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Old 07-09-2013, 01:55 PM   #91
ArmyJoe OP
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GTFO 2013, Day 3 - July 6

I woke at 7:30 AM to the sound of screaming children. Ahh, the sounds of public campgrounds. I checked the weather radar and it looked like most of the storms would stay to the west, but I was in for a bit of early morning rain.



I alternated between staring out the door of the tent and drifing off to sleep.



About 9 AM the rain passed and I got up and started packing. Sleeping next to the stream was nice because I didn't need my sound machine app to make white noise.



Around 10 AM, I finally pulled out of the campsite. I think I'm sensing a trend with these 10 o'clock departures.



After a quick stop in Chatsworth, Georgia, for McDonalds, I was back on the road. After regaining the paved portion of the TET, I came across a downed tree on CCC Camp Road. I don't remember the storm being that bad, but I slept pretty soundly the night before. Since nobody was around I called it into 911 so they could get someone out to cut it up.



The forest roads were sloppy from all the rain and I rode a lot slower than I really wanted to. After a few hours, I saw a sign I recognized.



I had hoped I'd come by here. I've hiked most of the New Jersey sections of the Appalachian Trail as a Scout and always wanted to see where it started.



I was surprised to find that the official start of the trail is about a mile from the parking lot, up hill, and to the south. After getting there, hikers then have to turn around and head back the way they came from.





I was debating making the hike to the start when a couple came down the other way. I asked if there was a view and they said there normally was, but that cloud cover created limited visibility. About that time, the wind started picking up, heralding of another storm cell. That sealed it for me. Springer Mountain would have to wait for another day. I wolfed down a few Lara bars in lieu of lunch and headed east. Ah, more rain.





About 30 minutes from Helen, Georgia, I passed Helton Creek Falls. I could hear the water over the sound of my engine, so I parked and walked down the trail to take a look. The place looked half-destroyed because the Forest Service cut down all the hemlock trees (and left them to rot) because of an infestation of the woolly adelgid, an invasive insect from Asia. The falls themselves were beautiful due to the volume of water.



As I was taking my pictures, a couple asked me to take their picture. I said OK and they hand me an iPad. /groan. I set up a perfect "rule of thirds" horizontal shot with the falls in the background. After they look at it, they ask if I can take another one vertical. /facepalm. I almost said no. iDevices are ruining photography and video. It's even got it's own term: Vertical video syndrome.



They offered to take my picture, but I politely refused. Heading back out on the road, I was surprised by not one, but two creek crossings. All that water that made the falls look beautiful was now looking pretty ugly to me. The water was not only swift and deep, but the ripples obscured the bottom. Faced with back tracking or going forward, I chose the latter.



As you can hear, I was pretty stoked to make it across.

Back on the two-lane road, I stopped to check out one of the few views I've seen on the trip.



I rolled into Helen, a faux-Bavarian alpine town, about 6 PM and decided to call it a day. I checked into the Helendorf River Inn in the heart of downtown and went to my room to clean up. After doing laundry and spreading my tent and gear about the room, I went to explore the town.





As I said earlier, it's exactly what I expected in a tourist trap of a mountain town. I was a bit self-conscious of my attire, but nobody but me seemed to care. I ate at Hogpen Gap Grill. The jagerschnitzel was delicious.



After that, I went looking for a place to sit and enjoy a few beers. I didn't catch the name of this place (it's behind Paul's), but it was crowded, had a live band, served large beers, and had a view of the Chattahoochee River.





I went back to my room about midnight. My tally for the day was 139 miles and 596 miles for the entire trip.



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ArmyJoe screwed with this post 11-11-2013 at 11:27 AM
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:09 AM   #92
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Quote:
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Nobody said shit about having to cross a damn river.

You mean this river?

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Old 07-10-2013, 05:53 AM   #93
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Nice bike.....

I've never had a dirt or dual sport bike before but now at many many moons old, I seem to think about them a lot. (A bucket list type of thing ya know?)
Anyway, those Yamaha 250's look cool to me and I like the legal part of them. I didn't know that they would do 80 mph though?

Thanks for the great RR and stay safe.


