Aarrffin' around Appalachia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Aarrff, May 18, 2012.

  1. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    What a beautiful day! So out I went in search of some Smoky Mountain Dirt. I leisurely left home around 10 am and got on the big Aye Fourdy and here is a look at Buzzard's roost where you saw my ride bud sitting ( "back yard shot") earlier in this thread in frame #5. Look above the tunnels, this photo does not do the elevation difference justice.

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    I dropped off the interstate after crossing the Tenn line and back into the Park as I passed this power plant on the state line

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    Looks like the slow economy has dealt the Smoky Mountain Gift shop a hard blow. Dang, I was hoping to get in on some good deals :lol3

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    Well, went on up the dirt road behind the gift shop to see what I could find

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    The AT crosses up here as I cross over the NC/TN line again
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    Ok headed onto pavement at this point and this TN 32 sucks...don't ride this..10 miles of first gear curves..seriously unless you are one of the folks who use no engine braking and hit the brakes going into every curve...I hate being behind you if you do!

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    Nice camping here and a good trout stream about 10 miles down 32 from the NC line

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    Bad economy has hit here too I guess

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    Whats this fancy entrance? Cosby Utah Canyons with bears? :lol3
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    They ain't doing much here either as it looks

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    It looks almost abandoned inside these gates...maybe I'll go back and name this the "Bad Economy Thread" :lol3

    Ok folks, I hit some faster roads down toward Gatlinburg, and over to Pigeon Forge and was behind the "Delivery Truck and Old Farts Parade" until I was near insane and then I finally got on Wears Valley Road and over to Townsend TN. Neat little town with bicycle paths and nice motels fer you honeymooners...anyway..found some grub at the Smokey Junction Restaurant. Sorry..I always eat some of it before you get a chance to see it...

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    It wuz good but a little heavy duty fer me so I guess it will be oat meal fer supper :lol3

    Rode on over to this place known as Cades Cove

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    What can I say? Purdy ain't it. Now you have seen it so don't waste yor time coming here...

    Now here is where the fun begins...one way dirt...no cell...no emergency service...no nothing for 10 miles but lots of rough road. Don't do this with a cruiser...you won't be happy.
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    About 3.5 miles in are these trailheads

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    8 miles of parson's Branch later, you come this this known as the 'Dragon'.

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    Headed home on this road which is nice but I know a lot of roads just as much fun and no crowd. Two motorcycle accidents, nothing serious apparently, before I got to Fontana...hope I get off this road in one piece :lol3
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    Better scenery on further south on 28 I think

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    Ok, I got back on 74 east and went home and will not bore you with photos of that....today's mileage and a really fun ride in spite of the sucky curves was 217.6

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    Til next time :wave
    #61
  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Huntsville, AL
    Speaking of bad economy, I passed through Franklin, NC on my trip. Here's a pic of the Franklin Motel just outside center of town:

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    :huh
    #62
  3. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Wow! I have stayed there before when we used to over there ruby mining at the Mason Mine up in Burningtown...
    #63
  4. patmo

    patmo Long timer

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    Yeah, whatever you do, do NOT ride 32 or that really sucky dirt road up the mountain on the NC side. They are no fun at all......just stay away! :D



    Sucks to be you, don't it? :rofl
    #64
  5. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    There is a bunch of sucky dirt on both sides of Aye Fourdy and several no ramp Hillbilly entrances too...awful...people come here and never heard from again...if you hear banjos....ride fast....


    :lol3
    #65
  6. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Hot day even here in the hills. I am in my usual bad mood since we have no decent roads to ride here or at least we have not found any lately. I headed out this morning with my sweetie (mtngal) 2-up in search of something worth mentioning to you on a little loop around the neighborhood. mtngal is taking the photos with her better camera today. We barely got headed down Meadow Fork and you might know the darn wildlife around here act like they own the place...bunch of turkeys in my opinion!

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    I can remember a day when this building had good looking tags and now they are all rusty...whats wrong with these people not taking care of their tags?.....I really am grumpy today...

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    Well we decided to make a quick run through Hot "Sprangs" then head down river....

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    Paint Rock so named for the Native American paintings still visible on a few places here but mostly damaged by vandals so don't waste any time coming here...

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    You take the high road and we'll take.....we actually we took the high road...dirt...sorta rough in places...steep drop-offs...long views...trees across the road...don't come here!

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    Zig here, zag there, hop or two and the big GS is moving on...

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    I dunno what happened...we paid our respects at any rate...

