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Discussion Starter #1
This will be a multi-day leg starting from

Nashville-->Chattanooga-->Asheville NC.

This should give us a good glimpse of the Smoky Mountains

Asheville-->Roanoke VA

Roanoke-->State College PA where we will be visiting friends.

This last leg will take us through the Monongahela National Forest. There is the option to go through the Shenandoah National Park to the east of the Monongahela NF. Any opinions?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes (I have time) and no (I don't know much about the area... yet...)

I'll be spending significant time in the NE centered in NYC.

I've never spent much time (any) south of Philadelphia, so I am all ears... Anything south of VA/DC area, I will probably catch in the backhand (driving back to H-town). I am aware that there is significant Civil War history and I will probably catch a few historical sights.

Looking forward to recommendations.
 

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Consider incorporating the Cherohala Skyway from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville. And you can take the entire Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to past Roanoke - to Afton. You're only 15 miles away from 81 at that point. These are top shelf roads that are going in your direction, and offer awesome sporting driving and incredible views.





If you want a quick side destination, you'll be close to Deal's Gap when you are in Robbinsville. Then you can take 28 towards Cherokee, and make that a little more interesting.

There's an overwhelming supply of good roads around here.
 

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If you want turns, take the Skyline Drive through the length of Shenandoah NP. You may not be able to do it very fast depending on who is in front of you, but you will enjoy exercising the steering! There are 4 ways to enter or exit, the southern end at Afton, the northern end at Front Royal or thereabouts, and two road crossings at roughly the 1/3 and 2/3 points. It's a natural extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Not a good way to get somewhere quickly though. If you just need to go northeast, I-81 is much faster!
 

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Totally agree that the Chereoha Skyway is worth doing. I ride or drive it every time I visit Western NC, which is at least annually...and mostly just to ride/drive.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonder of the world. It's just beautiful and it goes on, like, for-ever. You don't see billboards, towns, intersections stop signs or lights the whole way. In Springtime, it's especially beautiful. Local civic groups plant trees, lilac bushes and such along the road. This is a National Park that is a road. It's very cool. Speed limit if 45mph. You can exceed that, but they do patrol it..pickups with lights on them. If you hammer it, you might get pinched. The best thing is, you just cruise without stopping. For instance, it goes right through Asheville and you never see Asheville at all, just trees and flowers, rocks, and curves. It takes some clever road-building and preservation to accomplish this and it's really some fine motoring. The history of it is fascinating too.

The North end of the Blue Ridge is the the South end of Skyline Drive. That takes you to Front Royal, VA. You have to pay to run Skyline, which is about 150 or so miles. Front Royal's about 70 miles from Washington DC. The whole thing, Cherokee, NC to Front Royal, VA is about 700 miles. I once rode a motorcycle to the Key Bridge Marriott, in Arlington, VA, where I had a reservation. I'd sent my suit and good shoes there via UPS. In the morning, I took a Metro train into the city, attended some meetings, then trained back out to the Marriott in early afternoon, changed clothes in a bathroom, put the formal stuff back in the shipping box and gave it to the hotel to send home, walked to the parking deck and got on my bike. I went to meet my friends at a motel in Front Royal. We went all the way down to Cherokee....Stopping at Pisgah Inn for a night. GREAT adventure.

Make a reservation at the Pisgha Inn on the Blue Ridge if you can. The Park service runs it and it's clean and is situated on a spectacular site. They have decent food too. Trout! among other things. That's near Asheville. It is busy, so don't expect a room without reservations long in advance. They have weird rules. Be patient. It's worth doing. Don't skip their knick-knack shop...the best.

No one mentioned Deals Gap??? The above map shows Robbinsville. If you go North on Rt 129, you climb up a wicked hill to a 3-way stop sign. Turn left...Hold on. This section of 129 is the curviest road in the hemisphere for sure. It's an old moonshiner's back-road and they'd loose the police on it. Now it's a real attraction for bikers, car clubs and touristas.... They have guys at some corners who take your picture as you barrel through. Later, you can look on their websites for your photos...and buy what you like. 317 turns in 11 miles.

If it's the weekend when you're going through Deal's Gap, you will have to be patient and just check out the scene. If you get challenging driving, it will be short. But it's worth it just to see the menagerie of vehicles and people who congregate there. On weekdays, especially early, you can have it pretty much to yourself. There are timed runs (illegal) and t-shirts and bumper stickers and websites... Yee-ha! At the end, there are pull-offs on each side of the road. Change your underwear and go back through. You won't be bored.

Another favorite road is NC 28. If you come up the 129 hill from Robbinsville...3 way stop. Turn left to do Deal's Gap. Then, pull over. Make a U-turn. Rest. Do it again back. Back at the 3-way stop, turn left AGAIN...and that's TN 28. Between there and the Robbinsville turn-off, it's spectacular.

My favorite road down there is 28 through Pisgah National Forest. Beautiful, challenging and, if your arms get tired, just pull over and walk around at the many pull-offs. It's quite a spectacular old forest with great hills and streams. Even on a hot day, it's cool in this place. You can follow it to Pine Mountain...That last section is the best. If you want to keep going East, take US 64, which is merged with 28 for 30 miles or so, then goes East toward Cashiers, NC...and all the way to the coast.

There are back roads around this area that are technical beyond belief. I've followed on a motorcycle at speeds I won't even repeat. I had no idea where I was. I trusted my lead and kept up. I'm still here to talk about it... Sadly, I'm not qualified to lead you around there. You really have to know those roads because some can turn bad quickly for various reasons...poor repair sometimes being one...other reasons too, like dead-ends, roads turning to gravel. The locals have the edge on these.

I will warn you to avoid Gatlinburg, NC. This is where Dollywood is and other tourist traps. They have built massive hotels and homes around there. Traffic in the season is insanely slow. It's only 2 lanes in and out of there. Many, many RVs. Enuff said. Find another way.

Another good spot to stay down there is Maggie Valley, NC...about halfway between Knoxville and Asheville. There are tons of motels. Good roads around there too.

If you get tired of curves...or waiting to pass on 2-lanes...it happens, but seldom in a Cayman, in my experience, you can hit I-40 from Knoxville to Asheville. It's not straight, but it's fast and you get a choice of lanes.

I think driving in this area, done right, is a mix of doing these epic roads and then catching an interstate or 4-lane to get where you need to get. Be flexible and don't give into the temptation to just take the interstate through there and miss this stuff...which particular one is better depends on the day and the position of the planets...but one thing is certain...Driving in this area makes you realize what a genius you are for owning a Cayman.
 

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There are many great suggestions in the posts above. I agree, the "must do" roads are Cherohala Skyway, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Skyline Drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for taking the time to offer suggestions. I have a lot to consider. Right now I am away from my PC, so it will take about a week before I finalize plans.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
We are at Pisgah Inn enjoying the view with a glass of proseco. We drove the Cherohala Skyway. Very nice! We crossed paths with a white GT4 and I flashed my lights. He turned around and met us and we went for a fast tour. I led part of the way and then we switched. Great fun!
 
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