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Old 05-27-2009, 08:03 AM   #1
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4th Annual "Coal Bucket Ride"

Over time, memorial day weekend has developed into an annual ride for a small group of riders. We travel from several states to ride the coal mining areas of TN, KY, WV, and VA. This area provides the best mixture of paved twisties, gravel, and trails on the east coast, and has become addictive. The core group has stayed the same for the most part, with GSBS and DeBandi from AL, Nocturnal from VA, and myself from NC. Boojum has been part of the group every year, but emergency business kept him away for this one.

Being a native of the area, the good routes are endless, with a mixture of riding to challenge the "best" on big bikes. This year was no disappointment ! We covered everything from dragging bikes around logs, black coal mud, goat paths, to abandoned RR tracks and "bag dragging" curvy roads !

We planned to meet at Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg TN on 5/21, head out on 5/22 to ride the abandoned Nemo tunnel, and part of the TAT in reverse to Jellico TN on day one.

I had some business in Murphy NC on 5/21, so after quick meeting, over the mountain on gravel, through the Tellico ORV park on River Road.

Crossing the crest of the mountain, experienced a small road block !



Seemed to be about 6-7 ft, but when stopped the bike, it coiled. This rattler was fat, about the same diameter as the front tire ! I to get it to stretch out for a pic, but that wasn't going to happen, when I started the bike it struck at the front tire !





Uneventful from here to Frozen Head, so the AL riders will continue............
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:02 AM   #2
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Day 1 - 5/21 - Blount Springs to Frozen Head SP

DeBandi and I had a perfect weather day for the ride up Thursday.

Crossing the Tennessee River at South Pittsburgh:



Rush hour in Pikeville, TN:



There's nine miles of great gravel just before Nemo Tunnel in the Catoosa WMA:



Arrived at camp around 5 in Wartburg TN:

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Old 05-27-2009, 09:26 AM   #3
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:30 AM   #4
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Day 2 - 5/22 - Frozen Head SP to Jellico, TN via the TAT

After a very brief overnight shower, the weather again was perfect for all of Friday's trip to Jellico TN, beginning with a side trip to ride thru the Nemo Tunnel near Wartburg:



Another view from inside:



Riding thru the 3/4-mile-long tunnel, I didn't take hands off the handlebar grips, but took this on the other side:



From there we rode northward along the new tracks to look for the next abandoned tunnel. Parked when the gravel got deep and set out on foot the last 200 yards:



This tunnel had been gated and we didn't explore past the first few feet:



Dlrides walked the new RR bridge across the Emory River (new line runs parallel to the old) to see if he could see where the old tunnel emerged, but leafed-out trees blocked the view:



At a lunch stop, dlrides educates a local resident on the TAT (which we rode where possible in-between necessary pavement for about 90 miles):



Just 10 miles south of Jellico (right off the TAT) we see a sign for this place. After all the dusty roads a cold one sounded great so we detoured a bit off route:



That night plans were for a pig to be roasted and a live band was scheduled to kick off a Saturday poker run for ATVs that the tavern was hosting. It was cool inside and the beer was nice and cold:



Unfortunately, when we got back on the bikes, dlrides told Debandi: "Might as well find some shade... you got a flat."



The tube replacement took about 30 minutes:



We arrived at Indian Mountain SP in Jellico to find it brimming with RVs, but they put us up in an overflow area away from the crowds (and bath house). It was a pretty campsite except that the mosquitoes were out in droves when the sun began to set. Here's my dusty bike and hammock:



Dlrides enjoying a biskit with Spam at camp:



After an hour or so, this guy fetched us a picnic table on his Gator



Nocturnal - the final member of the Coal Bucket Posse - rolled in an hour before dark and began setting up a brand-new hammock. This was the first test of the new sleeping gear:


GSBS screwed with this post 05-27-2009 at 09:49 AM
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Old 05-27-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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Glad you guys finally went through that damn tunnel! I am bummed to learn about another abandoned tunnel (the gated one) but excited because it's a reason for me to go back.

GSBS- how do you like that hammock? Looks like the Hennesy? I got one to test out, we're going to start carrying a full line of adventure moto camping gear... what kind is is that Nocturnal has there? Great pics as always, David.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:06 PM   #7
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Yes... Hennessy

Quote:
Originally Posted by flux_capacitor
Glad you guys finally went through that damn tunnel! I am bummed to learn about another abandoned tunnel (the gated one) but excited because it's a reason for me to go back.

GSBS- how do you like that hammock? Looks like the Hennesy? I got one to test out, we're going to start carrying a full line of adventure moto camping gear... what kind is is that Nocturnal has there? Great pics as always, David.
Thanks for the comments Flux!

It's the basic one - $139 with snakeskins (you'll want those). I like it a lot!

I've been using it for about a year and it's the best sleep I've gotten while camping. Packs small too.

Be warned, though, that if it's below 80 you'll need a sleeping bag. Below 60 a bag + sleeping pad. It's amazing how much air passes thru when you're off the ground like that.

I'm not sure of the brand hammock Nocturnal had, he said it slept well.

By using the hammock instead of tent it allowed me to leave the Jesse hard panniers at home (glad I did too!). I also carried my Exped Downmat plus North Face 0 bag. It didn't get below the high 50s on this trip, so I didn't need the downmat. But one night I was borderline needing it, even though I was in the 0 bag.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:10 PM   #8
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It was one of the best rides ever!


From inside the #24 tunnel.
















more info at http://southern.railfan.net/ties/196.../daylight.html
















Additional tunnel just north of #24 tunnel.








Camp pic.





Carry on
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:34 PM   #9
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Great pics!

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Old 05-27-2009, 12:41 PM   #10
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Oh man, you guys are killin' me.

No friendly "Camp Wardens" this year, I take it?


Looks like a great trip!
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:05 PM   #11
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How does one join y'alls posse ? I like the fact that you guys actually check out some good stuff versus the same old routine.
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Old 05-27-2009, 01:29 PM   #12
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I was following y'all on Debandi's Spot, fun trying to figure out what you were up to.

Don have you ever checked out the closed entrance to the Fraterville Mine? Don't think there is much to see but I would like to check it out just for history.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtysouth
How does one join y'alls posse ? I like the fact that you guys actually check out some good stuff versus the same old routine.


I'll make sure to send you the info next april. You will get stuck, drag your bike accross something, get lost, muddy, and wet.

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Old 05-27-2009, 02:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaM
fun trying to figure out what you were up to.

Don have you ever checked out the closed entrance to the Fraterville Mine?
GaM,
It was a interesting route, you'll hear more later !

I have heard of the Fraterville explosion, I think it's near route 116 near Petros. I actually forgot to research it before the trip. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 05-27-2009, 02:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlrides


I'll make sure to send you the info next april. You will get stuck, drag your bike accross something, get lost, muddy, and wet.


Hell, I do that trying to get out of the driveway.
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