Is there a better way to breathe in the spectacular autumn colors of the High Country than cruising along the Blue Ridge Parkway on a motorcycle? No roof over your head, the multi-hued canopy above takes hold of a rider’s soul, whether shrouded in an early morning mist or shimmering in the afternoon sun.

For 469 miles, from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Cherokee, N.C. and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway cuts through a sensory delight, a treasure forest of twists and turns, highs and lows and, of course, grand vistas from 200 overlooks. Tired of riding? Many of the overlooks also serve as trailheads, so a chance to stretch your legs is in the offing.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is spectacular for motorcycling, to be sure, but while in the High Country be sure and visit Grandfather Mountain. The winding road to the top is a treat in itself, but stop and walk across the mile-high suspension bridge. The horizon stretches and stretches before you, in at least three directions.

Want a side trip? The 19 miles U.S. 2211 between Blowing Rock and Linville is a Sunday drive type of treat. Or Shull’s Mill Road from near Blowing Rock to Hound Ears and Foscoe brings lots of smiles. You might even see some unusual country residences along the way and if you don’t mind a dirt and gravel road, a side trip on the Old Turnpike Road pays colorful dividends.

A little further south of Avery County, Mount Mitchell thrusts up as the highest peak east of the Mississippi River and, as you might expect, is worth the ride to the top — but only if mountaintop panorama grandeur is your thing.

In and around the High Country, there are plenty of great country roads to explore. Straightaways are rare, so opportunities to “hit the apex” of a curve are numerous.

Whether you have a Bonnie, a Duck, a Hog or a Dresser, motorcycling in the High Country is another name for fun, especially in the autumn season.

Need repairs, service or another bike?

Action Cycle Sports, 2349 Old U.S. 421, Boone, NC 28607. (828) 262-1558. Sells motorcycles, as well as offers expert repair services.

Stamey’s Cycle Center, 836 Kimberly Lane, Boone, NC 28607. (828) 264-5847. Sells motorcycles, offers repair services, and even sells tires, too.

Boone Action Cycle, 8483 U.S. 421, Vilas, NC 28607, (828) 297-7400. Features motorcycles, ATVs, side by sides, plus service and repair.

Central Cycle Sales Yamaha, 102 N. Main St., Jefferson, NC 28640. (336)-846-7744. On road? Off road? Central cycle sales as a Yamaha solution.

Hill River Cycles, 13282 U.S. 221 South, Fleetwood, NC 28625. (336)-877-2802. As of Aug. 16, Hill River Cycles is no longer doing repair work and offering sales by appointment only, after 6 p.m.

Smokin’ Motorcycle Repair, 1145 Bare Creek Access Road, Jefferson, NC 28640. (336)-977-3452. Specializes in repairing older motorcycles, like Shovelheads, Evos, and Twincam.

Brushy Mountain Powersports, 4641 West U.S. 421, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. (336)-973-3325. Dealer in Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha. New and pre-owned. Parts & service. Street bikes, dirt bikes, ATVs, side by sides, and trailers.

CrossRoads Harley-Davidson, 1921 U.S. 421, Wilkesboro, NC 28697. (336)-667-1003. New and pre-owned inventory of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, in Sport, Cruiser, Adventure Touring, Grand American Touring, Trike and CVO categories. Offers full line of accessories and service, as well as customization.

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