I went to the 2016 Blueridge Gathering rally of the ST-Owners.com forum a couple weeks ago (10/13 - 16). It was my second time going. I started heading up around 9:30. I was supposed to ride with a couple other ST-Owners members, but both had family emergencies and were last minute cancellations. I decided to stay off the slab and take my time, so I took 64 from Lexington to Brevard, and then 276 through the Pisgah National Forest up to Waynesville. The campground is only a few miles from Waynesville down 74 in Balam NC. I arrived around 4:30 which is quite a bit later than if I had slabbed it, but well worth it.
There were about 30 bikes in all. Most were ST1100s or ST1300s but there were others such as Goldwings, FJRs, Super Teneres, V-Stroms, Triumph Tigers etc. A technique called "drop and sweep" was employed to manage the large group. It's simple and works extremely well so that nobody gets lost, but everyone can ride at their own pace. There is a leader who knows the route and a sweep who always stays at the back. At each decision point, whoever is behind the leader is "dropped" to show the rest of the group which way to go. His job is to stay there until the sweep shows up wherein he gets in line in front of the sweep. Passing is allowed so faster riders don't get bored, and slower riders don't feel pressured. In general, this is a fast group (at least by my standards).
On the way up, 64 around Lake Lure got nice and twisty and had some beautiful scenery so I had to stop.
Here's where we ate breakfast every morning (Clyde's in West Waynesville). The food is excellent and reasonably priced - "It's where the locals eat".
Friday's ride was great. I tried to keep track of the routes we took for future reference. Some of the roads were 215, 209, 63, 276, 178, 11. Some of the towns we went through were Canton, Hominy, Brevard (lunch) and Rosman.
One of the Friday stops at Furgeson Supply
One crazy thing we saw was this cow on the wrong side of the road (photo not mine). One of the riders said he saw it jump the fence like a deer which was confirmed because a rider at the back said he didn't see it.
Another crazy thing was skateboarders skateboarding down the mountain (photos not mine). It made me nervous just looking at them, some closely followed by cars. They say riding a motorcycle is dangerous, but these people are freakin NUTS!
Saturday's ride officially ended at lunch in Mills River after which everyone went their own way. I made a few stops on the way back to camp - Looking Glass Falls (off 276) and the Apple Festival in Waynesville
The final meal together was Saturday night at Sagebrush
I took the scenic route home with another ST owner from Danville Virginia and stopped here on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Boone. The colors were spectacular around this area I think because of its higher elevation.
All in all a great trip and I plan to go back next year.