Some families play sports or watch movies. Mine rides motorcycles. It’s become a bonding experience as we plan trips, travel to new places, and explore different roads. We have been everywhere from as far south as Key West, up into the northeast, and out west into South Dakota and Wyoming. However, we primarily ride in our home states of Florida and North Carolina. Recently, my husband and I trailered our bikes up to NC, and we took a family motorcycle ride through the Blue Ridge.
Started the Motorcycle Ride Early
After a solid breakfast, we geared up, rolled the bikes out of the garage, and each selected our preferred music to stream through our headsets. Our bikes roared to life one by one, each with its own unique engine growl. There was my Kawasaki ZX14, my husband’s Harley Davidson Pan American, and my father’s Harley Trike. My mother also came with us, but she prefers to be a passenger. The gravel on the long driveway crunched as we made our way up the mountain to the road. I could feel the cool morning air was still damp as I made my way down the smooth community road.
Lake Glenville and the Forgotten Town of Hamburg
Our first stop was at Lake Glenville. There’s a cute little beach area where you can hang out and dip your toes in the water. But what really makes this spot interesting is a small sign off to the side. It tells the story of a town that used to once be a thriving place with homes, businesses, and farms. Back in 1940 The Aluminum Company of America was in full production mode as it was World War II and aluminum was in high demand. To address this supply and demand issue, a hydroelectric dam was constructed on the wet fork of the Tuckasegee River. Once the dam was constructed, water began filling in behind it to create the reservoir. Today, we know know this reservoir as Lake Glenville.
Unfortunately, the town of Hamburg was located in the valley behind the damn. This meant that everyone living in the valley was relocated to somewhere else. The vacant and abandoned town now sits at the bottom of the lake.
Wheels Through Time
Our next stop on the itinerary was Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley. It’s a huge warehouse that houses a massive collection of vintage motorcycles and Harleys. It’s unlike any museum you’ve ever been to. Instead of just lining up the bikes, there are full scenes created to set the stage and see the motorcycles in all of their glory.
You’ll immediately notice the strong smell of motor oil when you enter. Don’t be concerned; this is actually a good thing. The staff takes great care in maintaining the motorcycles so that they can all start up. Just ask one of the helpful guides, and they are more than happy to start one up for you.
After wandering around what seemed like an endless collection of bikes, we were feeling pretty hungry. Before heading out on the road again, we decided it would be good to stop and have a bite to eat. We stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall BBQ spot. It wasn’t fancy, but the people were friendly, and the food was delicious. The trike came in handy because we had more food than the four of us could possibly eat. We brought it home, and it was just as delicious later that night as a snack.
State Park Vistas
With our bellies full, it was time to get back on the bikes! Instead of taking the highway, we decided to take the long way home through the scenic and winding roads of the state park. We could actively feel the stress leaving our bodies as the sun warmed our skin and the gentle wind kept us cool.
As we twisted and turned, making our way through the mountains, we stopped at the most enticing lookouts. Check out some of these views! I love visiting in the summer when the trees are full of green leaves, and everything looks lush. It’s like a blanket covering the mountains. The higher you get, the further you can see with small towns populating the valleys and homes scattered across the peaks.