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Old 09-14-2012, 05:47 PM   #52411
Mikef5000
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I'm back... and caught up on what I missed over the past week.

Alan, glad there was no 'bad' news. The 6 weeks are going to drag on, but a year from now you won't even remember them.


The UP trip looks killer. Still pissed I missed it, but I did get to head down to the Smokeys from Monday till last night. We're already looking for our next adventure... Considering the UP.... I'll have to talk to you guys sometime. Also considering the Hatfield McCoy trails.

Took the long way down via parts of the TWVT, and down under the New River Gorge Bridge, then most of the NC part of the Blue Ridge:




Once down in the Smokey's, the goal was DIRT! We hit the usual Dragon/Foothills Pkwy/Cherahola, but that's not what we were there for. We went the wrong way up the (one way) Old Cades Cove Rd (decent, but thick gravel, and illegal) then we hit the most known Parsons Branch:


This thing is most likely the greatest example of why I got into Adventure Bikes.



An ultra fun dirt road, complete with creek crossings perfectly setup get a foot (or two) of air jumping out of them, that ends on the dragon where you just turn and put the hammer down on great twisty pavement dragging pegs.

If there was a way to do that loop easily (legally), like if Old Cades Cove was one way the other way, I could spend days there; Old Cades Cove gravel, Parsons Branch dirt, Dragon pavement, repeat.

But there's no good way, so off we go to the next road.





Found lots of gravel. Boring gravel. Painfully rough and unchanging gravel. We wanted a challenge. We're in the Smokeys, we wanted to find a dirt road up a mountain or something. Insane hills. Mud bogs. River crossings. We need to get a bike stuck (and then preferably un-stuck). That is what we were here for. And we were equipped; saws, rope, first aid kits, tool kits, enough testicular fortitude to sink a ship (which is not unlike our goal of getting 400-600 pound bikes stuck).

Smokey's Day 2 led us to an adventure bike shop:


Where we got directions (over the phone) from the owner, landing us on some "great singletrack". This had me a bit worried... since he wasn't there in person, he didn't know what we were riding... and singletrack generally means no going back. Testicular fortitude to the rescue... someone shouted "LET'S GO GET IN OVER OUR HEADS!"... and we were off!

I should mention.... I thought it might be a bit to easy for me, you know, considering my bike is only 400cc and about 150 pound heavier than the next closest one in our group... so I packed all of my gear back up and strapped my duffel to the back again (I was heading home after this ride).

I took up the number 2 position, and we hit it.... hard!











Obstacles aint got nothin on us! We came prepared this time (after being stuck in the woods for 2 hours trying to make it 2 miles last time):


It started out a bit wider, but they cut rain bars (or something like that) in the trail to prevent erosion. These were a good 10-20" tall speed bump, often steep enough that I would bottom out. Since I'm still riding unprotected, and bottoming out is not an option, I had to resort to plan B; pigs do fly! I jumped that beast probably 20 times going up this trail, fully loaded (gas and luggage)! Some times were definitely prettier than others, but never once did it do anything unexpected (like bottom out) or waver, even when jumping in curves. The rain bars dissapeared, and the trail tightened up. Somewhat noticeable in the pictures is the fact that this trail, 100% of the time, is cut into the side of a Smokey Mountain. It is a long was down, a mere 12 inches to the left of center.

We found what we were looking for.

There was one rocky spot that, while not really difficult, was sharp enough to high center the lead rider, damn near toppling him down the hill, and we had to walk each following bike around it to avoid bottoming out. Other than that, some rock sections, some hills, and just a great stretch of single track.

Then we were alone... Me and the lead rider... I honked so he would stop too, because I finally looked back (not easily done with any sort of frequency in these conditions) and there wasn't anyone there. We waited... then we knew it happened. What it was, was still an unknown... but it was definitely inevitable. We start walking back up the trail, what had to have been a good quarter mile, till we find the next bike. Still upright, he must've headed backward on foot as well. Another quarter mile and he pops out of nowhere with a "GO GET MY CAMERA!". Laughing pursues from the still hidden background, and I inquire that everyone is alright. He said yup, but the bikes went down the hill. My face was something along these lines: . I asked (without enthusiasm, as my bike was a half mile up the trail) if I needed to go get my rope too, he said negative.



He got lucky. Mega amounts of lucky. It took the fleet, but we got the bike back upright on the trail without much difficulty and gave it a heavy assessment. One broken mirror, of which I have an exact matching spare in my basement. That's it. Lucky.

