>NORTH CAROLINA’S STATE ROAD 209 FROM HOT SPRINGS TO LAKE JUNALUSKA N.C.
>You remember the last ride report? I left out of Erwin TN. and followed TN. SR 352 South to the North Carolina State line, where the SR number turns to SR 212. I followed SR 212 until I came to where the road T’s into US 25/70. This time, I traveled north on US 25/70 until I found SR 209. I was on my way to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. A nice little town dedicated to tourism and support of Cherokee, N.C., a town with a huge gambling casino owned by the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee is also the “gateway” to The Dragon. A famous State Road rambling it’s way over a few mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. Most people start their ride at “The Gap” and then continue on to explore other great roads in the area such as the Cherohala Skyway. I’ve been here several times, and I always enjoy the roads.
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Coming down this way though was a new direction for me. I’m still learning the back roads of North Carolina and my beloved Tennessee. I’m always so grateful when I am able to find roads that stimulate my senses. State Road 209 is another one of those roads that will give you great pleasure. It’s not really a road that requires great skill, although the twists and turns of the climb up and down the mountains can be robust. It’s more of a wonderful ride with pleasurable sights. The landscape changes quite a bit in just a few short miles! From great stony outcrops, to overlooks of valleys carpeted in lush green forests, the sound of the inevitable creek or river winding it’s way through the valley making it’s way up to where you stand…silently awed into submission. Your heart is soaring, and your brain is just taking a vacation. This is what riding does for us when we are solitary riders.
There comes a time once your close to the end of your ride near Maggie Valley, where the lands become flatter. Farms crop up. Cattle, plowed fields, ramshackle out buildings, sun bleached wood planks and sagging barn doors. It’s all in a few hours of riding.
This is a road where you can take your time, amble along and not have a care in the world. A few times, I was approached from the rear by traffic, but there were plenty of “pull-outs”, areas where the slower traffic could pull off the road and allow the speedsters to continue on without us. I laugh at these people. I guess the locals have “been there, done that” and are annoyed by us “LOOKY LOUS”. I figure that is one of the casualties of living in a beautiful area and never really seeing it…is you have to deal with those of us who do see it.. and love it.
There is so much to this road for us to enjoy. As always, it only takes an attitude of “I was going nowhere when I started, I”ll be going nowhere when I get there!” Take your time to smell the aroma of the wood, the stone, the creeks and rivers. Take time to admire the complexities of your surroundings as well as the road. You’ll be glad you did!
Once I arrieved in Lake Junaluska, I made my way to Maggie Valley and the famous “WHEELS THROUGH TIME” museum…I’ve written one segment of that for you and it should be posted soon…I expect 3 segments. You won’t believe your eyes!