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El Paseo I: The Smokies in April--More Details


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I swung through the Smokies last week to choose between four places. The picture above was taken last week, on that trip. Just wanted to whet your appetite!


To date (2/23) we have 41 people signed up, and we are still more than 6 weeks away. Yahoo! I've closed that initial thread, but if you are seeing this and would like to come, just reply to this one. Do the same if you have to cancel. Here's the most current list--I'll keep it updated:


IN List To Date


David Baker, Nashville (ReCourses)

John McDonell, Miami (Jake)

Jim Pritch, Knoxville (2K2RT)

John Pritchard, Newton, NC (unregistered)

Peter Scott, Northern NJ, (PeterScottNJ)

Larry Rudolph, Evansville (LJR)

Marty Mayer, Cleveland area (marty mayer)

Chad Hargis, Nashville (chadhargis)

David Bearden, Nashville (GTR)

Randy Etheridge, Atlanta (Randy)

Lynn Kanable, Lafayette (Knobby10)

Bob Ziner, Atlanta (Z-Man)

Pat Ziner, Atlanta

Michael Warax, Knoxville (mikewarax)

Andrew Duthie, Nashville (aduthie)

Bill Poche, Lexington (whpoche)

Andy Abernathy, Jacksonville (Letmedrive)

Jim Wilkins, Atlanta (Bayport)

Woody Woodruff, Winter Garden, FL (Agent_Orange)

Jerry Elliot, Enterprise, AL (JerryElliott)

Dick Schwartz, Deep Creek Lake, MD (aaflyer)

Kevin Little, Chelmsford, MA (kcl)

Tim Cropley, Ohio (Beemr69)

Gabe Gutierrez Sr., Chicago (gabriel gutierrez sr)

David Sprague, Sullivan, OH (ex-hogwild)

Tim O'Donnell, Tallahassee (tallman)

Mitchell P. Patrie, Ann Arbor

Gary Snipes, Charlotte (mojocyclist)

Mark Abbott, Durham (oldtime)

Phil Fuson, Knoxville (itchybro)

Bill Hawkins, Nashville (K2R)

Randy Shields, Charlotte (RandyShields)

John Madel, Charlotte (JohnBoy)

Rich Edwards, Tampa (RichBMW)

Robert Miller, Hartland, CT (Crash)

Dave Hornstein, Indialantic, FL (titanman)

Dave Cantin, New Orleans (dcantin)

J.D., Eastern, TN (J.D. & Kandy)

Kandy, J.D.'s SO

Chris Kinney, Conyers, GA (Chris K)

Ken Insley, Atlanta (Kinsley)

Kenny Haynes, Friendsville, TN

Ed Gray, Holly Springs, NC (EdCG)

Gene Smith, Kokomo, IN (geno99)

John Thompson, Warrenton, VA (johnit)

Steve Bearden, Houston (SteveB)

PJ (Steve's SO)

Dave Sawyer, Chesapeake, VA (dave sawyer)

Billy Jennings, Southeast TN (Mr Pou)

Roy Harrah, Chattanooga (rharrahtr6)

Russ Daniels, Ellicott City, MD (Russ)

Steve Hebert, Enterprise, AL (SteveHebert)

Ted Panhuis, Chagrin Falls, OH (tpanhuis)

Mark and Christine Davis, Cumming, GA (madavis)

Dean Thornton, GA (GrayNFast)

Bill Krumpe, Glen Burnie, MD (dezntz)


Now here are more details.


Where? Our base will be at the Best Western Great Smokies Inn & Convention Center in Cherokee, NC, right in the heart of the Smokies (one-half mile from the southeast corner of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). I've arranged a special rate of $49/night for a smoking or non-smoking room with two queen beds in each room, in case you want to share. Please call the hotel directly to make your reservations (828/497-2020). Mention that you are with the BMWRT group. They are holding 35 rooms for us, but any that aren't taken will be released to the public 2 weeks ahead of the event. It's a nice hotel.


The hotel is at 441 North and Aquoni Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719. You might also want to create a waypoint to the hotel with this lat/long and navigate directly to it: N35.29.900, W083.18.408.


