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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
... would be the start of a pretty good joke, but two weeks ago I got backfrom a 6-day, 1,200 mile motocamping trip with my two brothers, entirely on back roads through Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia.

We were each loaded with tools, spare tubes, duct tape and zip ties, one spare change of clothing, an ENO hammock and rainfly, a sleeping bag and pad, a Helinox Chair One camping chair, and waterproof riding gear.

I got off work on Friday morning, and rode up from Nashville to Bowling Green, Kentucky to meet my youngest brother Jon on his Suzuki DR650. From there, we headed east to the Pine Knot campgrounds in Big South Fork, south of the Daniel Boone National Forest.



Jon and I set up camp, strung up our hammocks, and rode back down a 2.5 mile gravel "road" to a small general store back on the road to get some food, firewood, ice, and beer. I had to strap the firewood into a bundle on the back of my Bonnie, and he loaded his top box with the ice and beer.



The next morning, we headed southeast through the mountains toward Asheville, NC to collect the middle brother, Ben, and met him just in time for our scheduled tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery.

That second night was the only night at which we didn't have a pre-reserved campsite, as we'd learned that most don't accept reservations. Due to the law set forth by one Mr. Murphy, all campsites in the area were full. After some seriously smooth talking on Jon's part, one gracious campsite host told us to ride down a gravel road a ways, and he'd forgot he saw us. The resulting area wasn't exactly conducive to what I'd call a comfortable place to hang up your boots, but we found a place to hide the bikes off the road, and did what we could with our hammocks.



At least we slept comfortably, although we learned not to share a thin "tree" when hanging hammocks. When one person moves, anyone else attached to the tree feels it.

On the dawn of the third day, we quickly loaded up the iron horses, dropped by the local watering hole (aka, IHOP) for some breakfast, and put rubber on the road, heading south through what can only be described as the most beautiful road I've seen in America - the Blue Ridge Parkway. 68 miles of sweeping corners, turns, and tunnels along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains heading southwest.



Someday I want to ride the entire length of it, but our destination was somewhat shorter than that - the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. If you're planning to ride the Tail of the Dragon, consider this place. When you check in, they offer a menu of dinner and breakfast. THEY MAKE YOU DINNER AND BREAKFAST. Also, they have the finest shower facility I've seen away from home, and have a big communal campfire at night to bring riders together. If you don't want to hang a hammock or pitch a tent, they have hookups for campers, and even several cabins. So, to say that our campsite on the 3rd night was better than the previous one... yeah, by a long shot.



After eating a bunch of incredible bacon cheeseburgers and homemade BBQ chips for dinner, a few hours around the campfire talking to some fellow riders, and an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and coffee the following morning, we left for US 129 - The Tail of the Dragon. We'd mutually decided that it was better to wait until Monday morning, when it should be free of the weekend nonsense, and we were very glad we did. 11 miles of insanity. Supposedly 318 corners in that 11 miles. I'll tell you one thing - there's hardly any time to breathe, much less think in that 11 miles. The turns come at you fast and furious. There are also several places along the route with professional photographers under big popup tents that sell your photos online for about $7. I found one when I got back that I was happy with, and purchased it.



I also ordered a 24x36 print and a frame, and it's now hanging in my office. I had a good deal of fun on the Dragon, but I honestly enjoyed the Blue Ridge Parkway a lot more as we had time to enjoy the scenery with the long, sweeping curves with vistas out over what looked like a hundred miles of forested mountain below us. I could see why the sport bikes and car clubs like the Dragon, but the danger of losing your intense focus for one second and borking your bike off into the woods was extremely high.

We headed southwest toward Georgia, and sometime that afternoon arrived at Cloudland Canyon, on top of Lookout Mountain south of Chattanooga, TN.





The next morning, Ben headed back northeast toward home in North Carolina, and Jon and I split northwest toward the Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. Unfortunately, we never made it there due to hail storms and a tornado up there, and spent the night camped in his buddy's backyard in Murphreesboro, TN south of Nashville. True to form, we had a nice big fire, drank a bunch of bourbon, and slept (dry) under the stars. Even though I was 20 minutes from home, the next morning I accompanied him up to Scottsville, KY where we ate breakfast, reminisced about the trip, and then we parted ways.

