Gaspipe Goes to Alabama............
Even after last weekend's adventure in the Ozarks with DC950, I needed another ride. Gotta get into ridin' shape - I've been pretty lax on my dirt riding since Baja.
I got a Saturday off from work (two weeks in a row!), and decided to ride out to meet up with Iforgot and do a bit of dual sport riding around the Paint Rock, AL area. I'd never ridden around there at all, and Iforgot was kind enough to invite me for a look! :thumb
I left work in Corinth, MS at 1400 on Friday on the F650 Dakar (my KTM's 620 and 640 are both still waiting for parts :cry) and decided to take the back way to the Paint Rock area. I wanted to avoid the major two lane roads and avoid Muscle Shoals, Decatur, and the rest of the larger cities in northern Alabama.
Just outside Iuka, MS.
Rural Alabama! Farms, fields, and few folks.
The road names were highly entertaining.
The ride was hot and rather uneventful until a certain river in which it seems every bridge was out or the road LONG since gone.
Someone at Garmin was asleep at the switch here, as this road clearly has been gone for quite some time.
After riding in expanding circles for about 45 minutes, I found a way across, and made my way to the shores of the Tennessee River near Hobbs Island.
At 210 miles, I filled up the Dakar at New Hope, AL - with 3 gallons of fuel. Gotta love that EFI Rotax plant. :thumb
I met up with Iforgot, and had a few cool Budweisers and a thick steak, followed by a good snooze.
Total Miles: 215
We took off up a beautiful asphalt road north through Nebo, Paint Rock, Francisco and on up to Huntland, TN for breakfast and a couple more cups of coffee. I needed them to get the haze of those Budweisers out of my brain.
We saw a Jeep trail and decided to take a look.
The Dakar is a tad heavy for this stuff, but handles it in kind. Iforgot's F650 Classic is shod with Tourances, so we need to be careful where we go. He does a great job piloting that F650 through the rocks.
[more in a little bit - making chili fer dinner!]
We reacked a section which was proving to be tough with the low ground clearance of the F650 Classic and the Tourances, so we made our way back to the pavement, and sought another dirt path.
And we found it rather quickly - and asked for permission to ride - which we were granted.
After a few miles of rather nicely graded dirt, we came to a camp of folks drinking beer (at 1000 in the morning) on 4 wheelers, who rather politely told us to "go away", and they didn't care that someone else gave us permission.
With a sigh, we turned around and went back out the way we came in. :bluduh
Hmm....what's this here in the road?
That beauty was about 5 feet long and had *a lot* of buttons on his tail, which he demonstrated for ol' gaspipe........Rattlesnake chili methinks.....:deal
Northern Alabama is plenty hilly, and quite pretty.
[more to follow]
All this riding is making me hungry too--------I'll take some cheese with my chili---makes you fart you know :topes
And for desert---alabama tracklogs---if you could keep that GPS running this time----it's time to upgrade to the 276C with rechargeable battery GasPipe :grinner
So far, we keep getting turned back. The State Wildlife Management folks seem to have a mind and agenda of their own. It's a bit disappointing, but undaunted, we keep trying.
We rode some back woods country roads and came across some old structures that have been neglected for a good many years. On a hot, humid Alabama afternoon, this little stretch of CR9 was cool and shady - and quite pretty.
What's next Iforgot? A jeep trail a way past Estillfork - at the dead end of a chipseal road.
A little way further north from Estillfork is a 'retreat', with the biggest satellite dish I've ever seen. These folks mean business when it comes to satellite TV. :lol3 You could probably watch satellite TV from Alpha Centauri with this baby.
Once again, we're turned back, the area gated and marked NO TRESPASSING. :umph. Now it's starting to be a bit of a PITA, but the roads we've ridden to get from place to place are fun, and we're still having a good time.
Back to Estillfork, we stop for a cold soda and a rest. Damn, it's hotter'n hell today.
A closeup of the sign...........
There you have it, why go further than Estillfork?
Beer makes it worse. C'mon over. I'll put the fan on. :lol3
We left the urban sprawl of Etillfork and took the 'other' road. In a few miles, we came upon a man and his two kids who were unloading a 4WD 4 wheeler. We asked them about the road ahead, and he looked at Iforgots tires and said, "Y'all oughta head back and take this road..."