If you would like to camp, there's a very nice Cherokee KOA 5 miles north on Big Cove Road, inside the boundaries of the National Park (828/497-9711; N35.31.741, W083.17.014). They have Kamping Kabins, Kamping Kottages, and every type of camp site available. It's not really much cheaper than the hotel, so I didn't bother getting a group rate.


To get there, follow this map on their site. You have to go right by the Best Western to get there. If you happen to be coming south down the BRP, get off at the Cherokee exit. Go S on 441 for 1/2 mile. Turn left on Big Cove Road. Go N again for 5 miles. The KOA will be on your right.


When?Friday, 11 April through Sunday, 13 April, 2003. The average high in Cherokee, NC is 70 and the average low is 38. There's no appreciable snow in April. It could be chilly in the higher elevations. About 3 inches of rain falls in the entire month. The tourists are still fat and happy and hibernating in their homes, so the roads will not be clogged with slow moving cages.


Schedule? Here's some lose planning. I'm just setting some gathering points to keep us headed in the same direction. From there we can all do what we want. I see from the list of attendees that many of you have not been to a BMWRT.com event before. What you'll find is lots of behind the scenes organization, but not much that's apparent. We just set a meeting place, pick some key events, and let things happen, like riding, eating, chatting, etc.


01:00p, Friday--We'll start by meeting at 1:00p (remember that Cherokee is on EST) in the Best Western parking lot. I'll pass out ride sheets that will keep us occupied for five hours or so. I'll post these here about a week in advance. The ride sheets will have suggested routes, mile markers, estimated time to complete, meeting places to meet up with people of a different pace, emergency contact numbers, and the nearest motorcycle dealers for the areas you'll be passing through. The areas you'll be riding through will be described loosely, with safety suggestions. Each ride will have a designated leader. They might not know the area, but they have known riding skills and will set the right tone. None of this is meant to restrict you. Nobody has to do anything. If you want to do your own ride, that's cool. If you want to take a route sheet and do it on your own, no problem either! We're just providing a framework if you want one. I'll likely start us out with a few thoughts about Riding Well.


06:30p, Friday--Meet back at the hotel, change, and find some friends to grab a bite to eat with. Nothing formal planned.


08:00a, Saturday--After breakfast on your own, meet in the parking lot again at 8:00a. We'll talk for a few minutes about what you encountered in your rides the afternoon before, then head out for a long ride. It'll involve the Cherohala Parkway, for sure, and some back roads. I'll have the details later. Actually, there will be several rides based on skill and distance preferences, which other people will lead. I suspect we'll keep the groups to 5-8 bikes. I'll suggest some places to meet for lunch so that people from out of town--and stragglers--can hook up there. It'll be a long day of riding, taking pictures of some beautiful spots, and riding with friends. Some of the things you'll see include the Cherohala, one of the best motorcycle roads in the SE, the dam where Harrison Ford jumped into the river in that scene from The Fugitive, lots of back roads scenes from where Deliverance was filmed, deep gorges, tall peaks, thick forests, and lots more.


07:00p, Saturday--We'll have a group dinner at Myrtle's Table Restaurant. I'll get you more details on that shortly, and I'll ask you to let me know if you'll be there so that they can plan. It's next to the hotel, by the way. They'll open back up in mid-March and have promised to give us our own area of the restaurant. I'll let you know the cost, too, and we'll just collect that night.


07:00a, Sunday--A more local ride for 5 hours, followed by lunch, and then go our separate ways home. Some people will have to leave earlier in order to get home, obviously.


Cost? You'll be responsible for your own lodging expenses and you'll be on your own whenever we eat together except Saturday night, our group dinner. See above. There are no other expenses.


Remember, if you ride a motorcycle, no matter where you are in your riding development, you are welcome. We'll be gentle, instructive, challenging, or whatever we need to be so that you have fun. The best riders will be challenged, and the more tentative riders will leave with a better grasp of their riding.


"El Paseo" means "The Ride," loosely translated. Usually this will be in the Smokies, but it might move around within a few hundred mile radius. I'm doing the first one, but after that it'll be whatever the participants want. My hope is that it will build into something so memorable that you won't want to miss the next roman numeral, which you can tentatively plan on happening in October of this year.

