Motorcycle Roads, Rides, Maps and More |

Plan B: A Motorcycle Trip from Florida to the Smokies (almost)

We'd been talking about this trip for months. Endless hours spent drinking countless beers, pouring over dozens of maps, plotting out dozens of different routes and destinations; soon it was actually going to happen. The flatlanders were riding to the Dragon! Eight days of mountain roads, twisting pavement, and scenic vistas. Eight days of rural motels and changing scenery. Eight nights of reliving the days ride over cold beer and greasy burgers. Our biggest ride of the year was finally about to happen.

The plan was to ride from Tallahassee, Florida to the mountains of North Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. We we're going to ride the Dragon, the Cherohalla Skyway, the Foothills Parkway, and over Newfound Gap. I had visions of riding my bike around endless curves, taking us past small farms and over giant forested mountains. This was certainly going to be the best ride we'd ever done. And it almost was.

Neither Bill nor I had ever ridden in the mountains, or much outside of Florida for that matter. What passes for a twisting road around here is a highway south of us that runs by a state prison and has about five hard turns in less then a mile. We had zero experience on mountains or twisties but since we're both pretty cautious riders and have V-twin cruiser instead of crotch rockets, we weren't too intimidated by the prospects.

I spent my time preparing for the ride by watching Youtube videos of sport bikes flying through the Dragon. I watched hours of riders dragging knees and floorboards as they zipped through the turns. I also watched lots of crash videos and saw the infamous Tree of Shame. I especially liked the pictures I found on a Deals Gap website that showed huge trucks taking up both lanes as they tried to negotiate the Dragon.

Like all good rides, this one started with a plan. We were going to hit it hard the first day and try to make it to Dillard, Georgia, where we had a free place to stay. From Dillard, we would take a couple of long day rides, then head toward the Dragon and spend the next two nights on the road. We planned to be back in Dillard by Friday night and take two days to get back to Tallahassee. I'd just had my RoadStar serviced, bought a new tank bag and installed a luggage rack. Bill had his slow oil leak fixed and actually bought a new set of tires. (His old tires were so bald he was banned from riding with our local group until they were replaced.) We were ready to go.

On all of our other long rides over the years, we always had what we referred to as Plan B. Plan B was what we would do if the worst happened. If one of the bikes broke down or one of us went down, Plan B would be put into effect. It was a simple plan, we thought; rent a truck and take the bikes home. All it requires is a credit card. We joked about Plan B for years; nothing like that could happen to us!


wcd1960 says:

bad gas
Tue Jun 14, 2016 at 9:06 AM

farmboy555 says:

Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

BikerB50 says:

Great story, hope your next trip is a good one!!!!
Sun May 26, 2013 at 10:01 AM

DonJ says:

Being from around your area of the country I would guess carb adjustment from atmosphere pressure change.
Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 2:55 PM

TequilaJohn says:

Yep, sometimes those little out of the way places have some pretty old tanks. Had a friend fill up with diesel on the way out to Sturgis last year. Suffered similar symptoms. We had to drain his tank on the side of the road, and siphon enough from another bike to get him to the next exit. He finished 4500 miles of our 5500 mile ride with no ill effects from it. Needless to say, he earned a new nickname that day. hehheh
Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 7:38 AM

roadstar says:

Close enough. Bad gas in Ducktown. My riding buddy filled up at the same place and had no problems. Go figure.
Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 5:17 AM

TequilaJohn says:

Filled up with Diesel in Ducktown?
Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 9:18 AM

roadstar says:

No wiring short. Try again
Fri Aug 17, 2007 at 1:07 PM

prnc81 says:

Short in your wiring (probably caused from the rain). This resulted in your regulator/rectifier getting fried and your battery getting weaker leading to your misfires - which ultimately left you stranded. You might have noticed your gauges starting to go haywire while you were riding (not sure if you have a tachometer or not)...
Thu Aug 16, 2007 at 11:51 AM

roadstar says:

No it wasn't. Try again.
Tue Aug 7, 2007 at 12:51 PM

Have something to say? Sign In to Leave a Comment
find more great motorcycle roads...

The best of the best. These folks have ridden and shared more roads than any other ORJ member this month.

  1. 260.66 miles by Roadworthy
  2. 170.78 miles by JBnAZ
  3. 74.69 miles by r_jaehnigen