Part IV: Sittin' On Top of the World

August 18, 2003: Out and About in NC

This was my day to relax a little and take my time, or so I thought. I headed out US-64 from Franklin past Highlands, NC to NC-215 north to the Blue Ride Parkway back towards Cherokee, NC, then I took NC-441 south back to home base in Franklin, NC.

Well, Shawn, Lone_RT_Rider had described US-64 as a forty mile long Deals Gap. He had taken it to our rendezvous point on Sunday in Franklin. In the difficulty of its corners I didn't find it was quite The Dragon, but in its relentless mile after mile of twisties that were a bit more suited to the RT it was a more enjoyable road. The only draw backs were the traffic, which by and large pulled off to let me through, and the occasional town that had to be droned through.

NC-215 what a find! I love this road. A great mixture of tight twisties intermixed with nice 20-25 mph uphill "S" curves, spiced with a switch back here and there. It's fantastic. It's also very very lightly trafficked. This road is a gem. If you're in Western NC don't miss this road between US-64 and the Blue Ride Parkway.

I say I thought this was my day to relax because 215 was marked as a scenic route and I figured it would be more of an open sweeper type road. Well, it wasn't but that's A-OK with me.

Sittin' on Top of the World

If you haven't ridden The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), at least ride the portion between NC-215 and the end at US-441. On this section of the parkway is found its highest point, at over 6,000 feet in elevation. The views even on a misty somewhat over cast day were amazing. At one point the road is literally on the ridge with complete views to both sides of the mountains. You really feel like you're sitting on top of the world, and all it took was a left from NC-215 north onto the parkway.

Riding the ridge line is an amazing experience. There are guard rails, but they are really just decorative and to let people know where to look for the body in a lot of places. It just baffles me that this road was ever built. When you're up on it you are very isolated. There are I think two gas stations in the 400 miles of the parkway. The isolation is interesting. You're isolated from "civilization" but look a little deeper and you connect with nature. You're immersed in it. Creation is laid out for you to see so clearly in all its splendor and majesty.

US-441 between Cherokee and Franklin is most uneventful. Nothing really to write about. With the amount of thinking I've been doing in the hours off the bike my mind started to wander a bit, not good. It was time to call it a day and hunker down for the move to Suches, GA and Two Wheels Only (T.W.O.) tomorrow.