We decided to run down to Charleston, SC, camp for a couple of days to try out our new Aspen Classic motorcycle camper. Left early Friday Nov. 17, and after a couple hours drive (we used the truck this time) we arrived.
Decided to run over to Angel Oak park on John’s Island, and try taking a few pictures of The Angel Oak, a huge live oak that is about 400 years old.
From there, we decided to take a look at Harris Island Lighthouse.The 161-foot lighthouse tower was completed in 1876 for $149, 993. A Fresnel lens powered by lard oil shone light out over the water to guide ships safely to shore. Although the sole function of the lighthouse was to provide safer navigation for ships and vessels, the lighthouse itself was frequently at risk.
During its run as a working lighthouse, it was partially destroyed by a cyclone in 1885. In 1886, an earthquake shook the lens of the main light out of position and cracked the tower. Though these incidents provided blows to the lighthouse, nothing threatened the structure as much as the rapidly encroaching water.
Spent the entire day in Charleston. Sights and sounds, beautiful architecture, nice places to eat.
Downtown Historical District
Popular Carriage Ride
We had to go on one. Up front was “Mr. Trump” an 18 hand huge Belgian draft horse hauling us all over Charleston. Very nice and peaceful ride.
ST. Phillip’s Church on Church Street
Historical District. Filled flower boxes, even in late November.
Some people are selling their art right on the street corner. This lady was making some beautiful baskets.
City Market. A lot of different stuff for sale. The market stretches for several blocks on Market Street
Started up Thursday Oct. 10 at first light. Foggy and humid through SC Why 9 to Gaffney, and SC 11 along the foothills. SC11 is also called Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway.
Started to clear up around mid morning. By the time we started on US Rt. 178 (outstanding moto road by the way) towards Rosman, it was sunny and clear.
Ate lunch at Country Skillet in Rosman as usual. Typical good country food. Always packed with locals.
Continued up on the Parkway toward Waynesville and Moonshine Campground in Balsam, NC. Arrived around 2:00PM. This gathering is a yearly occasion where a bunch of riders from way back get together for some much needed social activities and tall tales around the camp fire, not to forget the countless roads that are just perfect for motorcycle riding. To go along with that is 70 degree day- and 50 degree night temperatures for camping. You just never get tired of it.
Headed out Friday morning, and dropped by Clyde’s in Waynesville for breakfast. Nothing like country cooking. They’ve got superb suppers too. Hopped back on the bikes, and headed up through NC209, a prime motorcycle road that stretches from Lake Junaluska to Hot Springs, NC. As usual, there were just a few corners with some gravel / sand in them close to Hot Springs. Have been up this road a few times before, and the gravel and sand is always present.
Had apple pie and ice cream at Smoky Mountain Diner in Hot Springs before continuing through Hot Springs and back down through Hwy 25. Turned off at Marshall, and managed to get lost, or thinking we were lost. However, we just continued, and ended up on NC 63, also a fabulous road we’d never been on before. Ended up back on NC209, and headed back to camp.
NC 209 country store
Saturday we stopped at Clyde’s again for breakfast. Well filled up, we hit NC276 towards the Parkway, passing Cruso Motorcycle Campground on the left on the way up. Very nice campground with lots of tent space and cabins. Worthwhile checking out.
Once on the Parkway we headed north toward Mt. Pisgam Camp. I wanted to show Lois this area, as it is one of my favorite camp spots along the Parkway. After a short break we headed back on 276 headed to Maggie Valley, where there was a Can-Am Spyder rally with vendors. Not much stuff for my GSA, but plenty of accessories for Lois’s 2015 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited.
Early morning on the Parkway.
Maggie Valley Spyder Rally
We finished up with a huge BBQ meal at Butts on the Creek BBQ. Highly recommend. My only complaint was that parking (especially for motorcycles) were somewhat crampy, with limited space.
We headed back to camp for the rest of the night. Started breaking camp Sunday morning and was on our way (to Clyde’s, again for breakfast) before hitting I40- I26 – NC74 – I85 – I485, then back on NC74 to get home.
Since we have been up in the Smoky Mountains several times, we know where the nicest motorcycle roads are located, and we have ridden most of them more than once. Still, we continue to explore new places we haven’t been trough up there, and immensely enjoy it every time.
We took off August 12.th 2017 headed up to the 40.th Daniel Boone BMW rally in Boone, NC. Overcast, muggy morning. Went north via US52 to Asheboro, NC, then US64 – Lenoir. Had a good brunch in Lenoir, and continued up US321 to Blowing Rock, then to Boone. Overcast most of the way, which was fine with us, as the temperature stayed at a decent level. When we arrived at about 1:00 PM, the temperature was 75 degrees. Pretty good, for mid August.
Setting up Camp in Boone. Felt good going from 90 degrees and muggy to 74 and dry in just a few hours.
Somewhere on Blue Ridge Parkway. Weather held up pretty good, but started to cloud over in the afternoon.
Stopped for lunch Saturday at Hillbilly Grill in West Jefferson. We came up US194 from Boone. Fantastic twisty road. After we got done eating we headed up further north on US 221 (also an excellent road to ride). Ended up in Independence, VA, where we cut across e few small country roads up to Blue Ridge Parkway.
We decided to head up to Grandfather Mountain, since we had tried a couple of times on earlier trips to get up, but got stopped at the gate due to wind in excess of 45 mph. I guess that’s the limit for motorcycles. This time we made it, but as we arrived at the top, we soon realized we wouldn’t be able to see much. Fog lay thick around Grandfather Mountain, and was not about to let up. Nevertheless, we still had a good time.
