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Old 06-26-2012, 01:37 PM   #1
klaviator OP
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The Long Way Home. Huntsville to Cleveland on a 250.

Huntsville, Al to Cleveland, Oh. Take a look at a road atlas. 660 miles of interstate highway and you're there. Doesn't sound like much of an adventure does it?

No one says you have to take the direct route.

I certainly didn't.

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Old 06-26-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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It's been quite a few years since I took a long trip on a bike. I have spent most of my limited vacation time riding but since I live pretty close to some of the best riding east of the Rockies, I have been just heading to the Smokies and getting a room in towns like Maggie Valley and just doing day rides from one location. While these have been fun, I miss getting on a bike and just going somewhere far away. I have also wanted to try doing a long trip on a small bike. Also, mostly because of this forum, I have wanted to try camping along the way. Except for one overnighter last fall, all of my camping experience has been with taking my gear and bike in my truck. Then a couple of months ago my Mom called and said they were throwing a big party for their 50th wedding anniversary and wondered if I could make it. I had already scheduled vacation but was able to change it to the week leading up to the party.

Now it was time to plan the trip. My wife already made plans for that week so this would be a solo trip and she would fly up to Cleveland. I asked for route suggestions on a couple of regional forums and bought a new lightweight sleeping bag and a few other minor items.

Although I did come up with a rough plan, I figured I would mostly end up winging it and making up a route as I went along. My plan was to use 5-6 days getting to Cleveland and head up through the mountains of TN, NC, VA, and WVA while taking mostly back roads. Then after a few days in Cleveland, I would have to make the return trip in a day and a half.

I could have hit the road Friday around noon after getting off work but decided to relax and get up early on Saturday morning. I didn't set my alarm and ended up on the road by 4:30 AM. It had been a tough decision between wearing a mesh jacket or well vented textile jacket. I decided on the Mesh but soon regretted it as I quickly got cold. I could have stopped and put on my rain jacket but I hate doing that so I stayed cold. Eventually I did put it on as it took a long time to warm up.

My route was I565 through Huntsville to 72 East. As I approached I24 I decided to try to avoid the interstate as much as possible. I had seen this bridge before and decided that this would be the time to cross it and see where it went.



156 east turned out to be a very nice ride with some nice curves and scenery. It ran along a lake for a while. You can just see the lake over the railroad tracks.



Then I crossed I 24 and took another road that ran parallel to it. It was another nice ride.



Eventually I got on the interstate and took I24 to I75 through Chattanooga. I got off before Cleveland,TN and worked my way to 64 east to the Ocoee river.

In case you are wondering, my bike is a 2009 Aprilia Sport City 250. I got it a little over a year ago and put just under 9,000 miles on it before starting this trip. My camping gear is in the bag on the seat. The rest of my gear is in the saddle bags and some under the seat. I prefer to keep the tail trunk mostly empty and use it to store my helmet and jacket when I stop.
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaviator View Post
My route was I565 through Huntsville to 72 East. As I approached I24 I decided to try to avoid the interstate as much as possible. I had seen this bridge before and decided that this would be the time to cross it and see where it went.



156 east turned out to be a very nice ride with some nice curves and scenery. It ran along a lake for a while. You can just see the lake over the railroad tracks.


Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:09 PM   #4
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Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
Thanks for following along. I did end up coming through your neck of the woods on the way back. Stay tuned.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Liberia View Post
Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
Thanks for following along. Stay tuned, I still have a long way to go to finish this report and I did pass through Murfreesboro on my way back to Huntsville.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #6
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That's pretty cool that you made the trip with the 250.
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:23 AM   #7
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I love trips on small bikes. So many now days seem to think you must have 1000+ ccs to go anywhere. I have ridden over 25,000 miles on my 350 with only a couple of minor problems, both of which got fixed on the road and the ride continued. Good for you for keeping it simple and just going.

Cheers,

Mike
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #8
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That's pretty cool that you made the trip with the 250.
I have four bikes but my 250 is the best long distance touring bike I have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LWRider View Post
I love trips on small bikes. So many now days seem to think you must have 1000+ ccs to go anywhere. I have ridden over 25,000 miles on my 350 with only a couple of minor problems, both of which got fixed on the road and the ride continued. Good for you for keeping it simple and just going.

