Dragon Slaying in Virginia. #TilleyRentsHarleys

Every Fall is a rally cry for the beautiful colors the season and our Appalachian region has to offer; NC, SC, VA, TN. It is breathtaking for sure. And a whole lotta fun!

It’s been awhile since me, my Dad, and Brother have taken to two wheels to do a little bonding over greasy spoon diners, backroads and twisties.

tilley harley salisbury road glide rental

Harley Davidson 2016 Road Glide Special

I sold my metric 2000 Yamaha VStar 1100 Classic a few years back, so I reached out to Tilley Harley Davidson Salisbury. Their online rental inventory had some avails for our weekend trip. Much to my surprise, they had a 2016 Road Glide Special in stock and it was in my color ; ) BLACK.

Among motorcyclists and sport car enthusiasts, most references to the “Dragon” immediately mean the “Tail of the Dragon” 11-mile stretch of Deals Gap, North Carolina at the Tennessee border said to have 318 curves. Been there done about 4 times. It’s gotten so popular that it’s too crowded. You have to go on a weekday to enjoy.

An area that’s getting attention in the other direction in Southwest Virginia has been dubbed “The Back of the Dragon“. It boasts 32 miles of elevation changes, curves and spectacular views. From Marion, head north on Route 16.

CLICK HERE to see how our trip went: https://storify.com/nathanrichie/back-of-the-dragon-backroad-zen

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Some folks like to getaway… #backroads #motorcycles

April 2011 was the last time we’d taken off for “them thar hills”. We conquered The Dragon last time we went.

Great Roads of Western NC

This year Dad suggested we head up to the same area to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in Stecoah, NC with a bunch of folks from the BMW club (none of us have a BMW, but they tolerated us).

We rode up Thursday under beautiful Carolina skies. At night we sat around the campfire with the rest of the Iron Butt riders (from as far away as Seattle, Ohio, and Jacksonville), and swapped stories and lies.

Friday it rained all day. Even lost power for a few hours. Just as well since four guys in a cabin tend to keep each other awake snoring despite ear plugs. All but a few of us stayed in, ate, took naps, followed the pursuit of the Boston bombing suspects on CNN, told more lies, shot some pool, and discovered how good bourbon can taste out of a styrofoam cup.

Saturday, we took off to run the Cherohala Skyway . It was a very cold run for the first couple of hours until the sun bathed us. We hit the Hiwassee Dam so Dad could get his contest points, and then stumbled upon the Tellicafe in Tellico Plains, TN. for some lunch. I had the soup of the day: Green Tomato & Ham. Let’s just say it was… interesting.

Sunday we headed back to Charlotte by way of the sexy curvy 28 onto Highlands, and then through Chesnee and home.

Hate we lost Friday to rain, but we still logged some mileage and good times.

Total miles 835
Total hours moving: 17; 05
Moving average: 48.9
Max speed 80.8

I sold my 2000 VStar 1100 Classic last summer. Having recently lost his Father, my martial brother – Instructor Jay Jarrell from King Tiger Tae Kwon Do offered his ’99 Special Edition Harley Low Rider for the weekend excursion. How’s that for friendship? Can’t thank him enough for allowing me another great memory bonding with my Brother and Dad. Thanks Jay!

#BackRoads Musings: Easter Sunday

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Outstanding day enjoying the Easter Sunday weather. Nothing but sun, and some cloud streaks across the Carolina skies.

My “bad boy” biker attire must’ve been convincing this morning. Some elderly man and his wife in a minivan caught me at the red light just up the road from my neighborhood; “Take a right at the next light-we’ll see you in Church”.

Guess my appearance implied I was “lost”. I had a few replies in mind, but time didn’t permit. I just smiled and rode on. Bet I could open their minds a bit on the backroads soaking in some nature vs. a sermon.

Father, brother Dain and I did one of our “short” runs to Morrow Mtn. We were craving pavement so Dain took us the long way in through Hwy 742 to 52. Loved it. Did some “Biker Fellowship” and socializing on top of Morrow, then headed back. About 130 miles total.

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As an “Ad Man” myself, Church Marketing on kiosks along the backroads always make me chuckle on these rides. They try to keep up with Madison Avenue with catchy phrases and cute references.

Two I saw today:

“1 Cross, 2 Nails, 4 Given”

(I think those numbers are a lttle off but hey…)

And the other:

“You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down. Happy Easter”

So creative.

As my brother says…“I’d rather be on a bike thinking about the universe and discovering it than sitting in a pew thinking about riding my bike”.  Or something like that.

NR VIEW : Tamela Rich "Live Full Throttle"

Forecast: Sunshine with high’s near 60 “something”.

That’s all we needed to hear. A small group of us wrapped up 2011 in part this past Saturday, December 31st with a great day of backroads motorcycle riding in an attempt to suck the very last rays of sunshine from our unseasonable North Carolina weather. 225 round trip miles later, we succeeded.

Thanks to Social Media maven, friend, motorcyle adventurer, and author Tamela Rich for putting out the call for a posse. She set the itinerary for Carthage, NC  – the home of Pik-N-Pig BBQ.

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We weren’t the only ones thinking about seizing the day via backroads and motorcycles. When we got to the eating hole (which is seated on some farm land disguised as small craft airport), there were a line of parked bikes.

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Inside, the place was packed with people in biker leather, denim and bright yellow touring jackets.

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We had a total of 6 in our group which included my Dad Stephen Richie, my Brother Dain, Tamela and a couple new friends (to me anyway), Bill and Ken.

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Tamela’s new book “Live Full Throttle: Life Lessons from Friends Who Faced Cancer” dropped back in early December and she’s been out on a promotional tour ever since.

I sat down with her for a quick NR VIEW: 

Tradeoffs Road Trip Charity Ride #tamXC

Back in June I was part of a group of motorcyclists that took off from Charlotte to Beckley, West Virginia for the first leg of Tamela Rich’s dream to ride cross country and raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation

This weekend we met her in Asheville, with her odometer fast approaching 8,000 miles and co-captained her safe arrival home with tons of wonderful, touching stories about the places she visited and people she met along the way.

In all I managed to log about 1300 miles and touched 6 states (NC, WVA, VA, TN, KY, SC) on my own bike; a 2000 Yamaha VStar Classic. A small feat in comparison to hers, but I loved being a part of this event…lots of open roads, back roads, greasy diners, comraderie, new friendships, and mountain twisties. This is beautiful country. 

Congrats to Tamela for her accomplishment!

She deserves every bit of accolades for dreaming BIG, setting goals, doing the homework and hard work. I’m both jealous and inspired by her endeavor.

Please check out her blog and facebook page to see her pictures, videos and stories… make a donation if you feel moved to do so.