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Same as last year and the year before and every year before that, I'll start with the important stuff:
Ride your own ride. Enjoy the weekend. Be safe. This is not a competition or a race. This is just a good weekend away with friends. You are responsible for yourself. This is, of course, an "at your own risk" event. Motorcycling is dangerous. These roads are dangerous. Be careful. Ohio Riders (and/or it's owners, blah blah blah) cannot be held liable for anything (like, but not limited to, traffic tickets, accidents, stupidity, death, etc).
June 7 - 11, 2017
We added a day this year for folks who want to come in early and avoid the weekend dragon traffic.
Nothing is officially organized. There are no set routes. It just happens to be a weekend for a bunch of us to meetup down there to have some fun. The weekend is up to you. When you come down, where you ride, who you ride with, where you eat, where you stay (Fontana Village discounts below if you want to stay there), etc is completely up to you. There will be shindigs in the evenings involving fire for us to sit around and tell lies about women, motorcycles, amazing drinking stories, etc.
OR event page: https://ohioriders.net/index.php?/calendar/event/774-ohio-riders-invades-deals-gap/
Facebook event, feel free to share with your non-OR friends who ride (the more the merrier): https://www.facebook.com/events/1164987136922088/
Wednesday (6/7/2017): Arrive. Check-in. Meet-n-greet at night.
Thursday (6/8/2017): More arrivals. Whatever you feel like during the day. Meet-n-greet at night.
Friday (6/9/2017): Whatever you feel like during the day.
Saturday (6/10/2017): Whatever you feel like during the day.
Sunday (6/11/2017): Most will be loading up and going home.
300 Woods Road
Fontana Dam, NC 28733
2 queen beds
3BDR Azalea Cabin:
3 bedroom (1 queen, 2 twins, 1 set of bunkbeds)
2BDR Hemlock Cabin:
2 bedroom (1 queen, 2 twins)
Map of the resort with cabin locations: http://www.fontanavillage.com/maps/village-map-low-res-110413.pdf
So this past Wednesday I left for deals gap and returned on Saturday. I had a buddy with me on an Ultra Classic Harley. We left Wednesday from Jefferson and grabbed 250 in Wheeling, WV ran that to 79 to 19 to 16 south of Beckley based on Tonik's suggestion. 16 was a great call thank you sir. This lead into the Back of Dragon and to our hotel in Marion, VA. Over 500 miles and around 12 hrs. Day 2 was the Snake, BRP, Diamondback, and 4 trips through the tail, back to the hotel in Robbinsville, NC. Around 450 miles and 11hrs. Day 3 I once again took Tonik's route for highlands, blood Mtn, 68, 60, and Cherohala. We had to run it backwards to avoid rain. The hateful one @Tonik again did not disappoint. Thanks for the awesome route. We also ran the tail twice because my buddy wanted me to video him so he could show his grandkids. Saturday morning we left at 7 am and headed for home. We ran the Tail one more time and ran into no issues with traffic not sure what you guys are saying about all these problems with Saturdays on the Dragon. We then just slabbed it home. 626 miles in just over 9.5 hrs. Got sprinkled on just once with some damp roads on the whole trip. Awesome trip overall.
No good reasoning as to why the wife and I waited all these years to take in Deals Gap and it's surrounding routes, but now that we have, it's abundantly clear why it's such a well loved area. The riding there is second to none that I've ever experienced, aside only to track time. Not to mention the awe inspiring views.
I spent the first half of last week tuning up the truck, the bike, and overhauling my trailer so the wife and I could trust in it all for this trip. Met up with Granda080 and Oldschoolsdime92 at an eagerly early 345am Thursday morning. We reached the Dragon right about noon to sunny skies and perfect weather conditions, so I got to enjoy driving it first on our way to check into our cabin at Ironhorse Motorcycle Resort in Robbinsville ( for anyone curious, it's a great place to stay, well ran, good people, and plentiful amenities ). Once we got unpacked, unloaded the bikes, and suited up, we went right for Rt129. Took a parade lap the first pass in heavier than expected traffic, but a couple hours later we got a fairly clean run at it and really dug in at a much better pace.
I like the Dragon, it's tight and technical turns bring exhilaratingly quick transitions, one after another, in an almost neverending succession. But, I honestly enjoyed a lot of the other routes we'd ridden the following day a bit more. Rt28 is a lot of fun, and better suited for the long gearing of my ZX14. Cherohala is a big favorite too. Even Foothills Pkway was enjoyable as a nice, easy ride of long sweeping turns and sweet overlooks.