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Old 07-10-2013, 02:57 PM   #94
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he he he trust me they will my wrr spends most of its time above 80 and it never complains
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Old 07-10-2013, 03:11 PM   #95
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GTFO 2013, Day 4 - July 7th

I woke about 9 AM and started packing. I stepped out onto the balcony to get my tent and noticed the Chattahoochee River was running pretty fast and nobody was tubing.



I checked the weather radar and saw most of the rain was going to stay to the west.



I said "Tschüß" to my hotel and rolled out about 10 AM. (See, it is a pattern).





I stopped just outside of town to gas up and eat a honey bun and then headed up Chattahoochee River Road. About five miles in, I hit a snag.



Just past the closed section, I was treated to a waterfall from one of the many tributary creeks.



After 14-miles of asphalt, I found myself back on dirt. I was surprised by the steep, rutted road and it wasn't until the very end that I realized I was on one of the sections that offered a bypass. Picking my way slowly up the road, I was doing fine until I bashed the bike on a rock. It stalled me, so I quickly looked for damage. I still had my shifter, so I figured I was good to go. I started it up, unvoluntarily slid back a few feet, picked a new line, and was back in progress. I was rewarded with a rutted descent and then three water crossings.

Damn.



Oh, shit.



You've got to be fucking kidding me.



I scouted the first two and then cleared them, but the Tallulah River stopped me dead in my tracks. Standing there, I had no way of judging how deep the water was or where the opposite exit was. I tried calling to some waders on the other side, but they couldn't hear me over the sound of the water. I had two obvious choices: go back over the two creeks and up the rutted hill (and there was no guarantee I wouldn't drop my bike in those creeks) or go forward. As the man said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," so I decided to go for it. But I really needed to find out where to come out on the other side. If there weren't people there, I would have waded across. I figured, what the hell, my feet are going to get wet anyway. Instead, I tried to go down the bank just a bit and try yelling across one more time. Although they couldn't hear me, when I made a zooming motion with my hand, a lady pointed to the bank behind a tree. I figured that was it and gave it a go.



Clearing that was my last hurdle. I had a little more asphalt, one more forest road to climb and descend, a little more asphalt, and then I was back in Rabun Gap. Programming Gate 1 of Ft Gordon into my GPS, I saw I had a three hour trip back. Turning the bike south down US-23 (which also goes through my home town), I didn't get far before my stomach started growling. Passing Tomlin's BBQ, I doubled back to try it out. I thought the pork was a little dry, but the vinegar BBQ sauce more than made up for it.





Not long after that, I made a quick stop at Tallulah Gorge. One of these days I'll have to make the trip back up here so I can see the gorge up close.





From there, it was almost a straight shot down to Augusta. As I got about 10 miles from post, I saw a rainbow from a passing thunderstorm cell.



Was this finally an omen of good things to come? Not bloody likely. Rolling up to the gate, I got a rude reminder as to why I'm in the Reserve and not still Active Duty.

The gate had only one lane open and traffic was pretty backed up. Rather than put cones down blocking the other lanes, the guards left them open. Drivers would shoot up the closed lanes and then force their way in at the last minute. Knowing I'm a "soft target" on a motorcycle, I tried to hug the rear bumper of the car in front of me so nobody could get in. My strategy backfired. When the car ahead of me got to the gate, I noticed the passenger talking with the guard and pointing my way. They moved on and I moved up. As soon as I got to the gate, the guard stepped off the curb like he was going to start something. He barks, "Is that GoPro on?" Really, dude? I understand OPSEC as much as the next guy, but was there a need to go full Hooah on a TRADOC post? Hell, anyone with a driver's license can get in. If someone was really interested in casing the joint, all they'd have to do is drive in themselves.

I told him the camera was off (it was) and showed him my ID. As he handed it back to me he said the car ahead of me reported that I "don't know how to drive that thing" and that I "almost hit them several times." He waited for an answer, but I just shrugged. My God, I don't know how people can put up with this shit on a daily basis. I'd go nuts or get busted down to Private.

I got back on post about 7 PM and took one last photo at Signal Towers, the home of the US Army Signal Center of Excellence.



