The Road to Laconia

The Road to Laconia

Traveling from rally to rally sometimes requires me to cross the country in five days or less, but this time, I had the luxury of three weeks to get from Myrtle Beach to Laconia.

I bee-lined it straight to western North Carolina for some of the best motorcycle roads east of the Mississippi River. The plan was to camp at my favorite campground for two nights while waiting for the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum to open in nearby Maggie Vally, visit with my old friend Dale the owner, and be on my way.

Well after five visits and two weeks later, I was finally on my way.

Jumping on the Blue Ridge Parkway and continuing on Skyline Drive provided me 569 miles of nothing but gentle roller coaster type tarmac. Commercial vehicles are not allowed and any type of advertising signs are forbidden—truly a motorcyclist’s road that I highly recommend.

Making it to Laconia a few days early, I made time to visit the American Motorcycle Police Museum and enjoy a few of my favorite eateries before we set up the mobile showroom and the real work begins.

The Road to Laconia as seen by Joe Sparrow

Waking up in the Smoky Mountains
Waking up in the Smoky Mountains

Heading out of the Smoky Mountains
Heading out of the Smoky Mountains

Interesting people I meet while camping
Interesting people I meet while camping

Hitting up the Smoky Mountains
Hitting Up the Smoky Mountains

Welcome!
Welcome!

There’s nothing better than a new vehicle
There's nothing better than a new vehicle

Impressive Burnouts
Impressive Burnouts

Nothing like a nice warm fire after riding some of the best motorcycle roads east of the Mississippi
Nothing like a nice warm fire after riding some of the best motorcycle roads east of the Mississippi

Wash Day in the mountains
Wash Day in the mountains

The “Tail of the Dragon” is a mountain pass that’s 11 miles long and has 318 curves. This is the only guardrail.
The "Tail of the Dragon" is a mountain pass that's 11 miles long and has 318 curves. This is the only guardrail.

The Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground. I was only going to camp here for two nights and stayed for over two weeks. I love this place.
The IronHorse Motorcycle Lodge and Campground. I was only going to camp here for two nights and stayed for over two weeks. I love this place.

I met these folks a few years ago at a motorcycle campground and went riding with them. I’ve just run into them again for the second time at the same campground and went riding with them again.
I met these folks a few years ago at a motorcycle campground and went riding with them. I've just run into them again for the second time at the same campground and went riding with them again.

Not really the direct path to Laconia but well worth the diversion
Not really the direct path to Laconia but well worth the diversion

I tried my hand at this and realized that I’m a biker and not a hiker
I tried my hand at this and realized that I'm a biker and not a hiker

Top fuel motorcycle drag racing legend Pete Hill
Top fuel motorcycle drag racing legend Pete Hill

Mother Nature at work in the Great Smoky Mountains
Mother Nature at work in the Great Smoky Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway

Orelena Hawks Puckett lived in this log cabin the later part of her 102 years and became a midwife after 50 years old. She helped in over 1,000 births and never lost a child or mother to childbirth. Sadly her 24 children never survived infancy.
Orelena Hawks Puckett lived in this log cabin the later part of her 102 years and became a midwife after 50 years old. She helped in over 1,000 births and never lost a child or mother to childbirth. Sadly her 24 children never survived infancy.

Mabry Mill is my favorite place to take a break on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Mabry Mill is my favorite place to take a break on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Typical view on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Typical view on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Friends with a common passion
Friends with a common passion

Sitting on top of the world
Sitting on top of the world

Life on the road requires total concentration.
Life on the road requires total concentration.

People I’ve become instant friends with
People I've become instant friends with

These folks know how to do it. They ride their street bikes for several days on some of the best roads east of the Mississippi then hit the trails for an overnighter near the Smoky Mountains.
These folks know how to do it. They ride their street bikes for several days on some of the best roads east of the Mississippi then hit the trails for an overnighter near the Smoky Mountains.

People I meet in my travels: The Bear Claw Riders
People I meet in my travels: The Bear Claw Riders

The southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 469 miles of 45 miles per hour sweeping curves along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains.
The southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. 469 miles of 45 miles per hour sweeping curves along the crest of the Appalachian Mountains.

Back in the hills
Back in the hills

People I meet on the road
People I meet on the road

Fontana Dam is the tallest dam east of the Rockies and is just one of things to see in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Fontana Dam is the tallest dam east of the Rockies and is just one of things to see in the Great Smoky Mountains.

What ya say we blow this popsicle stand?
What ya say we blow this popsicle stand?

Enjoying a little solitude in the Smoky Mountains
Enjoying a little solitude in the Smoky Mountains

It matters not what you ride as long as you ride it
It matters not what you ride as long as you ride it

The agony of Da-Feet…Hey, a little help here, please.
The agony of Da-Feet...Hey, a little help here, please.

