06-18-2008, 10:13 AM
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Decatur, AL
Russians on the Tellico
Iíll start the story at the beginning. A while back the missus and I went to a bike show in Atlanta. While there we saw this side car thing called a Ural. The missus really liked it. She is what you might call a bit vertically challenged. She discovered that with a sidecar rig you donít have to worry about falling over at stop lights if your feet donít touch the ground.
So anyway, almost a year later we discover there is a dealer a couple of hours away in Waynesboro, TN; Mikeís Urals http://www.mikesurals.com/ . We decide to mosey on up there to have another look at them. Really no plans to buy at this point. It was just suppose to be a sort of fact finding expedition. The fact that there are some good roads between Somerville and Waynesboro didnít hurt.
Unfortunately it turns out that Mike had a used 2005 Gear Up for sale. Even worse Mike turns out to be a pretty decent guy and offered the bike for a pretty decent price. So the next thing you know the dang thing is sitting in my garage.
Well after riding the thing around the neighborhood a few times I realize that this thing really shines on the dirt roads. There are a few dirt roads around the house, but a light bulb suddenly comes on in my head. I remember my trusty GPS tried to route me down a dirt road while riding the Cherohala Skyway. http://www.cherohalaskyway.com/. I also remember a road called the Kimsey Highway on my way to the Dragon a couple of years ago. I had planned to take it using my R1150RT but I asked a local about it and she looked at me like I was on drugs. So I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and took a different route.
Anyway, I discover that there are a boatload of dirt roads up around Tellico Plains, TN. I also come up with this idea to ride the Ural up there and spend a couple of days riding around. I talk to the missus about it. And since she was dropped on her head as a child, she immediately agreed.
So we pack up the beast and off we go. A word about packing. Let me tell you. These Ural things will haul a ton. But no matter what, the amount of stuff you NEED to bring will expand to just beyond the available space to carry it. I ended up adding an old tank bag to fit in the little bit of extra I couldnít cram into the side car.
We did ride some pavement to get there. Some of it pretty good. This is Hwy 30 in Tennessee
The horrid Kimsey Highway was the first bit of dirt we hit. The Kimsey runs East-West from Hwy 30 vic of Archville, TN over to Hwy 68 at bit south of Ducktown, TN. This is a photo of one of the switch backs on the Kimsey. But I have to tell you that most of the dirt roads we traveled this week end had similar curves.
The Kimsey also had some nice views.
But I was mostly paying attention to where I was going.
The next dirt road was Witt Road. It runs South from around Tellico Plains, TN to out in the middle of nowhere. The road had a lot of new loose gravel but was otherwise fine.
Wittís main claim to fame is its four water crossing. During this dry time of years all had water but none were a problem.
We stayed at the Green Cove Motel and Trailer Camp. This little mom and pop place is located on River Road about 20 miles out of Tellico Plains. It is not exactly high society but the price was right at $50 for a room with a kitchenette. The floors could have been swept better but the bathroom and the sheets were clean. And it is located smack in the middle of a great bunch of dirt roads.
The best part was the back deck. All the rooms open up onto this deck. What you canít see is the deck hangs out over the Tellico River. We could have fished off of it had we hadnít spent all our time riding.
The Green Cove story wouldnít be complete with a a shot of the neighbors. Most of which stopped by to chat sometime during our stay.
The next day was what I call the dirt Cherohala. It begins as a continuation of the River Road near Green Cove.
River Road passes underneath the Cherohala
After passing under the Cherohala it become Forest Road 81. FR 81 took us the rest of the way into Robbinsville, CN.
We had planned to ride Tatumís Gap and a couple of other dirt roads getting back to Green Cove but the Ural gave me some problems in Robbinsville and I chickened out and road the Cherohala back. I figured that if I was going to break down along the way I want it to be in a place where I might see another human being in the next month or so. No photo of the Cherohala as it is just another piece of pavement.
My fears were unfounded however. The beast ran fine after that and the next day we decided to do the tourist thing and check out Cades Coves. http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cadescove.htm Cades Cove was scenic and all that, but the traffic was more than I like and from what I have heard we hit it on a light day.
We also decide to do the squid thing and ride the Dragon. I mean we were in the neighborhood and all. If you are interested you can see us on www.killboy.com. Look for the side cars on Sunday 6/8/08.
But the best part of the Dragon was getting there. There is a one way dirt road that runs from Cades Cove to US 129 called Parsonís Branch. It was a hoot. There are supposed to be 19 water crossing. Ok we only counted 17 and they are all ďimprovedĒ with concrete but it was still a fun road.
And like I said it ends at US 129, the Dragon.
And that about ends the weekend. On the way home we hit Smith Field Rd. Smith Field runs from Green Cove to Coker Creek. It is chock full of tight switchbacks, great views and fun. But then so was the entire weekend.
And did I tell you that we got rained on and my trusty GPS quite working
But we finally made it home. Tired but full of smiles. And since we missed Tatumís Gap and a butt load of other roads it looks like we will have an excuse to go back.
2005 BMW F650GS
2012 Triumph Tiger 800xc
Yankee Dog screwed with this post 06-19-2008 at 10:25 AM