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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ArmyJoe, May 20, 2013.
helen is the only place i found Erdinger beer... whick i happen to like.
Nobody said shit about having to cross a damn river.
As long as you're not a Michigan fan, we can be friends.
You might come to Ft Gordon for six months? Sounds like you're putting a packet in for Warrant Officer.
It was great to meet you both. I look foward to being back up there again.
All the pictures from this trip have been moved from Photobucket to SmugMug and Thursday's write-up has been edited with new links. I'll get the rest of the trip up over the next few days.
Lol...yeah I have to root for Michigan. However, you guys have good deals on motorcycles and I did buy my WR250R in Ohio. I am still rocking an Ohio temporary plate.
I am a 255A Warrant now but I am trying to get into the 255S school down there which is a six month course. If things work out I will be doing about ten months of active duty next year between that, the staff course at Rucker, and Signal staff course follow-on back at Gordon.
I'm a 255N currently down here for WOAC. I assume you know Mike Yokie. I went through WOBC with him and he's currently in the 255S course.
I think I know where you are talking about.
Glad you are enjoying the ride.
Small world. Yes, Mike and I are currently assigned on the same team. I will probably see him in a couple of weeks up in Grayling for a three day drill.
GTFO 2013, Day 2 - July 5
I was prepared to camp when I arrived at Kickstand Lodge the night before, but with the rain, I figured there would be a few cancellations. I asked Mo, the owner, if there was room in the bunkhouse. She said there were two guys already in there, but said I could ask them if I could crash in there too. Since they were also tent campers that upgraded, they had no problem letting me grab one of the six beds.
When I got inside, the place looked like a yard sale with all the wet motorcycle gear on the floor and hanging from the walls.
KP and Paul were visiting from Missouri and weren't about to let the rain spoil their weekend. Thanks guys!
I woke about 8:30 AM. After packing my gear and getting dressed, it was about 10 AM. I dropped $30 in the donation can to cover my lodging, last night's dinner, and a beer. I made a stop in Robbinsville at the slowest McDonalds ever for a bite to eat and wifi and then it was back on the road.
Before long, I was at the start of the Cherohala Skyway.
But what do we say to the Cherohala? "Not today!" I headed off down one of the many gravel roads in the area.
I found for the most part, forest roads are great for travel, but they suck for views. Rather than bore you with more photos of my bike parked in the middle of yet another gravel road, here's some other photos.
Around lunch time, I arrived in Tellico Plains. Having been there before, I went straight to Tellico Grains for lunch. Pulling up outside, I wasn't surprised to see two other inmates were here as well.
Inside I met Ken and Terry (SemperFi71). They're lucky enough to live in the area.
On the way out, I saw that Ken had a cover on his Wolfman tank bag. I didn't get one with mine, but he said he got it at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters.
I went across the street to meet Mike, but he didn't have any covers in stock. While I had his attention, I asked him about the Witt Road creek crossings. With all the rain, I was kind of concerned. I don't have a good track record when it comes to water and the last thing I wanted to do was drown the bike in the middle of nowhere. Mike assured me there hadn't been a lot of rain in the area. He also warned me about the fourth crossing and its exposed bedrock. He advised me to either go left or right and to definitely stay out of the middle, especially if the bedrock was underwater. He even pulled up a fail video from advrider.com to reinforce the point. Armed with this knowledge, I thanked him for his time and headed out.
As I came to each creek, I dismounted and scouted the terrain. The fourth crossing looked kind of iffy. As I feared, the water was a little high. The left spot had a deep hole that I thought I could clear. The right spot looked low, but the ripple of the current made it difficult to see the bottom. I was planning to go left, but changed my mind at the last minute. You can see the results for yourself.
Note - Video is PG-13 due to the use of one F-word.
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With a new-found sense of confidence, I headed off down the road to my unknown camping destination. Along the way, I stopped to move this guy to the other side of the road.
More random photos:
About 6 PM, I stopped for gas and Subway. Looking at the GPS, I started looking at the TET waypoints for a camping area. Not far from me was someplace labeled "GA Hick." I found the name amusing, so I made that my goal for the night.
I got there about 7 PM, just as a storm was rolling in. I quickly got set up, listened to some music on my GPS / MP3 player, and ate my dinner.
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I also checked the weather radar. It looks like it'll be a wet night.
Checking my GPS, I see I had 461 miles for the trip, 150 for the day, and loads of elevation changes.
GTFO 2013, Day 3 - July 6
I woke at 7:30 AM to the sound of screaming children. Ahh, the sounds of public campgrounds. I checked the weather radar and it looked like most of the storms would stay to the west, but I was in for a bit of early morning rain.
I alternated between staring out the door of the tent and drifing off to sleep.
About 9 AM the rain passed and I got up and started packing. Sleeping next to the stream was nice because I didn't need my sound machine app to make white noise.
Around 10 AM, I finally pulled out of the campsite. I think I'm sensing a trend with these 10 o'clock departures.
After a quick stop in Chatsworth, Georgia, for McDonalds, I was back on the road. After regaining the paved portion of the TET, I came across a downed tree on CCC Camp Road. I don't remember the storm being that bad, but I slept pretty soundly the night before. Since nobody was around I called it into 911 so they could get someone out to cut it up.
The forest roads were sloppy from all the rain and I rode a lot slower than I really wanted to. After a few hours, I saw a sign I recognized.
I had hoped I'd come by here. I've hiked most of the New Jersey sections of the Appalachian Trail as a Scout and always wanted to see where it started.
I was surprised to find that the official start of the trail is about a mile from the parking lot, up hill, and to the south. After getting there, hikers then have to turn around and head back the way they came from.
