Tom, some ideas:
If you do not need to hit the greater Atlanta area you might consider picking up US 129 at Macon, run it to US 441 at Eatonton (be sure to take the 129 bypass on the west side of Eatonton), and then on through Madison (lovely antebellum town) and up to Athens. It's been a few years since I've ridden 129, but IIRC it's a pleasant enough stretch.
Take the US 441/129 perimeter bypass around the east side of Athens, exiting on US 129. Next catch GA 106 and run it up to I-85. East on I-85 to SC 11 (not far on the interstate - maybe 20 miles). SC 11 starts out so-so, but it will soon get better.
Head north at US 276, over Caesar's head and into Brevard. Continue on 276 through Pisgah Forest and up to the Parkway. A few miles up the Parkway pull into Pisgah Inn and get your buddy to rendezvous there with you. (If you do this - you might want to reserve a room: www.pisgahinn.com . The Inn is about 25 miles from the center of Asheville. If you want to stay right in the middle of the liveliest downtown district consider the Haywood Park Hotel (warning $$$) www.haywoodpark.com
I agree with Rocketman - the Alpine Inn is nice. There is another nice inn right on the Parkway at Peaks of Otter, just north of Roanoke, Va
Feel free to PM me if you have specific questions.