Saturday, February 27, 2016

Ride Your Motorcycle To Lake Lanier at The State Line In Tryon,North Carolina

     At the South Carolina North Carolina state line on U.S. 176 between Landrum, South Carolina and Tryon, North Carolina, there is a super cool little side trip that you do not want to miss.
Lake Lanier is at the state line on U.S. 176

     As you are coming west on U.S. 176 from Landrum, you will come to the state line.  You will know this is the state line for two reasons.  Reason number one: There will be a sign.  Reason number two: You will see Bird Mountain Wine and Spirits.  This is a good place to stop and put on your helmet.  Helmets are required by law in North Carolina.  Did I mention that gas is fifty cents per gallon more expensive in North Carolina? 

     About two hundred yards past the state line into North Carolina, you will see two antique shops.  There will be one on the left,Lake Lanier Antique Shop and one on the right,The Tryon Antique Mall.  Exactly in front of the sign that says Tryon Antique Mall, turn left on Lakeshore.  If you are coming from Saluda, this would be a right turn. 

     Follow that road up to Lake Lanier.  Ride around the lake.  It is scenic.  It is twisty.  Someone ask me where was a good ride for a novice to get some twisty turny practice without risking their life.  A ride around Lake lanier is just enough to be good practice for more challenging roads like White Oak Mountain Road.   If you missed my article about White Oak Mountain Road, check out this link.

     Get on your Indian or your Harley Davidson or your Yamaha or your Suzuki or your Triumph or your Kawasaki or your vintage motorcycle.  Ride safe. Stay off the interstate.

     If you fall in love with Lake Lanier and think maybe you should own a lakefront house here, call me at 828 755 6996.  I am a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina and South Carolina. I can make that happen.  

Ride Your Bike To Pearson Falls on U.S. 176 in North Carolina

     If you ride near Asheville, North Carolina or Greenville, South Carolina or Spartanburg, South Carolina and you love riding Carolina motorcycle roads, come to Tryon, North Carolina.  Ride up the Saluda grade on U.S. 176.  This strip of road is a motorcycle road extraordinaire.
U.S. 176 between Tryon and Saluda is twisty

     There is a abandoned railroad track that runs from Landrum, South Carolina through Tryon, North Carolina and up the steepest railroad grade in the eastern United States to Saluda, North Carolina.  Before cars were common, people traveled by train.  The railroad company kept an extra locomotive in Tryon (at the bottom of Saluda grade) to help push the train up the mountain to Saluda.

     Downtown Tryon is quaint.  Downtown Saluda is quaint.  The oldest grocery store in North Carolina is in Saluda.  The Pacolet River follows U.S. 176 between Tryon and Saluda. If you are coming from South Carolina, stop at Bird Mountain Wine And  Spirits at the South Carolina North Carolina state line  on U.S. 176 and put on your helmet.  Tell Ken I said," hi."   North Carolina law requires a helmet.   Watch this video

      If you want a nice afternoon ride, go to Tryon on U.S. 176 up the mountain towards Saluda.  If you are coming from Asheville, North Carolina that would be down the mountain towards Tryon from Saluda.  It is the same scenery no matter which direction you are heading.  Get on U.S. 176 in Hendersonville, North Carolina.  Take exit 54 from Interstate 26 to U.S. 176 if you are coming from Asheville.  
Pearson Falls between Tryon, N.C. and Saluda, N.C. is cool

     About halfway between Tryon and Saluda on U.S. 176 is Pearson Falls.  These is an enormous waterfall that is worthwhile to stop and take a look.  There is a two dollar fee and you have to walk about a half mile.
Bring a picnic lunch and check it out.   There are other waterfalls between Saluda and Tryon.

This waterfall is right on U.S. 176 between Saluda and Tryon

 When you leave Saluda, don't go home the same way you got there.  If you are returning to Tryon, go home on Howard Gap road.  It is not as twisty and turney as U.S. 176 but it is a fun road.  Ditto!  If you traveled from Asheville to Tryon on U.S.176 and are headed home, go back up the mountain on Howard Gap Road.  Before you leave Polk county, go over to Columbus on hiway 108 and ride up White Oak Mountain.   Here is a link to an article about that.  White Oak Mountain Road is a very challenging road.  It is COOL.

