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Thread: Most Scenic route from North Carolina to Central Massachusetts

  1. #1

    Most Scenic route from North Carolina to Central Massachusetts

    I am planning a ride from Chapel Hill, NC to central MA and looking for suggestions on the route from the north end of the VA Skyline Drive to MA.

    My plan is:
    Day 1 : Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway around Lynchburg, Va and ride north to Skyline Dr and stop at Swift Run Gap, ~255 miles
    Day 2: Ride to north end of Skyline and from here I am not sure...I thought of getting on 81 at Winchester, Va and stop in Scranton PA overnight, ~324 miles
    Day 3: From Scranton to central MA via 81 N then 84 E, ~260 miles

    Riding a R1200RT and have added highway pegs to change leg/but positions and big-ole windshield so I can listen to music, radio and podcasts in my helmet. I am hoping you can give me some insight on:

    - Are the distances reasonable and safe for a day's ride
    - Do you know of a better route past the north end of Skyline
    - Should I consider a different route coming back?...I keep trying to find something hugging the coast but they would all take me through NYC AND DC and I95 which I dislike and would not be fun on a motorcycle.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    It's hard to know what a big riding day is for you. Personally I really dislike riding on the super, but that is a way to eat up a lot of miles.

    The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph so the hundred or so miles will take around 3 hours, more if you like to stop and look and maybe walk around a bit. I spent a good bit of time talking to several folks hiking the Appalachian Trial which mostly follows closely along the Skyline Drive.

    The speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45 and there are many places to stop and look. If you are not in too big of a hurry, you might like to take I-40 west, stay on 421 west towards Boone; you will get to the BRP on the east side of Boone. Alternate route, take 268 south and west in Wilksboro, then take 321 north towards Blowing Rock and get on the BRP. Following is a link on the BRP route and current status -

    https://www.nps.gov/maps/full.html?m....8412/-80.6506

    There is lots of historical stuff to stop and see along the way. Your schedule and preferences should dictate the route.

  3. #3
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbernier View Post
    I am planning a ride from Chapel Hill, NC to central MA and looking for suggestions on the route from the north end of the VA Skyline Drive to MA.

    My plan is:
    Day 1 : Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway around Lynchburg, Va and ride north to Skyline Dr and stop at Swift Run Gap, ~255 miles
    Day 2: Ride to north end of Skyline and from here I am not sure...I thought of getting on 81 at Winchester, Va and stop in Scranton PA overnight, ~324 miles
    Day 3: From Scranton to central MA via 81 N then 84 E, ~260 miles

    Riding a R1200RT and have added highway pegs to change leg/but positions and big-ole windshield so I can listen to music, radio and podcasts in my helmet. I am hoping you can give me some insight on:

    - Are the distances reasonable and safe for a day's ride
    - Do you know of a better route past the north end of Skyline
    - Should I consider a different route coming back?...I keep trying to find something hugging the coast but they would all take me through NYC AND DC and I95 which I dislike and would not be fun on a motorcycle.

    Thanks!
    I-81 thru VA, MD and PA will be dense truck traffic. Jump over to US220 in WV and follow that north to I-99 in SW PA (Bedford). Take I-99/I-80/I-180 and US15 to I86 at Corning, NY. At Binghamton, take I-88 to I-90 in the Albany area.
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
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  4. #4
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum!
    Not sure when you were thinking of this but-
    I can recommend staying off I95.
    There are important Covid restrictions you should check before entering New England.
    Good Luck.
    Gary
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  5. #5
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Welcome to the forum!
    Not sure when you were thinking of this but-
    I can recommend staying off I95.
    There are important Covid restrictions you should check before entering New England.
    Good Luck.
    Gary
    Good point. Even before New England, PA wants you to stay at home if travelling from these states

    https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/dis...Travelers.aspx
    Cave contents: 16 R12RS, 13 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & SawStop PCS175
    1) My expectations are never low enough & 2) Incompetence is infinite ........David Brooks

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by robsryder View Post
    It's hard to know what a big riding day is for you. Personally I really dislike riding on the super, but that is a way to eat up a lot of miles.

    The speed limit on Skyline Drive is 35 mph so the hundred or so miles will take around 3 hours, more if you like to stop and look and maybe walk around a bit. I spent a good bit of time talking to several folks hiking the Appalachian Trial which mostly follows closely along the Skyline Drive.

