A change of seasons arrives, bringing new adventures as the mountains’ green cloak fades. My mesh jacket trades closet space with my favorite leather one. Autumn vanquishes those excuses not to ride as the summer heat diminishes and the afternoon thunderstorms relent from what seems like a rigidly scheduled 4 p.m. downpour. For a few more months I won’t have to face winter’s chill on my daily motorcycle commute. Fall means never having to say, “I guess I’ll take the car today.”
Long, lonely roads urge us to motor deeper into the woods. Like the changing foliage, something about those autumn rides becomes transformative, bringing a since of relaxation and optimism and filling one’s soul with that intangible magic that keeps all of us riding motorcycles.
The transformation taking place along the hillside coincides with a transformation here at Blue Ridge Motorcycling Magazine. Starting with this issue, we’ve now become part of The Smoky Mountain News magazine group. Our new parent publication, the award-winning Smoky Mountain Living, has long covered the history, culture and outdoors of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Together, we can provide more adventures to exciting roads and riding destinations, added profiles of interesting riders from across the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as offering expanded customer service to both our readers and advertisers.
You’ll notice some new names in the masthead as well as some familiar ones. Our founders, Jeff and Carla Myron, are off to new adventures and business opportunities. They’ve promised to show up for some of our events and will always be part of the Blue Ridge Motorcycling Magazine family. Since visiting one of our Biker-Friendly Breweries would not be the same without them, I’ll make they will always get an invitation. I am grateful for their support and confidence in me as editor and share their passion for this unique magazine.
Scott McLeod takes over as publisher. He owns a mid-sized BMW GS and now has an excuse to ride it more often “for work.” He’s also the publisher of Smoky Mountain Living and The Smoky Mountain News, so his dedication to covering the Blue Ridge Mountains and his love of motorcycling will help us make this a bigger and better magazine.
I’ll still head up the editorial team, maintaining and expanding the Myron’s vision for this publication, as well as continuing to write some of our features. In addition to our regular contributors, we hope to add some new voices and creative talent you will enjoy.
In this issue, we continue our series of vineyard rides, exploring the newly created Crest of the Blue Ridge wine-making region. The vineyards and wineries of Henderson County, N.C., sit near the Eastern Continental Divide and make wonderful destinations for that weekend fall ride. Even if you don’t drink wine, the view from Point Lookout will make it worth the trip, and lunch at Burntshirt Vineyard’s bistro in Chimney Rock will be delicious. These vineyards in the heart of apple country welcome motorcyclists with open-air covered patios perfect for relaxing with your riding buddies on a beautiful autumn afternoon.
We also explore eastern Tennessee, following the Nolichucky River and parts of the Clinchfield Railroad. Along the way, we visit Johnson City, home to the famous “Southern Dozen” motorcycling roads. You’ll also find a preview of this month’s Barber Vintage Festival in Alabama, a must-attend event for any vintage motorcycle enthusiast. The Barber Motorsports Park and Museum hosts the annual gathering of antique iron each fall. The museum’s rotating collection of 1,400 bikes offer an unequalled tour of the last century of motorcycling.
Thanks for joining us, and maybe we’ll see you on one of those mountain backroads.
Michael E. Gouge