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Yep! This sounds like BIG fun. Probably bring my brother John with me (he's a BMWRT.com lurker with a tangerine 1100S) from Newton NC. We are looking forward to it!

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Hi David,

I'm hoping to be there, so much so, that I've made the hotel reservation.

Now, I just have to talk my wife into coming along.

If she decides not to come, I'll probably ride up Saturday by noon, stay overnight, then leave Sunday.

Thanks for putting all of this together. I look forward to meeting you and many of the great people on this board.


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It looks like work might interfere with my schedule that week end, but maybe I can hook up for part of it.

For GS riders (or even RT's), there is a very nice diversion close to the motel David recommends that might make a good after dinner trip if you still have daylight. From Cherokee, go north on the parkway to the Balsam mountain turn off. Go to the end of it (about 6 miles), and take the one way gravel road (Heintooga Pass). This road is 14 miles of one way primitive gravel, but is in good shape. It eventually turns in to two way, and comes out back in Cherokee. Has a stream crossing, but it is paved, so rt's can make it ok. Some beautiful country, and off the beaten path.

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Yo Jim,


Is it possible to tell the officer "I realize how fast I was going but, my Rate of Hoon was MUCH lower!


(I'd like to see a scale posted)

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Reservation made. grin.gif

Hope all the RT's won't mind an RSL in their midst. blush.gif

At least it is Fast Black with

Silver accents. tongue.gif

Not hardly can I restrain my enthusiasm. ooo.gifshocked.gifooo.gif

I'll be there if the crik don't rise, cool.gif

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This sounds like a BLAST! Count me in..... I already set up my reservation at the Hotel.....


If there's anyone in the Raleigh/Durham/Greensboro area that wants to connect for the ride out and back, just drop me a PM....

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One other thing I forgot to mention. One of the route sheets will have you stopping at the really nice "Wheels Through Time" transportation museum in Maggie Valley, NC. You might have read about this in all the m/c rags. There are more than 220 motorcycles on display, stretching back to 1903. Very cool stuff, and close by.

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When I called to make my reservation the clerk imediately asked, are you with the BMW group? They must be taking a lot of reservations tonite.


Looking forward to the Smokies smile.gif

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I reserved two rooms for myself and family grin.gif. Should be lots of fun. I'll be there all 3 days. Looking forward to meeting some new folks. Should we block off another room because I took two?



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Count us IN, the room is reserved. Steve Bearden and PJ from Houston. 962 miles. Does that make us the long distance winner? smile.gif It's been 4 years since I was in NC last so we are really looking forward to playing in the Smokies and meeting everyone. I have really missed the mountains. Highest thing around here is the bridge over the ship channel. I trust the Dogwoods will be in bloom. Actually they are floral bracts but "in bract" just does not sound right. smile.gif

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David, add me to the list. I did Torrey in October with Ex Hogwild and it was great. Maybe some of the west coast crowd would like to win the long distance award this trip. grin.gif

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Dave, I'm in, and have reservations!


If you can, sned me your intended route sheets. I've lived in the SE TN area for 7 years now, and likely know most of the roads you are likely to use.


I can also serve as a ride leader or sweep rider if needed.





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Dave, Add one more to the list. I have the reservation and will be hooking up with AAFLYER for the run down! That is if we can get ourselves out of the snow! Have not seen you or most of the others since Mayhem so I am looking forward to it!

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I will join you on this event as well. I plan on rooming with Jerry Elliot. This event is on our 18th anniversary, and my wife asked me to go and enjoy myself. What a wonderful woman!


See you then.



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I've updated the attendance list. It's now at 55. I'm sure we'll add some and drop some in the next four weeks, but I'm very excited about this! Maybe you can tell! grin.gif


We'll be scouting the routes in the next two weeks. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. smirk.gif


Incidentally, given the response, you might go ahead and quickly snag your room. And don't forget that there's a casino nearby (since we'll be on an Indiana Reservation). So there are some "other" things to do if you get bored with riding. How that would happen is beyond me, but you never know!

