Smokey Mountain Road Trip

Deals Gap, Wayah Rd, Cherohala Skyway on the way to MotoAmerica Races in Birmingham AL.

This trip transformed a couple of times during its inception. It all started when Jeff & Becky mentioned that we should join them in Birmingham for the MotoAmerica races at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park.

Jamie and I thought this was a great idea so we booked the race tickets and the room in Alabama. I then started to plan a week long journey as I had 6 days of vacation coming. I could pair this with the weekends and I would get 10 days of riding in. Let’s Ride

Well as we all know, sometimes life happens. The following week after making these plans, Jamie was contacted and offered a full time teaching position. She really wanted to go on the trip, but this offer was too good to pass up. Now I had to move onto plan B. I knew I was going to do the trip, but I did have an extra race ticket. I started to think of my riding friends that would have the time to join me. Instantly my retired friend Bob, popped into my head. I told him I would give him the race tickets if he wanted to join me. He was in and the trip was set. I would meet him around Tuesday somewhere in Tennessee as he had a prior engagement for the weekend. Later I found out that my friend David had changed his trip plans and was now available. I contacted him and he said he was in! Awesome… we now had three. I tried to recruit one more friend Rob, but he passed. So it was the three of us hitting the road. It is a small world as David and Bob did not know each other before the trip, however they live within 3 miles of each other, so hopefully this will lead to a nice riding relationship. Funny how things work out!

I arranged all of the rooms and where we would meet up on this journey. We were ready to go.

I rolled out of the garage at 6:30am on Saturday September 14th. My goal was to get to Columbia TN for the evening. That was a good 560 mile day. This would allow for an easy ride into the Deals Gap area on Sunday as it was only 230 miles from Columbia. I took back road highways for the most part as I did not want to ride the Interstate but I also knew I needed to make some time. It was a pretty uneventful ride. It got hot in the afternoon as the bike recorded 94 a couple of times. Not unbearable but warm none the less.

The next day was Sunday and the trip really started on this day. I got up and hit the road. My final destination was Robbinsville NC, located at the base of the famous Deals Gap. The weather was perfect and the ride to the hotel included my favorite road. The Cherohala Skyway is an amazing stretch of road with endless curves and amazing scenery. It is a great way to start any day.

I stayed at the Quality Inn in Robbinsville and it was perfect! Great price, lots of motorcycle parking and a great starting destination for the next couple of days of riding this great area. I checked in and headed up to the Dragon. I was not going to ride it today as the weekends are kinda crazy up there. I just wanted to grab lunch and take in the atmosphere. I was so glad I did. I got to chat with a group from Germany that were touring the U.S. on Harley’s and they were so fun to listen too, as they told stories about the great riding they had experienced so far on their journey. I think sometime we take it for granted on how good the riding is here in the great USA.

I hung out for a couple of hours and then headed back the 18 twisty miles to my hotel. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday. I was smiling from ear to ear as the trip was just starting. Life is good!

I awoke to a very foggy cool morning with temps in the low 60’s. I was getting up early to head out and take some early morning photos but the fog had other plans. I took my time getting around and hit the ride around 8am. I took my time and headed to the Deals Gap Resort to have breakfast and to ride the dragon for the first time on this trip.

There was no one up there and that was fine with me. I rode the dragon a couple of times. It is so much fun, when you do not have to worry about traffic, law enforcement or weather. I then headed down to Wayah Rd. It was more fun than the dragon and it was beautiful. I rode into Franklin to meet up with MSTA member Tommy who lives a few miles down the road. It was great catching up with him. We rode for a couple of hours and then parted ways. its always fun meeting up with other like minded motorcycle enthusiasts. – Takes great pictures
Thanks for joining me Tommy – It was a fun day!

I headed back to the hotel after Tommy and I said our goodbyes. I was sitting there and decided that I would ride up to the resort for an early dinner and to take some pictures.