The GPS says I have 233 miles for the day and 829 for the trip. It also show the descent from the mountains down to the coastal plain.





All in all it was a great trip. I'd do it again, even with all the rain. The creek crossings really built my confidence and I identified that I need to get faster on downhill turns. Best of all, I didn't drop the bike a single time.

The only thing I do differently is have waterproof boots (I've already ordered Alpinestars Scout WP boots) and maybe a few extra parts in case something really bad happened. I have a 4-day weekend for Labor Day. Who knows, maybe I'll do the same route in the other direction. For now it's...

MISSION COMPLETE
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ArmyJoe screwed with this post 07-11-2013 at 07:29 PM
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:26 AM   #96
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Nice little report. I was through that area in May, going the other direction across the top of GA. I remember your river quite well, and had the same problem of finding the exit. Good times.

If you want to check it out, here is a link to my RR.
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Old 07-11-2013, 03:36 AM   #97
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Enjoying your blog Joe. Thanks for posting your adventures.
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Old 07-11-2013, 02:41 PM   #98
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Thanks for all the comments. I've got a few odds and ends left to post. Here's a few artsy photos from the good camera. It spent most of the weekend in a Pelican case because of all the rain.





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Old 07-11-2013, 03:33 PM   #99
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You saw the sights, now hear the sounds. Each 60-second video brings you a bit of nature. Pick your happy place.


Gentle Stream



Rain on a Tent



Rain on a Steel Roof



Rocky Stream



Mountain Waterfall

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Old 07-12-2013, 01:42 PM   #100
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Tet-s

Glad you liked my route.

As far as the river goes, there's supposed to be some challenges in 'Adventure' riding! LOL... and there IS a bypass!

Mapped that route out while I was in Afghanistan - gave me something to look forward to riding when I got home.

I've got some interesting stuff in OH for when you get back up there - not released yet - and still working on it!
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #101
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Glad you liked my route.

As far as the river goes, there's supposed to be some challenges in 'Adventure' riding! LOL... and there IS a bypass!

Mapped that route out while I was in Afghanistan - gave me something to look forward to riding when I got home.

I've got some interesting stuff in OH for when you get back up there - not released yet - and still working on it!
I'll be home at the end of October. Let me know of you need a test rider.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:15 PM   #102
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Test Rider

Actually, hopefully I'll be riding the TET followed by the TET-S then the SL back up to Tellico starting early October followed by scouting that section up the western edge of Ohio (from Bellefontaine OH to Mackinaw City MI)

Probably just before you get home... but if you want, I'll send it to you for a second opinion!


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Old 07-13-2013, 05:22 PM   #103
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Nothing planned for today, so I went out exploring. Prepping the photos for this thread, I found a few from June 22nd, my first Saturday down here.

Most of these are from just across the Savannah River in the Long Cane district of Sumter National Forest, South Carolina. Out riding around, I found a mountain biking area.



Above the fall line, the sand gives way to this stuff.



A view of the Clarks Hill Dam from the Georgia side.



I see you watching me.



Three shots of the same old house. Normal:



The old timey filter:



And the blue-only filter:



I think I like the last one.

Towards the end of the day, I found a huge mud pit on one of the Forest Service Roads.



Even the bypass looked shitty.



But someone had created a second bypass on the right.



I was debating which way to go when a butterfly landed on my tank bag and pointed to the right. OK, right it is!



It's really nice not riding on sand. I need to get back over there.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:42 PM   #104
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My new Alpinestars Scout WP boots arrived yesterday, so of course, I had to go break them in. There's so many old roads here, my quick trip turned into a 4 hour ride in an area about 4.25 miles in diameter.



This 180-degree panorama show four roads. The maintenance level varies from maintained, to overgrown, to "are you sure this is a road?"



It doesn't look like anyone has been down some of these roads in a while.





I'm not alone.



I discover an old recreation area, slowly being reclaimed by the forest.





Even with mud and the rain, my feet stayed dry. I love these boots! I can't wait to get back out.

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Old 07-15-2013, 11:24 AM   #105
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That road that crosses the Tallulah River is one of my favorites! ...but it definitely would have freaked me out if I had come across it alone the first time. Way to go for it!
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