I'm not sure what is going on, but it's kind of weird!
Several of my dirtbike and streetbike buddies have purchased KTM LC8 bikes (950/990 Adventures etc) in the last year or so. It's like the flu running through my friends. These guys don't just admire their bikes like we normally see from fellow riders. They are in love and obsessed with these things. And, just like a spouse or significant other, that love and passion also seems to be interrupted with periods of severe frustration (when things break on the bikes). And this does seem to happen to all of them at some point. But, they dismiss those breaks as a small price to pay for these awesome bikes.
I also follow an Advrider thread here in Georgia called DOGS (Dualsporters of Georgia). Same thing seems to be happening there. Seems like every month we are reading about new riders who bought one.
Today there are approx. 7 guys in my group of buddies that have an LC8 and several others who are talking about it. They formed their own informal exclusive club. They were going to call it the 990 club, but some of the guys have 950's. So, they called it the "LC8" Club. My friend Phil D. nominated and voted Stan A. to be the President. No none complained so he is the President. A few days later, Phil D. sent Stan his first complaint letter (seriously) to complain that there were not enough rides for the club being planned. So, Stan planned a ride.
Since I don't own an LC8, I'm not on the mailing list
, but the members can bring friends, so Phil forwarded an email to me about today's ride. (Thanks Phil). The email said "Street Only Ride to NW Georgia". So, I thought, great, I can bring my Suzuki Bandit. As LC8 owners are prone to do, Stan lied about the "Street Only" part.
So our little group was made up of Stan - Dark Gray 990 Adventure, Phil D. - Blue and Orange 990 Adventure, Don, White KTM Adventure (how many colors do they make in these things??). Andrew Buckley (ACME Rider's Supply), who was on his BMW GS 1200 because his new to him KTM 950 lost a Clutch slave yesterday. Didn't bother him, he still gushed like a 14 year old girl talking about a boy she likes in school about his KTM! FYI, he also really likes his BMW. (Must be nice! But, having several bikes helps him to empathize with the market he serves, he says.) We also had a brand new rider on the ride, Jim - very nice guy. Bought his first motorcycle 2 months ago. He bought Don's nice red V-Strom 650. Jim did great today. And, then there was me on my Suzuki Bandit.
So, here's our little group near the top of a nice dirt forest road ridge, somewhere in NW Georgia - (I was just following Stan all day). on his "Street Only" ride.
So, Andrew starts looking up the hill behind the middle guy in red in the pic (New rider Jim). He says "Hey, I know this place. Brown Dog from Advrider took me here one time" and he cranks up his BMW and takes off, standing on the pegs, up the more rocky and more dirtbike oriented road. He's got aftermarket exhausts and who knows what other mods on that thing. When he whacks the throttle - man that thing sounds good. I've never seen someone ride one of those big GS's like a dirt bike in person. I thought they were just big comfortable street bikes. He railed that thing pretty good up that hill. This evidently got Don's juices going, which is easy to do! :) Don jumped on his new to him 990 and took off after him. Looked like a dirt bike jumping over some rocks and small rock ledges. By now I'm understanding a little more about this Adventure bike thing. It's not just about going slow down smooth dirt roads like my Bandit is capable of doing. These bikes are pretty dirt capable, especially since you can also jump on one and tour the country! I hope I'm not starting to get the flu also!
After the guys come back down, they tell us that there is a great view at the top and suggest that only the more experienced riders go up who are riding adventure bikes. Stan gets that gleam in his eye and starts his bike. I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to see what was up there. I just take it nice and easy on the Bandit. Stan, however, rides his like a big dirt bike!
Stan's Adventure and my Bandit at the start of the rocky hill.
Stan at the top - pic looking West I think.
Continuing to test the limits of the Bandit as an Adventure Bike - looking East I think?
This brings up an interesting question. I hear Advrider Inmate Brown Dog took an interesting route on his 950 SE around here. We want to hear more about that! :)
After riding for several miles up this dirt ridge to the start of this hill, Jim, the new rider on the V-strom, informs us that he's only been riding a motorcycle for 2 months and this is the first time he's ever ridden on dirt in his entire life!! Ever! Jim rode well all day - always stayed within his limits. Never dropped the bike and I never even saw him wobble. Great job Jim! By the way, If you are ever reading this Jim, Stan lied about the ride didn't he!
For lunch we stopped at this place. It's on the outskirts of LaFayette Ga. We all gave it two thumbs up. Great food - Chili, Burgers etc., fast service - they get it about motorcycle riders - we want to ride. And very friendly service.
One thing I like about NW Georgia and the Chattanooga TN. area is it's different. We are so used to heading to Suches and surrounding areas. Someone said today, that when we start our bikes it's like they just automatically go to that area. The landscape in the NW part of the state is different. A series of long ridges with large flat valleys in between. Pretty area!
So, after lunch we headed up towards Chattanooga and Lookout Mtn. Lookout Mtn, is the site of famous civil war battles. (As a southerner I'm supposed to say "The War of Northern Aggression"
) The Confederates had cannons up here and held off the Union troups for quite a while until thick clouds came in and gave the Union Army a chance to attack. When you see the cannons up here and see how far off they were shooting, it's really amazing.
Some of our group: (L-R) Andrew, Me and Trail Boss Stan
There was free admission and no staff at Lookout Mountain today. They just left the gates unlocked. Andrew got all stoked and rode his BMW into the park and popped wheelies all through it.
Just kidding, but it could have happened and we told Andrew that even if he got arrested it would have been good PR for his business. He didn't agree.
From there, we toured the beautiful neighborhoods on Lookout Mtn. Very nice old neighborhoods. Then, Stan took us through the campus of Covenant College. Another cool place with great views in every direction.
Fall pic I found of Covenant College:
From there we kept riding down the ridge on a nice road. We came upon a hang gliding area. It's supposed to be one of the most popular places to hang glide in the nation. When you get up there and look at their jump off point, it must take some serious guts to do that.
A hang glider pilot (not sure what you call them) preparing his hang glider for a jump. Our bikes are in the background. It was very windy up there today and each pilot needed at least two helpers to help with his glider.
Enjoyed the ride everyone! Thanks for taking us on a great route Stan, and thanks Phil D. for letting me know about it!.
To be continued......