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    Down off the mountain we find more sucky roads and terrible stuff to see


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    Fitting flag for today...we do have a lot to be thankful for in this wonderful country! Just wish we had some good straight roads...


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    This tractor ain't American made but I guess it gets the job done. Not goin' to complain...my bike ain't American made either so thar you go...


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    Found this old power house and dam along the road.


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    Headed down Cove Creek, Cedar Creek and Long Branch in search of Del Rio...

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    Note..a Massey Harris...not Massey Ferguson


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    All the gals basking in the shade on this Hot day and I do mean HOT!

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    Found Del Rio!


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    She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes...

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    Ran out of pavement again! can you imagine?


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    Checking out a side road...

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    Back on the main track


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    Lunch!


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    If'n you dare come here, we do have big foot here, here's proof! and he may be in a bad mood!


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    Trusty iron horse

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    Cooling way down up here :lol3 Not!!!


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    Bee Balm and it makes a great tea and mtngal told me the name of it but I forget....maybe she will comment at the end and tell us....


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    pond near the Patch


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    The "patch" Max patch that is...AT crosses here before going to Hot Sprangs if you are going north.


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    Headed back to the house which is close by....


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    Neighbors place


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    Almost there


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    Just a little jaunt around the neighborhood which took a while since we were on a lot of unpaved tracks today.
    Finished grilling some great food and now the temp is cooler and nice after this short trip:

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    Don't worry about my brake failure light..who needs brakes anyway? :lol3


    :wave
    #66
  7. Cuttle

    Cuttle twisted

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    love the pics!!!

    ... looks all very familiar :D
    #67
  8. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    Thanks! Hope all are having a great Holiday week and thanks Cuttle for the help on getting my photos up to size!

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    :D
    #68
  9. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    It's been a few busy weeks fer me and no ridin' time so I was determined to get out today at least long enough to tryout my new camry ( that's not a Toyota, that's what they call it here where I live...it's a Camera!) its a Canon PowerShot SX40HS so don't ask me anything about it. Imma total camry dummy so maybe mtngal will teach me how to use it someday but I tried today with it set on AUTO ( that's fer dummys like me) so maybe I will get this figgered out before I get too far out of town. Stormy day so I tried to stay pretty local...I prefer to be rained on by local rain...just does not seem as wet I guess even though I got in 3 separate thunder showers that were so hard that most cars pulled over except idiots like me.

    First of all I needed gas so I went down to the closest hillbilly station. After I got there, I had a hard time figgerin' out how to swipe. There was a guy right next to me swipin' and he swiped and he swiped and finally he got real frustrated and was about to leave when I noticed his tag was from Flordie. I have pity for them coming up here trying to survive. They always leave and go home in a few months. By then I had figgered out how to swipe myself...here you look at this and tell me how you would swipe:

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    How would you do it? Would you hold your stripe up to the left and swipe or hold it in your hand like it shows at the swipe hole? I figgered the description to the left must be upside down fer people from south of the equator and so I hold mine like it shows at the hole. I explained this to the out of towner and he ended up getiin' gas.....just like me...

    OK...on with the ride. I looked in all directions and there seemed to be fewer thunder heads to the south so I hit 215 south toward Balsam Grove.



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    Looking pretty stormy already:

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    Some Mountain laurel still in bloom up here:

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    Wow...pretty clouds but looking dangerous..

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    Turned off on Explorer/Charley'sCreek:

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    Over on Silversteen:

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    I spent the next two hours in one rain after another. The rain was refreshing as it blew right through my open suit vents and by the time I was almost home again, the sun was back out some and I was dryin' a bit. Got to the oldest iron bridge still in use in NC. It used to be further down the river then about 1920 or so, they replaced it and the local farmers asked the state if'n they could have it and put it up the river so they could cross over to their fields and save a long trip around to get to market and so it was a deal. The bridge was moved on wagons with horses, the farmers made the cement and installed the bridge and it still stands but modern farm equipment is heavy and has taken its toll so its being closed to motor vehicles and will be a walking and bicycle path only...neat huh?



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    New bridge goes about a 1/4 mile upstream...

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    Bought me a jar of molasses..

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    I think my photos are lookin' just a bit "washed" out so I'll work on that.


    Well, it's been another terrible day here in Worstern NC.


    :wave
    #69
  10. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    1,756
    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    A friend of mine, David, was bitten by the Adventure Bug so he finds himself a slightly used KTM 990 with some really nice accessories. David has spent most of his experience with bikes riding the street with heavy cruisers so mtngal and I took him out for his first really good run with the KTM. It's a nice machine, needs some new tires as the previous owner lived in the flats and it has a good case of what I call "squar-tar" or worn tire centers so its a bit wierd probably in the curves with the rail like contact patch so he will take care of that.

