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Old 09-19-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
GypsyWriter OP
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Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall

So the Dude and I are finally planning our trip across the country, and one of the places both of us want to ride is the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll be on my R1200GS and he'll be on his R1100RT-P, so this won't be a hugely off-road adventure although some dirt isn't a big problem. Since we'll be coming from California (specifically the Sacramento area), it's going to be a bit of a journey. So far, the plan is to come east along a northerly route, following 80 and hitting some major cities (Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City etc) then turning south heading to Gatlinburg and Cherokee. We have a few questions for people who live in the area:

1) What's the weather going to be like around mid-October? Is it going to be wet? We're trying to determine what gear we need to bring (warm or cold) and whether at that time of year if camping etc is feasible. Is riding motorcycle on the BRP in mid-fall/October a bad idea?

2) From Gatlinburg heading through Smokey Mountain Park, where are some places along the parkway we can stay on our northerly route? Any campground or hotel recommendations?

3) Once we get done with the parkway, where are some places up at the end to stay?

Honestly, any advice for the area would be appreciated. Our route is undecided, except that we definitely want to hit the parkway unless it's closed for the season. This is by no means the end of our trip, we still have plans to hit New York then down the southern coast back to California. Both of us are free for at least a couple months, so we'd appreciate any help more experienced travellers might have!!
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
So the Dude and I are finally planning our trip across the country, and one of the places both of us want to ride is the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'll be on my R1200GS and he'll be on his R1100RT-P, so this won't be a hugely off-road adventure although some dirt isn't a big problem. Since we'll be coming from California (specifically the Sacramento area), it's going to be a bit of a journey. So far, the plan is to come east along a northerly route, following 80 and hitting some major cities (Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City etc) then turning south heading to Gatlinburg and Cherokee. We have a few questions for people who live in the area:

1) What's the weather going to be like around mid-October? Is it going to be wet? We're trying to determine what gear we need to bring (warm or cold) and whether at that time of year if camping etc is feasible. Is riding motorcycle on the BRP in mid-fall/October a bad idea?

2) From Gatlinburg heading through Smokey Mountain Park, where are some places along the parkway we can stay on our northerly route? Any campground or hotel recommendations?

3) Once we get done with the parkway, where are some places up at the end to stay?

Honestly, any advice for the area would be appreciated. Our route is undecided, except that we definitely want to hit the parkway unless it's closed for the season. This is by no means the end of our trip, we still have plans to hit New York then down the southern coast back to California. Both of us are free for at least a couple months, so we'd appreciate any help more experienced travellers might have!!
Sarah, be prepared for cooler temperatures. A heated jacket might be a nice thing. Generally, we see our first frost during the Old School Rally in mid October in Tellico Plains. (BTW, consider riding the Cherohala Skyway while you are in the neighborhood.) Be prepared for heavy rain and in October it will be a cold rain. But then again, you might find plentiful sunshine. Weekdays, the BRP is lightly traveled but it will be congested with leaf peepers on the weekends that time of year. It definitely is NOT a bad time to ride the BRP.

On the south end of the BRP, Blue Ridge Motorcycle Camp in Cruso, NC is a great place. It is about 6 miles north of the BRP on Hwy 276.

In Virginia around mile post 177 you will find Willville Bike Camp in Meadows of Dan on Rte 58. Willville is my favorite m/c camp on the planet.

Most campgrounds on the Parkway stay open at least through the end of October.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the tips!! I'll definitely look up those campgrounds, they sound like fun! So far our route has changed a bit, more southerly along I-40 instead of 80, but most of it's slab. One half of our group (hint: not my half) doesn't like cold so we're going to head quickly to the east coast, hopefully before the frosts hit hard, then take 10 and other southern highways home. However, I've always wanted to ride the BRP (as has the Dude) and didn't want to miss that, but wasn't sure if fall was the best time.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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Do what HappyRiding suggests and you won't go wrong. Weather in October is iffy. Biggest problem is people with Florida license plates that have never seen a curvy road.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #5
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Keep your eyes on the road.
It's what we locals call "Cadillac and RV dodging season" when the leaves turn.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:02 AM   #6
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Our fall weather along the Blue Ridge is usually on the dryer side except for the fact that you'll frequently be riding in or near the clouds. Expect nights to be upper 40s to lower 50's and days in the 65 -75 range. Lots of lower cost motels and numerous campgrounds near the BRP. More motorcycles than cars use the road. Easy pleasant riding never far from food, gas, lodging.