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"We'll be scouting the routes in the next two weeks. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it." smirk.gif


Couldn't happen to a nicer fella' blush.giftongue.gifwink.gif



David's "Dirty Deeds", done dirt cheap? blush.gifcrazy.gif

Will scout the route for free!! cool.gif

Thanks for your time, effort and initiative grin.gif






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The more the 'in" list grows, the more I will do my best to participate. When I rode near the end of the group at 4T, the sight of about 25 - 27 staggered RTs going down the road in front of me was awesome. I can't comprehend how incredible 50+ will be!



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David, thank you so much for putting this together. I made my reservations tonight. I'm all set for the trip. I can't wait!! grin.gif


I should get there sometime late Friday.

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I've got my reservations made. I'm looking forward to challenging the Cherohala again. It WON'T beat me again!

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Hey sorry about this but i cant find the list of hotels in nc,i coppied it of the post, but have lost it,could it be reposted or is there another way to get it,thanks, Geno

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Hey sorry about this but i cant find the list of hotels in nc,i coppied it of the post, but have lost it,could it be reposted or is there another way to get it,thanks, Geno


Gene, you'll find it at the top of this thread. Be sure that you click back to page 1.

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David--count me in-- I will be coming with Marty Mayer.PS he left for Daytona on his bike 3/31/03 from Cleveland and it was 22 degrees I am sure he is warming up by now--see you soon.Ted

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I'm looking to find a partner to ride up with. When are you guys in the Nashville crew leaving?


Chad, I'm not sure yet. Jake is flying in from Florida the night before. His bike is here in Nashville. He and I are going to ride together, leaving super early Friday. No firm plans other than that yet.

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Christine and I will be heading up Saturday after the ERC.

Hotel reservations made. We'll try to be there by dinner time Saturday evening grin.gif.


Keep the light on for us.

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Ok gang, my Harley riding buddy heard me talking about riding to the mountains and said "You're gonna ride in the mountains and not invite me?" So I explained that I was meeting some new friends and didn't think anyone would care. He laughed and said, "You won't even know I'm there. I'll ride in the back and catch up down the road". I just wanted to make sure no one minded me bringing a friend.


You know the difference in a Harley and a Hoover? The position of the dirt bag... grin.gif We go round and round about each other’s bikes since I purchased the RT in Sept 02. He bought a Road King in August 02. (btw, it still has stock exhaust!)


I'm trying to talk my father and one if his riding buddies, they live in western NC, into meeting up with us. Both on RT’s. They've taken us on many great rides over the years.


Let me know your thoughts. I don’t want to over-complicate things.




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Ok gang, my Harley riding buddy heard me talking about riding to the mountains and said "You're gonna ride in the mountains and not invite me?" So I explained that I was meeting some new friends and didn't think anyone would care.


You are correct. None of us will care, and he'll be perfectly welcome. If someone does not make him feel welcome, I'll personally kick his butt (unless he's bigger than me). cool.gif

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Thanks David. I'm still laughing about the butt kicking. When you meet him you'll understand. 6' 320 lbs. shocked.gif (One more reason he’ll be riding in the back! Not exactly the knee scraping type)


He's hilarious though. We've ridden many miles together.


Looking forward to it!


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When you meet him you'll understand. 6' 320 lbs.

At that size and riding a Harley perhaps I should apply for a different plate before I come exhog.jpgwink.gif

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David...how early is "super early"? You talking about pre-daylight? I though about leaving around 6 or 7am. I haven't scoped out the total distance. I figure it's about 5 or 6 hours to get there. Don't plan on pushing real hard. I'd like to enjoy the trip as much as possible. I get enough deadlines at work.

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Count me in. Looking forward to my first BMWRT.COM gathering. will be there late Friday afternoon at Best Western.

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Just in the event that anyone else is interested in extending El Paseo , Ill be departing Albany Ga April 8th with several days to ride with no plans other than to enjoy being back east to the fullest .......


If anyone else is interested in joining for several days in the Smokies either post or e mail me ...... Probably the eve of the 8th will be spent at TWO in Suches Ga but beyond that who knows ......




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Sorry folks but I am going to have to back out of this trip. Looks like I am going to be spending a few weeks in NYC on business right around that time. Bummer, but you got to get the work while the gettin's good if you know what I mean. I will be there in spirit though and if something changes at the last minute I'll try to sneak it in.

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