Little Switzerland, North Carolina, July 2022
Sport Touring Corner
By Norm Kern
The Big Lynn Lodge is located on a mountain ridge next to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a few miles south of Spruce Pine, North Carolina. It’s one of the most beautiful settings you’ll find for a motorcycle rally, and there are fantastic roads in every direction from the doorstep of the lodge. I attend the MSTA rally there every July, riding down through the back roads of Kentucky and Tennessee on Thursday, riding rally routes on Friday and Saturday and returning home on Sunday.
For Friday’s ride, we had a superb group of eight riders including (L-R) Jerry James, Chris Meredith, Ken Gill, Dan Steinberg, myself, Robert Burditt, Chris Parker and event route master Doug Pippin. Dan Steinberg, who lives about 20 miles from the lodge, led us on a route that includes many of his favorite back roads few people know about.
Dan rides his BMW S1000 at a very fast pace and keeps the group informed about wildlife and other road hazards via intercom. Lunch was at the Iron Horse Station Restaurant in Hot Springs, North Carolina. After lunch we continued Northeast in the mountains of Pisgah national forest, eventually hitting Route 226 at Bakersville and following it back across the Blue Ridge Parkway and back to the hotel.
The lodge has a nice dining room, with breakfast and dinner included in your stay. After dinner I had booked an appointment with expert masseuse Anne-Marie LaFrance, who comes to the lodge each year to work out the aches and pains of event attendees. Anne-Marie also attends and works my FlyBy Week rally in Marietta, Ohio, the last week of August and loves to work with our riders.
My friend Chris Meredith’s broke his hamstring, last year. It’s healed -but still cramps up when he rides his Ducati Multistrada. Anne Marie turned a few heads when she stood on his leg to stretch it out!
After the massage, I was able to enjoy some adult beverages and listen to Almost Vintage, a rock and blues band that performed a couple sets out on the back porch.
Saturday I left the previous day’s fast group and rode my favorite Big Lynn rally route with old friends Jeff Dolence, Tim Mullins and Allan Skinner. The Twisty West route goes North and mostly West of the lodge. Most of the pavement is very smooth and clean. There are constant elevation changes and about three thousand corners on this route.
Lunch was at Zuma Coffee in Marshall, North Carolina, recommended by Dan Steinberg. I had a Reuben sandwich that did not disappoint.
We got back to the lodge about 3PM which allowed plenty of time for a shower and some rest before dinner. Our cottage was convenient and very close to the lodge. I was especially pleased this year as it was newly remodeled, including a new air conditioner that was completely silent, making for a very enjoyable stay. Saturday evening was dinner, social time and a good night’s sleep to get ready for Sunday’s ride home.
Thunderstorms are common in the mountains but this time we lucked out with partly cloudy, mild weather that lasted all the way to Sunday morning, but storms were coming through Ohio and Kentucky.
Jeremy Riffle, Jeff Dolence, Chris Meredith, Tim Mullins and I took back roads to I26 and got through Johnson City and Kingsport, TN, taking US and state routes through Virginia and into Kentucky. We got to Prestonsburg at about 11AM and looked at the radar. It looked like we could beat most of the rain so we kept moving. We crossed into Ohio at Aberdeen. Skies looked bad but we made it all the way to Buford, Ohio, before it started to rain. We didn’t care- it was only another 57 miles to home from there, and we were home by 4PM. Another fun trip!
Connect with local Ohio Motorcycle Sport Touring Association riders at these monthly breakfasts:
Southwest Ohio Breakfast, 9AM, September 17
Village Family Restaurant
144 S. Main St.
Waynesville, OH 45068
Central Ohio Breakfast, 8AM, October 2
6515 S High St
Lockbourne, OH 43137