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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Chadleys1, Sep 10, 2006.
This will be a quick ride report with plenty of photos.
From Austin Texas on Saturday Sept 2, I loaded my bike into a one way Budget rent a truck (500 bucks). I picked up two new friends in Dallas who were supposed to ride with me, one on a KLR and one on a 640ADV. It took us 22 hours to get to Jellico Tennessee, where we had planned to ride as much of the Trans America Trail as we could, and still make it to work the following Monday(tomorrow.)
Monday morning, we unloaded the KLR and KTM, so I could go and return the rental truck. The plan was this would take about one hour, and we would still be able to get an early start, but it wasn't that easy. The maps and contact information I received from Budget was not accurate, and I didn't return from dropping it off until around noon! I had told the guys to go ahead without me, and I would just catch up. I would soon regret making that statement. By about 1 PM, I was on the trail, overloaded, but happy. The rain started at about 5 minutes into the ride.
The bike felt OK even with the extra weight, although I wished I had left the knobbies on it as the rain got harder and harder. In my hurry to catch up with the other guys, I had missed a turn, and started running into water that was sort of "flash flooding" over the trail/road.
This section just took the cake! When I rode up on this, my anxiety level went up a big notch. I was so concerned about how to get through this flash flooded section of trail, that I completely ignored my GPS (Garmin 76CSx-great unit!!) which would have told me to turn around and head for higher ground. I waded into the water to find that the first section (20 feet) was knee high and moving fast, while the rest was about one foot deep. Without knobs and being overloaded, I decided to walk the bike through the deep part, which worked until I got stuck about 10 feet out into the water. I knew the Husky had a low air intake, but I started it any way because I was scared the water was going to push me and the bike down. With the bike running, put it in first and slipped the clutch to walk the bike through the deep section. I dropped it going up the far bank, but the bike fell against the side of the bank and was easy to pick up.
I had broken a mirror and some turn signals, and lost my french press coffee maker-thermos thingie... damn. I layed the bike down 3 times that first day, and was worried about damage to the ProMotoBillet rack, but for naught. The rack and the Husky subframe held up perfectly to the manhandling while carrying my Sealine dry bag with 16 pounds of gear.
Once I made it through the water with boots full of water and already strained muscles in my hands, back and shoulders, I realized that I had gone way off course. With time just ticking away, and the rain continuing to pour, I realized I had to backtrack BACK THROUGH THE FLOODWATERS.
Believe it or not, I was able to laugh at myself. I said to myself out loud; "you are such a dork," and pushed the bike back into the water. hahaha
At this point I considered that I might not catch the others before dark.
Well, I backtracked, emptied the water out of my boots, and got going back on the trail. I was having fun again, and enjoying the beautiful, but very wet, scenery.
Here I stopped to pee, eat a powerbar and take a pic in front of a trailside waterfall. The small falls are hard to see in the photo. When I was peeing, I noticed something moving in the marshy forest floor. It was a small salamander that I was unable to catch for a photo, but it was very cool looking and something I was not used to seeing. My mood was getting better. Here is a picture of the variety of salamander I saw, the Long Tailed Salamander.
here is a picture of where I found him at N36 04.221 W84 39.247 (I think)
Between starting two hours behind, and my little detour through the amazon river, I did not think I could catch the guys before dark unless they were just sitting somewhere waiting, which they weren't. Here is a photo of where I should have stopped for the night at a very nice looking state park. Of course I did not stop-dumb.
it taps on the keyboard and gives us more....or it gets the hose....
I decided to ride into the night, which was a very bad idea.
I was in a wilderness preserve when it got dark about an hour earlier than I expected. Oh yeah, it also started raining again and getting misty. At least it wasn't very cold! This was the worst part of my trip. My brain wasn't functioning very well at this point, as I was fatigued, frustrated, and going on very very little sleep. Trying to take a shortcut out of the preserve, I found myself riding in the mud again, but this time in a big circle. Its a bad feeling to almost lose it in the mud, but an even worse one when you do lose it in the mud going back through the same spot, doh!
The Pirelli Scorpion A/T's at about 20 pounds of pressure did a lot better than I expected on ALL the off road stuff. I was really surprised, but still would have preferred knobs for that first day.
No pics, because my brain was dulled. They would have been the coolest pics of the trip as it would have looked scary in the mist with the mud and dark and all.
I made it out of the park and used my GPS to get to the nearest interstate where I could find a hotel room, no camping tonight.
The next morning, I checked my cell phone to see if there were messages from the Dallas guys, telling me where to meet them, but there were none. I was surprised at this, but my feeling was "oh screw it, I'll have my fun without them... slim cutta him rides alone(Jamaican accent on the last part... don't ask.)" It turned out that the next morning, when I decided to use a land line to check my messages, there were 24 from the Dallas guys who were worried about me. hahaha My phone was just screwed up from the rain, and I was paranoid thinking they were trying to ditch me... damn!
Whooiee dork on parade.
The second day was just great, easy and breezy.
The sun came out, it was mostly gravel roads and blacktop through some gorgeous country.
It is sort of funny. There was something on the grip that this butterfly wouldn't let go of. I rode with it on there for probably 5 miles, and finally brushed it off because it was distracting me.
I was testing the MacroFocus feature on my new Canon digital cam.
OK, the cool part of the story is over and from here on out it was just me cruising around by myself. I went and visited my brother and family near Nashville for a day and got some good sleep and eats. Oh yeah, speaking of eats, they have a place called Krystals in Tennessee that served me a bowl of grits with a sausage patty, eggs, jalapenos, onions, and cheese all mixed in that was pretty freaking good.
Here are some dogs that looked like they were posing to me. They were on the side of the road and just sitting there in front of a nice house. Yeah, I am a dog guy. My avatar is my dog Gustavo as a puppy with crazy eye.
I am going to cut this short as the rest of the trip is not that exciting, and I am out of photos.
From memphis, I ran the interstates all the way home to Austin, which took two days. The reason for this was that I wanted to be back in time to see the U.T./ohio state game. We lost.
I learned a lot about preparation on this trip.
No, I never caught up with the Dallas guys, and I think that they think I am crazy, or am I being paranoid again?
Here is a picture of me right as I made it home. The bike performed flawlessly, even amazingly. I really love it, and have a bunch of cool mods planned for it to make it even better.
1248 miles - good trip - the next one will be MUCH better!
WTF? You drove 22 hours with those guys and never saw them again? Were they friends of yours?? Nice ride anyway but damn...
I know, it is hillarious, embarrasing and hillarious. The embarrassing part just makes it more hillarious.
The first night I was only about 20 miles from where they were at, but because of the phone malfunction, we never got it together.
I only knew them through the internet, but they were good guys who I am sure I will end up riding with some time in the future.
I will try to get them to post something on this thread, even though it will probably be at my expense. haha
In their defense, they were trying to get a hold of me the whole time, I just didn't know it.
i enjoyed it
Nice pics! Nice bike