Fall Colors Tour (Series)

Fall Colors Tour (Series)


Only 5 more days and I’ll be starting out on my next adventure.  This time taking a Ride of Discovery with a small contingent of Moto17Jax.  This will be only my second “Ride of Discovery” trip, the first was this past June, and once again I will be heading into the Blue Ridge Mountains.  In fact, I will be staying a mere 44 miles from my last location and along side of one of the roads I travel back then, Moonshiner 28.  My last visit to the area was to ride most, if not all, of the famous motorcycle and sports car roads in the area.  Tail of the Dragon, Cherohala Skyway and Moonshiner 28 to name a few.  This time we are going to experience the fall colors, and take in some particularly scenic destinations.

We will be departing Jacksonville, FL around mid-morning and riding to our base of operations in Franklin, NC.  Our planned route up will cover 450 miles and, according to Basecamp, should involve 7 hours 36 minutes of actual riding time.  We have 4 planned gas stops along the route which are spaced to create 5 legs of approximately 90 minutes.  So it should be a relaxing trip into the mountains.  

We will be in Franklin for 4 full days and it is unlikely that a moment will be wasted.  Fortunately, one of the group members has since moved to Franklin.  So we will have the advantage of local knowledge, ensuring that we maximize our time.  While I haven’t been involved in planning the specific locations we will visit, those who have always do an excellent job.  So I’m certain that we will see some amazing sights.  Some of the suggestions I have heard include:

  • Grandfather Mountain State Park
    • More specifically, it was suggested that we visit Mile High Swinging Bridge which is located within the park.  This should be an excellent full day trip.  The ride up to the mountain is 137 miles and should take nearly 3 hours each way.
  • Dry Falls
    • Also known as Upper Cullasaja Falls, Dry Falls is a 65-foot waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest, northwest of Highlands, North Carolina.  It is part of a series of waterfalls on an 8.7-mile stretch of the river that eventually ends with Cullasaja Falls.  Dry Falls flows over an overhanging bluff that allows visitors to walk up under the falls and remain relatively dry when the water flow is low, hence its name. Visitors will get wet if the water flow is high.
  • Wayah Bald Lookout Tour
    • Wayah Bald has a vantage point of 5,342 ft. in elevation in the Nantahala National Forest. On a clear day, you can see north to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and south into the rolling hills of Georgia. There is also an old stone fire tower, built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, to witness panoramic views of the southern Appalachian mountain chain.  If I make the trip to this destination I will be alone.  Getting to the tower requires a trip up Forest Service Road 69.  I have been informed that the road is steep and consists of loose gravel.  Possibly my adventure bike can make the trip.  Maybe not.  Our local group member says no street bike it capable of doing it.  I’ll let you know.

I’m certain there will be more.  I’ll be posting stories, photos and video as we go along.  Hopefully you will join us as we tour the Blue Ridge Mountains and take in the beautiful fall colors.