderful memories…

Tomorrow we continue our ride down the Parkway. Come follow along and enjoy the scenery and the ride.

Ride safe. We will see you down the road somewhere…

 

Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride June 2014 Day 1 & 2

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Day 1 Ride Map

Ride Day 1

Today is the first day of our Blue Ridge Parkway Motorcycle Ride. We have planned to make this ride for several years now… but life always gets in the way of the best laid plans. We have driven parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway before and that is what inspired us to ride it. Today we are finally going to make it happen.

motorcycle touring, motorcycle travel, motorcycle ride, motorcycle trip, motorcycle riding, motorcycle road tripsWe loaded up the bike the night before so we could get an early start. The plan is to ride to Jackson, Mississippi. 523 miles, just a little over half way to my friend Larry’s in Bryant, Alabama. Normally we schedule sightseeing stops on many of the days we ride and don’t travel so many miles. It helps to break up the time on the bike and gives us a chance to stretch our legs a bit. We have traveled this route many times going out to visit my ol’ Air Force buddy and best friend, so we have seen much of what is to see along the way. Today we are just riding, covering a lot of miles.

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Early morning riding US 79 headed to Shreveport, LA

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Crossing the mighty Mississippi River in the rain

It was a cool, crisp morning, perfect riding weather.  I checked the weather along our route before we left and there was a good possibility of rain (50 – 60%) once we left Texas. We have driven this route many times and it seems that we almost always hit rain going through Mississippi. At our first gas (petrol) stop we talked to a guy about our trip. When he realized we would be riding through Mississippi he asked if we brought our rain gear because he said he always gets rained on traveling through Mississippi. I guess we aren’t the only ones who have made that observation. Over the years we have ridden many miles and generally have missed any heavy rain, so I was hoping our luck would hold out for this trip… Riding through Louisiana we encountered light rain from time to time but not enough to stop and put on the rain gear. As we approached Mississippi the sky became darker and darker the closer we got to Mississippi. We realized our luck was about to run out. We stopped and suited up with our rain gear. Within a few miles we were crossing the Mississippi River into Mississippi in the rain. It wasn’t long until it was raining very hard. It has been 30+ years since I have ridden in rain this heavy. I was Ok but my concern was how Janet was handling the rain. She handled the rain really well. We reached Jackson, Mississippi, our planned destination, just before 5:00 PM. Because it was still early we decided to ride on (in heavy rain) to Meridian, Mississippi.  That would leave us with less than 300 miles to ride tomorrow. If there was rain tomorrow we could take our time and not be rushed.

We rode 609 miles today. This was the longest we have ever ridden in one day. All in all it wasn’t too bad. It would have been better without the rain. Janet did well in the rain, except her rain suit pants leaked and her jeans got soaked…

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Day 2 Ride Map

Ride Day 2

Today there is a 30% change of rain along our route. The sky is overcast and it looked like we might get wet again. It’s just 283 miles mostly freeway to Larry’s. We will be there by noon. It was cool from the earlier rain which made for good riding. The sun did manage to break through the clouds from time to time.  As usual everything was lush and green, rolling hills and eventually mountains. Our only stops were for gas and to put on our rain gear. It started to rain a bit when we left the freeway and headed up Sand Mountain (actually it’s more of a plateau). Two or three miles from Larry’s it did start to rain heavily for a few minutes. It rained just enough to get us wet and then stopped before we got to Larry’s. All in all it was a good short riding day.

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Heading to Larry’s in Bryant, AL

We haven’t been out to Larry’s in a few years so it was good to get back. We will spend the next two days visiting before we all (Larry C., Jo , Larry T., Alfred, Jean, James, Janet and I) head out to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Come follow along as we ride the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the scenery and fun as we ride. See y’all there…

Day 10 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

September 27  Tucumcari, NM to Georgetown, TX   552 miles

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Day 10 Route map

Today is day 10 the last day of our Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride. Well this would be the last day of the trip for me LC & LT have 2 full days of riding ahead of them. . It turned out to be a long ride and long day. I did not plan on riding the 552 miles in one day but because of a little misfortune I did. LC & LT and I rode together down I-40 for about 10 or 20 miles before I headed south and they continued east on I-40 to North Alabama and Georgia. It was another cool morning with clear skies and another great riding day. It remained cool all the way home. As I headed south I could see a mesa in the distance and the road eventually wound its way up to the mesa top where many wind turbines were turning. I was making good time and about 30 miles south of Lubbock I stopped at a picnic area that overlooked the valley below. I made a sandwich and had a coke. I called Janet to let her know where I was and that I would call her later to let her know where I would be.