    The speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45 and there are many places to stop and look. If you are not in too big of a hurry, you might like to take I-40 west, stay on 421 west towards Boone; you will get to the BRP on the east side of Boone. Alternate route, take 268 south and west in Wilksboro, then take 321 north towards Blowing Rock and get on the BRP. Following is a link on the BRP route and current status -

    https://www.nps.gov/maps/full.html?m....8412/-80.6506

    There is lots of historical stuff to stop and see along the way. Your schedule and preferences should dictate the route.
    Thanks...Looks like I need to recalculate how long it'll take me on the BRP and Skyline. Not sure my mapping accounted for the slow speed. Great call out!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    I-81 thru VA, MD and PA will be dense truck traffic. Jump over to US220 in WV and follow that north to I-99 in SW PA (Bedford). Take I-99/I-80/I-180 and US15 to I86 at Corning, NY. At Binghamton, take I-88 to I-90 in the Albany area.
    Great detail...I may be underestimating how long this is all going to take. I am now wondering if I can do this in 3 days without killing myself. Thanks!!

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Welcome to the forum!
    Not sure when you were thinking of this but-
    I can recommend staying off I95.
    There are important Covid restrictions you should check before entering New England.
    Good Luck.
    Gary
    I'll have to recheck this since I thought it only applied to NH, Maine, VT but I will research. Thanks

  9. #9
    Registered User r0ckrat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbernier View Post
    Thanks...Looks like I need to recalculate how long it'll take me on the BRP and Skyline. Not sure my mapping accounted for the slow speed. Great call out!
    If you drop the routes into Google Maps, they actually have a pretty good time estimate (not including stops). Enjoy the trip!

  10. #10
    Registered User jonnybow's Avatar
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    Having done that ride about 572 times, once you get above Va and close to DC, there's nothing scenic that you can take where 100 miles doesn't take all day.
    Hugging the coast line absolutely sucks, traffic is awful on 95 and associated roads. Cutting up through Pa is certainly more scenic but you'll also run into traffic.
    Other than BRP and Skyline which are great roads BUT very slow, just run slab and get there. Minus the BRP/Skyline, plan on 300+/- miles a day of easy riding and take the 3 days.
    I actually don't mind the NY Thruway above NJ, it's a nice ride and gorgeous views but it is slab. Get to Albany and cut across 90 (also slab) heading east. That route is MUCH better than messing with 684/84/90 near the NYC traffic.

    Good luck, have a safe ride
    Jon
    K1600GT & R1200GSA
    BMW MOA #220293

  11. #11
    Registered User SBAIINE's Avatar
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    Know that too well. When I head to WV or Ohio from eastern MA getting across the Hudson is the worst part and I stop in Winchester, VA which is 550 miles from Falmouth, MA. Done that in a day on my K1200GT more probably 5 times.
    Leaving from western Massachusetts I have run out to the Taconic south to the Beacon for something more interesting.
    I have taken the Merritt but that is a parallel to I-95. I usually cross the Hudson at Beacon and run to Scranton. The crossings at the Tappan Zee or any further south are to be avoided, in my opinion but that said last fall coming up from Georgia I did take I-78 in eastern PA to 287 in NJ, cross the Tappan Zee (it will always be called that despite the current governor of NY) to Merritt.
    I-84 is a boring road that sometimes get jammed up with construction toward Harrisburg. If you take more time you can just go up into the Catskills and cross the Hudson at Poughkeepsie or further north on the Rip Van Winkle. Running Rt 17 and 88 up toward Albany is nice, although route 20 running south and parallel to the NYS Thruway is lovely.
    For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. Winston Churchill

  12. #12
    Have you checked out Butler maps and the MABDR, mid Atlantic backroads discovery route. Part dirt and back roads from NC to the NY border. Keeps you out of the mess of major cities etc.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBAIINE View Post
    ... I did take I-78 in eastern PA to 287 in NJ, cross the Tappan Zee (it will always be called that despite the current governor of NY) to Merritt...
    When you posted I read this but did not understand what you meant. This past weekend I drove across the Tappan Zee and now understand.

    Unbelievable. What a joke!
    2013 F700GS

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  14. #14
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vark View Post
    When you posted I read this but did not understand what you meant. This past weekend I drove across the Tappan Zee and now understand.

    Unbelievable. What a joke!
    Yeah! It would have been better if he changed his name
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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