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Old 08-30-2012, 09:10 PM   #16
Trailace OP
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More rain but fun riding.

Day 4 Hartwell, GA to Tellico Plains, TN 231 miles


Maybe our luck was changing. There was thunder and lightning all around us but we had a rain free night. After covering so much ground yesterday, we thought this day would be easier. We had approximately 231 miles to ride to our destination, Hunt’s Lodge and Motorcycle Resort in Tellico Plains, TN. We were both feeling good and ready to get on the road.

Goodbye


Gear check


Many of the roads at the beginning of the day were paved but they were fun.


Hale Ridge Road was a fun dirt road that zigged and zagged up Cabin and Rocky Knob Mountains.
Hale Ridge Road


We stopped in Dillard, GA for lunch at Subway.


Mountains and stormy skies


Soon after lunch, we crossed into North Carolina. This area was full of great twisty roads that took us up and over mountains and thru thick forests..

Heading up


3200 feet and climbing


We stopped at this cool cable bridge
Pic bridge



Our luck finally ran out, more rain.


We stopped to take a picture of this waterfall.


I decided to take a pic with Cameron in it. Can you spot a potential problem?


As we were taking the pic, I asked Cam if he smelled something burning. No sooner had I said it I noticed Cam’s rain gear bag was loose and laying on the top of his muffler exhaust exit. The bag had a big hole burned in it and was still smoldering. The bag and the jacket liner inside were a total loss. We learned a valuable lesson, or did we.



We came across this big pipeline that followed the trail for a few miles.


At this point the rain was not too bad but the skies were threatening.


Tatham Gap Road is part of the Trail of Tears.


Tatham Gap Road was about 70 miles from our destination for the night. Who knew what perils laid ahead of us in those 70 miles? The rain started coming down in buckets as the elevation rose. We were riding thru low lying clouds and very dense forests. Even with all the rain, the roads were still manageable although some had small streams running thru them.


All the conditions mentioned above conspired to interfere with the satellite signal. This made navigating quite a challenge. We had no detailed maps of the area so we rode until we came to clearings in the forest where we could regain the signal. At each clearing we tried to memorize the distance between the next several turns. We navigated this way for 2 hours. The going was slow but we managed to stay on the trail.


As we came over the final rise, we could see that the skies ahead of us were clearing. This was a very good thing because we were worn out.


Under sunny skies we rolled into Tellico Plains. We made camp in the only dry area of Hunt’s Lodge and Motorcycle Resort.




As Cam unloaded his saddlebags, he noticed that a quarter size hole had been burned into the right saddlebag. The bags had shifted and were not sitting correctly on the frame. Fortunately, nothing in the bag was damaged but we were left with the dilemma of making repairs. We had just decided to ride 20 miles to find repair items at Wal-Mart when Jack and Lori drove up to our campsite. Jack and Lori are the owners of the campground. Jack accessed the problem and volunteered to help with the repairs. He cut 2 pieces of Formica and put it, and an o-ring on each side of the hole and held it all together with a nut and bolt. Problem solved. (I have some pictures somewhere and will ad them later)

Thanks, Jack, for taking the time to help us. Jack is a fellow rider and an all around nice guy. As he was making the repairs, he told us about the 4 water crossing we would face the next day on the TAT. He showed us a video of the fourth water crossing and advised us on the best line to take. His last comment was “With all the rain we had today, the water will be so deep you probably won’t be able to see any of the rock formations so just stay to the right”. This gave Cameron and I something to discuss over dinner and later over a few beers.

If your ever in the area make sure you stay at Hunt’s Lodge and Motorcycle Resort its a great place to stay.



Nice sunset.


Stats


Elevation

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Old 09-01-2012, 06:32 PM   #17
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Great report.
Next time you are in Dillard, forgo the Subway and eat at the Dillard House. Its a classic.

I traversed the Witt Rd. water crossings a few days ago. Don't fly through any of these, but the forth one (heading the direction you will be going) will be the biggest challenge. Stay out of the middle. Either cross it left or right. The slab rock formations have a tendency to make your front wheel slide out. But, cross it either way left or way right to the extreme edges. If you cross it on the right side, you should exit the water just barely in the overgrowth. Left side will likely be too deep given all the rain we had, but I crossed it on the left side easily a few days ago. (Before the rain began.)

Good luck.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:18 PM   #18
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Day 5 Tellico Plains, TN to Tims Ford State Park, TN 185 miles



We had a lot of good riding the 2 days we were on the TET. I would like to come back some day and finish it. Thanks again to intothenew, 9Dave, AugustFalcon, BlueLghtning, MoBill, NorthernTraveler, Rob23 and anyone else who helped for the great job they did creating the tracks and then sharing them.

