Biking trip to SE US 2020 - Any info welcome?? - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Biking trip to SE US 2020 - Any info welcome??

Hi everyone,

Hope you don't mind me joining your section of the forum. I'm K1600GTL rider from the UK and a group of us are coming over to explore your territory in April 2020 on a biking holiday to take in the sights and sounds of the South East. We are planning to visit the Smokey Mountains (The Dragon, Cherohala, Hellbender etc.), Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and lots of places in between.

See attached map, though this route is just one of many ideas and is a hybrid of some of the routes available on organised tours we have found in the region.

We will be 5 bikes (2 solo and 3 with passenger) and we are planning a total tour time of about 21 days. So that'll be about 14 days in the top loop and 3 or 4 days in New Orleans plus travel to/from the UK.

So, if you can spare a moment, I'm here to ask for your locally informed help with the following questions to help us with our tour planning:

1/ Is Eaglerider Atlanta the best place to rent a K1600GTL for this tour? They seem to have plenty to offer. Anyone have any experience of doing this? are there any other rental agencies to consider? Can you rent a GTL in Memphis or Nashville? If so, where?

2/ How many days do we need in the Smokey Mountains to cover all the great riding there? Does anyone have any suggested routes that take it all in? Places to stay too.

3/ Is the road South from Memphis to New Orleans worth riding? We are trying to decide if we would be better spending our time riding round a big loop Atlanta to Atlanta and then just fly down to New Orleans for our visit there.

4/ Which roads/routes/Places would you recommend in this area? I know that is bit of a big/vague question, but we don't want to miss any highlights. So any special recommendations you have would be appreciated.

5/ We are keen on music and want to take in some of the Blues, Country and Jazz for which this area is famous. Any "top tips" on where to go for that?

I appreciate that I have asked a lot of questions above and if you have read this far then you've probably had enough!
But any tips, ideas and suggestions based on your local knowledge would be really helpful.

All the best to you all and thanks for your help,

Julian
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post #2 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 11:26 AM
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It looks like you are going to be doing lots of flat land riding looking at your map. There must be a few Elvis fans in your group. If riding is the primary focus the best roads are in the smokeys just north of Atlanta heading northeast all the way up to Virginia.
There are much better roads than the tail of the dragon, my favourites are the cherahola skyway and 226a at Little Switzerland in North Carolina.
I was there in April and was thinks of making the trip to Graceland, however there were several tornados passing through that plain and I decided to stay away from them in the smokeys. Keep an eye on the weather forecast.


I rented from Eagle rider. They are just a central booking agency and will send you to local shops. I would advise you to stay away from Wow motorcycles in Marietta.
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post #3 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 11:35 AM
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I'd plan on 5 nights in NC and staying at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. Then I'd head north, via backroads, ride the Snake, highway 421. If you have the time keep working north/northwest to central eastern WV and spend 3 nights at the FT Hill Motel in Petersburg, WV. From there I'd head west through Kentucky into TN, etc. If dates align I'd be happy to join you guys in Petersburg and show 2-3 days of great riding in WV.

Duane

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post #4 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 12:51 PM
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Agree with the other replies.

Stay clear of the major cities (Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville, Chattanooga, etc.) at rush hour and ESPECIALLY I-285 in Atlanta - it is a roller derby at its best and it can be a parking lot at any time of day, any day of the week.

The lower part of your mapped area can be scenic but it is mostly flat and boring if you are into curvy road riding. Your best riding for curvy road is noted in RED on map (I modified yours). North Georgia, Eastern TN, Western SC, NC, VA and WV are all great areas for riding.

I have heard good and bad about Eagle Rider in Marietta; However, your options are limited if you are renting motorcycles down here.
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post #5 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 01:33 PM
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Biking trip to SE US 2020 - Any info welcome??

Sounds like you are going to use Atlanta as you central hub??

April is OK but, can be a bit cold. Consider riding through the area latter at the end of April, the Beginning of May or even in May.