     Enjoy the western Carolina Roads.  Ride safe.  Stay off the interstate.  

Friday, February 19, 2016

Riding Your Motorcycle In Carolina, Get a Tour Guide

     When we lived in Florida, we had a friend that would stop for a visit on his way to The Florida Keys to fish.  He went to the Florida Keys every year to fish.  He always hired a fish ing guide.  I asked him why he hired a guide.

     He explained that he only had a few days to fish in the Keys.  A guide knows all the best places to fish.  He would never find these cool fishing spots from his own research or dumb luck.  It was worth the price to have a local expert take him to the best fishing spots.  He told me that the local  guide also knew the best places to eat, drink and sleep.

     Could we apply that same logic to taking a motorcycle riding vacation in western Carolina, the best motorcycle riding spot in the world?  I think so.  If someone takes a two week vacation on their bike to Carolina, they could be a half mile from a beautiful waterfall or cave or tunnel and not even know it.  Their local guide would know about it.   
Your motorcycle tour guide knows the best way to go

     Mr and Mrs. Vacationer could be eating at the worst restaurant in town when the best restaurant in town is across the street.  The local tour guide would know that .  Maybe, Mr. Vacationer is visiting a place on Friday when a special event is happening on Saturday.  The local tour guide would have let the vacationers  know about that.

     Maybe your tour guide would know about a photo opportunity that is just a mile up a certain side road.  You would have missed this if you were on your own.

      If you are planning a vacation on your motorcycle to western Carolina, consider a guide or a guided tour.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Waterfall Motorcycle Destination, White Oak Mountain in Columbus, North Carolina

     Are you looking for a fun motorcycle ride near Asheville, North Carolina or Greenville, South Carolina or Charlotte, North Carolina or Spartanburg, South Carolina or Tryon, North Carolina?  Can you find your way to Columbus, North Carolina?  Columbus is the county seat of Polk county.  If you are traveling west on Interstate 26, Columbus is the first exit across the South Carolina North Carolina state line.  It is exit number 67.  From downtown Columbus, ride up to the top of White Oak Mountain.

     This road is not for novice riders.  It is not for sissies.  There are very few guard rails.  Death and danger lurk
Shunkawauken Falls on White Oak Mountain is 100 feet tall
around every curve.  There are plenty of curves. There are plenty of extreme curves.  When you get to the top, you can see all the way to Walt Disney World.

     The highlight of the ride will certainly be Shunkawauken Falls on Horse Creek.

     Let me tell you how to get to Columbus.  If you are headed north from Spartanburg, Columbus is the first exit on Interstate 26 over the state line.  If you subscribe to my STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE policy, you could come north on U.S. 176 through Inman, Campobello, Landrum and Tryon.  This is a much more scenic ,colorful, vibrant, local ride. If you do STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE and come north on U.S. 176, stop at the state line at Bird Mountain Wine and Liquor and put on your helmet.  I know that South Carolina riders are smart enough to know whether or not you need a helmet.  I know that because Governor Nikki Haley told us so.  Watch this video.  Unfortunately, the state of North Carolina does not agree.  The law requires a helmet on North Carolina highways.  Of course, Sir Isaac Newton's law is enforced in all fifty states.  As you go through Tryon, North Carolina, U.S. 176 will just naturally turn into highway 108 at the Sunoco station.  Head toward Columbus on Highway 108.  Cross the Interstate .  As you come into Columbus, the first traffic light is at Houston Street.  Turn left on Houston street.

     I forgot to tell you South Carolina riders this.  Stop in Landrum and buy gas.  North Carolina gas prices will shock you.

