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Old 05-02-2012, 06:06 PM   #1
LandLeftBehind OP
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US trip - Appalachian Mountains

Hey folks,

I plan on traveling down the eastern half of US mostly through the Appalachian Mountains on the larger part of my US trip.

I have two main reasons for taking these roads:
- Amazing scenery, opportunities for hiking; being 'thrust' into nature
- The opportunity for low cost camping in state parks and free backcountry camping along the appalachian trail

So I guess what I am looking for is good motorcycle roads, that run along this basic route, avoid major highways, and occasionally cross paths with the AT.

From what I've seen others have done this with more of a dual-sport flavor. Ill be taking a road bike, so I need to keep it relatively tame

Any suggestions/tips/ideas are appreciated. I will be doing ALOT of research on this in the next few weeks, so ill update occasionally with new information that may be of use to other folks with a similar idea.

Current idea:
Skyline Drive
Blue Ridge Parkway
.....
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:48 AM   #2
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Starting point? Final destination?
With the two roads you listed plus a few to the south and west you have everything you need for a great trip. Lot's of small towns and countryside to explore and different foods to sample. You really can't go wrong. Check out FBAD : life on the blue ridge in the Day Trippin section for some gems.

Independence VA - Grayson Highlands St park - AT crosses there, good camping w/o a lot of tourists. Among my favorite riding regions.

Only real suggestion I have is do it. Great area.

4PawsHacienda screwed with this post 05-04-2012 at 08:34 AM
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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There is absolutely no problem with paralleling the AT on pavement. In many cases, it's an effort to be near the trail and not be close to pavement. Tell us a start and finish and the suggestions will pour in.
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions so far.

To clarify, Id like to start at the northern most point of shenandoah, lets say Front Royal, and work my way all the way down to Atlanta, Georgia (dont want to go there in particular, thats just where the AT ends).

From there I would like to travel west, cutting through Louisiana, Texas...all the way to CA. Then Im going up north to Oregon, where Ill probably wwoof for some time (of course if I get that far ).
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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What would be really helpful is a detail map of the AT - one that includes roads (so I can see where the trail intersects)
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:00 PM   #6
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West Virginia

May I suggest exploring West Virginia a bit, since you are so close?

www.RidingWV.com might give you some ideas.

Have a safe trip, wherever the road takes you.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:11 PM   #7
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maps

One of my biggest challenges to planning this trip the way I envision it is going to be navigation. This is because standard road maps do not give detailed trail information, nor do standard GPS units (which describes what I have). I will need to plan my daily routes using a combination of standard road maps and smaller scale maps that include trail intersections and details.

Taking advantage of free backcountry camping along national trails such as the AT is going to be so monumentally important to the sucess of this trip. I have the time, dont have the money

After doing a bit of research, I think I will be able to get away with using free park maps that they provide in Shenandoah at the ranger stations. As for the majority of the journey, I may need to invest in some Nat Geo trail maps. These maps are larger in scale than the typical AT maps, but still include important trail information. The AT maps are nice, and likely include more detail, but are designed as backpacking maps, and subsequently cover less area per map (and therefore would be very expensive).

Not a hugely informative update, just want to keep this thread going

Ill be back.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandLeftBehind View Post
One of my biggest challenges to planning this trip the way I envision it is going to be navigation. This is because standard road maps do not give detailed trail information, nor do standard GPS units (which describes what I have). I will need to plan my daily routes using a combination of standard road maps and smaller scale maps that include trail intersections and details.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:59 AM   #9
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the lee ranger district of the george washington nat forest in virginia has some free camping areas, others are a modest cost. I've stayed at some of the free ones and they are very nice. not really near the trail though.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gwj/...73539&actid=29
if your in national forest areas, there are lots of undeveloped camping areas that are free of charge.
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Old 05-12-2012, 05:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bikerfish View Post
the lee ranger district of the george washington nat forest in virginia has some free camping areas, others are a modest cost. I've stayed at some of the free ones and they are very nice. not really near the trail though.
http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/gwj/...73539&actid=29
if your in national forest areas, there are lots of undeveloped camping areas that are free of charge.

Good to know! Yea I dont need to be on the trail as long as I can find other places to camp for free.
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Old 05-13-2012, 07:11 AM   #11
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+1 on Grayson-Highlands though it will cost you $25 to camp. Saw plenty of folks camping in Mt. Rogers Rec. area. VA-16 was very fun, 'Back of the Dragon'.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:11 PM   #12
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DeLorme Gazetteer - http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELi...?section=10096 Don't leave home without it.

These atlases appear to be great, but Im not sure how I would fit something so large in my limited luggage carriers. Much less several of them!
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:05 AM   #13
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the beginning (or end) of the AT is at Amacola Falls state park. i've camped there and it's nice. south of there it flattens out and north it twist up. a free campground is off ga hwy 53 along the banks of the Amicacola river. there are pic nic tables and fire rings but no water of potty's. It's off amicacola church road. it is always police patrolled. i know the ga mountain area so if i can answer any questions....
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:30 AM   #14
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Nearly the entire section of the AT from GA to Damascus VA is crisscrossed by small roads. You could burn your entire ride time just section hiking and riding around on the NC/TN border.
The AT isn't just crossed by little gravel roads either. It crosses under I40 at one point, and it tramps right through towns like Hot Springs. And Hot Springs is a VERY motorcycle friendly little town with lots of everything you're looking for in this trip. You could make it your base of operations and stay in a hostel on the cheap. And there are plenty of hostels in the area with gravel road or paved access. Price is from about 20-30 bucks a day with kitchen access and laundry facilities.
There's a hostel kind of in the middle of nowhere north of I40 that a lot of KLR guys use, and there's one right in Hot Springs as you come in from the South. There's also one in Erwin TN and one in Damascus. Those are the ones I know exist anyway. I've heard of others, but can't speak to their actual existence. I'm not a big hostel guy. Sorry.
The 30+ mile trail section between I40 and Hot Springs is a good place to focus. Lots of neat sights like the FAA tower bald and Max Patch bald (both spots to which you can ride and park/hike), and other smaller attractions would be right up your alley for the Southern Appalachians. There are very close roads to the shelters on the AT as well. Nothing I've seen is so soupy that I wouldn't take a road bike. Pretty much any ST bike or 2wd pickup could go down them with ease. The hiking can be strenuous, since there's a lot of ascent and descent, but nothing more than a couple thousand feet at a time. So, if you're not in fair condition you'll be sucking wind. If you are, you'll be happy with the challenge and views.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:39 AM   #15
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Been to TN, NC, and Virginia - Love it down there

Blue Ridge Parkway is amazing !!! must do - Boone Section is amazing ! go over the Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain Beautiful! stop at Linville Falls .WOW! . down to Mount Mitchell . highest point east of the Mississippi

Also check out Tail of the Dragon down in Deals Gap, NC

Smoky mountain National Park- cross the AT there too
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