    We meet at Clyde's restaurant in Waynesville for a really nice breakfast ( forgot to take food photos) then we started out with something gentle like the Blue Ridge Parkway just to see how he is doing. A beautiful day with clear air and white fluffy clouds was the setting:

    ( Oh, and I apologize in advance for this terrible place to ride but it's all us locals have when we don't have time to get far out)

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    So far so good!

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    Mtngal loves to use the camera as we roll so most all the pics today were with her panasonic and Lecia lens.

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    David appears to have a good set-up on the bike:

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    He is having fun on his friskey KTM!

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    mtngal grabs a shot of an oncoming cruiser:

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    Let's see what we can find for David on 215 south:

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    Soon a right turn on Explorer roads opens up a lot of adventuring possibilities:

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    Sorry, bridge not open to bikes...


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    On the road again...

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    Too many roads, too little time...

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    I like this for adventure touring, well centered on his machine, head level, eyes focused ahead in the curve, and not going for the apex too soon....


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    Hmmm...maybe time for some simple gravel...


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    Nice healthy looking mountain ladies...


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    Back on pavement soon and an awesome view of Cat Creek and Franklin ahead:

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    It was a good ride...

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    On down Cat Creek.

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    About grub time so we pulled in at Motor City Grill on main in Franklin...parked in front. Seating options include nice curbside tables but with this heat, we opted for the air-conditioned environment.

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    Bon Appetit!


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    Mount up....

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    Passing the Nikwasi ( Nequasee or Nequassee) Native American burial mound in downtown Franklin area:


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    Lets roll: Walnut Creek

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    Lake Glenville

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    Back on Charlie's Creek for the last leg of our run together:

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    Comfort station anyone?

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    Return on 215 north. David took the BRP south to home and mtngal always find some neat photo ops on this road as we head in on the last leg of our ride today.


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    Dangerous culvert...the unknowing have stepped into the water just to be swept away to a 40 foot fall...terrible thought

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    There are several old iron bridges on this river with interesting stories to be told by the locals. I am a local here, raised near-by, and generations of my family before me have crossed these structures many times;

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    This particular bridge, while not the oldest in the state, was previously located downstream at the intersection of Love Joy and Lake Logan Roads when the logging train used what is now known as Lake Logan Road to haul out logs from the high country many know now as the Graveyard Fields area. That's a lot of history in itself, but it seems this old bridge has a history that followed it upstream....well..perhaps a ghost or apparition will appear up in its structures to some who venture across. I know the story, I elect not to tell it all as it involves families of locals from generations gone by. You look at the photos mtngal took. We did not see what showed up ( and this is not the first time I have experienced this) here. We both had a feeling here that was abnormal, emotional, confusing, and not typical with our fun ride so we moved along but...here...you look at the photos...

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    :eek1

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    Moving on home...


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    Great products from here...

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    See ya soon :D
    #70
  11. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

    Joined:
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    2nd time this wkend i've heard of the motor city grill & i thought i knew franklin
    #71
  12. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    This may not be much of a day trippin' thing but some of you may find it interesting or helpful. mtngal and I are going to be doing some camping from the GS. That would be an easy thing if we each rode separate bikes and could haul a load on each bike. The challenge for us is to do this off one bike as she prefers to ride with me ( I refer that too since she has spent her life on horseback and not on two wheels).

    We bought a new neat tent and look forward to giving that a try too. Its made by Nemo ( morph 2-P) and has no poles but air beams instead.

    Over the years, I have learned in my travels on the bike to test new things a little at a time until I knew what I wanted before heading out on a long trip and end up wasting vacation days and every body else's time also with unforeseen problems. So mtngal and I decided to try out the new tent in the back yard, then load up the GS with all our gear, at least one day water, clothes, tent, mattress pads, stools, one burner stove, fuel for that, MRE's, other foods, condiments, sporks, riding under garmets, camp clothes, shoes, cameras, bike's tools, oil, camp lights, gee...its a long list! My goal is to find out if we can ride with all this and you know..simple stuff like are we comfortable?, can we get on and off the loaded bike and get it on the stand OK?, ride gravel, run the curves a little, not loose gear, nor have catastrophic things winding up in our wheels, and so forth. Are things packed in the order of need setting up a camp. I want to check out the various settings on my electronic suspension with all this weight too so here we go:

    New Tent sets up fast, peg it out, attached air pump, rock your foot for a few minutes, and done!