     About a half mile after you turn left on Houston Street , there will be a fork in the road.  Stay to the right.  Stay on Houston street.  A half mile later you will come to White Oak Mountain Road.  Turn left.  A quarter mile later you will see a speed limit sigh that says, 10 miles per hour.  This means you.  If you are wearing short pants and flip flops, you might want  to reevaluate the situation.
Ride with extreme caution on western North Carolina roads

     If you are headed south from Hendersonville on Interstate 26, the Columbus exit is exit 67.  Ron says,"STAY OFF THE INTERSTATE".  Do not come down the steepest grade in the eastern United States on the interstate .  As you leave Hendersonville, North Carolina take exit 54 off Interstate 26 .  Get on U.S. 176.  Ride through Saluda, North Carolina. Follow U.S. 176 into Tryon.  U.S. 176 will intersect with Highway 108 at the Sunoco station.  Turn left.  Head towards Columbus.  Cross the interstate.  You can go through the twin traffic circles twice if you want to. It is fun.  At the first red light in Columbus, turn left on Houston Street.  If you have never been to Columbus before, you might want to take a picture of the Polk County Court House.  It looks like a court house is supposed to look.  From Houston street, turn left on White Oak Mountain Road.

     If you are coming in from Hickory, North Carolina, Come south on U.S. 221 towards Rutherfordton.  Just before you get to Rutherfordton, turn west on Hiway 64 towards Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.  Follow Hiway 64 to Hiway 9 in Lake Lure.  Go south on Hiway 9 to Hiway 108 in Mill Spring, North Carolina. Go west on Hiway 108 into Columbus.  Since you are coming into Columbus from the opposite direction, you will turn right on Houston Street to get to White Oak Mountain Road. Also, in downtown Columbus you will pass  The Brick Pizzeria and Cafe.  Local people think this is the best pizza in the world.

This is a view of Columbus N.C. from White Oak Mountain
      As you ride up White Oak Mountain Road, ride with extreme caution.  After you come to the waterfall, keep going up the mountain.  You will see a sign that says "Road Narrows".  Are you kidding me? About a quarter mile after that, you will come to a huge condominium.  Stop there for a photo opportunity.  This is a view with a capital V.  Yes, that is Walt Disney World in the distance. No, this is not the best view on this road.  Go past the condominiums.  There will be plenty of curves.  Use extraordinary caution.  You may encounter gravel and dirt on the road.  Sometimes there is water flowing across the road depending on recent weather.  About a mile past the condominiums, there is a clear spot with a view from the other side of the mountain.  You can see the Washington Monument from here.  PHOTO OPPORTUNITY!
White Oak Mountain has several waterfalls

     About a mile later, you will find a smaller waterfall.  Just when you think you can not handle any more curves, you will come to a T intersection.  This is Skyuka Road.  Turn right.  It is about a half mile to Hiway 108.  When you get there, turn left if you want to go back to Columbus, North Carolina and grab a beer and pizza at The Brick Pizzeria in downtown Columbus.  If you had the foresight to pack your own picnic lunch, turn right.  It is about a half mile to Harmon Field.  This is a big beautiful park with the Pacolet River running through it . If you get to the Sunoco gas station, you missed Harmon Field Road about a half mile back. 

     No matter how big your group is, there are plenty of picnic tables and a gazebo and restrooms.
Wet curves make White Oak Mountain Road dangerous

     If you think you are ready for "The Tail of The Dragon", ride up White Oak Mountain in Columbus just to warm up. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Four Seasons Toastmasters in Hendersonville Inducts New Members

     Hendersonville, North Carolina's Toastmasters Club just got two new members. Jennifer Harrell and her friend joined Four Season's Toastmasters to improve their public speaking skills.

     If you or your employee needs to improve your public speaking skills, join us at Four Seasons Toastmasters at 8 A.M. on Wednesdays.  We meet every Wednesday.

     Toastmasters is a easy, fun, way to learn to speak in public.  Learning to speak in public is a lucrative skill to possess.  There is no skill that will enhance your career more than what you learn at Toastmasters.

