Ancient natural beauty and mountain history. Joseph’s family has deep roots in the Smokies for almost 200 years. Today Joseph Mcelroy will be discussing the road life in the smokies. The mountains are a popular attraction for sightseeing and exploration with many wonderful roadside restaurants. Yesterday was Robert Burns birthday so later a guest will talk about the food that was eaten at that dinner. Bulloch parkway is one of the many sights. There is also the Blue Ridge which runs down the spine of US RT 441. Blue Ridge Parkway was constructed under President Roosevelt’s administration beginning September 1935. Because it was designated a National Park there were new rules for land. Residents unable to make commercial developments to their land for use it for anything other than agriculture. This would later change to come extent. The Cherokee section opened in the 1950’s. The entrance to Blue Ridge begins in Swain County. Cherokee Valley and Blue Ridge Parkway have a lot of places where you can stop and enjoy the scenery.
Another well known road is the Road to Nowhere, an unfinished road in Bryson city. The project started when the government took over public and private land to build the Fontana Dam. Locals were assured that they would be reimbursed with a road allowing displaced residents to access family cemeteries. Construction began in the 40’s then stalled due to environmental issues. The road to nowhere stops at a tunnel that leads to a trail.
Val Gene Hamilton, also known as Pops. He is the owner of Pops Place, a roadside restaurant in Maggie Valley. Pops in a motorcyclist and an expert in roadside dining. In addition, Pops is also the first African American elected to Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce. Before coming to maggie Valley Pops was living in Florida but a friend in Transylvania County encouraged pops to move and work for him. They worked together for three months before that partnership ended and he has lived in the mountains for 30 years since. By October of 2016 he became the owner of Pops Place. His restaurant is a classic roadside diner. Pops is a biker who didn’t start this until he tuned fifty. Buddies of his pushed him to ride. He now owns a Suzuki 109. All of his sons ride motorcycles and his grandsons ride dirt bikes. Pop and Joseph share stories about their childhoods and the antics that they engaged in.
If you like curves, ride in the mountains. While it is a renowned trail, the problem with the very popular Tail of the Dragon Trail is that many younger people on sports bikes ride so fast that they get too close to other riders. People also need to be cautious of the wildlife while riding. This trail is one of the premiere spots for sports car touring. People come from all over, even abroad. Pops recalls a time when he encountered Russian tourist that rented bikes and rode the trail. Maggie, Gatlinburg, and Cherokee valley has many festivals for riders. There is a lot of road culture. Diamondback Cherohala Skyway are two trails that Pops recommend. Six years ago with his biking club, the GT Rider, they planned a trip to the Cherohala Skyway. It was their first ride of the year, and pop just replaced a bad tire. He got a call that they would have a run on saturday. After riding on 300 hundred miles, Pops slept for 3 days.
Joined by miike Ogletree who is here to talk about Robert Burns. One of Burns poems was a humorous one called the Address to Haggis. It described the virtues of haggis and how it made the Scotts strong. Mike recites this poem.