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FinlandThumper 04-05-2013 01:34 AM

Madison, WI to Wilmington NC / July 2013
This summer I'll be back home in the States and am planning multiple family visits to make up for lost time. I have a road bike in Wisconsin and I'll be taking it down to Wilmington NC in early July with a friend of mine. I have about 6 days each way to make the ride. In 2010 I did the ride in 3 days, Madison - Louisville, Louisville - Knoxville, and then Knoxville up and over the Appalachians to Asheville and then across.

This year I was thinking of heading more due east, for example diagonally SE through Indiana and Ohio, and from there into W. Virginia. Then follow the Appalachians south for a ways, maybe making a few crossings of the mountains as we go south. Alternatively down through VA and into NC on some decent back roads. I'd like to try and patch a route together linking scenic road suggestions from locals. The intention is to avoid interstates for all the obvious reasons. But at the same time, would like to find scenic "through routes" on US highways, state highways etc. to the Appalachians.

Can anyone suggest some good paved road routes? My bike in Europe is an ADV bike, but in the States it's a 1998 Harley Low Rider so it's got to be paved road.

Thanks for any suggestions folks. And happy spring riding season!

4PawsHacienda 04-05-2013 06:20 AM

Check out Hwy 16, you can take it from Beckley WVA area down to Hwy 421 in the Wilkesboro NC area then 421 straight into Wilmington. Good riding on 16 with some really fun sections in the mountains and definitely not an interstate. Hwy 421 into Wilmington is a decent drive with only a few really ugly spots.

FinlandThumper 04-05-2013 10:24 PM

Thanks, I see that state highway 16 you mentioned, and it might link with the route reall well.

A side question for anyone else who might be able to help: are there any scenic routes southeast through Ohio, or am I just engaging in wishful thinking? (no intent to disrespect the state but haven't spent much time there aside from flying into Columbus once.)

kantuckid 04-06-2013 05:49 AM

Take a look on: at the 2 routes(and others in NC to take you toward Wilmington) that take you from SE OH into WV and S to VA/NC/TN juncture. Read up on "The Snake"/ "Tail of the Snake" in the area around Mt. Mitchell the riding is fabulous and scenic too. You might also do the BRP going S and then get off in that area. This would be just above Abingdon,VA . It honestly doesn't get much better than that for any purpose! Roads,scenery,small bucolic towns,etc.. It will of course be the typical humid/hot SE USA in July! Fall/spring are the best here.

FinlandThumper 04-07-2013 11:25 PM

Thanks for that recommendation for the motorcycle roads site.

When doing some more research (sitting by the fire with whiskey and maps is an old past time for me) I came to the conclusion that these routes might work, but it's hardly any more effort to get down to Kentucky more quickly and then hit a few distilleries. I have been to the Four Roses distillery a few years back but as many here know, there are a bunch of them.

Sure, if was probably the bourbon talking, but maybe a southerly route via bourbon country is a good alternative here.

4PawsHacienda 04-08-2013 05:56 AM

ever heard of the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky?

FinlandThumper 04-10-2013 12:16 AM


Originally Posted by 4PawsHacienda (Post 21134789)
ever heard of the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky?

Sure have. A couple years back when I went from Louisville to Knoxville I had time to visit only Four Roses, but learned about it there. Have you done the whole thing? Is it worth the time needed for the stops?

With 6 days riding time to NC I would have time for some non-riding tourism on the way to the Appalachians...

4PawsHacienda 04-11-2013 06:45 AM

For scenic riding I'd pass on the Bourbon Trail, but it is a fun thing to do. A t-shirt worthy endeavor.
If you're planning on cruising and enjoying take the time to stop at a winery or two on your trip through NC, all are friendly and most in the middle of scenic country with fun roads.

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