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Back of the Dragon - Blue Ridge - Appalachian Heartland

Five Days, Four Nights. Our major 2014 Tour will showcase the Shenandoah Valley, The Blue Ridge Parkway and the "Back of the Dragon," a wonderful ribbon of road (VA 16), featuring 262 curves in 32 miles between Marion and Tazewell, VA. If you've done "The Tail" ... if you've done the Cherohala Skyway ... then this ryde captures the best of those two right in our own back yard.

We're still hammering out details for this tour, have some options, and we will discuss between now and at our MSW Planning Brunch on April 26th. So, stay tuned, folks.  With the time allotted, I've started straw-manning some routes, but they may change.  Here's what I have so far:

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Day 1 (Blue Ridge Day):  Out of Sykesville, southwest, down the Shenandoah Valley, and the Blue Ridge Parkway to spend our first night southeast of Roanoke at Cave Spring. Total Miles:  308.

Routehttp://goo.gl/maps/jJKMG

Lodging Night 1: 

Holiday Inn Roanoke, Tanglewood, 4468 Starkey Rd, Roanoke, VA 24018

Tel: [masked]

Room Rate: $89/night, King non-smoking (14 rooms booked). Ask for "MSW Block Rate"  ***Must book by May 17th to get the group rate.***

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Day 2 (Dragon Day):  Out of Cave Spring, ryde southwest on picturesque and sweepy US 221 (this was the route I led a group on down to Maggie Valley in 2011).  From US 221, we will angle west through the hills over to Marion.  From Marion we will ryde over the Back of the Dragon to Tazewell, and from Tazewell, we will make our north over beautiful US 19 up to Beckley, WV.  Total Miles:  238.

Routehttp://goo.gl/maps/jxmX2

Lodging Night 2

Quality Inn Beckley, 1924 Harper Rd, Beckley WV, 25801

Tel: [masked]

Room Rate: $89/night, King non-smoking. Ask for "MSW Block Rate."  *** Must book by June 4th to get the group rate.***

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 *** Note:  Days 3 and 4 are "HQ'd" at Smoke Hole Resort and Caverns, Union, WV. See Lodging Information below.***

Day 3: (Smoke Hole Day):  What's a Smoke Hole?  Well, Smoke Hole Resort is a wonderful resort with lodge, restaurant, cabins, and caverns in Smoke Hole, WV, just southwest of Petersburg. This will be a two-night basecamp.  Pete, George and I spotted this gem on our way back from our Ohio trip as we returned through West Virginia. The idea is to ryde up from Beckley, get there earlier in the day, enjoy the area, have a nice dinner ... perhaps ryde around a little, see the caverns. Total Miles:  190.

Route: http://goo.gl/maps/4IDL0

Day 4 (Lunatic Asylum Day): Depart Smoke Hole, WV out to Weston, WV to the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and Tour, famous for its history and haunts!. The route will take us over the summit of the Potomac Highlands ... about 3200 feet. As Jimmy Hendrix sang in a Purple Haze, "Scuse me while I kiss this guy.. err I mean the sky!"  We will ryde out, tour the TALA and then ryde back with nice stops and snacks along the way  Dinner back in Smoke Hole and a relaxing evening, cuz the next day, we're headin' home. Total Miles: About 180, r/t.

Routehttp://goo.gl/maps/vww69

Lodging Nights 3 and 4: 

Smoke Hole Resort Lodging and Caverns, 5413 North Fork Highway, Cabins, WV 26855

Tel: [masked]

Room Rate: $139/night, 2 person cabin;  $199/night, 4 person cabin. Ask for "MSW Block Rate" 

***Must book by April15th to get the group rate. 50% deposit due at time of reservation.***

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Day 5 (The Voyage Home):  While this is where we return to our home worlds to reunite our bodies with our day-to-day 'katras,' we'll have some fun doing it. We'll depart Smoke Hole resort and move slightly up the road to have breakfast at a plain-looking but highly-rated joint called Mallow's Roadside Cafe ... it gets 4.4 stars out of 5, for Pete Donnell's sake. We'll then move out on WV 55/US 48 to cross I-81 at Stephens City, South of Winchester, VA. From there, we'll angle north up through Berryville, then re-enter WV up to Rippon, where we might like to have the couples enjoy "John's My Pappy's Place," restaurant for lunch.  It's a really quaint little place with cozy booths and all kinds of knick-knacks for viewing and possible sale.  From Rippon, we'll continue north on US 340, but then break off at WV 9 and head east around to Point of Rocks.  This will keep us away from Frederick and more scenic road. We'll loop up to Urbana, MD, then join MD 75, take a right at MD 80, then to Mt. Airy. At Mt. Airy we'll pick up MD 144 back to MD 97, MD 97 up to Forsythe and back into Sykesville.  Total Miles:  165.

