2010 Strom Rally East – Day 1

5/14/2010

The ride up on Friday afternoon was direct and relatively eventless. I
met up with somebody from the Stromtrooper forums who was looking for a
ride partner.  We departed Atlanta about 4 pm …”after work”. Once we cleared suburban
traffic, it was straight and flat all the way to Franklin, NC. The
weather was just right, cloudy and not hot. A gas and grocery stop in
Franklin, and then we hopped on NC 28. The rolling scenic countryside quickly
gave way to some challenging twisties as we carved through the Nantahala Forest. I wasn’t expecting that workout, fully loaded, but it was a good break-in for the weekend. And groundhogs. We saw a few of those waddling out of the way.  At the
Lower Stecoah Road turnoff my ridemate continued on to his room in  Robbinsville .

The Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge is nestled among some idyllic postcard-perfect farms just off Hwy 28, about 15 twisty miles from Deals Gap.

(10-15 years ago when I had my last motorcycle, there were only two motorcycle-specific lodges that I knew of.  Two Wheels Only in Suches, GA – definitely a hiker-hostel-for-motorcyclists feel, and the old refurbed motel at the NC end of Deal’s Gap.  Tail of the Dragon?  I don’t remember what it was called back then.  Today there are several dedicated or heavy-emphasis motorcycle resorts & lodges just within a few miles of the Cherahola Skyway/Deals Gap area. )
I have no basis of comparison, but Ironhorse seemed very nice, with a gift shop, a large lounge and dining area, a rocking chair porch overlooking the creek, a full-service kitchen and meals, several cabins, RV hookups, and tent camping areas.  The saloon facade and covered motorcycle “hitching” was clever.  All in all a great base camp for day rides in the mountains, and perfect for large gatherings as well as solo stopovers.  This is not a really a review of Ironhorse, but I have to say the food was …so-so, and the food-ordering process of filling out a cumbersome 1040-esque form a half-day in advance of the meal was a hassle.  Also unfortunate is the dryness of the county.  Although it did rain quite a bit.

(to be continued…)


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