Cherohala | TOTD | Hellbender | Rattler | Devils Whip
Riders - Mariano | Navi | DJ | Ritesh | Ashish | Elvis | Saiko | Akki | Sanket | Chris | Sai Kumar | Sid | George | Bhro | Guri | Brufen | Rajat | BJ
Dates - April 01st - April 03rd 2022
Miles - 1000
Day 1 - April 01st
We left for the cabin near Asheville in 4 primary groups.
Group 1 - 9am
Group 2 - 12pm
Behram - 12pm
Took all backroads to the cabin. Along with some amazing internal/county roads, BRP etc also wrapped up Rattler (209). Reached the cabin around 8:30pm. It was a fun ride
Bhro - 3pm
Drove his truck with bike. Not sure if anything interesting but seems like it was a normal drive to Asheville :-)
Day 2 - April 02nd
The Cherohala Skyway/TOTD gang was up early and ready to head out. A few of us socialized over coffee in the living room of the cabin for a bit, before heading outside to warm up the bikes, it was probably in the mid to high 30’s. Everyone was pretty much on time for the agreed 9:30am KSU, then came the monkey wrench…the new guy (Elvis) lost his key!!!! We lost approx. 30 mins searching for the key which was eventually found in the front yard by DJ. It just happened that Elvis was taking pictures of Sai on Bhroman’s V2 and his key dropped onto the front lawn. Root Cause Analysis: Sai wanted to look like a movie star!....and so our day started!
We eventually got rolling at 10:02am, it was quite a large group, Rajat, Sid, Sai, Akki, Sanket, George, Ashish, Ritesh, DJ, Mariano, Navi & Elvis. Our first stop was to fill up gas followed by a brief breakfast stop at Dunkin Donuts.
The group eventually got split up from here with Ashish (leader), Ritesh, Navi, Mariano, DJ & Elvis heading off to Cherohala…and oh man, what a day it was.
Cherohala was spectacular, a 43-mile National Scenic Byway and National Forest Scenic Byway that connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee to Robbinsville, great roads, no traffic, long sweeping high speed curves, the view was breath taking…it was everything you can wish for on a motorcycle. Navi was in his element here!
First stop was at the over look where the guys took lots of pics and had the drone in action. Elvis was unable to contain himself and went ahead carving the curves on Cherohala. He eventually returned to the overlook some 40 miles later. We all gathered up and conquered Cherohala at a somewhat frantic pace…Navi was going great guns ripping it up with Elvis chasing him, DJ, Ritesh and Mariano was in motorcycle heaven and Ashish was simply gliding along making it look effortless…it’s just amazing to watch Ashish on that Goldwing! We made a brief stop somewhere between the end of Cherohala and the beginning of TOTD to reconvene.
Next up TOTD!!! Did you know that there are ghosts on the Dragon and you can hear them at night? Thankfully we arrived at approximately 3:30 pm, we had enough daylight so as not to encounter any Ghosts aka Jumbie!!!! Everyone was excited albeit a bit fatigued from the spirited riding on the skyway. We were about to conquer the “Dragon”, 11 miles, 318 Curves!!!
Hitting TOTD from the TN side Elvis took off with DJ in hot pursuit. Mariano, Ritesh, Navi and Ashish stayed back a bit…I guarantee everyone was somewhat nervous about this. Never the less we all conquered the revered and feared dragon. The ride up the dragon proved to be quite challenging with tight technical turns and not so favorable road conditions, at times unnerving as it was no fun having those modified cars coming at you from the opposite direction on a blind turn not knowing if they will hold their line…nerve wrecking indeed. But we all made it safely! All groups reconnected at this point, sharing their experiences with each other.
Then came the photoshoot…as fatigued as we were, we summed up that extra bit of energy to enjoy the fruits of our labor..tons of pics taken at the Tree of Shame and the Dragon, we were all having a blast! Eventually we settled down, had a bite, got some memorabilia and relaxed for a bit.
DJ and Elvis were glutton for punishment and decided they wanted more, so off they went for another run at the Dragon. Ritesh, Navi, Mariano and Ashish choose to relax. Mariano was probably suffering from allergies, Navi had an issue with his finger and was in some amount of pain, Ashish was jet lagged and Ritesh was just tired - go easy on the party buddy…LOL
Elvis took the lead on the downward trip with DJ in tow. On the way back, DJ took the lead and from Elvis’ perspective, that damn exhaust was a killer, especially since he was trying to be very close to DJ to capture his ride. DJ did wonders on the Dragon, he was on point and totally killed it on the way back. Once minor hiccup when another motorcyclist over took a car and came into DJ’s path…great reaction by DJ to avoid it by slowing and giving him space.
