September 27, 2017
Got on the road before 7 this morning to beat the traffic and find cooler temperatures. The ride from Knoxville to the Parkway took me through the Smokey Mountain State Park. The ride through there was exceptional. Lots of great, twisting roads. A little bit of traffic but not that much. The motorcycle has such acceleration that passing can be done very quickly.
Entered the Parkway about 9:00 after going to the visitor center for a map and some guidance about fuel stops. The first 150 miles were exceptional. The views were spectacular as you can see in the photo gallery. For me, the road was even better than the views. I went up and down that mountain about 10 times in that first 150 miles. The elevation changes were unreal and the curves were as good as it gets. I was impeded occasionally by light traffic but was able to get it passed most of it quickly. The road surface was also great.
Unfortunately the roads started to flatten and straighten out as I went further north. The next 150 miles still had beautiful landscapes though, so that leg was very enjoyable. Again, little traffic to deal with. After that first 300 miles the roads, continued to straighten and get flatter and the views diminished. Then I ran into road resurfacing with frequent stops as the road was one lane. Then that road surface changed to newly laid tar and gravel which was loose and scary to ride on. Then it got even worse as they had just sprayed tar over the chips and it wasn’t completely set yet. The sign said road work for next 40 miles. Ugh, time to get off. I got off for the night in Roanoke. With the exception of the last 20 miles or so, it was a very pleasant ride.
I have decided to skip the very last part of the Parkway and head to West Virginia tomorrow. I think I found a great route which will get me close to Dayton. I’ll be in town just in time to enjoy lunch with my friends Friday at Harrigan’s Tavern in Kettering.