That was all Iforgot needed to hear, and we went where he said to not go. I have no idea what's ahead, and what is in store for us, but I don't really care. The scenery is gorgeous, the company fine, and I'm having fun. Lead on, Iforgot - I'm with you wherever we go.
The trail meandered along the banks of the stream for a few miles, with occasional mudholes, sand, and dry washes. I was really impressed how well Iforgot was handling his F650 Classic (with Tourances) through parts of this area.
Babyhead rock trails! Fun!
I will add a few of my pictures to this epic journey. The journey they said couln't be done.
After a hour on a great 2 lane road up to Huntland, TN then breakfase at the local cafe with some much needed coffee we headed out to find some dirt to play in.
This was the first trail we came across. We were headed to where I knew there would be good riding when I saw this trail. We had to try right?
Pipe shot on up this while I fought my tires up this rocky trail.
Here is the top of that little trail, it got what we thought was too tough for our bikes. Later we will learn that we were wrong.
Another shot of the snake road
This was on the way up to the Redneck camp, gee the head neck was a pleasent fellow. :bluduh
I got many more to come
After passing some guys on DRZ's and some two-strokers, we stopped and asked a couple of good natured and hilariously funny beer drinkin' dudes on quads which way to go.
They said, " The way you done came". :lol3
"Thar's some rugged trail on up aye-head".
Unfettered, we decided to go ahead. Worst case, we'll go back, right? Screw that, I never go back.
"Waaay-yell, if'n you boys are gonna go up that-a-ways, turn 'wraught' at dat cab-bean...an head on up that thar mount-teen.."
:huh Yeah, riiiiight.... the mount-teen :umph
And off we went. Towards dat cab-bean. :dunno
And we went "wraught", err, right twice, never seeing any cab-bean. There were a couple of tricky spots, and I rode Iforgots bike through one of the rocky sections when he got stuck. I've been in this stuff many times before.
My gawd, I can't believe he's piloted that machine in here. This guy's a tenacious rider.
And then there was that mount-teen - err - mountain. And then that's when it started getting difficult.
At the first of the rock ledges and the 20% grade climb..........
I just bought a 276C. My ol' 60C is dying on me. I killed it in just 15,000 easy gaspipe offroad miles. Who'd have thought?
Gaspipe is considering a new house in Alabama
"If we ain't got it. You don't need it" But the soda was SO cold....
Just a little trail in bama-lama
"Hey ya'll can't go up that trail with those tires"
Cool pics JH. Keep 'em coming.
At this point, I was wondering about the wisdom of riding up here. We hadn't seen a soul for over an hour, and Iforgot was struggling on a few technical sections.
I grew up on this stuff, although I was riding a 200lb bike, not a 400lb mini-pig with expensive roundels glued on the side.
And off I went.
The Dakar has an MT21 on the front and a Michelin Desert on the rear. Plenty of tahr :lol3 but it's geared wrong and has a marginal suspension to tackle this stuff the way I like to ride it. But I wheelie a bit, weight and unweight the front and rear ends, and negotiate some stuff I would have chosen NOT to ride the Dakar. In fact, I was thinking about my trials bike.
But here we are, and up we go. Damn. No breeze, 95 degrees and humid. I'm sweating bullets.
How long can it be? I'll just jet up to the next switchback and have a look......
We are suppose to go Right and up, right? I forgot to Gaspipe "It can't get worse can it?" "I ain't going back that is for sure"
Hmmm, "reckon that was at least 20% grade?"
Here comes Gaspipe...
This guy is amazing
This road is a piece of cake, just ask these guys.
They kept asking us. "How did you get those bikes up here?"
This is Ernest, he gave us a ice cold soda and most likely saved our lives.
I got more, and it gets better believe it or not.
The trail flattened a little. Just a walk in the park.
This was around the corner....
This was my first time EVER to ride a trail like this, as Gaspipe said there were a few places where I got kinda freaked that this stuff was WAY over my head and we figured that over the 20 miles of this shit I asked Pipe to ride my bike about 1/4 mile. This wan't one of them :-)
It was right after this that I hit a rock and tore a tenod in my elbow that I had torn about 2 years ago. So I get to continue with one arm :huh
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