Friday, we rode an awesome twisty route from NC, to TN, down to northern Georgia, and back. I believe we have Pauly to thank for the coordinates? Blood Mtn was a blast. The beautiful elevation changes where most every corner is so sweetly banked, easily enabling extraordinary entry speeds that eventually shear away at your front tire until it's down to nothing, making you stop at the nearest dealer who gladly helped get me in and out at just over an hour. So, I nod my head with huge props to Union Powersports in Blairsville, GA and their excellent service of a last minute customer.
The ultimate culprit was a less than credible tire gauge that had lied it's ass off prior to us leaving the house. Their mechanic showed me the true pressure was at about 22psi, semi-hot. So ambient pressure that morning was likely sub 20psi, but the janky gauge had read around 32-34ish. Needless to say, that turd of a tool went into the garbage to be replaced with an accurate instrument.
Sadly, less than 5 minutes after we left the dealer is when the worst part happened. Torrential downpour. For the entire trip back to Ironhorse. I'd wager it was similar to what Noah experienced when the Earth flooded. Water was filling our boots, soaking our buttcracks, and running behind our helmet's visors, rendering us all virtually blind but for what was barely within our headlamp's range. We aren't fair weather riders, we've been caught in the rain before, no big deal. But this storm seemed to follow our every move with a non-stop dumping of buckets, thunder, and lightning. But why stop? Once you're soaked and out in the middle of who-the-fuck-knows, embrace the hate and mush on. Took us over 3 hours to journey back from just outside Blairsville to Ironhorse. We got to see Bridal Veil Falls for all of 3 seconds as we rode past it, Oldschool pointed up, we all looked, wife and I chuckled to one another over our Sena coms that the rain was coming down harder than the falls were, and kept riding. I'm just happy I didn't have to limp it through that storm on a bald front tire in the twisty hills, or I may not be here today to tell this little tale of conquering adversity. Albeit somewhat mild adversity, 'twas still a dangerous mission.
Saturday morning we all decided not to ride since the forecast showed rain all day, our gear was still soaked, and our pruned hands and feet had just dried out. So after breakfast we headed into Maggie Valley's famed Wheels Through Time Museum. Awesome place to visit for those that haven't been. There's a ton of history on display in that building, and quite a bit of it still runs. The owner fired up a few pieces to boast his handy work, pretty impressive to see something over a century old start right up and run. Nabbed some lunch before heading back to the cabin. Wife and I went to the Gap store for some keepsakes and took a spin for a bit to take in some more scenery before we packed up to ready our jettison the following morning.
Got back to the homestead about 5pm today. Glad to say none of us went down, and we all had the best time. Looking forward to the next trip down there. Pics to follow
I'm contemplating my last big ride of the year for sometime in October, and was hoping to get some input on the current conditions of 536. The past 2 years, I have heard a lot of bad things about culvert patches leading into turns, massive tar strips, & gravel. This summer, I have read or inquired on 3 accounts of rides there, and was treated with good feedback saying the road was fine.
The only way I could justify the ride this time of year is if it were a mild weather dry day to where I wouldnt have to worry ad much about wet leaves & gravel washed into the road.
The other condition was that I'd have to slab it to at least 668->669->>>->>556->7 so that I could hit it with more uphills. (Or slab it further to get big muskie drive to 556). Also, northwest bound will avoid the fabled 15mph decreasing radius right hand turn southbound that had sent many riders into the field next to it, so I hear.
I rode 255, 26,78,565/260/537, 260 north of 26, 676, etc last year. Although there were some sections of 26,260,537&565,etc that had some fairly tight turns, I was really hoping for more tight 15-30mph turns & switchbacks than I found. 255 had some tighter ones imo,but was more medium speed sweepers than anything. Denny has recommended a few more roads that are tighter, but it seems as if 536 is more of what I was longing for, aside from some dangerous blind turns/rises/decreasing radius areas.
I was contemplating the coshocton area, but it doesnt seem as tight as my favorite backroads in the hocking/burr oak/etc areas, so the only other alternative was to do the long haul to 536/260/255/556 etc. 258 & a few roads around Cambridge seemed like a worthy destination, but the distance is a bit far for lack of many similar roads in the area.