This was on St. Patty's Day weekend:
I decided I wanted to ride some of the Blue Ridge Parkway that I had not rode before. I didn't have my kids this weekend, so it was on. I woke up Saturday, March 16, 2013, decided on my route, gathered a few things, and tossed them into my Jesse bags. I got a late start, but I didn't have a schedule. I didn't take any pics on the way there, but saved some great shots for the Parkway.
I left Ellijay, GA via Hwy 515 North, and exited onto Rock Creek Road, a nice gravel ride, which takes you over to Aska Road. I turned north on Aska, rode to Blue Ridge, GA, and onto Old Hwy 76 to Blairsville, GA. I got back on Hwy 515/76 and took this road into Clayton, GA. Once in Clayton, I kept straight and took Warwoman Road to Hwy 28. I turned south on 28 and took it into South Carolina. I eventually found Hwy 107, turned north, and eventually arrived in Cashiers, NC. I had never rode on 107 before, but found it to be a great ride.
Once in Cashiers, I took a break, drank a Mt. Dew, and ate a Baby Ruth. I then headed east on 64 to Brevard, Hendersonville, Batcave, and worked my way to the outskirts of Asheville, NC. I was headed to a BBQ place in Swannanoa, NC called Okie Dokies Smokehouse: http://www.okiedokiesbbq.com/
My brother's college friend and her husband own this place, and they have another location too. The BBQ was great. I had the pork plate. It was very moist, served with slaw and baked beans. I didn't really even need a sauce. The sweet tea was super too. After an early supper, I asked the nice wait staff about a good place to stay, where I could walk to a pub for a few cold tall ones. They, of course recommended Asheville, or Black Mountain, NC, which was closer. I decided on Black Mountain, but got on the Parkway briefly - just for a few minutes.
Once on the Parkway, I noticed some detour signs that directed north bound traffic to I-40 East to Exit 86 - I did this the next day. I headed to Black Mountain, checked into the Super 8, showered up, and asked the attendant for nearby watering hole. She recommended the Ale House: http://www.blackmountainalehouse.com...e/default.aspx
It was great. They had a large variety of beers on tap, and I enjoyed some high octane IPAs, two cigars (that I brought), and an awesome band - The Blue Rags! And...I watched some dancing and...well...it was really damn good! After several hours, I walked back to the Super 8 and crashed. Total mileage for day one was 293.
The next day, I woke up early, ate the continental breakfast, and headed to the Parkway. The detour put me on the Parkway at about Little Switzerland.
My plan was to ride the Parkway to Virginia, which I did, with only one other short detour.
On Hwy 58:
I got to Virginia about noon, looked at the map, and decided on a way to get out to Interstate 81 and slab it back to north Georgia. I went to Sparta, NC via Hwy 18, ate lunch at The Pines (flounder and shrimp), then headed north on Hwy 21 to Hwy 58 West to I-81. Hwy 58 was fun and long. It has a variety of curves and switchbacks, and was really fun.
Once on I-81, I went through Bristol (the outskirts), which I later learned a race had just ended. Apparently, race fans are pumped after a race, and feel like they can drive as fast as the drivers they just watched. I-81 was crowded and moving way to damn fast. I rode I-81 (that's what it seemed like) to Hwy 66 (Sevierville, TN) and eventually got on Hwy 411 South, which took me to Maryville, TN; Chatsworth, GA, and back to Ellijay.
I finally made it home at 10:36 p.m. I felt like I rode Broke Back Mountain - my ass was killing me! Total mileage for day two was 532. I know this may not seem like a lot to some, but it was the most I've done in one day before. I was wore out.
Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed this write up.