Now it was time to begin the TAT. It was no surprise that it was raining when we woke up. We were concerned that with all the rain that the water crossing might be impassable. We would deal with that when and if it became an issue.

Beginning of the TAT


Approximately 5 miles into the trail, we came to the first water crossing. The water was deep but the current was slow. We were able to cross with no issues. We didn’t even stop to take a picture.

The second crossing was out of its banks which made it very wide. There were a couple of downed trees blocking the trail.


Cam crossing


The third crossing was not an issue either so again, we didn’t stop to take pictures.

The fourth crossing was the one we were concerned about. When we got to it, I had to move two small logs out of the way.



We didn’t take any pictures of us crossing because we wanted to be ready in case we got into any trouble. Oh, by the way, it was still raining.
Still raining


Cam at railroad crossing


It finally stopped raining so we made a pit stop to take off our rain gear, get gas and a snack.

Gas and donut stop


We were making good time because most of the roads were paved. We made another pit stop for lunch in Palmer, TN, this time at Peggy’s Pit Stop.


We made a new friend. He enjoyed the pizza as much as we did.


Next stop, Tims Ford State Park. We got there early so we set up our tents and relaxed for the remainder of the evening.




Stats


Elevation






Day 6 Tims Ford State Park to Pickwick Dam, TN 220 miles



There was a lot of activity in the campground last night so we had difficulty sleeping. When we arrived the campground yesterday afternoon there were only 12 other campers. When we got up this morning, the campground was full. At least the weather was nice; no rain.
Cam fashion statement


There were miles and miles of farmland on this part of the trail.



Barn


There were four more water crossings on the route today. I had been taking the lead on the water crossing but today I asked Cameron to take the lead so I could get some action shots. After taking the lead on the first one, he decided to take the lead on all of them.







The fourth water crossing was very wide and had a gravel bottom but we had no issues crossing any of them.



One of the towns we rode thru was have an old tractor parade.


The day went by very fast and before we knew it we were at Pickwick campground on the Tennessee River just north of Mississippi. It was Saturday but the campground was empty. The bad economy must be taking its toll on the Tennessee parks systems. There were no attendants and the facilities were poorly maintained.

Campground


Cameron in his tent


Rick’s fashion statement


The repairs to Cameron’s saddlebag were holding up well


Stats


Elevation

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Old 09-26-2012, 09:04 PM   #19
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Hows this ride going?
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:54 PM   #20
Bob
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Great start, waiting for the next segment.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:33 PM   #21
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Day 7 Pickwick Dam, TN to the MS/AR border 317 miles



Day 7 was a high mileage day for a good reason. On previous nights our ritual was to make a plan for the next day. Because the weather forecast for Mississippi the next few days called for rain, and because there are few camping opportunities in Mississippi, our goal was to complete Mississippi in one day. As an incentive, I told Cam that if we made it thru today, we would stay in a hotel tonight.


Cam


Sam had remapped the Mississippi part of the TAT so all the riding would be new to me.

Mississippi State line



Most of the roads were rough red gravel that would have been a mess if they had been wet. As luck would have it, we had a dry day so we made good time.


The section of road before this bridge was about a 100 yards of deep sand.


Sand


Many of the roads were rutted and washed out because of all the rain. We traveled thru a lot of farmland so there wasn’t much to comment on.




We made it to the Isle of Capri Casino across the Mississippi River from Helena, AR. We ate at the free buffet, did laundry gambled a little the slept in a real bed.
View from room


Cam


Stats


Elevation


Day 8 Helena, AR to Long Pool campground, AR 264 miles


When we got up, it was pouring rain so the decision to get out of the Mississippi mud was a wise one.


Crossing the Mississippi River, welcome to AR


The rain in Arkansas turned out to be a blessing. It kept the dust down and provided good traction on the gravel roads.


Abandoned store


We made good time even though we were riding thru bands of thunder storms.


There were a few sections of muddy road; one of them tried to throw me off but I managed to stay upright.


Once we crossed US 167 the skies cleared up and we were in an area hit by severe drought.


The roads were very dusty so we had to keep our spacing. Cam ate a lot of dust on this day.
This road grader didn’t help


Cam in the shade. More dead foliage in the background


We could tell that we were getting close to the Ozarks because we were seeing an elevation gain.






We camped at the Long Pool Campground.


We rode into Dover, AR for dinner and ate at Dewayne’s Bar B Q and grill. The food was great


We returned to camp, took showers and turned in.

Stats


Elevation


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Old 11-18-2012, 01:14 PM   #22
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Day 9 Longpool Campground, AR to Snowdale State Park, OK 258 miles


The plan for today was to complete Arkansas and make it to Oklahoma.