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Wind turbines south of San Jon, NM on top of Mesa

When I pulled into the picnic area I ran over something that made a loud pop. I looked on the road to see if something was there but I didn’t find anything. I checked my rear tire to see if I had damaged the tire but I didn’t find anything. So I packed up everything again and headed down the highway. As I pulled on to the highway I could hear a clicking sound that increased in frequency as I sped up. Then I knew I had picked up something in my tire. I stopped on the shoulder and checked the tire more closely, rolling the bike forward until I found a very large screw sticking in the center of the tire.

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More Wind turbines south of San Jon, NM on top of Mesa

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Looking off the mesa of wind turbines

One of the things a biker always fears is a problem with one or more tires. Bikes don’t have spares and flat tires make the bike handle really squirrelly. I carry a tire plug kit for when such a thing happening. But I was afraid that the plug wouldn’t do the job because of the size of the screw. The tire wasn’t leaking air so I opted to ride to the next town, which was about 6 or 7 miles ahead. I could see the town from the picnic area. The first business I saw when I got to town was a small tire shop. I stopped and the owner was a biker and he plugged the tire. When pulled from the tire, the screw looked even bigger. I wasn’t sure if the plug would hold. Now I had to decide if I should ride back to Lubbock or ride on to Abilene. It was Monday and bike shops are always closed on Mondays so either way I could not get the tire replaced until the following day. I decided to ride on to Abilene. The tire shop owner told me to call him if I had any problems and he would come get me. That made me feel good to know. When I got to Sweetwater I stopped for gas and checked the tire pressure and it was good so I decided to ride on. I stopped a second time about 150 miles further and the tire was still OK. The GPS was estimating my arrival in Georgetown at 7:30 PM so I thought I would try to make it on home. The last time I stopped for gas I called Janet to let her know my ETA. I got home at 7:44. It was good to be home. I missed my riding buddy that I left at home.

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Picnic area about 30 miles south of Lubbock where I picked up the screw…

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The screw by a quarter

LC & LT talked about returning to do the trip again but this time with the wives. I think we all missed our riding buddies.

The Larry’s made it home the following day. LC said, they had ridden just over 4000 miles during their trip. Their trip took 11 days where my trip was 3346 miles over 10 days.

For more pictures… Click here.

Gas mileage stats…

  • Total Miles Traveled: 3346.2
  • Total Gallons of Gas Used: 77.478
  • Total Gas Cost: $210.45
  • Average MPG: 43.19
  • Worst MPG: 36.24
  • Best MPG: 52.33
  • Average cost/gallon: $2.72

Below are the posts from each day of our ride. Come follow along as we ride and enjoy the fun and beautiful scenery…

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride introduction
Day 1 & 2 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 3 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 4 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 5 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 6 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 7 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 8 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 9 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

Day 9 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

September 26  Cortez, CO to Pagosa Springs, Co to Taos, NM to Las Vegas, NM to Tucumcari, NM   428 miles

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Day 9 Route Map

Today is day 9 of our Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle ride. At one of our stops on the Million Dollar Highway, the previous day, we talked to a couple of guys from Alabama. They told us that there was a lot of construction on the route we had planned to take the next day. Soooo…. I plotted an alternate route to avoid the construction. Since I didn’t have a chance to research the route thoroughly we would just be winging it. Tomorrow would be our last day riding together. Originally we had planned to go our separate ways at Amarillo but instead we would split in Tucumcari, NM. See route above.

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Head waters of Rio Grande in New Mexico

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Head waters of Rio Grande in New Mexico

This would be another long ride day but as it turned out we got to see more beautiful scenery for most of the route. The last 107 miles was for the most part flat, straight and desert like. The only time we stopped was for gas, lunch and to gaze at the headwaters of the Rio Grande. The headwaters of the Rio Grande had cut a deep narrow, canyon into what was a mostly flat terrain. The bridge over the canyon was lined with onlookers and at each end of the bridge was Native Americans booths setup selling everything native Americans sell. We visited with a couple of guys pulling the Goldwings on trailers. We kidded that the should be ridding them instaed of trailering… One responded , “It’s a (spelling) W-I-F-E thing.” Their wives were off buying some of the Native American wares.

By the time we got to Tucumcari we were ready for a breather.