1. Rent in Atlanta, GA

2. The Appalachian Chain has some once in a life time riding. Consider heading north from Atlanta to the CopperHead Lodge in Blairesville, GA (http://thelodgeatcopperhead.com/index.cfm ). Consider the Georgia Six Gap & Wolf pen Gap ( https://sixgap.com ). The next day head up to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge ( http://ironhorsenc.com ). The area deserves two days of riding. Consider a buddy of mine that has a motorcycle touring business ( https://www.2wheelertouring.com ). Many of their routes are from the decade of riding we had done throughout the Appalachians Mountains. Consider taking the Blue Ride Parkway to Spruce Pines, NC just east of Asheville, NC. The Little Switzerland Inn is great but, just next door is the Skyline Inn & Tavern ( https://www.skylinevillageinn.com ). One of my favorite places to stay. This area is one of the best kept secrets in motorcycle mountain riding. Plan on two days. Head north, catch the Back of the Dragon (https://tailofthedragontours.com/bac...e-dragon-2014/) & eventually hook up with Gunnert. He knows this area very well. Plan on at least two days. From Kentucky you can head to Nashville/ Memphis and end up inn Atlanta. Fly to New Orleans.

3. NO

4. Local guides will save you ALLOT of time

5. Not my cup of tea.

For routes & places to stay consider our SE K1600 Forum Mountain rides schedules. Each event will have an entirely separate post/ tread.

https://www.k1600forum.com/forum/sou...ain-rides.html

https://www.k1600forum.com/forum/sou...-schedule.html

https://www.k1600forum.com/forum/sou...es-2017-a.html

https://www.k1600forum.com/forum/sou...es-2016-a.html

Best,

Doc
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post #6 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 02:33 PM
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I have no advice on riding that area, nor that particular EagleRider. But I have rented from EagleRider in Los Angeles and Las Vegas and had good experiences with both. I paid the little bit extra to make certain I received the GTL and not just a “comparable” bike. Best wishes for a fabulous trip!!

James

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post #7 of 14 Old 05-12-2019, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. That's an amazing response. Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll let you know how the planning goes.
Do feel free to chip in anything else that occurs to you.
Best regards,

Julian, Oxted, Surrey, UK
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2016 K1600 GTL Exclusive, 2014 K1600GTL Exclusive,
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post #8 of 14 Old 05-13-2019, 10:57 AM
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I done a coast to coast in November last year and took in the bottom part of your map including New Orleans. I found the roads round that way pretty worthless other than for getting from A-B, so only go if you must, it's not great for bikes. I also found New Orleans a bit disappointing, it is so commercialised that places like Bourbon street were more like Corfu with drunks and loud music, not the jazz experience you may think of, so if your dead set on going, do your homework as good places are few and far between. Parking is also a big issue here, so make sure you have somewhere safe to put the bikes. Other than the small French Quarter it's just like most cities and you can do it in a day or two without trying too hard. The riverboat was also a bit of a let down, the water is dirty, the whole river bank is covered in factories/docks - it's just dire if you want scenery.

The heads up on the cities is worth taking note of also, you can spend a lot of time travelling a comparatively short distance, and lets face it, it's no fun.

We used Eagle Rider in LA and Orlando and they were both fine, but we had Harleys, so I'm not sure about the availability of K1600s - I didn't see any in the States in almost 4 weeks, so I'd pre book them and make sure it's bike specific if your set on one, you don't want to end up on a GS1200 if your set for a K1600 even though they are very capable bikes just because - it's a BMW!

Good luck with the trip, and remember your waterproofs!

James

Loud pipes don't save lives - good riding does!
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post #9 of 14 Old 05-13-2019, 11:29 AM
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No offense to you Atlanteans but through my travels I always hold this as a solid rule:

Avoid Atlanta at all costs at all times forever and ever amen.
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post #10 of 14 Old 05-13-2019, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PLAGUE View Post
No offense to you Atlanteans but through my travels I always hold this as a solid rule:

Avoid Atlanta at all costs at all times forever and ever amen.
That's good advice right there. No offense to anyone intended as well. Atlanta's traffic woes are known best by those who live there, so I can't imagine anyone taking any offense!!

James

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