     Check out Four Seasons Toastmasters website at     Join us on Wednesday mornings. Call me at 828 755 6996 if you have questions. If you don't live near Hendersonville, there is a Toastmaster Club near you.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Cool Mororcycle Destination In Bostic, North Carolina

     Often when you go out to enjoy riding your motorcycle in the Carolinas, you like to have a destination.  A destination just puts a little definition to the day.

     It is ok to go ride with no particular destination in mind.  Having a destination is just better.  A destination also creates a "maximum" to the day.

     If you live in Charlottte or or Spartanburg or Greenville, South Carolina or  Hendersonville or Asheville or Hickory, North Carolina and if seventy miles is a desirable length for an afternoon stroll, here is a suggestion.

     Ride over to the Blue Ridge Distillery in  Golden Valley, North Carolina.  The Blue Ridge Distillery makes Defiant Whiskey.  Many people believe this is the best whiskey on Earth. 
  You can decide for yourself if you ride to the distillery.  They will give you a sample.  Between Rutherfordton and Interstate 40 on highway 64 there is a state road 226.  Head east on highway 226 from Hiway 64 for four miles.  You will see a sign that tells you to turn right here to get to the distillery.  It is not a big sign.  Keep a sharp eye out for it.

The official address is on Girl Scout Road. Bring your own picnic lunch.  Enjoy the serene environment.  If you are a large group, it would be best if you call and let them know that you are coming. 828 245 2041
Harley Davidson of Chimney Rock is NOT the largest Dealer in Carolina

     When you go home, go home by a different route.  I don't need to tell you that.  You know that.  If you are from the south, follow highway 74 A out of Rutherfordton.  Go through Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.  Did you know there is a Harley Dealer in Chimney Rock?     If you are headed north towards Asheville or Swananoa stay on Hiway 74 A when you leave Chimney Rock, the next town is  Bat Cave.
From Bat Cave, North Carolina to Asheville is 22 exciting miles
  If you like "motorcycle roads", you will love Hiway 74 A between Bat Cave, North Carolina and Interstate 40.  It does not get much better than this.  As you come into the community of Fairview, keep your eye out for Brewskie's.  It is right on Hiway 74 A.  Stop in and have a cold beer at a real biker bar.                                        
Hiway 74 A between I- 40 and Bat Cave. Stop in at Brewskies
  If you are headed south toward Spartanburg, or Greenville, South Carolina, leave Chimney Rock head on into Bat Cave and then into  Hendersonville on Hiway 64.  A road like this is why we love bikes  When you get to Hendersonville, don't get on that interstate.  Stay on Hiway 64.  Cross Interstate 26 and go into downtown Hendersonville.  Turn left on Main Street. Follow Main Street to U.S. 176 and take U.S. 176  into Saluda.  The oldest grocery store in North Carolina is in Saluda.  They also have public rest rooms at the park in the middle of town.  Leave Saluda on U.S. 176 head down the steepest grade in the eastern United States toward Tryon, North Carolina  .Ride with caution.  Forget the view. Let your passenger enjoy the view.  Keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the handlebars.    About halfway down the mountain you will see a sign for Pearson Falls. 
If you have never seen Pearson Falls, it is worthwhile to stop. Pay the two dollars.  Walk a half mile and see it.  Take your camera.
     At the bottom of the mountain on U.S. 176 is Tryon North Carolina.  When you get to the state line between Tryon and Landrum, South Carolina, there is Bird Mountain Wine and Liquor.  Stop in and say hello to Ken.  Tell him about today's adventure.  He will let you use his clean rest room.  He also has Defiant Whiskey if you forgot to buy some at the distillery.  If you are headed south into South Carolina, you can also remove your helmet but Sir Issac Newton does not recommend that. The governor of South Carolina,  Nikki Haley says you are smart enough to decide for yourself. Watch this video.

Now, you are officially in South Carolina, you can keep going south on U.S. 176 until you pass Campobello and Inman.  Something will start to look familiar.  This is  a good day.  Remember; A bad day riding a motorcycle is better than a good day at work.