The family that plays together
The family that plays together

Sometimes I have to rub my eyes and say “Did I just see what I thought I saw?”
Sometimes I have to rub my eyes and say "Did I just see what I thought I saw?"

As seen on the Road to Laconia
As seen on the Road to Laconia

Break time with a view on the Cherohala Skyway
Break time with a view on the Cherohala Skyway

My own little slice of motorcycle paradise for a couple weeks
My own little slice of motorcycle paradise for a couple weeks

I met this Road Warrior today. Roy has a mounted a 5 gallon reserve tank to his back seat and will run 400 miles between gas stops. Next month Roy will be doing a Coast to Coast run in 50 hours.
I met this Road Warrior today. Roy has a mounted a 5 gallon reserve tank to his back seat and will run 400 miles between gas stops. Next month Roy will be doing a Coast to Coast run in 50 hours.

Packing it in…Not your weekend warrior
Packing it in...Not your weekend warrior

Cool stuff at Wheels Through Time
Cool stuff at Wheels Through Time

Jewels of the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, N.C.
Jewels of the "Wheels Through Time" museum in Maggie Valley, N.C.

Memorial Day at Wheels Through Time
Memorial Day at Wheels Through Time

American made at Wheels Through Time
American made at Wheels Through Time

The sights of Wheels Through Time “The Museum That Runs”
The sights of Wheels Through Time "The Museum That Runs"

Who remembers these?
Who remembers these?

Evolution of hillclimbing
Evolution of hillclimbing

Road Warriors can never have enough Geegaws and Farkles
Road Warriors can never have enough Geegaws and Farkles

Sights along the Cheoah lake in the Great Smoky Mountains
Sights along the Cheoah lake in the Great Smoky Mountains

The 50 mile long Cherohala Skyway took over 30 years to build at a cost of 1 million dollars and worth every penny of it.
The 50 mile long Cherohala Skyway took over 30 years to build at a cost of 1 million dollars and worth every penny of it.

The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains abounds
The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains abounds

The Tail of the Dragon
The Tail of the Dragon

How to win friends and influence people
How to win friends and influence people

At 30 cents a foot this is the most expensive toll bridge I’ve ever crossed. It’s the 14 lane George Washington bridge that connects New Jersey to Manhattan.
At 30 cents a foot this is the most expensive toll bridge I've ever crossed. It's the 14 lane George Washington bridge that connects New Jersey to Manhattan.

My first order of business when pulling into the Laconia area was a visit to the American Police Motorcycle Museum.
My first order of business when pulling into the Laconia area was a visit to the American Police Motorcycle Museum.

A peek into the American Police Motorcycle Museum
A peek into the American Police Motorcycle Museum

Cool stuff at the American Police Motorcycle Museum
Cool stuff at the American Police Motorcycle Museum

American History
American History

Bikes from around the world can be seen at the American Police Motorcycle Museum
Bikes from around the world can be seen at the American Police Motorcycle Museum

Speeders beware
Speeders beware

Please support the local businesses that support the Rally
Please support the local businesses that support the Rally

My favorite place to eat in Laconia is the Union Diner
My favorite place to eat in Laconia is the Union Diner

The motel that I stayed at was once owned by Grace Metalious that penned the widely acclaimed novel “Peyton Place” that later became the first ever prime-time soap style TV serial. Peyton Place as it was then named was chain sawed into 3 sections and moved to its current location in Weirs Beach and renamed Bay Top Motel.
The motel that I stayed at was once owned by Grace Metalious that penned the widely acclaimed novel "Peyton Place" that later became the first ever prime-time soap style TV serial. Peyton Place as it was then named was chain sawed into 3 sections and moved to its current location in Weirs Beach and renamed Bay Top Motel.

My travels through Western North Carolina on my way from Myrtle Beach Bike Week to Laconia Motorcycle Week
My travels through Western North Carolina on my way from Myrtle Beach Bike Week to Laconia Motorcycle Week

I guess you could say I didn’t take the direct route from Myrtle Beach to Laconia
I guess you could say I didn't take the direct route from Myrtle Beach to Laconia

If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to follow along with all of Joe Sparrow’s adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at #WanderingSparrow and right here on the blog.

By |2015-07-09T09:30:32+00:00June 11th, 2015|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles, News/Events Articles|2 Comments

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2 Comments

  1. Matt McCann Sr. July 18, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Enjoyed reading your blog Joe, I’ve been to the wheels through time museum. Loved it, unfortunately for me I haven’t ridden my bike anywhere on the roads you show. Someday I will. I plan to retire to S.C. and ride all over down there. Nice pics, Keep up the good work inspiring riders to get out and enjoy this country and all the great people you meet on the road! Ride Safe.

  2. Henry Yip June 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Nice to have met you at the museum in Meredith the other day

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