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Old 05-21-2014, 07:26 PM   #1
blue72beetle OP
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Oddometer: 146
V-Strom Rally East 2014

This past fall my girlfriend and I had taken a trip to the Smokey Mtns / Deals Gap area on my SV650. I’ve tried to make it down there at least once every year for the past few years, but last fall was the first time 2-up. We quickly learned I needed a bigger more comfortable bike. Sold the SV and bought an 06 DL650 last October. Once I learned there was a rally, I was signed up. We decided to bring a tent and camp for the whole trip.

We started out the journey on a Tuesday, traveling 750 miles from Fort Wayne Indiana to Columbus Georgia to visit relatives of my girlfriend. On the way I had to stop for a picture in front of the Corvette museum, as I had with the SV last year. Except this time there was a giant gaping hole inside that yellow structure.



Stayed in Columbus Tuesday night and left around noon on Wednesday heading for Suches. The weather forecast was getting increasingly more ominous looking, and I wasn’t quite sure about our idea of camping. Setting up and tearing down a tent in pouring rain didn’t sound like fun, so I called ahead to TWOS and asked if any of their rooms on the second floor had been claimed. The lady said no, in fact, we would be the only people there. Since we would be arriving late she left the side door unlocked for us. Those people are so great.
I was expecting just a few rooms with beds but when we got there, the whole second floor had 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, full bathroom, and a common area. And we had it all to ourselves for only $55 a night! I may never consider camping there again! Right after I parked the bike and unloaded our stuff, the sky opened up and stormed like crazy. Good idea about getting the room instead of camping here tonight.



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Old 05-21-2014, 07:26 PM   #2
blue72beetle OP
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Oddometer: 146
Thursday

Thursday was ‘ride to the rally’ day and I had planned a scenic/fun route of on and off road riding. First stop was Fields of the Wood, naturally it was still raining but that didn’t kill the fun too much. I knew the whole trip would probably be rainy.





Helmet hair….


Next route was Hiwassee Dam Access Road. It went over the dam, then the pavement ended at Joe Brown Highway. Took that to Schulers Creek Road which followed (surprise!) Schulers Creek back to Hwy 68.







Took 68 up to Tellico Plains, jumped on the Cherohala just a bit and turned off down River Road. My girlfriend loves waterfalls so I had planned on seeing some waterfalls during the trip. Stopped at Bald River Falls for some photos.





Farther up River Road we turned onto North River Road and then National Forest Road 81, otherwise known as ‘The Gravel Cherohala’. Some parts of this was very muddy, and I crawled through it but we came out with only a couple close calls, and didn’t drop the bike.



It was getting pretty late by the time we got to Robbinsville, and the forecast temps for overnight lows had been getting lower all week. We decided to abandon the idea of camping, as the gear we brought wasn’t quite up to the cold temps. We found a room at the Microtel right in town and called it a night.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:28 PM   #3
blue72beetle OP
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Friday

Friday we headed up to the Iron Horse, to register for the Rally and decide what to do for the day. More rain was forecasted. :( Met Mark444 at the registration booth and chatted for a bit, looked around the Iron Horse, as that was the first time I’d been there. Then we decided to do the Cades Cove loop and Parsons Branch Road, as Friday was shaping up to be the driest day (so far).
Headed through the Dragon to take the Foothills up to Cades Cove.



By the time we reached the North end of the Dragon, it had started raining, and once we got our rain suits on, it really came down. Oh well, knew it was gonna rain.
Cades Cove was slow, of course, but it wasn’t long before we got to Parsons Branch Road. Stopped somewhere in the middle of it and had a snack, while we were eating a Dodge Durango went by, then little bit later a Jeep went by.







Exited Parsons Branch in the middle of the Dragon, stopped by the Fontana Dam for pics and headed back toward Robbinsville for another night in the hotel. Lows Friday night were in the 30’s! Good call on not camping…

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Old 05-21-2014, 07:28 PM   #4
blue72beetle OP
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Oddometer: 146
Saturday

Saturday I planned one more ride that involved some more on / off road routes, this time east of Robbinsville, as I’ve never explored much in the eastern direction. When I got to the start of the off road section, we found a closed and locked gate. Hmm, I didn’t know about this. The road may have been closed for a while, as it was overgrown and anything with 4 wheels wouldn’t have been able to pass. Of course I would never go around a gate and travel across a closed road…….
And having NOT traveled down the closed road, when one comes to the other end of it where the other gate was closed and locked, one might have seen a white truck sitting on the other side of the gate. Trying to decide if they were law or not, one might sit there for a while until he sees that they have fishing poles in their hands. Then they spotted us… I mean, someone who might do that. (Well we were wearing hi-vis rain suits, what did I expect.) Just a couple local fishermen, that stood there and watched me struggle to get around the narrow clearing around the gate.
I asked one after I made it past.
“You were waiting for me to fall, weren’t you?”
“No, we were about to help you!”
“Ha, like watching crashes in a Nascar race.”

They laughed and we continued on our way. Since it had been closed a while and overgrown, it was challenging, but the views and the feeling of beating the challenge was worth it.

We continued on, reaching some more pavement, then some more off-road. This was shaping up to be a neat route. Almost got creamed by an SUV tearing around a corner. Later figured out they were hikers, it was much too nice of an SUV to be out in the sticks out here!



Ended up on 28 and followed that down to Highlands, stopping at the waterfalls. We had pizza in a little place, I can’t remember the name, the pizza was great but the breadsticks were ok.



We high tailed it back to the Iron Horse in time for the Slow Speed Races and dinner. Door prizes were handed out, I ended up with a Twisted Throttle t-shirt and some Sockz.







We decided to stay Saturday night at the Iron Horse, they had a private room available. It was a steep price, but with the group photo right away Sunday morning, I decided to stay there. It was a very nice place.

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-2006 DL650-
V-Strom Rally East 2014 Ride Report
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:29 PM   #5
blue72beetle OP
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Oddometer: 146
Sunday

Sunday morning was breakfast then group photo time. Richland Rick brought his brand new 2014 DL1000 to the rally, I spent the whole weekend explaining to my girlfriend that I needed to sell my 650 and buy a new 1000.







“See?!, it’s even parked right in front of my bike! It’s a sign!”


I had a long scenic route planned for the way home, but with the group photo we didn’t leave until after 9am, and my girlfriend had to work the next morning so it was run through the Dragon then boring slab the whole way back. Got back at 9:45pm with almost 2,000 miles for the whole trip.
We had a blast, the food was great, the people were fun, the roads were awesome, even if it did rain pretty much the whole time.



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-2006 DL650-
V-Strom Rally East 2014 Ride Report
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