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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ArmyJoe, May 20, 2013.
Excited to see the pictures. Have a good ride.
Current position. It's a running battle keeping iPhone charged. Really wishing I bought a USB power supply for my Powerlet socket. Slabbing it south to catch up on time an will access the TET northeast of Smokey Mountains National Park. Hope to have detailed update later tonight.
That milk crate is good to carry stuff in and to set a wheel/tire in when you have to change on the road. A milk crate is useful like duct tape. Don't swap it out for a fancy top case.
Perfect ride from Kickstand Lodge to Deals Gap. No vehicles in my lane for the whole 22 miles.
The Dragon has been slain. What do we say to the Tree of Shame? "Not today."
On to the gravel.
ETA: As of the writing, I have 756 miles on the odo.
Hit a lot if nice gravel yesterday, but came up far short of my goal (only 230 miles of 300+). I assume as I get more experience, I'll get faster on dirt, but for now, 30-35 mph is about my limit.
I'm starting my 3-day ride back home with the Blue Ridge Parkway. Today is a short ride to take advantage of touristy stuff. I had planned to stop at Wheels Through Time museum, but found out last night they're closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. I guess that leaves me more time for Grandfather Mountain.
Onward and upward!
Literally, once you get on the BRP in Cherokee.
Bedded down for the night at Stone Mountain State Park, NC. The BRP wildlife survey to date is: two squirrels, three turkeys, and three deer (one grazing, two crossing the road in front of me). I've found that sunglasses and long, curving tunnels are not a good mix.
I'm up to 1228 miles, with about 800 to go. Tomorrow will be my longest ride ever on two wheels.
THIS!!! Keep the KLR topcase. They make a great seat or table for the campsite too.
Love the ride report!
Great thread! Your opening post reminded my of my own childhood.
Having owned multiple WRR's, I found that the OEM front tire is somewhat good for true 50/50 use, but I gave me no confidence at all off pavement in anything other than hard-pack roads. I was never able to pick up my speed until I replaced it with something more off road oriented.
Enjoy your continuing adventure and stay safe!
One hour from home. Getting ready to head back out after hiding from the rain in a McDonalds.
Would you believe hitting a deer was not the most noteworthy event of my trip?
great to see a BLUE bike in the buckeye state
Just for that, I'm riding to The Shoe tomorrow for a picture.
Six days, six States, 2002 miles, on a 250cc dirt bike. It's good to be home.
Full write-up and pictures beginning tomorrow night.
That is impressive, and inspiring. I may take the CRF on my next trip. Looking forward to seeing your RR. Before my scooter died last summer I was planning a couple hundred mile minimalist trip with it. Glad it broke before I was really far from home.
So, was that you I saw on the parkway Thursday about 11:30 around mile post 140 ? It sure looked like a blue bike and perhaps a hi viz helmet ???
Writing up Day One now. Should have it done in an hour. I'll probably roll this out one day at a time given the amount of work involved.
Tuesday around luch, I was in Asheville, NC (mile 390), so that wasn't me.
Historic Road Tour 2013 (aka Lollygag-apalooza 2013) - Day 1 (May 26th)
I had been planning this trip for months. I was called to Active Duty for deployment from January of 2012 through March of 2013, so I had lots of time to sit with my GPS software, read the ADV forums, and plan an epic trip.
As a Reservist, Army regs don't apply to me when I'm not in a duty status, but I figured I'd do the right thing and take a motorcycle refresher course before setting out. I took the MSF Basic Rider Course - 2, which is essentially the Basic Course, minus the classroom time, but on your own bike. I found the WR25R's on-off throttle snatchyness was a pain in the ass for navigating the slow course obstacles, but found it would help me in the long run.
The overall plan was to hit five historic roads: Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, Blue Ridge Parkway, Trail of Tears, Tail of the Dragon, and Wilderness Trail / Cumberland Gap. I was originally going to do them in that order, but I failed to account for the Memorial Day holiday. That would put me on the BRP on the holiday, which would have been a nightmare. Instead, I reversed the order and did the loop counter-clockwise. I had reserved camping in every location but Cumberland Gap. Their campsite was on a first-come basis, but I was prepared to stealth camp, if necessary.
I laid out all my gear on Saturday night (May 25th). Considering a few planned gravel routes were up to 10 miles from civilization, I tossed my Army-issued Improved First Aid Kit (IFAK) on the pile. Little did I know this would be the most important decision of my trip. With my gear staged, the intent was to pack in the morning and get on the road by 9 AM. Wishful thinking.
Sunday morning (May 26th), I was up by 8 AM, but was slow to pack and didn't roll out until 10 AM. After a stop a McDonalds for breakfast and update this thread, I realized I forgot my iPhone charging cable. Since this would be my only connection to the outside world, I had to go back and get it. It would be close to 11 AM before I hit the road in earnest.
Though I'm not against riding the WRR on the Interstate, I try to avoid it whenever I can since the air coming off the big rigs can be a pain in the ass. Plus, to paraphrase the old saying, "It's more fun to ride fast on a slow road than to ride slow on a fast road." Either way, I jumped on the Interstate just long enough to get out of Columbus. I soon turned off and headed down US-62 for the log ride across Flatistan, the flat, glaciated portion of Ohio. The frequent stops to get pictures for the Ohio TagOrama game did not help my schedule.
