Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — I spent another weekend in the great Smoky Mountains this past weekend, not so much for riding my Harley, but to ride my Harley with friends and family.

The family were 3 cousins who hadn’t seen each other for over thirty years.  Family who had lost touch and finally were able to connect.  And it was the motorcycle that made that connection happen.

Jay and Roy hadn’t seen Diann for years, and she was coming to Tennessee to ride the Smoky Mountains.  To get back up after falling on the Tail of the Dragon.  To hang out with her cousins she hadn’t seen for so long.

I was honored to be able to join them.  It was pretty cool to witness them catching up from the “old days” while riding through the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

Smoky Mountains

Hank joins Roy, Diann, and Jay in the Smokies. Cousins reunited after thirty years. 

This time around, we gathered the four of us and took off on the Devil’s Triangle.  I love this ride.  Plenty of turns, sweepers, switchbacks and great scenery.  This is a technical ride for me as it requires focus and making good turns.  The traffic along this route is different from the Tail of the Dragon, as you will encounter trucks.  You also won’t find a steady stream of “crotch rockets” looking to better their time, like on the Tail.

Speaking of the Tail of the Dragon, we started bright and early Saturday morning taking the 318 turns in 11 miles.  Each time I ride it, I seem to get more confident and comfortable with riding this magnificent road.  The colors had changed a little bit from the previous weekend and were still as beautiful as ever.  What I like most, is when you pull into Deals Gap after your run, and meet all the people there who have just gotten through riding.  I love comparing notes with others.  All brought together through this motorcycle.

Then we were off to the Foothills Parkway and the Cherohala Skyway.  

The Foothills is one of my favorite parts of this experience.  Riding along the base of the mountains, along the water, over the bridges and through the magnificent tree lined parkway.  It was early in the morning, about 53 degrees.  Perfect riding weather for the mountains.

Smoky Mountains

Hank and Diann

Once we hit the Cherohala Skyway, it seemed we had the place to our self, as there was very little motorcycle traffic at the time.  It’s just a glorious 43 miles of fresh mountain air, beautiful sunlight, and terrific scenery.  The colors haven’t changed like they will, but I did notice they had changed some since I was there last weekend.

Is there anything better than dismounting from your bike, pulling off your helmet, and getting a blast of fresh mountain air?  From about 4,000 feet?  I think not!

We found our way over to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and this was the first time I had ridden through there and I have no words to describe how beautiful it was.

As I’ve noted time and time again, the beauty of this journey I’m on with this motorcycle, is the people I meet.  This weekend, I met Diann.  She is a delightful lady with personality just “oozing” out of her. She can damn sure ride a bike, and she wears her pistol on her hip.  What’s not to love?

I also met a guy from the Nashville area, named Tim.  We were staying in the same hotel.  He was doing the same thing we were, and that was, riding the mountains.  This motorcycle is just a magnet for attention.  Everybody want’s to see it up close and fellow bikers want to meet the guy who rides it. 

I love riding through the Smoky Mountains.  It never gets old.  As I look for other great places to ride, I can always just scoot up Interstate 40 and be there in no time.  But what I love most about this experience is the people I meet.  There are so many great places to ride in this country, and the Smokies are just one of them.  I think they’re some of the most beautiful places on earth, and the people you will meet makes it a priceless experience.

All in all, it was a great couple of weeks with my two wheels up.  I love the people I meet on this bike.