Adventure Motorcycle Photographer Writer Author BMW Motorcycles
Michael ONeill Photographer Writer Motorcyclist Adventurer
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Adventure Motorcycle Photographer Writer Author BMW Motorcycles

"Motorcyclists who visit (The Foothills Area of Eastern Tennessee) talk of the legendary two wheel roads with names like "The Tail of the Dragon", "The Snake" and "Moonshiner 28". I’ve ridden them all and have always been the first to say that they are all technically challenging but hyped entirely too much. Because of their notoriety they have all become too crowded; unbearably so on weekends in prime travel season, and targeted by law enforcement to convert tourist speeding violations into local government revenue. There are so many other great roads in this area that no one ever speaks of. Maybe people are trying to keep them a secret but I’m letting this one out of the bag. Little River Gorge Road on the eastern Tennessee edge of Great Smoky Mountain Park, between Townsend and Gatlinburg, is one of the world’s great motorcycle roads. As technically challenging as any road I’ve ever ridden, this one has the added difficulty factor of being distractingly scenic as its pavement follows the sharp contours and flowing waters of the beautiful Little River Gorge."
-From "Roadwork: Images and Insights of a Modern Day Explorer"
The quote above is from my Amazon #1 best selling road travel book (Available in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon and also available on Apple Books). It sums up one of the beliefs I hold, and practice every time I wind up behind bars (The handlebars of my motorcycle). Explore! Some roads have garnered legendary status in the motorcycling community…most of them deservedly so, for their technical challenge, scenic beauty or both. The problem, however, is that they soon become tourists traps plagued with high traffic volume and overzealous law enforcement activity. While many motorcyclists will make trips to these legendary roads the focus of their vacations, I try to steer clear of them, as much as possible, for obvious reasons. I prefer to explore the roads less traveled and often find those that are true unspoiled gems. Pictured here is my BMW motorcycle on the side of Little River Gorge Road just north of Townsend, Tennessee. The road weaves through the forests of Great Smoky National Park in The Foothills of Eastern Tennessee and ultimately ends in the tourist Mecca of Gatlinburg…home to Dollywood and hundreds of other tourist attractions. The popularity of this destination has exploded and has resulted in major thoroughfares being built to usher the vacationers expediently to their desired haunts; leaving roads like this one lightly traveled. Now that’s progress in my book! Put all the vacationers in their minivans out on the super highways and leave these back road gems to the two-wheelers that will thoroughly enjoy them!