That was a great plan. I also planned my route for the next morning. I would be riding to Cleveland TN to meet up with David and Bob. They were riding up from Dallas. This would be their first fun day of the tour. We would hit Ocoee hwy 74 and then Cherohala. It would be another great day of riding.

I took my time and did some sight seeing on the way to Cleveland. This area is so good for the rider who loves to do some sport touring. It has its great roads, along with some awesome sight seeing. I can’t say it enough I love this area for riding.

We had a great dinner that evening and just spent some time catching up. I had not ridden with Bob since the Colorado trip, so it was cool catching up. David had been up to the house a few weeks back, but its always good hanging out with him. David rode so hard he blew out his shoe. haha!

We woke up and rode a few miles to the Ocoee River Cafe. It was a good breakfast, but we were really glad we stopped as the owner showed us his pirate exhibit. It was pretty cool and listening to him, talk about it was even better. This dude was into it for sure!

We rode the Cherohala and headed up to the resort for a snack and some more motorcycle fellowship. It was a fantastic day of riding with good friends. This was a chill day of riding.

Love the Motoadrenalinetour sticker

We had a great time riding the skyway and doing some exploring. We stopped by Bald River Falls and took a break. We took our time and just enjoyed the roads for the rest of the day.

Thursday rolled around and it was time to start heading south to Birmingham. We were not in a big hurry and had lots more exploring and riding to do. We jumped up to the resort to have our last breakfast at the resort. I would be remiss if I did not tell the story of Alex and his friend. (Sorry, I did not catch his name.)

We first saw Alex and his riding friend the prior day on the Skyway. We all joked as we watched two old school bikes, just getting it! They were haulin ass and leaning those older machines like they were GP bikes. It was very impressive.

After breakfast we were walking around the resort and believe it or not there were the bikes that we saw from the previous day. It was a 650 nighthawk and a 650 Silverwing.. yes I said they were old school. They had vintage tags from Virginia. We noticed that the tires were being tested and the pegs and centerstand had been ground flat.

If Alex reads this, I am hoping he will send me the video, so I can post it!

Alex came out and we started a conversation. he then showed us a video of him and his friend from the night before on the Dragon, dragging half the bike off and shooting sparks everywhere. When I say sparks, that does not do the video justice. It looked like someone was welding! these kids were living life and enjoying the moment. Rode from Virginia on bikes that I might not ride down the road. I was a little envious as they were so down to earth, not caught up in the latest technology, they just wanted to ride! It was a highlight of the trip.

I then took the long way back to show the gang Fontana Dam. We took our time to check out the visitor center and to take some pictures.

Next up was Wayah road … yes again, it never gets old. We then headed down into Georgia to do Wolf Pen gap and take a quick break at Two Wheels only in Suches. We stayed the evening in Dahlonaga. We actually had a good sushi dinner in town, and it was in the same parking lot as the hotel. That’s always a plus after a long day of riding!

Today’s destination was Birmingham and the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park. We left early as we wanted to get into Birmingham in time to visit the museum. If you have not gotten to visit this motorcycle mecca, it has to be added to your bucket list. There is so much to see. We bought the weekend pass so we could take our time and see the entire exhibit without being rushed. We also went and picked up our race wristbands so we could get into the event when we wanted. I love this place. It is a well manicured, almost golf course like. It is immaculate and its a racetrack.. SCORE! You can see all of the pictures from the Museum here.

Race Weekend is here! Qualifying Saturday.

I had never attended a MotoAmerica race event and I have to admit I did not know what to expect. the crowds were not as large as I anticipated, however my only form of measurement was used comparing MOTO GP in Austin and this event. I should have known that this event would be smaller. See all of the race pictures here.

We spent the entire day Saturday just exploring the grounds and hanging out in the paddock. The weather was warm, but not over bearing. I think we walked every part of the grounds. As I said before this place is beautiful.

Let’s Race!

We started off by having breakfast at Big Bad Breakfast (Thanks Becky) Then we headed to the track for a day of road racing. It was an awesome day and the racing was very competitive.

