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Old 05-22-2012, 07:00 AM   #1
backwoodsKLR OP
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RDV 2012 Roadtrip: A review and trip report

So for the past 2 years, I have traveled to Laurel Springs, NC for the Eastern Rendevous Rally or RDV for short. Upon returning, I have made a thread to share some of the fun with y'all who didn't go.

I trailered the KLR up for the first 2 years and this year, AntiCyclone and I decided to go and ride all the way, so I prepped my Wee for this trip. This year was also different in that Rick, aka Party Boss, who was the rally organizer, passed away in a motorcycle wreck returning from bike week in Daytona. So this became "Rick's Rendezvous" and others stepped in to make sure it still happened in his honor.

It was almost 2200 miles round trip for me.

So you see, here is what happened...
------------------------------------------
I departed Brandon on Wednesday, May 16. Loaded and ready for the road...


Okay, so not totally ready, had to grab some quick breakfast at the Donut Palace!


A quick gas fill up and out Highway 25 I headed.


It was a bit cool in a short sleeve and mesh jacket, but i turned the MP3 player up, kicked on the heated grips for a bit, and set the throttle lock, full of anticipation for a great trip. Soon passed over the Tenn-Tom waterway and knew I was getting close.


Pulled in at AntiCyclone's house and he was packed and waiting for me.


Anti had made us a route across northern Alabama so he heads out in the lead.




We start getting into some hills and curves in the road...


I spy an interesting train trestle(?) but my camera is slow to turn on so I snap a shot over my shoulder.


I am always fascinated at the old house, barns, buildings, etc along the rural routes.




...
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:09 AM   #2
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We were soon in mining country.


Anti had planned a few rest stops along the way, and one of them happened to be here:


Where a large dragline has been resting for 30 something years since it was retired. The local hoodlums have been vandalizing it and lawyers had the company worried about liability from the kids climbing on the boom, so they lowered it down a few years back. Now it is parts for other machines they have still running. I had seen Anti's pics of it before, but until you see it in person, you won't realize how HUGE this thing is!




Here is Anti and the security guard talking things over.


This was the operators cabin


The size and scale of the cables, pulleys, chains, etc is awesome!






After making friends with the security guard, Anti got us an invitation to go inside. Either that or the lonely guard just wanted to keep us around so he had someone to talk to. So here we go... Had to move a wasp nest out of the lock box.


No electricity, so only light was coming through holes in the roof.






Did I say this thing was HUGE?






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Old 05-22-2012, 07:18 AM   #3
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We finally pry ourselves away from the guard and his stories and history lessons...





We soon realize it is lunch time and the donut palace is wearing off. We spot a local cafe along the road and there were just enough cars for us to trust it.




Bellies full, we hit the road again...


Well, for short distance.


We soon get moving and I notice something on the dash of the Wee...






And we keep heading north and east and start getting into more and more hills


We take the loop around Little River Canyon. I laughed because the second day I owned the Wee, I rode it to Little River Canyon with Trophy, who was then on Anti's Tiger 1050! So it was a reunion tour of sorts!




Anti at the big rock in the road at Little River Canyon






Little River Falls




Anti's plan was to route us around Chattanooga traffic. Which worked, but put us on a gravel road. I didn't mind, but the fully loaded Tiger on street tires was a handful.


He'll be coming 'round the mountain when he comes...


This got us to Cleveland, TN for the night and a brief stay at a motel to rest up for what day 2 had in store!!
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:28 AM   #4
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Off to a Nice start.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:38 AM   #5
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I'm having a fight with smugmug . I'll chime in in a bit...

I think everyone getting to work and uploading all their photos from the RDV is slowing Smugmug down. I paid my bill I swear!
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Anticyclone screwed with this post 05-22-2012 at 07:44 AM
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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Sorry for the delay. Smugmug is back up and running again.

So BW shows up about 45 minutes late, but that's ok, it gave me more time to drink coffee and be lazy. We weren't pressed for time on day one anyway.



Titanic moment?



Rolling through Fayette, AL



Scooter HI-VIZ ATGATT



Pretty Caddy



Contemplating whatever it is a man of his infinite wisdom contemplates. Which is another way of saying nobody knows.







For the geology dorks amongst us



You know you're getting to the mountains when you start seeing this stuff





I've got to get a higher resolution point and shoot camera...

