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Old 05-24-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
x32792 OP
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Amtrak from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA?

I'm ready for my next old-man sized adventure and looking hard at taking the AMTRAK train from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA then riding back to Florida on my Mighty DR650. OK, I know all I have to do is ride south to get back to Florida, BUT what should I see and do along the way? Where is the best BBQ? Best two lane back roads? Best scenery?

Seeking your input.

TIA, John
Winter Park, FL
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Old 05-24-2014, 05:23 PM   #2
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The Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA.

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Old 05-24-2014, 07:27 PM   #3
cory1848
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x32792 View Post
I'm ready for my next old-man sized adventure and looking hard at taking the AMTRAK train from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA then riding back to Florida on my Mighty DR650. OK, I know all I have to do is ride south to get back to Florida, BUT what should I see and do along the way? Where is the best BBQ? Best two lane back roads? Best scenery?

Seeking your input.

TIA, John
Winter Park, FL
x32792@yahoo.com
I am doing the reverse in July. Riding up then taking the auto train back. Where to ride? Skyline Drive to Blue Ridge Parkway, to Deals Gap, Cherahola Skyway, Georgia Loop and back through central Georgia. Make for a great ride.
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Old 05-24-2014, 07:46 PM   #4
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I've taken this trip three times and plan to do it again in September (actually, ride from Lorton to Long Island, then down).

So ... yeah, find back roads from Lorton to Front Royal, Va. -- don't take the interstates, and definitely avoid the Beltway. From Front Royal, ride the Skyline Drive (105 miles at 35 mph -- don't speed on Skyline Drive), then ride the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Me, I like to take it easy, so I spend the first night at a campground or lodge off Skyline Drive (Loft Mountain Campground is nice), and I get up and ride the next morning and have lunch in Waynesboro and stop at the awesome outdoor fitter on the main road into town. Then onto the BRP.

I recommend spending the night at the campground near the top of Mount Mitchell. You can reserve a campsite online. It's a steep climb to the campsites, so the farther from the parking lot, the more you climb.

In the neighborhood of Mount Pisgah (the Mount Pisgah Inn, the Pisgah Campground), there are tons of side roads. You'll find 'em. Have a blast!

Also, try to spend a night at Balsam Mountain Campground near the southern terminus of the Parkway.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:00 AM   #5
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The Uncle Remus Museum in Eatonton, GA.

Thank you.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cory1848 View Post
I am doing the reverse in July. Riding up then taking the auto train back. Where to ride? Skyline Drive to Blue Ridge Parkway, to Deals Gap, Cherahola Skyway, Georgia Loop and back through central Georgia. Make for a great ride.
Guess it really doesn't matter which way you do it ...Ride the train UP or BACK.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merckx the Cannibal View Post
I've taken this trip three times and plan to do it again in September (actually, ride from Lorton to Long Island, then down).

So ... yeah, find back roads from Lorton to Front Royal, Va. -- don't take the interstates, and definitely avoid the Beltway. From Front Royal, ride the Skyline Drive (105 miles at 35 mph -- don't speed on Skyline Drive), then ride the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Me, I like to take it easy, so I spend the first night at a campground or lodge off Skyline Drive (Loft Mountain Campground is nice), and I get up and ride the next morning and have lunch in Waynesboro and stop at the awesome outdoor fitter on the main road into town. Then onto the BRP.

I recommend spending the night at the campground near the top of Mount Mitchell. You can reserve a campsite online. It's a steep climb to the campsites, so the farther from the parking lot, the more you climb.

In the neighborhood of Mount Pisgah (the Mount Pisgah Inn, the Pisgah Campground), there are tons of side roads. You'll find 'em. Have a blast!

Also, try to spend a night at Balsam Mountain Campground near the southern terminus of the Parkway.
Three times makes you a veteran! Thanks for the info.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:24 PM   #8
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I've made that route a few times (or roughly, DC to Naples and back several times). Only a couple times were mostly for fun though. On those I didn't really plan much of a route and just headed west from the DC area 'till I found mountains, then hung a left and stayed in the mountains (or hills anyway) as much as I could. I made sure to hit tail of the dragon 'cause it's famous. It's also an absolute hoot when the weather is poorly because the cops and squids stay inside

If you want a quick off-bike hike with great scenery Chimney Rock Park in NC is roughly along where your route will likely end up and is pretty cool as the trail goes over Hickory Nut Falls, which is a 404' tall fall. Not a lot of water volume but still something quite nice to look at.