Cheers,

Mike
I have really enjoyed reading ride reports of trips on small bike. One of my recent favorites is from a couple who went around the world on a couple of 105cc Sym Symbas. By comparison I was on a luxury touring bike. I also remember when I considered a Honda 350 to be a fairly large bike......yes that was a few years ago and shows my age.
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Old 06-27-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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Shortly after reaching the Ocoee river on 64, I took a left on 30. This is a nice twisty back road and today I didn't have any slow moving cages impeding me from having a little fun

At reliance I took a right on 315 but turned right again as soon as I crossed the Hiawassee river. This led me down some nice and twisty back roads. Most riders use 68 to get to Tellico plains from the south and some use 30 to 315 to 39. These are both great ride but I doubt that many even realize there are a bunch of back roads in between these two. These roads are not even shown on most maps. Although I was introduced to this area on a KLR rally recently, I really didn't know where I was going so I just winged it. I ended up on Some dirt/gravel roads for about 20 minutes or so but eventually came out on 68 which I followed to Tellico Plains. Of course no real adventure rider can pass through Tellico Plains without stopping here:




I barely removed my helmet when someone came up and said "you're klaviator and are on a trip" It was an inmate who had read my post asking for route suggestions. I have a bad case of CRS so I don't remember his name but hopefully it will come to me. Anyway, it goes to show that if you spend enough time on this forum, anyone can become famous. We had both bought bikes from Rider's Hill in Dahlonega, Ga. I bought my Sport City there and he had gone there looking for a sport city but ended up on a Scarabeo 500. Shortly afterwards he decided to go bigger and got a Mana 850 which he was riding to day.

The owner of TMO, Minimike is a member of this forum and does a lot to support off road riding in this area. I like to support his business but there was nothing I needed from him today so I did the next best thing by going across the street and having lunch at the creamery which is owned by his wife.

My original plan was to make it to Deal's Gap and camp there. I wasn't really interested in riding through Deal's Gap on a busy summer Saturday but it is a nice place to camp. However, it looked like I would get there before 2 and that was too early to stop so I cahnged my plan and decided to go to Blue Ridge Cycle camp

Then I headed over the Cherohalla Skyway. Here's my bike at one of the many places to pull off:



After the Skyway I took 143 to Robbinsville then 129 to 19 to Wayah Rd where I stopped for a break at the Natonal Forest parking lot for rafters at the intersection of 19 and Wahay rd.

These people looked like the were having fun:



Then it was down Wayah Rd which was a blast as always despite some gravel in some of the corners.

I've seen this before but this time I took the time to stop and get a picture:




When I got to Franklin I noticed something was missing:



This used to be the Franklin Motel. Now it's just a grass lot. It was popular with bikers but I reserved a room there last year but ended up staying elsewhere becuase the room was unnaceptable.

then I decided to take the shortest way to Blue ridge Cycle camp. There are some fantastic twisties in this area but I was getting tired so I just took the quickest route.....I guess I'm getting old. I pulled in to Blue ridge Cycle camp around 5 PM having ridden 356 miles.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:15 PM   #10
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Good choice on 156. Looking forward to the rest of the trip.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:40 PM   #11
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Good choice on 156. Looking forward to the rest of the trip.
It was a good choice. I'll be using that route from now on.
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Old 06-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #12
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I have camped at a few other motorcycle campgrounds but this was my first time camping a Blue Ridge Cycle Camp. I checked in and wasted no time setting up my tent. It's an el cheapo $25 Wally World special but I didn't want to spend a lot of money until I knew for sure that this motorcycle camping was for me. It's 7 x 7 and packs up pretty small.



My neighbors were a father and son who rode in from Bowling Green, Ky and Niceville, Fl. It was their first time here also. I enjoyed talking to them.

the campground is very scenic and has small cabins for rent also.



They serve breakfast and dinner at this pavillion and it provides a nice place to hang out if it's raining.

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Old 06-27-2012, 07:50 PM   #13
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Starting to plan a trip on my SYM RV 250 to Florida, it would be about 1200 mile road trip. I would start out in St Paul,Mn and head down to our condo in Seacrest Beach, FL. I have been encourage by ADV riders taking their smaller cc bikes on these rides.
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #14
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Starting to plan a trip on my SYM RV 250 to Florida, it would be about 1200 mile road trip. I would start out in St Paul,Mn and head down to our condo in Seacrest Beach, FL. I have been encourage by ADV riders taking their smaller cc bikes on these rides.

scrappy: I have ridden to Florida from southern Indiana and back (2500 mile round trip) on a 250cc bike before; no problems. Half the trip back was even on the Interstate (needed to get back home). Many different routes you can take to Florida once you get south of the Ohio river. US31 goes all the way to Florida. If you want to kick over and do the Dragon, keep going south on the same road (us129) and it will also take you to Florida. Same goes for US27. Have fun man.
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Old 06-28-2012, 07:46 AM   #15
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Waiting for the "rest of the story". Looks like our frugal taste in tents is also similar. My wally world tent is around 10 years old and I also just kinda picked it up till I got a better one. We have a larger dome coleman for when we both go and I also have a tiny pup style tent.

Hats off to you for doing it on a small bike too !
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