Here's the general idea: treat my local roads as if I were traveling through them for the first time. What would someone else take pictures of where normally I would pass by them? The idea is to update this thread as each successive ride occurs so in the future there will almost be a travel guide for someone riding in from another state to use as a reference. Think local knowledge without being a local.
Anyway, every trip needs a starting point so last night I pulled up Mapquest and found the most northeastern road in Tennessee, Buckeye Hollow Road. So remote you have to ride through Mt. Rogers Park in VA just to get to it.
That'll do just fine.
The man's mailbox was in Virginia, his house and most of his barn in Tennessee, and I really think his back field was in North Carolina. My GPS screen showed all three state lines at once. I bet property taxes are a pain in the ass.
Right, nowhere else to go except South and West.
As the crow flies the next closest "town" is Shady Valley, TN, 16.5 miles away. The crow, however, was lazy and hitched a ride with me. We wound up covering about 35-40 miles before we got there 45 minutes later.
South on Hwy. 133 out of Damascus, VA (home of the VA Creeper Trail) is Backbone Rock, the world's shortest tunnel.
The tunnel was a result of the need to get the iron ore from the Iron Mountains in Shady Valley to a processing facility. You can climb up stairs that have been cut out of the rock and look down on the river surrounding it.
Following the river most of the way into the valley proper brings you to the intersection of Hwy. 421, 133, and 91. 421 is also known as the Snake and is the other place that Gov. Bredeson has decided to crack down on like he's doing at Deal's Gap. Really laid back place where you know most of the bikes that pull into the store. Stopping for a Shady Dog is a must but if you're there between 3:30 and 7:30 on Fridays it's Fish night.
Hey, it used to be an old cranberry bog. You make your excitement where you can.
After bench racing for a bit too long and telling most of the stories I have I rode around to try and find a good place to take a picture to show you what SV looks like. Sorry, you've just got to ride it, it's that pretty. There's a campground with facilities called Switchback Creek
that's really nice. Windy rides an old Norton 750 Commando and puts a lot of the sportbikes to shame. Every year they put on a vintage bikes ride called (jokingly) the Road Oiler 200.
Head south on 91 towards Elizabethton and on the left there's a spring where the water is safe to drink. I've seen RV's pull up to it and spend the better part of an hour filling the water tanks before a trip.
91 is an amazing road. You have a guardrail on one side and a mountain on the other the entire way. It's like the Isle of Man TT (I'd imagine): helluva lot of fun but you've got to be careful.
Right as you cross the Carter County line hook a left onto Cross Mountain Road. Takes you from 91 over to 67.
The road looks like this...
And you can see this...
Hook a right onto 67 Southbound and eventually you pass through
I kept an eye out for Lara Croft opening a weird looking box floating in a pool of black boiling acid inside of a cave where gravity was clearly out to lunch...
But found nothing. Probably for the best really.
Keep on trucking south on 67 and you eventually come out on Watauga Lake. It's a big friggin' lake that borders Cherokee National Forest on pretty much every side. There's swimming, camping, even a shooting range.
A little bit further and there is this overlook...
And at the bottom of the hill there's a break in the guardrail and a road to the left. This is Little Stoney Creek Road. It's one lane and change of pavement for about 4 miles before it turns to gravel and runs over the mountains into Roan Mountain, TN. There is a T-intersection and straight takes you to Roan Mountain and right will take you back into Hampton right back onto 67.
That's pretty much it for today. I've got a long list of places to cover so I'll try to update this as regularly as I can. Other than that I think I've picked a helluva first ride report, huh?