The guys were waiting and thereafter we took off to the cabin. Did I forget to mention the fun wasn’t quite over as yet? There was still the Hell Bender to come which started as we exited the TOTD going around the Cheoah Lake and Fontana Dam. We made light work of this with Navi and Ashish on a scorcher, yeah we were Pros by now, we conquered them all! Starvation was beginning to set in, so we decided to have dinner before going back to the cabin. We found an Italian restaurant quite close to the cabin, had dinner and eventually returned to the Cabin sometime after 9:00PM. In totality we had a 11 hour day, covering approximately 300 miles.
It was surely a day to remember!
Oh did I mention the one who found the lost key at the beginning of the day eventually lost his key at the end of the day? Thankfully the restaurant guy found it…now that would have been a disaster DJ!!!!
Day 3 - April 03rd
Group - Ashish, Ritesh, Mariano, DJ, Brufen, Rajat & Elvis
Pre ride plan was KSU @ 9:00 – 9:30
There were going to be several groups on this day – some wanted to do back roads, others Backroads + Highways and the remaining just the Highway.
The all backroad group consisted of Ashish, Ritesh, Mariano, DJ, Brufen, Rajat & Elvis. Thanks to Behram, Ashish had our route all planned out. With a fairly good night’s rest at least for Ashish, Brufen, Mariano & Elvis – I believe the party animals Ritesh, Rajat & DJ took it into the wee hours of the morning.
Some had coffee and DJ made Chai for everyone to fuel. We were pretty much on time and headed off to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, followed by our customary fuel stop.
By 10:00 AM we were on our way. First challenge: The Rattler – NC 209, which starts near the scenic lake Junaluska, 32.7 miles of scenic beauty. We took a short break to get a few pics.
As we entered the valley section, we rolled along the stream for about 1.5 miles before tackling the twisty climb over the first mountain. Since this was a unknown to us, Ashish took the lead to keep things at bay, taking us through the winding curves across the mountain top through the forest and sprinkling of homes and continued on downwards as we approached another valley. Another stream along the winding road and more curves through the woods until we got to a long straight section. It was short lived as the valley soon narrowed and rejoined the winding stream and twisty roads. This was turning out to be lots of fun, not quite as technical as the Dragon, but twisty and technical enough to be challenging and definitely not dangerous!. Lots of hairpin curves, enough to drop into 1st gear. We needed to be extremely vigilant since there was gravel in some turns and broken branches of trees along the way. This was another epic route, we crossed path with several other motorcyclists, but it was far from busy, almost remote to say.
Devil’s whip elevates to 2500ft and crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mt Mitchell. Just when we thought we has seen and experienced it all, we were in for another treat. Once again, light traffic, nasty switchbacks, and toward the top a virtual slalom of quick tight turns…..where are the Ducati Guys???? Guess their ball got fried the day before..LOL…they had enough ROLF.
Once again Ashish was at the helm taking control, DJ was awed at the scenic beauty, Mariano as solid as ever, Ritesh carving up the twisters, Rajat soaking it all in, Brufen killing the curves and Elvis chasing down Ashish every chance he got. Everyone was having the time of their lives….this was way better that TOTD! The guys were so ecstatic that they all became playback singers, belting out song after song as they traversed the scenic beauty. The only setback on Devil’s whip was the newly paved section of the road which was only halfway done, creating a ridge in the middle between the right and left lane, there were lots of construction gravel remaining so we all took it gingerly down this section. No doubt when it’s completed the ride will be totally enjoyable. At the culmination of the Devil’s whip we took a lunch & fuel break. Brufen decided that he was going to take off alone on the highway to make up some time. Somehow we managed to convince him to continue with us, I believe he realized he was going to miss out on the fun and decided to sat with us. We were all happy he decided to.
We continued on our journey, eventually getting onto the highway, another fuel stop at which point we decided that we had enough of the highway and diverted to 64 for the remainder of the trip. Apart from a student driver crossing into our lane on 64, the rest of the trip was uneventful. We were all tired and just wanted to get home, just counting the miles. At approximately 6:20pm we made our final stop at the Exxon on 64 to say our good byes and to laud each other on their accomplishments over the weekend. Rajat, Ritesh, Brufen, Mariano & DJ all took off in their individual direction. Ashish and Elvis continued on through to Holly Spring before splitting up.
In a nutshell, it was a memorable trip, lots of barriers were broken, great friendships made, lots of laughs and a desire for more!!!