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Mark’s Iron Horse Weekend Ride Report
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Friday – Bright, sunny and warm all day. Route: Home to GA 400/369 (gas @ Wal-Mart, Cumming)/9/183/52/Boardtown Rd/5 (quick leg-stretch stop in McCaysville)/TN 68/US 64/TN 30 (newly and nicely repaved)/319/39/68/Cherohala Skyway (lunch @ Tellico Grains, Tellico Plains)/NC 143/US 129 (gas @ Shell, Robbinsville)/NC 143/28 to Iron Horse. 218 miles. 4¾ hours ride time. Great weather and light traffic allowed for nice, comfortable, pace. Surprise was not seeing any fall colors even at the highest elevations on the Cherohala Skyway. Met up with other club folks at the campground and discussed ride options for following day.

Saturday – Overnight dry and relatively warm. Day dry, but mostly overcast with occasional sunny patches. Cold, and on the verge of needing heated gear at higher elevations. Route: NC 28 (gas stop at Fontana Village)/US 129 (including 19-min Tail of the Dragon ascent)/Happy Valley (newly and nicely repaved), local roads to Maryville, US 321 (lunch at Smokin Joes and gas, Townsend)/Little River Gorge/Wear Cove Gap etc./Foothills Parkway/US 129 (including 22-min Tail of the Dragon descent, also gas and snack @ Shell/McDonalds, Robbinsville)/NC 143/28 to Iron Horse. 171 miles. 4½ hours ride time. Six of us started from Iron Horse and split into two groups of three at Fontana Village. Relatively light traffic on Tail of the Dragon, none on Happy Valley and local roads which allowed for a brisk pace. Lunch at Smokin Joes was deemed to be a better option that the former club favorite a little further on that’s recently changed hands. Traffic slow but moving along Little River Gorge. New section of Foothills Parkway a delight. Nicely surfaced wide carriageway with great sight lines. Lots of long sweeping curves. Some great views over to the Smokies but overcast and lack of fall colors diminished the splendor. Shared stories of day’s travels with club members that evening.

Sunday – Overnight dry and still relatively warm. Day mostly dry, starting with light overcast getting heavier in Georgia, and a light shower just two miles from home. Route: NC 28/143/US 129/NC 141/Old US 64/GA 66/US 74/Trackrock/GA 180/348/75-Alt/US 129/GA 115/284/US129 (gas at QuikTrip, Gainesville)/I 985/85 etc. home. 167 miles. 3¼ hours ride time. Often-travelled route home. Very light traffic throughout as PeachPass meant snarled sections of I85 approaching Atlanta were not issues. Damp roads for most of Georgia section of route moderated pace.

Weekend total 556 miles. 12½ hours ride time.

Great rides. Great company. Great weekend.  Thanks all.

1993 R100R
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