Routehttp://goo.gl/maps/4Cqb1

This is going to be an AWESOME Tour folks.  Space is limited!

**Please note** our MSW Consent and Liability Release Waiver***

Inclement Weather Policy

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  • Paula Lee A.

    This pics are great!! Thank you sharing them. Now I not only have to calm the shakes from not riding, but I have work thru trailer envy. ;)

    2 · June 22, 2014

    • Tim D.

      With a trailer, you can all the comforts of home. They are great.

      2 · June 22, 2014

    • Dan M.

      I was amazed at how much stuff I was able to carry . . . of course, I had to do laundry on day 2! Perhaps I can survive without a trailer . . . although it would have been nice to have a few more clothes and some stuff to clean my Spyder . . . every nook and cranny was packed to overflowing!

      1 · June 23, 2014

  • Paul A.

    On behalf of MSW, I wished to conclude by thanking everyone attending our Smoke Hole dinner on Nite 1, for your kind and generous donations, totaling almost $200.00. Your enthusiastic participation and support inspire us to re-stock and innovate new ideas for club artwork, regalia, materials and fees we pay for future club events. We don't charge dues, every penny of your support goes right back into the club. Again, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! On to the next MSW happening!

    2 · June 22, 2014

  • Pete D.

    Thank you very much for all the kind words, but as I have said a hundred times, and I'll say it again,...MSW is only as good as its members. It's not one man or woman, It's not a select few, it's the entirety of it's parts that make us function as well as we do. I want to thank all the stalwart ryder's who came out for this epic tour. Folks, you rode at least 1200 miles over those five days, some even more, and that's quite an accomplishment. No small task considering the type of ryding we encountered. You endured sweltering heat, driving rain, thunder and lightening, dust and dirt, and some of the most technical ryding MSW has ever done. For those that rode, I salute you. This trip was truly one I will never forget. Until we meet again, ryde safe!

    3 · June 22, 2014

    • Pete D.

      Ha! True,...Now that we have identified the smell, the next step is washing it off,... :D

      1 · June 22, 2014

    • Dan M.

      I thoroughly washed mine when I got home, yesterday . . . it hasn't been this clean since it was on the showroom floor! That BRP wash is good stuff . . . even the wheels are clean.

      1 · June 22, 2014

  • Russell R. C.

    It was great, Linda and I had a fantastic time.

    4 · June 22, 2014

    • Dan M.

      It was great to meet the two of you! Looking forward to the next time.

      1 · June 22, 2014

    • Pete D.

      Russ, you and Linda are family, and are welcome anytime. Thanks so much for coming out and meeting up with us or the core of the ride. Until next we meet, take care, and ryde safe. --Pete

      2 · June 22, 2014

  • Dan C.

    Long but exciting, beautiful and inspiring. Good to see everyone! Impressive hospitality and good "Down Home Cooking". Riding in the rain is a challenge however the group was up for it.

    2 · June 22, 2014

  • Herbert H B.

    What can you say about an almost perfect trip.
    Paul, Pete and Tim got us there and back safe.
    Laura made sure we stayed at some great places.
    In my many years of riding I have rode with several groups and all of them can take lessons from MSW.

    4 · June 22, 2014

    • Dan M.

      Amen to that!

      June 22, 2014

  • Dan M.

    I was asked by a few of you for the link to the website where George and I got the "Dual Fill" for checking/equalizing the pressure in the front tires. Here it is. It doesn't appear as a hyperlink, so you'll have to copy and pste it into your browser: http://gnipsel.com/spyderstore/index.php?route=common/home

    3 · June 22, 2014

    • Dan M.

      LOL . . . I guess it does appear as a hyperlink . . . it didn't when I mailed it to someone! Great tool!

      1 · June 22, 2014

  • Tim D.