By 2 PM, I made it to the Ohio River and crossed into Kentucky
On the other side, I drove through an ancient sea.
One of my other hobbies is fossil hunting, so of course I had to stop. My bedrock topology map of Ohio tells me this area most likely from the Ordovician age, 485 to 443 million years old.
I stopped long enough to find a nice brachiopod on a slab.
With a empty tank and empty stomach, I headed into Maysville, Kentucky. One of the best parts of traveling is finding great little places to eat. I try to avoid chains and will ask the locals where they eat. At the gas station, one gentleman said, "Everyone goes to deSha's," so I decided to give it a shot.
I told the waitress, "This is my first time here and I probably my last time. What are you famous for or what do you recommend.?" Unfortunately, my waitress didn't really have a clue and just pointed to the most expensive steak on the menu. I passed on that and went with a cajun grilled chicken breast and grilled vegetables. Not spectacular, but pretty solid.
Getting back on the bike, I headed south through the rolling horse country east of Lexington. Once I got to Winchester, I saw that I was pretty far off my time table. I decided to hit the Interstate to get me back on schedule. It would mean skipping Fort Boonesborough State Park, but would allow me to make a quick stop in Lexington to buy some Lara bars for breakfast and emergency rations.
Ninety minutes later, I got off on US-25E and headed towards Cumberland Gap. Close to sunset, I headed through the tunnel and came out in Tennessee.
A mile later, I was in Virginia.
I pulled into the campground and was relieved to find it almost empty. I found a campsite, set up my tent by headlight, and then drove back to the ranger station to self-register and pay my $12.
It was about 10 PM by this time, and I was pretty hungry. It being a Sunday night, I knew I might have trouble finding someplace open, but I gave it a shot. Heading back up the tunnel into Middlesboro, Kentucky, I tried chasing down a few places on my GPS, but I either couldn't find them or found them closed. I eventually found a little dive called Waffle King.
It looked like a Waffle Hut, so I figured the food would be plain and cheap. I was right, but the sausage, gravy, and biscuits were pretty damn good.
I headed back to camp and saw the only moon I'd see for the entire trip.
Day 1 was complete. My GPS odometer showed 349 miles for the day, already my longest ride ever on two wheels.
Here's a rough trip route for the day: http://goo.gl/maps/jhPZF
Day 2 (May 27th)
My first and only night sleeping on the ground was pretty miserable. No matter how I tossed and turned, I could not find a comfortable position. When my alarm went off at 7 AM, I turned it off and went back to sleep. I woke around 8:30 AM, ate a few Lara bars, and broke camp. I pulled out around 9:30 AM.
The night before, I was looking at the park map and saw an interesting road. Pinacle Road was a twisty, 3-mile lane that looked to offer some spectacular views of the gap. I headed back up the tunnel to Kentucky and headed up the road. It was a great warmup for the twisties to come and I was right about the view.
Fern Lake from the overlook trail.
A panorama of the pass. Cumberland Gap, Tennessee is on the left, the gap in the center, and Middlesboro, Kentucky at the right. It doesn't look like much, but the alternating ridgelines and valleys of the Appalachians were such a barrier to western travel, it wasn't until Daniel Boone cut the Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap that several hundred thousand settlers were able to move into Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Ohio Valley.
After a quick trip down the hill, I rode through the tunnel for the fifth time and then headed east on the Wilderness Road towards Kingsport, Tennessee. The road offered great views from the Cumberland Mountains. This is Powell Mountain at 2319 feet.
I eventually made it down to Hampton, Tennessee and the Trans Eastern Trail.
I crossed into North Carolina somewhere in the boonies, so there was no state sign. I'll have to get my photo on the way out.
At one point, the TET route had construction and I was forced to detour. At a really shitty intersection (uphill and pointed towards oncoming traffic), I went to put my foot down and found only air. Thankfully, this would be my only drop of the trip because lifting it with gear really sucks.
Running behind, I leap-frogged sections of the TET to catch up on time. Random photos from the trip.
I rode through Maggie Valley and was surprised by the lack of traffic lights. I stopped at the west end of the valley for a photo.
Heading west on US-19, I approached the intersection with the Blue Ridge Parkway and saw this really weird deer sign. I didn't think much of it, but damn near locked up the brakes when I saw this. I never knew they had elk in North Carolina.
I blew through Cherokee, shaking my head at the stereotypical commercialization of Native American culture. Everything was closed, but I wondered if Cherokees or the white man owned and operated all those shops. A little further down the road, I stopped in Bryson City for a sandwich and some beer, then made the final push to Kickstand Lodge. I rolled in at 9 PM and really didn't want to sleep on the ground. I asked what they had available with a bed. The bunkhouse sleeps six, but nobody was in there. For only $4 more than the tent fee, I took it. After dropping my gear, I took my food and drink over to the campfire to chat with the other riders.
I know Mo! (on the left)
351 miles for the day (beating my previous record by 2 miles) and 700 miles for the trip. Here's a rough trip route for the day: http://goo.gl/maps/03t1p
looks like one helluva ride! (still wondering about the deer-strike...)
Be patient. Stories are told from the beginning.