I want to take a moment to thank Jeff & Becky for turning us on to this event. We met them at the MSTA – Ozark Escape Weekend that Jamie and I host. We hit it off and truly enjoy their company. they are both so full of life, funny and just darn nice folks!

It was great catching back up with them and we look forward to more adventures together. They brought their little Z125’s to the event and damn they are fun. I got to take it for a spin and now I want one. Thanks again to both of them and we can’t wait to ride with you all soon. Most of the pictures below were taken by them. Thanks for allowing me to use them in this ride report.

Heading Home

Well the day has come to head back home. It has been a great week. I put over 2800 miles on the Versys with no issues. Bob and David headed home via I-20 to Dallas. They stayed in Bossier City on Monday evening and took an easy stroll to big D on Tuesday morning. I on the other hand had to get back home so 630 miles later I rolled into the garage. I hit about an hour and a half of rain on the way home, but nothing more. I can’t complain as the weather was beautiful.

I will post the videos as soon as I can get some time to edit videos. So stay tuned. If you want to view more of the pictures from this trip. Just click on this gallery.

I would like to thank David and Bob for joining me on this trip. It is always great spending time with good friends on the road. Thanks guys.

lastly I want to thank my wonderful wife Jamie for being supportive about this trip. She understands that these trips are important to me and I love her so much for that. I love riding with my awesome pillion and we will have many journeys to come. Thanks Jamie for being so damn awesome!

Till next time! ride safe everyone!

Versys Trip Prep

The bike is cleaned up, the oil changed and I am ready to roll. This will be a 10 day adventure, that will take me into TN, NC and all of those magnificent roads they have to offer. I will be doing the Dragon, Cherohalla Skyway, Wayah Rd, Wolfpen gap and many many more.

We will end up in Birmingham AL, for the MotoAmerica races so stay tuned for more videos and pictures.

Colorado Dreamin’ Tour 2019 – The Recap!

8 friends exploring Colorado on two wheels! Fun times and great memories were made. Check it out!

We have been home for almost two weeks now from our trip and I am still thinking about it everyday. We logged over 1700 miles on two wheels, taking in great views, smelling clean mountain air and enjoying the company of friends. We will have many stories to tell and will never forget this adventure. It was an epic journey and one we will not forget.

I have linked all of the blog posts so that you can read about our journey in the chronological order. I will also be doing a video report as well on youtube. This will take a few weeks as we have many hours of video to edit. So stay tuned. Until then we hope you enjoy the blog version of the ride report. Shoot us a note if you have any questions or comments. Thank you.

Day 1 & 2, Colorado Dreamin’ the trip has started.
Day 3: New Mexico Here we come!
Day 4: On the way to Gunnison.
Day 5: Canyon Carving – Black Canyon of Gunnison.
Day 6: Gateway Getaway – On the way to Ouray.
Day 7: Free day to explore and relax.
Day 8: Million Dollar Highway – Can you say Mountain Pass?
Day 9: Back in the Land of Enchantment.
Day 10: The end is near! last day of riding.

See ALL of the pictures here

The End is Here! What a Journey!

Colorado Dreamin – Red River and then back to Raton to load up and hit the road home.

I think it hit us while we were loading up the bike this morning to head back to Raton. the trip was ending and we were not ready to give it up. We decided to head over to red river for Breakfast, to get our last minute mountain fix. It was the right choice. As we made our way up the hill, we could not help but talk about the trip. It had been awesome, one that we will remember for years to come.

Jamie and I joke that in the last days of our lives, when we are sitting on the porch, reminiscing about our younger days, no one will be able to say that we did not have fun, did not have great adventures and did not have amazing friends! I truly love my life!

We got into Raton around 11am so we had plenty of time to load up and then get some miles in so that Sunday would not be a long day. Jamie and I loaded up the Versys and then went over to get Bill & Linda’s bike loaded in the back of the truck. This was easier than anticipated as bill found an abandon loading dock and we were able to back the truck in and just ride onto the truck – easy as pie.