    I am not sure I can add anymore to what has been said below other than absolutely over the top again!!!
    Thanks Paul, Pete, and Laura for the great planning and execution. Great trip to look at our beautiful country viewed from the seat of a Spyder. What a great combination! The folks that went along on this trip are absolutely the best. Great traveler partners and so much fun along the way. We laughed at times so hard I could not breath. So looking forward to the trips ahead. Thanks so much to all that went!

    4 · June 22, 2014

  • George R.

    What an epic trip. Is there a more beautiful part of the country with better ryding for Spyders? There could be, but I haven't seen it. As always it was great being with other Spyer Ryders for 5 days and putting our Spyders through their paces together. They are incredible machines. Many thanks to Paul, Pete & Laura for planning this trip. All of the MSW members are fortunate to have them as our leaders. I am positive my ryding experience would never have been as fulfilling without them.

    Thanks for our road captains Tim & Pete for their dedication in keeping us safe.

    4 · June 22, 2014

  • Paula Lee A.

    Post some pictures as you're taking the ride! I'm traveling on business until July, so I have to live vicariously through you all. I'm sure you're having a blast, so let us see it!
    ;)

    5 · June 16, 2014

    • Dan M.

      Pics posted, Paula!

      2 · June 21, 2014

  • Dan M.

    Would it be overkill to say this trip was epic? Five days of rides that were great fun and scenery that was truly spectacular. The company, lodging, and meals at the Smoke Hole Resort were the very best! My sincere thanks to the organizers, planners, and ride captains . . . I even enjoyed the rides in the thunder and lightning . . . especially since we all survived, unscathed! That wasn't something I'd seek out, but there was no choice . . . and it was quite the experience. Two thumbs up!!

    2 · June 21, 2014

    • Paula Lee A.

      Delighted you all made it back safe and had a wonderful time! Pictures? It's been 2 weeks since I rode Xenes (my Spyder), and I'm getting the shakes. I believe they call it detox. A fix is coming soon. ;)

      1 · June 21, 2014

  • Paul A.

    'Nuff to say how good this sojourn was when the awesome thoughts of where we've just been, we've seen and experienced; then, the joy of breaking bread with such great people over five days, has me feeling lonely for more in the aftermath. Elvira's ODO mileage door-to-door was 1,175, now with a temporary patch over one eye ... just to look rakish. Thanks so much to Laura Donnell for managing our accommodations and meals, especially at Smoke Hole. Truly a magical place and management. Thanks to our VP, Pete, and co-Captain Tim, George and Dan C; as well as to everyone who came, esp. Russ and Linda, and Art and Barb, who came from considerable distance. Herb, Barb and Dan M get the perseverance award for this trip, and Art gets the road-side resourcefulness prize. Nice recovery, Art. You are all heroes for embracing the heat, rain, twisties, miles, sometimes hungry tummies, and technicality of this adventure, at times arduous but always joyful. Get the pics up! Thank you all!

    4 · June 21, 2014

  • Velma Denton D.

    Ryde safe and have fun slaying the dragon!!

    2 · June 17, 2014

  • Gary P.

    Ride safe my friends, and like Ms Paula said, post some pics.

    3 · June 16, 2014

  • Velma Denton D.

    Wish we were going - hope you have a safe and great time and we can't wait to see the pics.

    3 · June 8, 2014

    • Velma Denton D.

      Paul - I wish Keith and I could but we are having his sisters at the beach that weekend.

      June 16, 2014

    • Velma Denton D.

      :(

      June 16, 2014

  • Souzan

    Dan, let us have a deal: you go diving in Red Sea and I'll take your place to Blue Ridge ( with your bike too). Deal???

    2 · April 18, 2014

    • Souzan

      Ya, but that is my Red Sea dive time, AND to see my grand daughter in Cairo (Nadine and Judy)..

      April 19, 2014

    • Dan M.

      Well, enjoy the diving . . . and your granddaughter!

      April 19, 2014

  • Dan M.

    I am ready to go! Reservations made for all four nights! I'm staying at the Log Motel, part of the Smoke Hole Resort, but 3 miles away . . . $69 for Thursday night, and $89 for Friday night . . . yeah . . . I'm a cheapskate! :-)

    April 15, 2014

  • George R.

    This ryde will definately go in our book of epic trips. Can't wait!

    2 · January 16, 2014

  • Dan M.

    This sounds like a great trip!

    1 · January 12, 2014

No one went

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