Tagged Cherohala Skyway

Road to the Smokies – Day 5

This is the story of my road trip from Pekin, IL to Gatlinburg, TN on my Honda CBR 600 RR motorcycle.

I woke up bright and early today and hit the road at 8:30. Today’s destination: Cherohala Skyway, which runs from Tellico Plains, TN all the way to Robbinsville, NC. I took the same route that I did yesterday, but instead of turning onto US129 south and heading toward The Dragon, I went north and rode up to US-411. After taking US-411 down to Vonore, I hopped on TN-360 and went straight south until I ran into the Skyway, which is TN-165/NC-143.

The Bald River from inside Cherokee National Forest.

The Cherohala Skyway is a lot more tame than The Dragon, but can be just as much fun. It runs through the Cherokee National Forest which is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. It was quite deserted today, and I’m not sure if that’s normal, but it made for some quiet, relaxing pit-stops along the way. I had to use the restroom and didn’t feel like being caught by the THP while peeing on a tree, so I took a detour into the Indian Boundary campgrounds and found a bathroom at one of the campground circles. I’m glad I had to pee, too, because that campground was awesome. When I stopped and turned my bike off, it was dead silent except for a distant breeze running through the trees. I had to stop and breathe it in, because I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard silence like that. It was nice. Anyway, enough about the pee-detour.

Me and my ride.

I got back on the Skyway and headed east, stopping occasionally to snap some pictures. A nice group of Harley riders parked at an overlook saw me taking a picture of my bike and offered to snap a shot of me standing with it. It didn’t turn out to be the best picture but it’s the only one I have thus far of the both of us, so it’ll have to do. Once I left that overlook I only stopped one more time before finishing the Skyway. I think I averaged 70MPH from the halfway point onward; some of those corners are just too good to roll through at 35, especially when it’s as abandoned as it was today.

A stream inside Great Smoky Mountains National park. I snapped this on my way back to the motel.

After stopping to rest once outside of Robbinsville, I headed up to the Deal’s Gap resort again just before The Dragon. I totally spaced yesterday and forgot to buy any souvenirs. That, and I just can’t leave The Dragon alone, it’s too much fun! Just after I had parked my bike, this gorgeous woman in white leathers was jumping onto her Ducati (I’m pretty sure it was a Monster). I couldn’t help but gawk a little bit as #1) it was a cute girl on a bike, #2) it was a hella nice looking Ducati. I overheard her talking and picked up a French accent, which was icing on the cake. French women are sexy. French women on Ducati’s are just full of win. I wanted to snap a pic with her but she zoomed off before I had the chance to get off my bike; oh well.

After snagging a few souvenirs inside I suited up again and got ready to tackle The Dragon for the third time. Once I got rolling, I really got into it, and it was ten times more awesome than yesterday when I was still holding back a bit. I was able to lean the bike further than I ever have before and it still felt rock solid. I can’t wait to see some of the pictures from Killboy, US129Photos, and Zeefoto.

After finishing up that run on The Dragon, I headed for Foothills Parkway and took the usual route home. I rolled into the motel parking lot right at 5:00PM. It was a long but absolutely incredible day. I’m excited to see what’s in store for tomorrow!

Panorama of the view from an overlook on the Cherohala Skyway.
Panorama of the view from an overlook on the Cherohala Skyway.

You can see all of the photos from my trip in my Facebook album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2068810&id=197102025&l=9f9eff78bb