Cam and Rick ready to start the day


We started early because we planned to cover a lot of ground. The East side of Arkansas was flat farmland. Today we go to enjoy the scenery and elevation changes. There were many signs of the recent drought and forest fires.


The roads were very dusty as you can see in this pic


Just east of Oark, we were stopped by a road crew. We were stopped for about 20 minutes. You can see how dry it was in these pics. Last time I was here these were flowing streams.




I don’t think the road crew had a clue about what they were doing. After all that time waiting, all we saw was one small patch of black top.


Oark General Store is mandatory stop on the TAT.


The store is under new management by a great young, conservative couple. I don’t remember their names but here is there picture.


Cam and I in front of the store


After breakfast it was back to dirt and more road construction. We went thru and around road closed signs.



We saw a few workers who didn’t seem to mind that we weren’t obeying the signs. The road was washed out but it was passable to motorcycles.
Soon after this we were on War Loop Road. No pics, we were too busy riding.





Arkansas is a great state for adventure riding. We enjoyed very mile.
Welcome to Oklahoma


The eastern side of Oklahoma is a continuation of the great riding in Arkansas. After about 50 miles though, it turns into the flat dusty gravel roads that I remember.


We set up camp and then went looking for a place to get oil for the Yamaha. Prior had an Auto Zone so we change the oil in the parking lot.




Immediately after we had finished with the oil change, you guessed it, it started to rain. We weathered the storm at the all you could eat buffet at the Pizza Hut. No one complained about the rain because of the drought Arkansas had been dealing with. Back at camp we were treated to a beautiful sunset.


While doing our nightly maintenance on the bikes, we noticed that the tires were looking pretty worn. We had to decide whether or not to buy tires and push one or start for home. We decided to sleep on that decision.


Stat


Elevation
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:46 PM   #23
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Big Miles

Day 10 Snowdale State Park to home 751 miles


This was the last day on the TAT. We decided that due to tire wear, we would do 200 more miles on the TAT then head for home when we hit Highway 35.

Cam packed and ready to go


Most of the roads in Oklahoma are flat and gravelly but there were some cool areas along the way. You have to be careful on these long straight aways because there are cross streets with no stop signs. We were lucky and had no close calls.


We came across another road closed sign. This time it was truly closed. The detour was only ½ mile down the road.


How’s this for a long stretch of road.


There were a few areas with cows blocking the road.


We crossed many old wooden bridges


Since Cameron had never ridden in Kansas we crossed the border into Elgin, KS. There were some houses but no stores or gas stations.


Lunch was in Newkirk, OK at the Sonic.


Back on dirt and heading west, we came to a road closed bridge out sign. A bull dozer was blocking the road but we went around it. The bridge was completed but the road up to was not.


We improvised by using 2x6s left by the road crew to make a ramp up onto the bridge.


Two years ago when I road this section, this same bridge was out. At that time we had to go down the bank and thru the water to get across.


We made it to 35 at about 1:30 stopping point of the ride for this trip.




Decision time, find a campground now or keep heading for home. I was so hot last night that we decided to keep riding towards home.

Mandatory stop to get fried pies for my wife


Crossing the Red River into TX.


It was a long hot ride home. After sunset it cooled down some. I have to give Cameron credit, he rode 750 miles on a Yamaha 250.
We arrived home at about 1:30 a.m.


We had a great time and we are looking forward to finishing the TAT in the near future.
Stats


Elevation


Total Ride mileage 3,539
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:58 PM   #24
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Nice report!
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:58 PM   #25
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Tet-s

Glad you liked my TET-S.

I figured it would take 3 days to get from Tybee to Tellico Plains... you sure pushed it!
I based that on reasonable mileages for an extended ride... 150-200 miles a day.

How'd you like the 'Post Apocalyptic Highway'? FS7xx something in North Carolina.

That bit from Dillard onward slowed you down a bit I would think....
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernTraveler View Post
Glad you liked my TET-S.

I figured it would take 3 days to get from Tybee to Tellico Plains... you sure pushed it!
I based that on reasonable mileages for an extended ride... 150-200 miles a day.

How'd you like the 'Post Apocalyptic Highway'? FS7xx something in North Carolina.

That bit from Dillard onward slowed you down a bit I would think....
Hey thanks for the help on my planning.

We both enjoyed the TET-s so much we might go back and do more of it later. We did cover some ground but we don't stop a lot we like riding.

North Carolina tried to kill us with all the rain.

Now to start planning the west side of the TAT. Not sure if there has been any changes since I did it back in 2009.
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