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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here is the The Tennessee Legend ride. One of the rides that I can start and end from the end of my driveway. Its about 450 miles and was the last ride I did on my HD before selling it. I have done it more than once, but that was the last time I did it. I do about a 1/4 of it usually once a week in different directions by car. It's one of the great rides many have never heard of because...Tail of the Dragon. Pointing out some of the spots that are deceiving if you just use this map, on motorcycles mid to higher level of difficulty areas.

Link to the map. And some, but not all information, including missing information below.


Highway 30 Dayton to Pikeville. Not hard leaving Dayton but an 8% grade with wide curves and a lot of Tractor-Trailer traffic. Every year someone drives off the Mountain coming down if you go the opposite direction. you have to go slow. All the way down it smells like burnt brakes. In recent years several tractor-trailers, couple of years ago a School Bus (nobody hurt, but if it is even close to freezing and raining schools get canceled because they have to come down that grade). It's about 3 miles to the top and you can't see the top until you get to it. If you are in the left lane, at the top you will be in the oncoming lane because it changes abruptly from a 4 lane to a 2 lane.

3/4 way down the above road to Pikeville. The map shows one sharp corner. In reality it's an 8% grade down with over 20 sharp corners and switchbacks. Believe the signs. Where it says "Danger. Dip'. Part of the road washed down the mountain year before last and they rebuilt it, its nice smooth road but you come out of a corner and there is a dip. Or you can ignore it and be like Evel Knievel. Falling Rocks isnt just "sometimes". When they say rocks, they mean Falling Volkswagons. It's why I ride as close to the middle unless there is oncoming traffic.

When you get to Pikeville, the map looks like you keep straight to Fall Creek Falls. You cant keep straight, there's a farm right in front of you. you take a right on 127, drive about a mile and you will see the Historic Marker on the left that says "Bragg's Route into Kentucky". That is where you turn to go to Fall Creek Falls (Spencer). You see the swtichback coming out of Pikeville to Spencer. There are about 12 switchbacks in a row going up a steep grade, then it levels out and for about the last 10 miles its smooth level straighaway.

The next turn is at Homestead Tower and Museum. It's about the Appalachian Settlers and the first Homesteads in the area. What the map doesnt show is the 3 way intersection. It does show Cumberland Mountain State Park. Homestead is actually a 3 way, not 2 way Intersection. To get to the entrance to the park you take an immediate left instead of going straight down 127 and about a mile is the entrance to the Park.

The map shows going up to I-40 and taking I-40 to the Harriman exit. You can ignore that. I-40 in that area is so congested and slow it is miserable. Plus you miss part of the ride. Go up into Crossville and visit the Crossville Military Museum. One of the best Military Museums you will ever go to. It's only a couple of miles. Then get on Highway 70 heading east. That is a nice two lane Highway, and when you get to Crab Orchard you start going down through curves and swtichbacks and there are a couple of overlooks on the left towards Sequatchie Valley. Just before you get to the bottom is where Fire Tower Road is on your left. Take that and go up, about a mile and you can see the entire Sequatchie and Tennessee River Valley on the way up or at the top. Very sharp corners at Crab Orchard. Come back down, get back on 70 to the end back to Rockwood then through Harriman, across the River then up to Frozen Head around the Devils Triangle and back down to Oak Ridge. That part of the ride you should definitely have a first aid kit and food.

Just outside Oak Ridge, not on the map, there is an unmanned Museum on the Hill overlooking Oak Ridge National Labs. About a 15 minute stop. Nice parking area and has big windows that overlook the old (WWII era) Oak Ridge Labs, the old buildings are gone, but as you are looking at the area there are lighted maps and push to talk buttons that tell the story of the development of the Atomic Bombs and history of Oak Ridge. The National Labs are still there, along with the worlds second fastest Super Computer, if someone is interested in that, you can schedule in advance a tour, or used to be able to.

Then you come down and onto the Cherohala Skyway and into Tellico where you can ride the Dragon if you want. Lots of traffic all the way down especially during Fall Foilage. I can tell you there are about 4-5 cops Patrolling 400 square miles of Mountains. Most of LE in the area end up over at Deals Gap. Unless they have got some more dogs in the last five years, they had one tracking dog and one professional LE tracker. A friend of mine fell asleep in his deer stand and woke up it was dusk, 200 yards off the highway. He walked around all night until he found the road. That dog tracker told me they had a guy walk into the woods sightseeing. They called in a search and rescue and had the dog out tracking, they found him 50 yards off the road. He was walking around in circles for TWO days. We were in an accident up there five years ago and nobody would stop. At least 100 cars drove by and would not even open their windows. Finally a nurse stopped and started medical stuff. A bike rode down the mountain (No service) and called 911 and it took two hours for LE to get there because everyone was handling other accidents and over at Deals Gap. They had to call him over from Gatlinburg. We were up there five hours before we could get off the Mountain. I told the state Trooper about the people just driving by and he said "It's unfortunate but that is the way it is now, no one wants to get involved". Be prepared.

Some Notes

If you ride this route last week of July through first week of August expect bumper to bumper traffic and an average speed of about 20 MPH. Because of the 127 Yard Sale. World longest yard sale runs from Alabama to Michigan right up 127. And it is busy. Hotels are usually sold out in advance because the same people come back year after year. But if you are in a car or truck and looking for old bikes cheap, bike parts, wrecked bikes, project bikes, used bikes. Or anything else for that matter. you will find them at the yard sale. Halfway between Pikeville and Crossville there is a barn on the right and the guy puts out rows of 1960's and 1970's bikes every year. When you combine the 127 yard sale on over half the route (Because it isnt just on 127) and and Devils Triangle, Cherohala and Tellico on the other half. It gets pretty busy in late July, early August and September.

On this route when you come past Etowah on the right will be White Lightning Harley Davidson. They have something going on there, including rides, about every weekend.

Get to Athens and jump on 75 toward Chattanooga and take the Hamilton exit, Hamilton Place is the second largest shopping district in the United States. There is about every store and restaurant you can think of there.

Bring something to swim in at Fall Creek Falls and Cumberland Mountain.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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Great write up. My dad lived in a retirement/resort community right outside of Crossville and I never knew those roads where there.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Great write up. My dad lived in a retirement/resort community right outside of Crossville and I never knew those roads where there.
A few years ago a few guys were trying to get a MotoGP rolling here. I knew it wasnt going to happen. Takes big bucks, agreement and participation of multiple towns and you would have to shut down tourism for a weekend. But we do have the Worlds Toughest Enduro, the AMA sanctioned and sponsored Tennessee Knockout and professional (and amatuer) Flat Track racing. Professional 250, 500 and 750 open classes, there in Crossville. But if they ever got a MotoGP here, it would be the toughest in the world without a doubt. Or at least the most dangerous. Never going to happen, I don't think.But we definitely have the roads for it. We have the roads to create an Isle of Mann type spectacle. But we are all about fishing, hunting and tourism.
 
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