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    Happy campers.....so far :lol3

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    Air beam supports easy to inflate and deflate

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    Neat sky view with the rain cover rolled back off the mesh front...

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    Ok, got it all loaded:

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    I guess mtngal can fit in there...good thing she is so little!

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    Out for a test run:

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    We got back from an hour ride and did just fine even up the steep gravel driveway. I think with a few refinements we are good to go. I am not confident about the bed rolls staying dry on top of our side cases...the manufacturers claim the stuff sacks are water proof...I may put them in dry sacks but that adds to the bulk close her legs. She is very comfortable as is.

    The loading ( and this is by no means a complete list of junk) is as follows:

    In the upper water proof bag are the mattress pads, tent, rope, camp led light, camp shoes.

    In the upper case are our riding clothes, camp or street clothes, toiletries. A few toiletries for travel are in the tank bag.

    In the right side case is the camp stove, MRE's, folding water bucket, other food, first aid kit, coffee stuff, and in short all the camp kitchen stuff. Snacks and a few in the tank bag. Weight about 35 lbs. On the top is my bed roll.

    In the left side case is the bike tool roll (heavy), bike oil, fire extinguisher, gas treatment if needed, jumper cables ( homemade and compact) extra straps, can of plexus for helmet lens & windscreen, bike cover ( may throw this out for more room), cheap throwaway ground clothes for the tent. Two folding stools seen above with the tent. Probably a few other things like leatherman, side arm for states honoring concealed carry permits, pepper spray in the tank bag. Weighs in about 38 lbs.

    Tank bag has couple cameras, sunglasses, tire gauge, GPS when not in use, cell phones, wallets, things mentioned already etc.


    Ok, comments pro or con appreciated. I have done this before but only for 1-up riding...no I ain't pullin' no trailer! So if you have thoughts, let me know.

    Happy trails! :wave
    #72
  13. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    1,756
    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    How's that shoulder??? This place is on the left side of Main street right before you can turn right on 28. Good to hear from you..maybe see you at the Nottaralley? or before...
    #73
  14. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

    Joined:
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    Location:
    jaw ja

    i'll find it i'll bet downtown has changed some sence i've been there.


    healing

    hopeing to be at notarally, still not sure
    #74
  15. KingJarhead

    KingJarhead Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,056
    Location:
    Not at Work...Pinnacle, NC
    I love ready your ride reports and love seeing your travels. I need to make a trip to the western part of the state soon.
    I really like that tent. How well do you think it would stand up in a windy/thunderstorm? Do you think it would be good for backpacking? Is the pump part of the tent or purchase separately? I am looking at getting a new backpacking tent. Thanks
    #75
  16. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
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    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    The tent is available from aerostitch or directly from the manufacturer (Nemo). It is intended for back packers to the best of my knowledge. It has some rope and plenty of loops sewn it for additional guying both at the steaks and sides and top. I'd say this thing should be better in wind than something with poles. Go to www.nemoequipment.com I think it is and look up the Morpho 2-P. I also have a pad for the floor which folds up very small and a pad lock system which is just some straps that go inside and connect to hold your mattress pads (like thermorest) in place. I use a cheap throw away ground cloth but they make that accessory too and all kinds of cool stuff.

    The pump comes with it as well as a nice waterproof stuff sack and little bags for rope and steaks. Packed up, it is as small as my thermorest pad which is smaller than the typical hiking bedroll. I set it up the first time in maybe 10 minutes but now I can do it in 5 or less! Here is the neat thing....you can air it up ( or deflate) from inside or outside so if its raining, you can get inside it as soon as its unrolled and air it up and then it won't blow away ( I would hope) with you in it...steak it after the rain stops.

    Thanks for following my posts! See ya soon :D
    #76
  17. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    Me and mtngal took off on a 2-up ride on Friday, September 21, 2012. I had just returned from an 11 day ride to and back from New Brunswick Canada and enjoyed the seafood on the northern coast so much that I decided I might as well finish eating my way down the east coast but I wanted my favorite partner in crime and Sweetheart along with me so we were gone for about 8 days. It was a blast and she did most of the photography. We were in NC, TN, VA, back in NC, and ended up in Charleston SC before we got back. Following is from day one:

    Ready to roll about 9:30 am from mtngals place.


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    A familiar site for us about 10 minutes down the road: I can remember when those tags looked a lot newer :lol3



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    Fog rises off Spring Creek below:



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    Rolling straight on through a familiar town:



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    The French Broad reminds me of the Chocolate River in New Brunswick today. Guess we had a good rain south of here.



