A Day Trippin Vacation in the Smokies

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    After a few really hectic weeks, I had 10 days off so I headed for the Smoky Mountains.

    My butt got ruffed:

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    I hiked to some Waterfalls:

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    Saw giant musicians:

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    Stood under a mutant tree:

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    Crossed creeks:

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    And much more!

    It was the vacation I needed to unwind, get rid of stress, and recharge my batteries. I met lots of great people and had a blast:wings

    Details and lots of pics to follow.......
    #1
  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I only get 2 weeks vacation a year. I need at least ten times that and even that wouldn't be enough to do everything I'd like to do. in this case I had ten days, Friday - Sunday and I was determined to make the most of it so I planned a three part vacation. Part one was 5 days with my wife in Maggie Valley doing the tourist thing. It would not involve a lot of riding but would involve hiking to some spots I had always wanted to see but didn't since I've always been in my riding gear. Here's a pic on the way up to Maggie Valley:

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    You didn't think I'd spend 5 days in the NC Mountains without a bike did you?:evil
    #2
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    The first day of the trip was spent getting to Maggie Valley with a stop to see Bryson City. We checked into the AppleCover Inn. If you're looking for clean but inexpensive lodging, I highly recomend it. They are in town and usuelly have a camp fire at night.

    The second day we planned on taking in some of the beautiful scenery of the area. Here's a waterfall off of NC215 just north of the BRP.

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    NC 215 is one of my favorite roads. Driving it was not nearly as fun as riding it. Then we headed up to the parkway. Our first stop was Devil's Couthouse. I've stopped here many times on a bike but didn't feel like hiking to the overlook since I was in my riding gear. The overlook is just over Debbi's head and it's a fairly steep hike of just under half a mile.

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    We made it to the top:

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    Looking down to the parking area and the BRP.

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    Then we went to another spot I had often stopped at on my bike, Graveyard Fields. We hike down to this:

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    Took this pic the next day in Waynesville:

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    These guys were created using old industrial parts.
    #3
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I love Maggie Valley. Although it's purely a tourist town, it's not a tourist trap like Pigeon Forge. Other than a Subway, there are no chain restaurants in town. Most of the motels are small mom and pop places. This place caters to and is full of motorcyclists. Best of all it's surounded by mountains, great scenery, and great riding. I only took one pic of the town, I wish I had taken a few more.

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    Since I always get up earlier than Debbi, I used that time to explore the town on my DR250. As you ride through town you can see some houses way up on the mountain sides. The roads going up to those houses are steep, very twisty and often unpaved. Perfect for exploring on a small Dual Sport. Unfortunately I didn't take any pics. At this point I was still pretty burned out from the preceding weeks and wasn't planning on doing a ride report.

    We did go back up to the BRP for some more hiking and took some pics.
    Derrick, the owner of the Applecover Inn recomended hiking to skinny dip falls so we did. Saw this really weird mutant tree so we took some pics.

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    Anyone have a clue what would cause a tree to grow this way???

    It was a great hike back to the falls.

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    No skinny dippers but being such a remote spot maybe you might find some in July or August when it's warmer.

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    Another view.

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    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Then we went back to Graveyard Fields to make the longer (1.6 miles each way) hike to the upper falls.

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    Then we decided to try to make it back to WaterRock knob to catch the sunset. It was clouding up and the temp was dropping. It got down to 35 degrees and then started to rain and there was even a little snow mixed in. at that point I was glad to be driving not riding. The sunset at Waterrock knob was not spectacular but I took a couple of pics. This one came out the best>

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    #5
  6. opjocephus

    opjocephus Dick Tree

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    I wanted to be in the Smokies so bad last week. My Dad lives in the Fines Creek area and thought I was gonna get some time off from work, but :mad?
    it didn't work out. And I have read your reports and have been scouring the maps and such. All I have left to do is get some sort of day trippin' luggage I can carry tools, tubes, etc. Looks like you had a good time.

    OP
    #6
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    We rode through the Fines Creek area two days in a row. It's a great area. Too bad you couldn't make it. that WORK stuff is always getting in the way of more important things like riding. I hope to head back up there in the next couple of weeks. Most of my report, including lots of riding is still to come.
    #7
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    One last item of interest and then I'll get to the riding part of this report. Waynesville has a theater that has live plays and shows. Debbi and I went and saw the Buddy Holly story. Buddy Holly was before our time but we figured it might be interesting. Most of the audience was older than us so Buddy Holly was probably part of their teenage years. It was a great show and the audience really got into it. I highly recomend it even if you're not old farts like us or even older farts like most of the audience.

    One the fifth day we drove back to Marietta.

    The second part of this three part vacation was three days of Dual Sport riding in North Carolina.....Stay tuned. Here's a preview pic:

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    #8
  9. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot

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    :thumb Cool pictures
    #9
  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    My plan was to get up and on the road by 6:30 AM on Wednesday and head back up to MV. I tend to get excited when I'm going riding so I was on the road bt 5:45. Our base for the next three days would be the AppleCover Inn in Maggie Valley. My long time riding buddy Steve had gone up on Tuesday and another rider, Sean, would meet us there. We arrived around 10:00, unloaded our bikes and where on the road before 11:00.

