Season 1, Episode 3
Appalachia: Blue Ridge Parkway
Available now for AMC Premiere subscribers. Norman and his buddy Jason snake through the smokey mountains, hit the Dragons Tail, and party with the locals.
Ride With Norman Reedus Full Seasons 1 and 2 available now for AMC Premiere subscribers.
Norman refers to Appalachia as a "biker's dream," and now that he's found the time to experience the region, he's ready to see what he's been missing out on. He plans to ride from Atlanta to North Carolina and make some special stops along the way. His first stop is Brother Moto, a motorcycle co-op where riders can rent space to work on their bikes. There, he meets up with his friend Jason Paul Michaels, a custom bike builder, who introduces Norman to members of an all women motorcycle club called The Lady Fingers. "Like the donut," Norman notes.
Norman and Jason hit the road on a Confederate Hellcat Speedster and a Motus, respectively to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They admire a collection of vintage BMWs and Ducatis at Apex Cycle Shop. Norman struggles to get a vintage BMW R69S started, but finally gets it going and deems it the "hot rod of its time." The shop owners, Rachel and Wes, take the guys for some fried pies at a local spot called Walkers Fried Pies. Naturally, Norman digs the restaurant's name.
Norman and Jason return to their bikes and head to the Fontana Dam, which encloses an 11,000-acre reservoir and has 240 miles of shoreline. They stop to take a panoramic photo of the view.
From the dam, the guys head for Deals Gap, a motorcycle resort located at the end of a curvy road known as Dragon's Tail. Norman stops for photos and is told he looks like "Daryl from The Walking Dead." Though he falls in love with the place, he's determined not to end up on the "Tree of Shame," a makeshift shrine of motorcycle parts dedicated to those who didn't successfully ride the Dragon. Instead of riding on the crowded road, the guys play it safe and watch the Fiddies 4 Life mini bike race in the parking lot instead.
The next day, the guys swap bikes and head for the Blue Ridge Parkway. They make a pit stop near the Chief Motel and pose in front of a giant statue of a Native American a roadside attraction according to a local tattoo artist at Indian Ink Tattoos. The artist shares some brief history about the surrounding land that once served as Cherokee hunting ground during the Trail of Tears.
Norman and Jason make it to the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop to take in the scenic view up on the Great Smokey Mountains. They're happy with their choice to skip riding the Dragon.
Norman and Jason gear up for the last leg of their journey: Asheville. Norman describes the city as "where new age liberalism meets Bible Belt conservatism, and at the end of the day, they all go out for barbeque." They're there to visit a shop that specializes in rare Harley parts, but Jason suggests taking a detour to Freedom Biker Church. The guys sit in for a service where Pastor Bulldog delivers a moving sermon on a motorcycle. Later, they take part in a porta potty race where Norman is strapped into a custom portable toilet and dragged to the finish line by a motorcyclist. After the race, the whole congregation goes out for a community ride.
The guys take another detour - this time to a distillery called Howling Moon. Norman and Jason learn a little bit about their process and the history of how illegally running moonshine gave way to the beginning of NASCAR. Before they leave, Jason and Norman score some moonshine.
That night, Norman and Jason make it to A Broken Spoke and geek out over the shop's various bike parts. They drink beers with the surrounding community and commend the shop's sense of brotherhood and camaraderie.
The next day, it's time for the guys to head back to Atlanta, but Jason insists on making one last stop for ice cream at The Hop. As they eat their dessert, they reflect on their trip. "I can't think of anything we did that wasn't awesome," Norman declares.