Euro Triumphs - NY to Nashville
I'm a member of a worldwide Triumph motorcycle owners club and am doing some research into shipping between 20 and 40 motorcycles from Europe to New York, the aim being to ride from there to Nashville and back again meeting our American members along the way. I think we will have 10 days on the road with a couple of "rest" days in Nashville. Looking for advice, hints, tips and guidance on whether this is a suitable time slot, points of interest such as must see places worth a detour, suitable accommodation for 20 odd hairy but gentle biker folks. Best time of year for this adventure.
Thanks in advance guys and gals.
Welcome to RTA!
Ten days is a nice slot of time, but it will go faster than you think. Does that 10 days include the rest days in Nashville, or is it 10 days PLUS your time in Nashville?
Here at RTA, we really don't "do" best places, since everyone's definition of "best" is different. For instance, that trip for me might include Shenandoah National Park's Skyline Drive, perhaps the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in southern Tennessee.
What you might do -- get yourself a nice atlas of the USA (you can get one from RTA, just scroll down). Take a look at it and see what's in the Eastern portion of the US that would interest a lot of people. Query some of the others who are going -- get a little something for everyone. Consider, perhaps, splitting into groups and go different places, meeting up in a given spot at a given time.
As far as accommodation for 20 people, you might consider ahead of time what towns/cities you will stay in (other than Nashville) and see if you can split between a few motels or rent a block of rooms.
Best time of year -- well, other than winter, each of the other seasons has its positives and negatives. In Spring and Fall, you'll have less competition for lodging and restaurants from families, because the kids are in school. Fall might get you some beautiful foliage in Shenandoah, as one positive, depending on when in the fall!
They Should All Be 'Rest' Days
I'm not a motorcyclist myself. I rode a bit when I was younger but never got as far as earning my license. What struck me about the exercise was the realization that slower back roads, with frequent stops, were far more enjoyable than just trying to make time on the busy, noisy motorways (Interstates we call them here). Since you've got plenty of time for your drives to and from Nashville, I'd suggest that you look for some 'roads less traveled' with a good bit of variety and several interesting places along the way to take short stops, especially to stretch your legs.
To that end, I'd look at leaving New York and heading down through New Jersey all the way to the southern tip of the state at Cape May and take the ferry over to Lewes DE. Next follow the coast down to Ocean City MD then continue down the Delmarva Peninsula past Assateague, Wallops and Chincoteague Islands (each of which has something unique to offer), finally crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel into the Norfolk VA area. Use various US highways to across southern Virginia and towards Asheville NC, the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After crossing the mountains, US-70 will serve as a good alternative to I-40.
For the other leg, start by heading for the very southwestern corner of Virginia and the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and then continue on, as Donna suggested, to use the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive finishing up on basically US-15 and US-30 past Gettysburg, Amish country, and Hershey (chocolate/amusement park) back to New York. You can, of course, use either route in either direction.
As noted, there are many, many attractions along those routes, as well as along other routes. Once you've made your decision on which roads to build your journey around, we can be a good bit more specific about details.
As for time of year, by all means try for Spring or Fall. The weather will be cooler and there will be far less traffic on the roads than in summer, while the roads will be clean and dry unlike winter. Fall has the additional benefit of spectacular foliage in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but that will also draw many 'leaf peakers' to the roads as well. In western Virginia, peak foliage would be towards the later part of October.
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