    Steve had to scrape heavy frost off his car that morning. It had warmed up by the time we left and we were quite warm getting ready to go so we ended up under dressing. It was still colder than we thought .

    We decided to do an easy route the first day so we rode to Hot Springs for lunch and then took a different route including some exploring on the way back. At this point I still wasn't planning on doing a ride report and took very few pics. The route was similar to what I did the last day of my June trip. The link for that is here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=589110

    We did make a detour to Max Patch

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    I suggested a hike to the top but didn't get any takers - not sure why:dunno
    We were dressed perfectly for hiking:huh

    Steve and Sean by the Max Patch information board

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    Taking a break along Max Patch Rd.

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    #10
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    One of the last things I did on my June ride was ride down Shelton Laurel Rd. I turned around when the road deteriorated since I was by myself and it was getting late. I planned on returning to explore it some day and this was that day. It turned out to be a relaxing ride:

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    :lol3 :lol3 :lol3

    Actually it was a great ride. Shelton Laurel goes from paved to gravel to narrow FS road to jeep trail. It ends up dumping out on I-40 much like Hurricane Creek does. It also has several branches which we also explored.

    We then headed back to the Motel. When we got back to the Motel, Sean's face had started to swell from a tooth infection which unfortunately ended the trip for him. It was a real bummer as he had been really looking forward to this ride and the weather forcast was perfect.
    #11
  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Thursday morning Steve and I headed out for a full day of riding. We took our small bikes since we didn't want to wrestle our big pig 650s through the rough stuff we were planning. It turned out to be a very wise decision. Our route was 19 North, left on 276, left on Cove creek, Right on White Oak, Straight in Fines Creek, left on Shelton Laurel, right on I-40. The plan was to run Hurricane Creek backwards from what we had always done in the past.

    We ended up finding another "exit" off of I-40 so we did some exploring. We went up a steep and rocky hill.

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    Steve zipped right up but I was tentative, lost momentum and stalled. Then it took a few tries to start (Kick start) the bike. I was seating by the time I made it to the top. The hill led to several trails. We explored a couple which dead ended. Saw an interesting mushroom:

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    Then we got back on I-40 and towards Hurricane Creek.
    #12
  13. simpson

    simpson wild rover of hell

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    :lurk
    #13
  14. BOBaloo22

    BOBaloo22 RIP Baby Girl

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    I love it there, let's see some more! :lurk
    #14
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    There was a new Road sign. It was missing in June.

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    It still amazes me that this "road" dumps right into an interstate highway.

    Since I have always riden this road the other direction, I don't recall ever seeing this waterfall.

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    There are a couple of cabins back here. What a great location.

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    We soon came to a fork in the road/trail and took the wrong fork. We figured it out and backtracked. It wouldn't be the last time. No problem, I had wanted to explore some of the forks and side trails to see if they went anywhere. I took another "wrong turn" and found this:

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    How that bus got back here is beyond me:dunno It's obviously been here a long time. Maybe Hurricane creek was not so rough back then.
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    A little further up we came to a large tree across the road.

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    At first I thought we'd have to turn around but after clearing some small branches from the bank on the left, there was just enough space to squeeze our small bikes through.

    It didn't take long to come to another down tree. This one was high enough that we could ride underneath by tilting the bikes and ducking down.

    A view from the other side.

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    Ducking down

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    And I'm through.

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    #16
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Then we came to a third down tree.

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    We ended up dragging the bikes underneath it. We were glad to not be on our heavy 650s.

    As we continued up Hurricane Creek, we explored the trails that branched of to see if they went anywhere. The first few came to gates but the last one we tried went up the mountain and came out on an easy gravel road. The gravel road took us over the top of a mountain with a spectacular view.

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    And lots of grazing cattle.

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    Eventually the road turned to pavement and dumped us out on to Max Patch Rd.

    This sign was at the intersection.

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    Actually, GPS is right.........if you're on a dual sport or in a Jeep.
    #17
  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    We went up Max Patch Rd, took a left through Harmon's den, then up FS288 to Buzzards Roost.

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    the view was beautiful as always.

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    Then it was off to Bob's Way.

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    Here's the beginning of the road.

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    It was not as muddy as when we went through in June.

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    Although there was less mud, the long rocky down hill seemed to be even more rutted than last time. The real question was, would the downed tree that stopped us last time still be there?
    #18
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    When we got to the spot where the tree was in June, there was no sign of the tree. The creek crossing was just beyond that point.

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    Not a real deep creek but more challenging than any of the creek crossing along Hurricane Creek due to a fairly steep and rocky approach. Here Steve shows how it's done.

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    Had we tried to go around the tree last time we would have had to ride the bikes through this:

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    Once across the creek the riding was much easier.

    From there we headed to Hartford, Tn for lunch. We didn't get there until 3:00 so we were good and hungry. The food did not dissappoint us.

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    #19
  20. wanderboy

    wanderboy I just wanna ride,ride

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    looks like ya'll were having tooooooo much fun. I used to ride the roads around Morganton like this in the '60's. man what a great time!!!! :wave say hi to Debbie for us.
    #20