When I got home, the trip odometer parked at 1,206.0 miles and I had a whole new sense of appreciation and love for my Bonneville.

 

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Looks like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing the pictures and the story! I love the Blue Ridge Parkway. I'm headed that direction this week, but in the minivan :-(

My wife and I did a big smokey mountain trip on my BMW K1200S back before kids. I hope to get back out there on my Bonneville! I'm only ~4 hours away from the Smokeys, so I really don't have an excuse.

My brother and Dad ride, so I look forward to setting up a similar family trip one of these days :)

Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My brothers and I had been planning this trip with our dad since we were little kids. Our mom never allowed us to have motorcycles, dirt bikes, 4-wheelers, etc. while we lived with them growing up, so of course the first thing we each did when we moved out was buy a motorcycle. And when my youngest brother moved out, my dad bought a bike himself. In the following years, life got in the way for each of us, and we just weren't in a position to be able to take the trip - I was stationed out west in California, Jon had four daughters, and Ben had remarried. Unfortunately, Dad passed away a couple of years ago before the trip could become a reality. He left his prized possession, his 2002 Kawaski Vulcan 800 Classic to Ben, who he used to ride with a lot.

We took this trip in his memory, and at least his bike got to come with us. Also, he would have hated the Dragon, lol.
 

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I just got back from a 7 day cruise with all of the comforts of home. But, you win by a long shot! Thanks for sharing, even though I'm jealous.
 

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Sam, great ride report.
I'm the youngest brother in this group and I had been the previous owner of sam's bonneville, although I rode it bone stock. Sold it to him to buy the DR650, which I loved, but I missed the triumph to the point that when we got home from this trip I started looking for a scrambler, found one recently and bought it. Feels so good to be back in the triumph family.

As of yesterday our other brother Ben picked up a used speedmaster and has joined the triumph world also.

Next trip will be 3 triumphs walk into a bar... Not quite the same punchline capabilities but it'll be awesome.
 

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Congrats on the new bikes! Quite a testament to Triumph that the road trip drove both of the other riders to go pick one up!

Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sam, great ride report.
I'm the youngest brother in this group and I had been the previous owner of sam's bonneville, although I rode it bone stock. Sold it to him to buy the DR650, which I loved, but I missed the triumph to the point that when we got home from this trip I started looking for a scrambler, found one recently and bought it. Feels so good to be back in the triumph family.

As of yesterday our other brother Ben picked up a used speedmaster and has joined the triumph world also.

Next trip will be 3 triumphs walk into a bar... Not quite the same punchline capabilities but it'll be awesome.
Haha, yeesssssss, welcome back to the Triumph family, Jon! Maybe we'll see Ben here with his Speedmaster soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Planning has started for another May road trip with Jon and Ben. Jon still has his '14 Scrambler, but Ben ended up selling his '04 Speedmaster last year - sad we won't all be on Triumphs, but two out of 3 ain't bad.

Back into the Great Smoky Mountains! Hoping to see more of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and this time check out the Cherohala Skyway too.
 

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My first Date with my husband was going cross country on my bike. I had a 69 Trophy ( no I did not take that) but ended up buying my 96 Magna. 17 Years of marriage, 5 cross country trips, and many roads still to ride. I wonder.... Why , why , WHY??? Would anyone want to go to Europe?
Safe Travels!! Great pictures!! Thank you for sharing
 

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... would be the start of a pretty good joke, but two weeks ago I got backfrom a 6-day, 1,200 mile motocamping trip with my two brothers, entirely on back roads through Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Georgia.

We were each loaded with tools, spare tubes, duct tape and zip ties, one spare change of clothing, an ENO hammock and rainfly, a sleeping bag and pad, a Helinox Chair One camping chair, and waterproof riding gear.

I got off work on Friday morning, and rode up from Nashville to Bowling Green, Kentucky to meet my youngest brother Jon on his Suzuki DR650. From there, we headed east to the Pine Knot campgrounds in Big South Fork, south of the Daniel Boone National Forest.



Jon and I set up camp, strung up our hammocks, and rode back down a 2.5 mile gravel "road" to a small general store back on the road to get some food, firewood, ice, and beer. I had to strap the firewood into a bundle on the back of my Bonnie, and he loaded his top box with the ice and beer.