FWIW I avoid skyline drive b/c it's nearly always packed with cops and tourist. It's pretty, but it's a long time to be at 35mph and I like to keep the adrenalin levels a bit higher than I can get by with there. Also I grew up in NoVA so the scenery is something I've seen with frequency. I'd also probably just take freeways out of Lorton to get to the good stuff, but freeways don't bother me (commuted into DC for years on the bike). There are loads of roads that run the same mt range as skyline drive and the brp but benefit from substantially less law enforcement, fewer tourists, and higher speed limits.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:26 AM   #9
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2,000 Mile Train-Less Southern Triangle?

Someone has suggested Hwy 17.

If you stayed on Hwy 17 N until you reached just south of Norfolk, VA (approx 750 mi), then pick up Hwy 58 W that would take you to the mountains (approx 250 mi). From the mountains, you could then head south back to central Florida (approx 700 miles). Give or take a few side trips and some BBQ joints, that would be a 2,000 Mile Train-Less Southern Triangle with no super-slabs.

This way you could do both mountains AND coast.

Most interesting.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:35 AM   #10
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After the BRP, if you make your way to US 441 through North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, you'll motor through some nice scenery, without a lot of traffic. You'll go through small towns, though, so we're talking about a relaxing ride, not an adrenaline fueled one, with opportunities to stop and chat with strangers. You'll find nice side trips and detours off the highway. In Georgia I wandered off the highway to spend a night at a campground in the Lake Sinclair section of the Oconee National Forest.

441 goes through Gainesville, Florida, so maybe that's a section to get off the highway and go around town.

Oh, another tip: If you do the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway, try to make your way to Wayah Road, near Franklin, North Carolina. You won't regret it (unless you crash). It's a little traveled, lightly enforced road, and one of the most fantastic rides in the east. Google it and you'll find it. I'd rather do Wayah than Cherohala if I had to choose one. Wayah is quite technical and very exciting.
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Old 05-26-2014, 10:30 AM   #11
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Wayah Road, near Franklin, North Carolina

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Try to make your way to Wayah Road, near Franklin, North Carolina. You won't regret it (unless you crash). It's a little traveled, lightly enforced road, and one of the most fantastic rides in the east. Google it and you'll find it. I'd rather do Wayah than Cherohala if I had to choose one. Wayah is quite technical and very exciting.
Found it! Looks like a nice piece of road. NOTE: When I travel, I take my iPad with me, so all these helpful suggestions will be available along the way. Thanks.

Just did a Google Earth Fly Over and am looking forward to riding this road.
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Old 05-26-2014, 04:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merckx the Cannibal View Post
After the BRP, if you make your way to US 441 through North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, you'll motor through some nice scenery, without a lot of traffic. You'll go through small towns, though, so we're talking about a relaxing ride, not an adrenaline fueled one, with opportunities to stop and chat with strangers. You'll find nice side trips and detours off the highway. In Georgia I wandered off the highway to spend a night at a campground in the Lake Sinclair section of the Oconee National Forest.

441 goes through Gainesville, Florida, so maybe that's a section to get off the highway and go around town.

Oh, another tip: If you do the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway, try to make your way to Wayah Road, near Franklin, North Carolina. You won't regret it (unless you crash). It's a little traveled, lightly enforced road, and one of the most fantastic rides in the east. Google it and you'll find it. I'd rather do Wayah than Cherohala if I had to choose one. Wayah is quite technical and very exciting.



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Old 05-26-2014, 07:40 PM   #13
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Not sure of your time frame. I absolutly agree with all replies so far. If you have the time go to Luray caverns. From there hit Harrisonburg 33 -220 - 250 west and get to Cass railroad and Snowshoe. From there 150 - 39 to Babcock C/G and hit the New river gorge bridge. Drive to the bottom. Snake through the roads to Tazwell and down 16 to Hunry Mother C/G. West Virginia has some of the most unengineered roads around in the east. Perfect for a dual sport. Grayson highlans park on 58. Then hit the Blue ridge parkway from there. You will still hit the best part of BRP. I could go on forever. Have fun. stucchx
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:38 AM   #14
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Time Frame

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Not sure of your time frame.
My time frame is open, but will most likely not be longer than 2 weeks.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:18 PM   #15
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Found it! Looks like a nice piece of road. NOTE: When I travel, I take my iPad with me, so all these helpful suggestions will be available along the way. Thanks.

Just did a Google Earth Fly Over and am looking forward to riding this road.
+1 on Wayah Rd, rode that a couple of years ago and it was a blast.
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