Lois on the 1-Mile Bridge.
It’s shedding time in the mountains. Looked like she had just woke up.
This River Otter had fun basking in the water right in front of us.
Had a very good time, despite the rain on Saturday. Hit 90 degrees and very humid riding down into South Carolina on the way back home. Oppressive.
Ohio Stoc Meet 2017 took place at Lake Hope State Park in Ohio this year, and I just had to go. Stoc meets are mainly for Honda ST1100 and 1300 owners. I used to ride an ST1300, and know a lot of these guys from back in the days. Even though I currently ride a BMW R1200 GSA, I am still welcome to attent these great meets.
The ride was about 460 miles each way. Loaded the bike up on Wednesday June 7, took off the morning of June 8, and arrived around 1:30 PM. Unloaded the bike, and took a look at the cabin I was staying in with 3 others. Nice! AC, kitchen, , living room, 2 bedrooms and screened-in porch.
Filing in on Thursday afternoon
Chili simmering and almost ready to eat
You know, there's always room for more
Headed out to Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park, and started early in the morning to beat the heat.
Interesting, peaceful place..
Rode back home Sunday. Started at daybreak, again to beat the heat. By the time I came down the mountains down to North Carolina, it was already 85 degrees.
Never been riding in Ohio before. Very nice roads. Lots of rolling hills and farmland. Deer were out in force during the morning hours. Staying on your toes always pays off.
We had been thinking about riding up to New England (Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine to be specific) for a while, and we finally rode up there in September 2016, spending about 2 1/2 weeks up there. We had been through Maine before, but just slabbed through on I95 coming home from Nova Scotia.
We planned a short jaunt up through part of the Adirondacks before we turned east into Vermont.
Breakfast at The Silo in Queensbury, NY before continuing to the Adirondacks.
The Silo – Queensbury NY
Adirondacks – Lake George
Into New England. There were many covered bridges in Vermont. Some you could ride through, others were closed.
Vermont’s covered bridges
We just had to stop at this Mom and Pa chocolate store just north of Salisbury, VT
And of course we had to drop by Jeffersonville, VT to look at the beautiful silos painted with murals. Truly awesome work.
After riding through Green Mountain, we continued north in Vermont to Newport, where we headed back south and prepared to enter New Hampshire.
Stopped at Lake Willoughby and enjoyed the view.
There is a reason they chain the houses to the ground at Mt. Washington. Wind. Very high wind.
Mount Washington Observatory is a nonprofit research and educational institution working to advance understanding of Earth’s weather and climate.
Screw Auger Falls, ME
After getting lost in the Maine wilderness, we managed to find Andover, where we had a good supper at this nice country store. A little later we decided to tuck in
for the night.
Continuing the next morning up through North Maine. North of Screw Auger Falls, ME
Headed to Rangeley Lake in Northern Maine
Acadia national Park – Egg Rock Lighthouse outside Acadia
Acadia National Park, ME
Bass Harbor Headlight, Maine
Owls Head Lighthouse, Maine
Huge Fresnel Lens inside Owls head
Owls Head Lighthouse Lightkeepers residence
Owls Head Lighthouse
Lois admiring the view
Who knew they had beaches in Maine. Nice one too. Kids loving it.
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park on a dreary afternoon. We spent two whole days in Acadia, riding out on small excursions each day.
Bass Harbor, close to Acadia NP
Oh, the joy of camping. we probably camped 90 % of the nights on this trip, being very lucky with weather. This is somewhere on the lower coast of Maine. Noone around, and had a terrific time
A view from the tent door I most certainly can get used to, any day of the week.
On to Portland, Maine, where we spent some time on famous Commercial Street
Sights, sounds and good food
One of the piers off Commercial Street
This mural was painted on one of the warehouses on Commercial Street
Last lighthouse we dropped by. Nubble Lighthouse in York. Right before we rode through York, we rode through Kennebunkport. It was packed with tourists, so we made short time riding through, just to say we’d been there. Lots of nice architecture.
Next day it was time to hit the road to get home. We tried to time it so we got home after hurricane MAtthew had passed. However, we still hit rain in north Pennsylvania, off and on on the second day.
We ran a little out of time in Maine, as we had planned to ride all the way up north to the Canadian border in Maine, which would have taken at least a day and a half. Just had to let it go. 4700 miles total. Not bad at all. The bikes performed flawlessly. Where to next? Canada maybe. We have talked about riding Newfoundland, or…. “The Rock”, as it is called. We will see. We have already ridden Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and loved the Canadian maritimes.
So why are we doing our touring and exploring on our motorcycles, instead of packing up the truck?
“Present moment Living” – Our bodies and minds meld with the motorcycle, the controls an extension of our thoughts. When we ride well, there is little conscious thought involved, it’s just being and doing. The bike becomes an extension of your body. People who don’t ride will never understand this.
Motorcycle touring will enrich your life in ways you could not fathom when you first threw a leg over one. It is much more physically and mentally challenging. You meet the nicest people. Connection to the world around you. You’re completely exposed to the elements. You can only bring a limited amount of equipment, and so you use top end quality gear that lasts and that you can rely on.
We are just scratching the surface, exploring North America. Some rider spend years on their motorcycles riding around the world. I admire them greatly.