Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route – a 1060 mile off-road route from the NE tip of TN to the N border of PA/NY. Well, not all offroad. It’s an awesome mix of twisty paved backroads and unpaved Forest Service of every type imaginable, all through beautiful Appalachian and Allegheny mountains and valleys! (here’s a brief article with a much better description and map… MABDR summary). The non-profit BDR organization (rideBDR) has created a dozen of these routes in the big-Western states, but this was their first (of only two) east of the Mississippi. The BDR group makes full GPS tracks available to download and Butler makes waterproof m/c maps to provide additional logistical support. Dave and Larry have pondered this trip for several years and finally made it come true. Here’s the high-level story and Dave’s Thoughts.
In late July, three riders gathered for… A Great Day in the Mountains! Dan, Dennis and Larry started early to minimize temps and afternoon pop-up shower risk – and it paid off handsomely. They enjoyed a beautiful and, dare I say, cool ride up through the Grandview, Sunrise and Doublehead Gap areas to Van Zandts in Dial for a welcome break. For a day forecasted for mid-90’s in the metro, they weren’t expecting to see 68 degrees in Dial at late morning – though entirely welcome!
Blue Ridge Parkway always held an allure for the riders of TLCMC and while we had ridden the southern half and camped in areas around it on previous rides, we had never ridden it to Mile 0. This trip was long overdue, so we crafted a 4 days and 3 nights extravaganza of riding and camping.
First let’s go back a little bit. When we formed TLCMC we all lived in the area of Woodstock, GA. Now, 15 years later, we have become a little further apart geographically, but still as close as ever as riding buddies. This trip brought Larry, Mel, Dave, Bob K, and Dan together again for an incredible late spring trip with a combined mileage between them of over 5,500 miles through north Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. Also rounding out the group to six, Richard joined in Asheville for the first evening stopover.
A short, but circuitous ride up to The Burger Bus in Ballground for lunch had been curated by our illustrious navigation master, Larry. Unfortunately Larry got sick and couldn't make it, but four of us (Mel, Dan, Dennis, and Bob) decided to ride.
We met as usual at Timothy on Arnold Mill and realized that in Larry's absence none of us had set the route in a GPS, so we did the best we could with Google Maps. After working around the limited waypoints in Google Maps we had a route set and headed out.
The day couldn't have been better for riding; bright skies, dry roads, and a great temperature. The first part of the route was straightforward, with very familiar roads that we regularly ride, but once we got onto Henderson Mountain Road the ride started to resemble a scavenger hunt with frequent stops to figure out where we should be going as there was obvious misdirection from Google Maps.