Below are the posts from each day of our ride. Come follow along as we ride to enjoy the fun and beautiful scenery…

Ride safe and I hope we see you down the road somewhere…

Day 8 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010

September 25  Cortez, CO to Sawpit, CO to Ouray, CO to Silverton, CO to Mesa Verde National Park back to Cortez, CO   276 miles

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Day 8 Route Map

Today is day 8 of our Million Dollar Highway motorcycle ride. Today we realize our dream to ride the Million Dollar Highway. This was a pretty easy day and the best day of the trip because of the route. This was the purpose of the trip. LC had read something about this route on the inter-net and suggested it when we initially talked about making this trip. I was not sure the weather would let us riding this route because of the altitude and the time of the year but as it turned out it was the best part of the trip. LC said it was the best ride he had ever ridden.

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Pit stop and coffee break on Hwy 145

We got an early start and the temperature in Cortez was 49 degrees. We knew it would get colder as we climbed in altitude. The coldest it got was 34 degrees according to the air temperature reading on my bike. I’m not sure what the highest altitude we reached but I know it was over 10,000 feet. The bikes performed flawlessly in the mountains. In fact we got our best gas mileage on this leg of the trip. I got over 52 mpg and LC and LT got similar gas mileage. At several of our stops at higher altitude we could tell we were not at sea level. We wouldn’t be running any races up the mountain.

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Million Dollar Hwy between Ouray & Silverton

I just loved the mountain towns on this route. Ouray looked like something you would see on a post card or calendar. I thought we would stop for lunch there but since it was still early and no one was hungry we rode on to Silverton.

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Court house in Silverton, Colorado

The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles in western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Ouray and Silverton. The origin of the name Million Dollar Highway is disputed. There are several legends, though, including that it cost a million dollars a mile to build in the 1920s, and that its fill dirt has a million dollars in gold ore.

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Steam train in Silverton, CO (Runs from Silverton to Durango)

Once on the Million Dollar Highway we rode through a series of steep grades and hairpin curves without guard rails. Not for the faint at heart, particularly on a motorcycle. This is what motorcycle riding is all about… It doesn’t get any better than this.

There are many youtube videos’ out there you can watch about riding the Million Dollar Highway. This is one of them…

Silverton, as one local puts it, “Silverton: A gritty little mining town with Victorian pretensions!” Once the stomping ground of silver kings and railroad giants, Silverton survives today as one of Colorado’s most endearing destinations.

Due to a slow market and low demand, mining in Silverton closed down in the early 1990s. However, there’s still gold and silver in those mountains and rumor has it that mining will be back one day.

When we arrived there were tourist everywhere, no lack of people spending money. There are lots of shops for tourist to spend money.

We ate lunch at the “Thee Pigs, Again”. I had a BBQ brisket sandwich with potato salad and BBQ beans. It was as good as anything I could get in Texas where beef is the king of BBQ.

After lunch we walked around town. There are only two streets that parallel each other, the main street being paved and the other being gravel. Words and pictures won’t do justice to describe Silverton. It can only be experienced.

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Leaving Silverton, Colorado

From there it was back to Cortez. I wasn’t sure if we would have time to make a quick pass through Mesa Verde but after discussing it over the radio we decided to give it a shot. I had been there before but that was about 18 years ago. When we got to the gate we found out that it was a free day at all the National Parks.

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

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Ruins at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

We stopped at the visitor center and talked to one of the rangers who suggested places to visit in the park since we had such limited time. In spite of the time we did get to see quite a bit. We didn’t get to take any tours but were able to view a goodly number of the cliff dwellings from afar and several ruins up close.

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Ruins at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

The ride into and out of Mesa Verde is spectacular. It is 15 miles from the entrance gate to the visitor center on top of the mesa. The ride to the top takes you through many curves, switchbacks and hairpin curves. The views were spectacular. On the way out we saw several deer, which the ranger warned us about. We definitely didn’t want to see them up close and personal. The other hazard we encountered was the sun. It was starting to set and as we came around some of the curves we went from shadows to bright sun light in our eyes, which made it difficult to see some of the curves.

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LT & LC at Ruins at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado

Once out of the park we were riding west into the sun and that was nerve-racking because of the lack of visibility. We did manage to make it back safe and sound.

We have reached and rode our goal for this trip… The Million Dollar Highway. It was everything we expected and much more. Another ride to check off our ride bucket list. If you have a chance to do this ride by all means take the opportunity. You won’t regret it. As always there were many things to do that we didn’t have time for so I hope we can do this ride again.

Tomorrow will be our last full day of riding together. We will soon start looking forward to the next big adventure and start making plans. Come follow along as we continue on our journey and share the ride and scenery… Ride safe…

Below are the posts from each day of our ride. Come follow along as we ride to enjoy the fun and beautiful scenery…

Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride introduction
Day 1 & 2 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 3 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 4 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 5 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 6 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 7 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 9 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010
Day 10 Million Dollar Highway Motorcycle Ride 2010