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    We will cross these mountains on our way up to Tennessee. In fact, I think we crossed the Appalachian Trail about 7 times today. Several times around Hot Springs, again at the top of the Mountain on 25-70 and soon again on 212 going into TN.



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    On the way toward TN:



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    We always try to travel back roads and farmlands on our rides and this trip is no exception. We noticed a real variety of farmlands, crops, and livestock over the next week. Here we see a mature tomato crop and tobacco that looks about ready to hang for curing:



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    Not far down the road is another tomato field and the farmers are busy picking their harvest.



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    Here the AT crosses again on 212 at the TN Line:



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    Now this is mtngal and our big GS bike ready to keep rolling:



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    Before pulling out, we find a "Lucky Dime" which rode with us in the tank bag map viewer to remainder of the journey:



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    We took a brief detour and restroom break on Clear Branch Road to see Tennessee's Welcome Center voted best in the state. This photo from their parking looking back in the direction from whence we came.


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    A shot taken on the move toward the AT crossing on 91/133 on the way to Shady Valley above Elizabethton, TN.



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    Map and info at the AT crossing in the Gap entering Shady Valley. Nice spot for a stop and we saw some neat finches feeding on thistle seed and a good job by mtngal to capture one in her camera:



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    Ok, taking a break from this post of day one, back later...
    #77
  18. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,756
    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    Continuing on day one:

    Shady Valley is a nice looking farming community with big level fields and the mountains rising up abruptly in the background. Good area to go ride and like I mentioned in earlier posts, this is OK for you to ride since it's in TN but avoid the awful stuff in NC :lol3

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    Hay is being harvested for cattle:



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    On beyond Shady Valley on 133, and prior to Damascus VA, we come across "Backbone" Rock. This is a curious rock formation that the road goes through. It appears to be 60-70 feet high but very narrow as the tunnel is not more than 20 feet long I guess. Here is a sampling of shots taken by mtngal:


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    We arrive in Damascus VA and this little town is famous fro all it's trail crossing's here like the Virginia Creeper and yes...the AT and others. The Creeper and the train on it was a rail section from I think Abingdon to Whitetop Mountain. It is a popular bicycle and hike now. The trestles are still in place and provide trail users some really awesome views. Here are a few shots from town:


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    We were ready for food:



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    I am a lucky guy! Oh, and these breakfast wraps hit the spot!



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    Rolling east out of Damascus on 58, which we followed a lot for several days, we see samples of VA farmland:



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    We make a few detours on our way east toward Whitetop Mountain and the Whitetop Community. Since I have bicycled the Creeper several times, I decided to show mtngal some of the train stations along the trail. Here is Green Cove Station, now a gift shop and store for the bicyclists:



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    Inside:



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    Another detour off 58 up Whitetop Road just to see the sights:



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    Ye ole' buckeye. Keep one in your pocket for good luck but very poisonous to any type of cattle and hoofed stock:


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    Back on 58 and east bound:



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    The Grayson Highlands are beautiful any time of year:



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    mtngal ws wonderin' about how these folks did with their spelling "B's". Nottoo good I guess :lol3



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    About this time, we start passin' all these Mazda Miata's....we must have passed dozen's of them...dozens and dozens! We passed more of them than you'd see Harley's going to a hog rally :lol3



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    Sheep and cattle farming:



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    How about Alpaca farming!



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    Maybe something different like Christmas Tree farming!



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    How about Miata Farming?? :lol3



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    More Christmas Trees: Peaceful looking farm....



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    Ok, need a break from this........
    #78
  19. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,756
    Location:
    Ol' Smokie
    Ok I think this will be the final segment of day one:

    mtngal wondered if Pearls of Wisdom came from the Mouth of Wilson??? :scratch



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    58 is known as the "Crooked Road" and for it's mountain music heritage:



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    They must have burned the house down with all the flues:


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    58 is gettin' to be a big road now as we approach Hillville. Guess it's getting late so maybe we should stop for the night:


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    Sun sets behind an ominous cloud:



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    Well, all in a cozy room for the night and we'll see ya on Saturday morning 9/22/12 for the run down to Franklin and Suffolk, VA.


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    :freaky
    #79
  20. _anatic

    _anatic Plated

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,228
    Location:
    trUSt, NC
    To cute! Looks like shes saying "Will you just eat your breakfast". :lol3

    :rofl

    Great report so far, looking forward to more!
    :lurk
    #80