And that's that. Those guys have another day or two down there before turning north, but I packed up and hit the road shortly after 3pm. One gas/food stop in Lexington was all it took for me to get the 420 miles home and arrive before 10pm. Sweet. Super slabbing it sucks, but if ones day can start with The Moonshiner (killer twisty road), followed by the Cherahola Skyway, followed by a couple hours of singletrack, then the super slab becomes oh so very worth it.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:48 PM   #52412
Mikef5000
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And that just turned into a long ass ride report. That wasn't my intention. Sorry.

Carry on.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:04 PM   #52413
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Sounds like a very fun trip Mike! I have to get my $50 worth out of my Hatfield/McCoy pass so let me know if you want to head down sometime. A long weekend would work out best for me. I still have one vacation day I need to take too. ;)
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:12 PM   #52414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikef5000 View Post
And that just turned into a long ass ride report. That wasn't my intention. Sorry.

Carry on.
Thanks for sharing. Yes that deserved a thread of its own, and I bet you got more pics ?
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:35 PM   #52415
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Looks like a great trip, awesome scenery down that way.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #52416
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Originally Posted by buildit View Post
Isn't that what he was wearing back in 08' for the Boot leg ride that started on the Farm in Z-ville. Adam, Bruce and I ended up off the trail and had to easy out thru someones back yard.
That was the first day I had real riding boots.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:49 PM   #52417
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I still remember you riding Perry in patent leather dress shoes, you're my fucking hero. The only way that would have been funnier is if you showed up in a Tux, too.
I'm saving up for some saddle shoes.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:39 PM   #52418
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I'm saving up for some saddle shoes.
Buster Browns ROCK!
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:42 PM   #52419
sion
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Sion's Big Hock Hollow Ride

announcing...

Sion's (First Annual?) Big Hock Hollow Ride


what is it?

a paved road only tour of the Hocking Hills and Tar Hollow areas...175 miles of some of the best (but lesser known) roads in the Lancaster-Logan-Chillicothe corridor...


when is it?

Sunday, September 30, 2012 @ 11 am

where is it?

Starts at the Tarlton Market in Tarlton, OH
Ends at the Millstone BBQ restaurant in Logan, OH

featuring:

175 miles of scenic, twisty roads
gas stop at about the 90 mile mark

who's invited?

any and all with a two wheeled machine capable of sustained speeds of 50+


so, who's interested...?
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:49 PM   #52420
indypup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sion View Post
announcing...

Sion's (First Annual?) Big Hock Hollow Ride


what is it?

a paved road only tour of the Hocking Hills and Tar Hollow areas...175 miles of some of the best (but lesser known) roads in the Lancaster-Logan-Chillicothe corridor...


when is it?

Sunday, September 30, 2012 @ 11 am

where is it?

Starts at the Tarlton Market in Tarlton, OH
Ends at the Millstone BBQ restaurant in Logan, OH

featuring:

175 miles of scenic, twisty roads
gas stop at about the 90 mile mark

who's invited?

any and all with a two wheeled machine capable of sustained speeds of 50+


so, who's interested...?
I don't see any dual sport rides scheduled for that weekend so count me in! I need to give some lovin' to my ST. I've gone from 40K miles on it in 2009 (4 weeks vacation plus laid off two weeks) to maybe 2K on it in 2012.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:58 PM   #52421
steveb126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sion View Post


so, who's interested...?
me
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:47 PM   #52422
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Hey, that's my birthday!

I'll see what I have planned. I may be interested.
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Old 09-14-2012, 10:59 PM   #52423
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so, who's interested...?


Me too
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:43 AM   #52424
steveb126
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Originally Posted by blackdiamondmike View Post
It seemed like all the forest roads within Shawnee state forest had been graveled pretty recently, so I'd say you could stumble upon that kind of riding easily without the "official route". -Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdiamondmike View Post
The route was fun since it was new to me, but there was a serious lack of sights to see along the way. I got bored of trees and gravel after awhile. I thought the whole route was "stromable" as long as it was dry, but you're right that a lighter bike on the loose gravel would be more capable. FWIW, it took me just under 4 hours to run the 120 mile route with just a few quick stops. -Mike
Considering heading down that way a couple nights for my September camping trip. The Nat'l Forest website has Timbre Ridge Lake Campground listed over in the Dean State Forest. I'm familiar with camping spots in Wayne Nat'l Forest. Anything in Shawnee that you know of ? I found a horsecamp and that's about it in Shawnee. Frugality is priority, although I don't really want to stealth camp as I'd like to leave my tent up for a couple nights. Any track files to share would be appreciated or even just a list of must ride roads.
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Old 09-15-2012, 05:45 AM   #52425
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Hey, that's my birthday!

I'll see what I have planned. I may be interested.
Let's meet up ride down together ?
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