The Tiger did fine...



That's all I've got for day one. Coming soon, Warning, there be Dragons in these forests.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anticyclone View Post
Coming soon, Warning, there be Dragons in these forests.
More like COPS in the forest but hey it's all good (I don't pay them fools any attention anyway) but I know where you are coming from so continue, I am enjoying it. It's getting me all warmed up for next week up there.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyQ View Post
More like COPS in the forest but hey it's all good (I don't pay them fools any attention anyway) but I know where you are coming from so continue, I am enjoying it. It's getting me all warmed up for next week up there.
You don't know how right you are...
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anticyclone View Post
You don't know how right you are...
It's all those speeding well maybe not, drunkin pirates on those rolling road blocks, yea that's why they are there gotta be it. Somebody has to be there to scoop them up when they wipe out on those fast 20 mph switchbacks and paved pull offs. Buncha rear brake, no riding losers what is this world coming too
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoyQ View Post
It's all those speeding well maybe not, drunkin pirates on those rolling road blocks, yea that's why they are there gotta be it. Somebody has to be there to scoop them up when they wipe out on those fast 20 mph switchbacks and paved pull offs. Buncha rear brake, no riding losers what is this world coming too
Still ahead... I learn what a "Harley Train" is... (Okay, so some of them had Gold Wings taggin along as a caboose...)
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:35 AM   #11
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Day 2

After a supper at Five Guys, a decent amount of rest and free breakfast at the Hampton Inn in Cleveland, we were ready to get some miles on!


A little mountain fog and morning cool crisp air








Starting to get into the real mountains...






We headed for Tellico Plains and the start of the Cherahola Skyway and pass a Hardley Dealership...


We start out on the Skyway, lovin' every minute




Made it just far enough to need to get off and stretch for a bit


I love mountain streams




Back on the Skyway








I forgot to add that Anti led the first day and I routed us on the second day




...
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:39 AM   #12
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I guess BW is working or something... Anyway, I'll pick up day two.

We stayed in Cleveland TN at the Hampton Inn. I can't say too much bad about it. The hotel staff let us park right under the front awning in view of the front desk, so that's always a plus.

We got a pretty early start as both of us work up around 5:00 eastern time. The free breakfast didn't start until 6 so we got packing. I think we were rolling by 7:00.



Ocoee Lake



Maybe the Ocoee river?





Made it to Deal's Gap by about 10:00 after hitting some roads that I won't mention for fear of them becoming crowded too.





The Dragon isn't exactly a picture taking kind of road, but I got a few...





I'll let BW tell the story





Next time you Jackson fellas head up, here's the place for you to stay







First rolling roadblock of the weekend





Rode 800 miles only to find this guy stopped with bike problems...



Our home for the weekend



That's it for day two. Some of the better riding of the trip really. Weather was beautiful. Well, until about 10:00pm when the bottom absolutely dropped out. My tent is just now set up in the front yard 5 days later drying out.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:58 AM   #13
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On the skyway, this fellow was giving his big truck / fifth wheel hauler everything he could to keep us from passing and I was actually somewhat impressed at some of the curves he took at speed.


We are making pretty good time, traffic not too bad, then we start seeing dirt out in the road. Looks like backhoe was cleaning out ditches. Sure enough, round a corner and...




They finally pull over and we run on..


I'm sure this is blurry from the blinding speed of the Wee...










Swinging bridge?


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Old 05-22-2012, 11:11 AM   #14
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Soon we round a corner and there I see the famous Deal's Gap Resort.



We finally find parking




Anti and I had hoped that hitting it rather early on a Thursday morning would cut down on the crowds that we hear so much about... if this was a slim crowd, I would hate to see it on a weekend! There were Hardley Ablesons, Racers, tourers, baggers, choppers, and a nissan Z club meeting. All kinds of Fast and Furious 350Z's and Infiniti G35's.

We decided we better make our pass and get the heck out of dodge. I did not like the crowds and I could already see the idiots starting to run by. I just wanted to see it, ride it, say I've done it, and move on...

Video of my virgin run coming soon...
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:15 AM   #15
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Eagerly awaiting the video. All I can say about the Dragon is it would be a damn fine road if nobody was on it. I'll also say that nobody caught up to us and I didn't violate the double yellow. So I consider it a success. I'd ride it again, but it will be before 8:00am next time.
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