People always give me a hard time about loading and using the trailer to certain destinations. I used to be of the mind set that you ride all of the time. This sounds great and if I were retired and time was not a limiting factor I might not trailer… Who am I kidding,
I will never ride across the boring, HOT plains again on a motorcycle if I can avoid it. I have rode many many times across the great state of Texas. I never have to do it again. This trip was across Oklahoma and I have to say I did not miss anything by taking the jeep and the trailer. Here is my advice for those that will jump on the trailer trashing bandwagon..

Just do you! whatever works best for you, may not work for all of us! lets just enjoy this great hobby and do it the way we want to!

The entire loading process for all of the group was less than 3 hours. Not bad at all.

We all did the caravan thing until we got to Claytin NM. We had lunch at the Eklund Hotel. Kris & Linda had eaten here in the past and it was a great find. The bar was amazing and the history emanated from the hallways. It was a very cool place.

It was hard saying goodbye to Kris, Linda and Lisa but we will ride again soon. It was amazing having them on the trip. The rest of us made it to Enid Oklahoma for the evening.

We woke up to a driving rain storm (another great thing about utilizing our trailer) and drove for 3 hours in sub par weather. We broke free of the rain just outside of Tulsa. Jamie and I made it home and unloaded the bike without issue by 3pm. We got to enjoy some down time before heading back to our regular lives. It was a fantastic trip.

Until next time everyone! Ride safe!

Back to the Recap page

Back In New Mexico

Colorado Dreamin – Back to the land of Enchantment, Taos and more!

We got up to a beautiful morning in Pagosa Springs. The air was cool and the sky was clear and blue. It has all of the makings of a fantastic day! We went down the street hoping they had water so we could have some morning coffee.

We went to the Colorado cafe and the coffee was amazing! Our friends have laughed at us this entire trip as jamie and I have been taking advantage of the local fare as much as possible. You can never eat too much green or red can you??

As we walked into the cafe we noticed a balloon getting ready to explore the day. Not a bad view to start the day.

We took off and headed down into New Mexico. Our first stop would be the little town of Chama NM. Their claim to fame is the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. On our way we ran across a real life cattle drive. We just pulled over and let them go by. It was very cool.

We got there in time to see the train load up and take off. We enjoyed a easy morning walking around the town, enjoying the backdrop and playing tourist.

After Chama we jumped on NM 64 and headed over to Tres Piedras. This has always been one of my favorite rides in NM. The road was not in the best shape, but the beauty and smells more than made up for that. Still one of my favorites.

Our next stop was the Rio Grande Gorge bridge. We have done this a number of times, but it is always a nice stop. The weather could not have been better. it was beautiful and not too warm.

We have always passed by the earthships as we ride by, so we decided it would be a great time to stop and check things out. It is very fascinating! You can read and learn more about the Earthship Biotecture Project here.

We finished the day by running into Taos and playing tourist the rest of the afternoon. We walked around the square, had a few adult beverages and just enjoyed being together.

I am truly blessed to have Jamie in my life. She enjoys our adventures and makes every trip so much fun. I love that girl!

We were starting to have post motorcycle trip depression. Yes it is a real thing. That feeling you have when you know you are headed back to reality. No more open road, no more enjoying time with good friends. There will be many more trips, but this trip was almost over and it always makes us sad. Until the next one that is..

back to the Recap page

Million Dollar Highway to Pagosa Springs! Can you say Mountain Pass?

Colorado Dreamin’ – Silverton, Durango and more.

The Million Dollar Highway stretches for about 25 miles (40 km) in western Colorado and follows the route of U.S. 550 between Silverton and Ouray, Colorado. It is part of the San Juan Skyway. Between Durangoand Silverton the Skyway loosely parallels the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The road climbs up to 3 very high mountain passes. Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft /3,240 m); Molas Pass (10,970 ft /3,340 m) and Red Mountain Pass (11,018 ft /3,358 m).
The road is fine as long as you don’t drive too fast for conditions. But if you do, the consequences are severe. (Taken from

We started the day off in heated gear as the temps hovered around 50, but we knew that we would be doing some serious elevation changes. Our first stop was Silverton Co. We enjoyed a great breakfast and then walked around town for a little while.