I recommend you get adventuresome and head off the BRP and explore the region for some fun riding and interesting food. In the Southern VA area Clyde is known for music and micro breweries while Asheville NC is a great destination with lots to offer. They are a decent days ride apart, Clyde not to far from Meadows of Dan area where the campground was mentioned. Also in that area are several places that rent out small "cabins" if your back needs a rest. Clean cheap motel at Hwy 52 and BRP near Fancy Gap called Mountain Top motel and also several campgrounds there. Down the hill (S. on 52) about 7 miles is a local restaurant with country cooking called Hungry Farmer. Some really good day rides in the area.

I really prefer the fall for rides along the BRP, crisp clear air. You'll be taking layers off by 10am. If you ride "up" the parkway you can hit I-77 and take it back down the hill towards Charlotte and find roads home. North of 77 is some real nice riding in the VA section, could always head up towards Roanoke before exiting.

4PawsHacienda screwed with this post 09-21-2012 at 08:09 AM
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Old 09-28-2012, 12:41 AM   #7
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Two wheel inn, Robbinsville NC, nice room with garage, near tail of the dragon. Maggie valley NC, wheels of time Museum. Devils Backbone brewery VA. Ashville NC has some great bars/beer town. It's going to rain at some point and it will hot and cold. Watch out for big brown dogs with antlers. Some bears to.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:47 AM   #8
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Brp

We have a BMW/anything group that meets each Oct at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. http://www.ironhorsenc.com/
Really nice place. You can camp in RV, Tent etc, or stay in one of the cabins/rooms. Near Deals Gap. Hwy 28 from there to Deals is a beautiful road.

While in that area, be sure to go gown to Robinsville and pick up the Cherohola Parkway over to Telico Plains. 40+ miles of sweepers up to about 5800'. Great road..!! http://cherohala.org/

I have stayed at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground many times. They typically do not have food, but there is a neat 1960 style restaurant about 5 miles. Jukebox Junction Soda Shoppe.

In Waynesville, NC, Nick & Nates Italian is a great place to eat..

You might find this camera sight interesting...http://www.resortcams.com/

Also:
http://www.nps.gov/blri/index.htm
http://www.cycleresort.com/
http://www.linvillecaverns.com/
http://www.motorcycleroads.us/
http://nc.sierraclub.org/pisgah/ras/pnras.html
http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:00 AM   #9
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good advice on blue ridge mc campground and willville mc campground. very good riding from each campground, as in 300 mile days in each direction, never riding the same road twice. don't know your time schedule but BIKETOBERFEST IN DAYTONA FLA runs oct 18-21. if you've never been and you're out this way, I95 will get you there.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #10
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Do what HappyRiding suggests and you won't go wrong. Weather in October is iffy. Biggest problem is people with Florida license plates that have never seen a curvy road.
I'll challenge that! IF! the leaves are anywhere near in color & IF! you are in or near Gatlinburg , as you mention then it will be bumper to bumper around the N.P.!!! A great time to be there but expect traffic with many plates(not just FL) unless you get on secondary roads and then still plenty of traffic then. Go, but I warned you.
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Old 10-21-2012, 06:31 PM   #11
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There are only two hotels on the parkway itself. I've stayed at both the Mt. Pisgah lodge near the south end and Peaks of Otter near the north. Both are very decent places with good restaurants and nice places to walk. I assume the colors are near peak? Where are you headed after the parkway? Have a great trip,
Tom
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:55 PM   #12
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We're staying at the BRP Motorcycle Camp tonight and possibly tomorrow as well, we'll see; pretty open as to where we stay after this. The colors are indeed at peak; I think if we'd waited another week either way we would have missed out on a LOT. Going through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg today (Sunday) was like trying to get through Los Angeles: traffic where I never would have imagined any! Still, absolutely gorgeous scenery and I'm loving these roads!! We start the more technical stuff tomorrow but I'm having a blast with this trip!! Thanks for the recommendations.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:07 AM   #13
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Near Meadows of Dan, Va there is a good motorcycle only campground called Willville. There are a lot of good local back roads in the area to ride. I was just in that area a few days ago and the fall colors were perfect.

http://www.willvillebikecamp.com/

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Old 10-24-2012, 08:53 AM   #14
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Do what HappyRiding suggests and you won't go wrong. Weather in October is iffy. Biggest problem is people with Florida license plates that have never seen a curvy road.
Hey! You're talkin' about my people.... the truth hurts.
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