The next morning, we headed southeast through the mountains toward Asheville, NC to collect the middle brother, Ben, and met him just in time for our scheduled tour of the Sierra Nevada Brewery.

That second night was the only night at which we didn't have a pre-reserved campsite, as we'd learned that most don't accept reservations. Due to the law set forth by one Mr. Murphy, all campsites in the area were full. After some seriously smooth talking on Jon's part, one gracious campsite host told us to ride down a gravel road a ways, and he'd forgot he saw us. The resulting area wasn't exactly conducive to what I'd call a comfortable place to hang up your boots, but we found a place to hide the bikes off the road, and did what we could with our hammocks.



At least we slept comfortably, although we learned not to share a thin "tree" when hanging hammocks. When one person moves, anyone else attached to the tree feels it.

On the dawn of the third day, we quickly loaded up the iron horses, dropped by the local watering hole (aka, IHOP) for some breakfast, and put rubber on the road, heading south through what can only be described as the most beautiful road I've seen in America - the Blue Ridge Parkway. 68 miles of sweeping corners, turns, and tunnels along the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains heading southwest.



Someday I want to ride the entire length of it, but our destination was somewhat shorter than that - the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. If you're planning to ride the Tail of the Dragon, consider this place. When you check in, they offer a menu of dinner and breakfast. THEY MAKE YOU DINNER AND BREAKFAST. Also, they have the finest shower facility I've seen away from home, and have a big communal campfire at night to bring riders together. If you don't want to hang a hammock or pitch a tent, they have hookups for campers, and even several cabins. So, to say that our campsite on the 3rd night was better than the previous one... yeah, by a long shot.



After eating a bunch of incredible bacon cheeseburgers and homemade BBQ chips for dinner, a few hours around the campfire talking to some fellow riders, and an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and coffee the following morning, we left for US 129 - The Tail of the Dragon. We'd mutually decided that it was better to wait until Monday morning, when it should be free of the weekend nonsense, and we were very glad we did. 11 miles of insanity. Supposedly 318 corners in that 11 miles. I'll tell you one thing - there's hardly any time to breathe, much less think in that 11 miles. The turns come at you fast and furious. There are also several places along the route with professional photographers under big popup tents that sell your photos online for about $7. I found one when I got back that I was happy with, and purchased it.



I also ordered a 24x36 print and a frame, and it's now hanging in my office. I had a good deal of fun on the Dragon, but I honestly enjoyed the Blue Ridge Parkway a lot more as we had time to enjoy the scenery with the long, sweeping curves with vistas out over what looked like a hundred miles of forested mountain below us. I could see why the sport bikes and car clubs like the Dragon, but the danger of losing your intense focus for one second and borking your bike off into the woods was extremely high.

We headed southwest toward Georgia, and sometime that afternoon arrived at Cloudland Canyon, on top of Lookout Mountain south of Chattanooga, TN.





The next morning, Ben headed back northeast toward home in North Carolina, and Jon and I split northwest toward the Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky. Unfortunately, we never made it there due to hail storms and a tornado up there, and spent the night camped in his buddy's backyard in Murphreesboro, TN south of Nashville. True to form, we had a nice big fire, drank a bunch of bourbon, and slept (dry) under the stars. Even though I was 20 minutes from home, the next morning I accompanied him up to Scottsville, KY where we ate breakfast, reminisced about the trip, and then we parted ways.

When I got home, the trip odometer parked at 1,206.0 miles and I had a whole new sense of appreciation and love for my Bonneville.

Awesome, glad you had a great time...we're planning the trip to this area at the end of October, can't wait!!!
 

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Now that is my kinda trip!
I like how you rode what you had, and apparently each one worked well enough.
Thats what having a bike is all about, IMO, just DOING things with it, without a need to buy the latest marketed crap beforehand.
 

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Ten years ago, my two nephews and I did a very similar trip - stayed in Gatlinburg and rode for 5 days in/out of there. Rode the Dragon 3 times - forward and backwards - but you are right - the Blue Ridge Parkway is the BEST! I hope to ride it for several hundred miles this fall - during leaf color change - think I'll ask my nephews to go too.
 
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