Breakfast was very good at the Brown Bear Cafe. I would have linked to them, but could not find a website for them. We did some shopping before hitting the road again.

I love these little places, where you can walk up and down the street, shop at local shops and just enjoy a nice little jaunt after a good meal. The temps were perfect. It was a beautiful day. Sure beats working.

Our next stop would be around Durango. The plan was not to stop in downtown as the traffic can be very bad. We did have some miscommunication on this leg of the trip. Some of the group stopped to take pictures, others went back to look for them and before we knew it, everyone was a little discombobulated. Things like this happen from time to time. Looking back on it there were some things we could have done to avoid some of this frustration. Part of that is the old adage

“Ride your own ride”

If you want to stop, then stop. If you don’t feel comfortable stopping then don’t. We all knew the final destination.

I also look at things this way. Anytime you have a group of friends together for this long of time, something is bound to happen. Its like family. You have words, then you get over it. I would not have changed a thing about traveling with this great group of friends. It will be a trip I remember for a long time. Now back to the cool scenery.

I have never ridden this pass when there was so much snow present. I have done this pass 10-15 times on a bike and today, it was the most beautiful I have ever seen it. The blue skies, the snow on the ground and just the over all magnificence of it all. I was so glad, we were here and we were able to experience this in all of its wonder.

We stopped in Durango and we were correct. the traffic was crazy and we did not spend any time there. Bob broke off to visit a friend in Farmington NM, while Jamie and I headed to Pagosa Springs. The rest of the gang went on to Mesa Verde State Park. Jamie and I have visited the park a number of times. I will try and get some pictures from the rest of the gang to add to the blog.

We enjoyed a little snack and then decided to run up Wolf Creek pass and see how much snow was up at the Continental Divide. What a nice little ride.

We stayed at the Alpine Inn in Pagosa Springs and lets just say our stay was very disappointing. We did not have water the entire stay and what made it worse was the management NEVER even came to check on anyone. They did however take the FULL payment for the room without question. I thought we might have heard from them, when we returned home, but have not heard a word. I would not recommend the Alpine Inn in Pagosa Springs for anyone’s stay.

We did have dinner at the Coyote Moon Bar & Grill and it was a great experience.

They were dealing with the lack of water, like the Alpine Inn, but they went above and beyond to take care of us, They even left the kitchen open later than usual to take care of our group.

I would eat here again and would recommend you stop by and give it a try if in the area.

Just another day on our adventure. Tomorrow we will be heading back into New Mexico. Until then stay tuned.

Back to recap page

Free day in Wonderful Colorado.

Colorado Dreamin; Tour – A day of riding, relaxation and good friends.

We decided that today was going to be a free day so that everyone could catch their breath and get a chance to enjoy the area. The guys decided to ride and the girls were going to stay in town and enjoy the local shopping experience. We all met at Breakfast on Main to start our morning. The food was decent and we were ready to tackle the day.

Telluride was the destination for the ride, however road construction and traffic altered our plans. Believe me no one was upset. Today was the most spirited of riding pace for the trip. It was a great morning. We enjoyed the roads and thanks to Kris, we took our turn on his green beast. That Kawasaki H2 SE is a sweet machine that is faster than hell. Keep an eye out for the video of me riding the Beast! We enjoyed the riding and made it back by 3PM to spend some time with the girls and relax some.

Blondies Drive In & Cafe

We had a great afternoon, walking around the shops and enjoying the fresh cool mountain air. We actually got to knock out some laundry as well. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

We finished the day by eating dinner at Maggies Cafe with a night cap at the Ouray Brewery.

I think we were all tired and we all took advantage of the free day. I have to say that I could spend a week just chillin in Ouray. Tomorrow would be another day of great riding and memory making.

Back to Recap Page