By: Jamie Bernal III
Chapman Highway is full of motorcyclists everyday, and that number will continue to grow as fall brings more comfortable temperatures and beautiful scenery.
The eastern third of the state features exhilarating roads that bring travelers from all parts of the country to this area.
“We come up here every year,” Shirley Quails said. “We come here and do the Dragon and then go to Chattanooga and do the Trail of Tears.”
Tony Anderson moved to the area from New York, and loves the long riding season that Tennessee has to offer. He was able to put 36,000 miles on his bike in his first three years here. That is an amount that he wouldn’t have been able to attain up north due to the quicker onset of inclement weather.
Smoky Mountain Harley Davidson in Maryville helps fuel the motorcycle craze in the area and doubles as a hangout spot for bikers. The 50,000 square foot building is packed with new and used bikes. The store is ranked in the top 10 in sales among all Harley Davidson locations.
“I have been to Daytona, Sturgis and out west and this is the biggest shop I have seen,” Mike Kirkpatrick from Illinois said.
The Harley campus also features a restaurant and a stage area called The Shed. There is a performance most weeks and crowds range from 400 people to as many as 2,000 when popular acts, such as the Kentucky Headhunters, are in town.
Seymour resident George Bends is the activity director and organizes events for the local hog chapter. There are events throughout the year, but during this time there is usually one to two per week. Many of the rides benefit a charitable organization, but they also provide a time to socialize.
“Riding together is more social. It is also a lot safer to ride in a group because it is easier to see a group,” Bends said.
The chapter has around 500 to 600 members. Those interested in joining the chapter can go to dragonhog.com for more information or attend a monthly meeting on the third Thursday of every month at The Shed.
East Tennessee: A Motorcyclist’s Dream
By: Jamie Bernal III