I was debating making the hike to the start when a couple came down the other way. I asked if there was a view and they said there normally was, but that cloud cover created limited visibility. About that time, the wind started picking up, heralding of another storm cell. That sealed it for me. Springer Mountain would have to wait for another day. I wolfed down a few Lara bars in lieu of lunch and headed east. Ah, more rain.
About 30 minutes from Helen, Georgia, I passed Helton Creek Falls. I could hear the water over the sound of my engine, so I parked and walked down the trail to take a look. The place looked half-destroyed because the Forest Service cut down all the hemlock trees (and left them to rot) because of an infestation of the woolly adelgid, an invasive insect from Asia. The falls themselves were beautiful due to the volume of water.
As I was taking my pictures, a couple asked me to take their picture. I said OK and they hand me an iPad. /groan. I set up a perfect "rule of thirds" horizontal shot with the falls in the background. After they look at it, they ask if I can take another one vertical. /facepalm. I almost said no. iDevices are ruining photography and video. It's even got it's own term: Vertical video syndrome.
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They offered to take my picture, but I politely refused. Heading back out on the road, I was surprised by not one, but two creek crossings. All that water that made the falls look beautiful was now looking pretty ugly to me. The water was not only swift and deep, but the ripples obscured the bottom. Faced with back tracking or going forward, I chose the latter.
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As you can hear, I was pretty stoked to make it across.
Back on the two-lane road, I stopped to check out one of the few views I've seen on the trip.
I rolled into Helen, a faux-Bavarian alpine town, about 6 PM and decided to call it a day. I checked into the Helendorf River Inn in the heart of downtown and went to my room to clean up. After doing laundry and spreading my tent and gear about the room, I went to explore the town.
As I said earlier, it's exactly what I expected in a tourist trap of a mountain town. I was a bit self-conscious of my attire, but nobody but me seemed to care. I ate at Hogpen Gap Grill. The jagerschnitzel was delicious.
After that, I went looking for a place to sit and enjoy a few beers. I didn't catch the name of this place (it's behind Paul's), but it was crowded, had a live band, served large beers, and had a view of the Chattahoochee River.
I went back to my room about midnight. My tally for the day was 139 miles and 596 miles for the entire trip.
You mean this river?
I've never had a dirt or dual sport bike before but now at many many moons old, I seem to think about them a lot. (A bucket list type of thing ya know?)
Anyway, those Yamaha 250's look cool to me and I like the legal part of them. I didn't know that they would do 80 mph though?
Thanks for the great RR and stay safe.
Grampas Lake Superior Ride
Grampas National Monument Ride
he he he trust me they will my wrr spends most of its time above 80 and it never complains
GTFO 2013, Day 4 - July 7th
I woke about 9 AM and started packing. I stepped out onto the balcony to get my tent and noticed the Chattahoochee River was running pretty fast and nobody was tubing.
I checked the weather radar and saw most of the rain was going to stay to the west.
I said "Tschüß" to my hotel and rolled out about 10 AM. (See, it is a pattern).
I stopped just outside of town to gas up and eat a honey bun and then headed up Chattahoochee River Road. About five miles in, I hit a snag.
Just past the closed section, I was treated to a waterfall from one of the many tributary creeks.
After 14-miles of asphalt, I found myself back on dirt. I was surprised by the steep, rutted road and it wasn't until the very end that I realized I was on one of the sections that offered a bypass. Picking my way slowly up the road, I was doing fine until I bashed the bike on a rock. It stalled me, so I quickly looked for damage. I still had my shifter, so I figured I was good to go. I started it up, unvoluntarily slid back a few feet, picked a new line, and was back in progress. I was rewarded with a rutted descent and then three water crossings.
You've got to be fucking kidding me.
I scouted the first two and then cleared them, but the Tallulah River stopped me dead in my tracks. Standing there, I had no way of judging how deep the water was or where the opposite exit was. I tried calling to some waders on the other side, but they couldn't hear me over the sound of the water. I had two obvious choices: go back over the two creeks and up the rutted hill (and there was no guarantee I wouldn't drop my bike in those creeks) or go forward. As the man said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," so I decided to go for it. But I really needed to find out where to come out on the other side. If there weren't people there, I would have waded across. I figured, what the hell, my feet are going to get wet anyway. Instead, I tried to go down the bank just a bit and try yelling across one more time. Although they couldn't hear me, when I made a zooming motion with my hand, a lady pointed to the bank behind a tree. I figured that was it and gave it a go.
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Clearing that was my last hurdle. I had a little more asphalt, one more forest road to climb and descend, a little more asphalt, and then I was back in Rabun Gap. Programming Gate 1 of Ft Gordon into my GPS, I saw I had a three hour trip back. Turning the bike south down US-23 (which also goes through my home town), I didn't get far before my stomach started growling. Passing Tomlin's BBQ, I doubled back to try it out. I thought the pork was a little dry, but the vinegar BBQ sauce more than made up for it.
Not long after that, I made a quick stop at Tallulah Gorge. One of these days I'll have to make the trip back up here so I can see the gorge up close.
From there, it was almost a straight shot down to Augusta. As I got about 10 miles from post, I saw a rainbow from a passing thunderstorm cell.
Was this finally an omen of good things to come? Not bloody likely. Rolling up to the gate, I got a rude reminder as to why I'm in the Reserve and not still Active Duty.
The gate had only one lane open and traffic was pretty backed up. Rather than put cones down blocking the other lanes, the guards left them open. Drivers would shoot up the closed lanes and then force their way in at the last minute. Knowing I'm a "soft target" on a motorcycle, I tried to hug the rear bumper of the car in front of me so nobody could get in. My strategy backfired. When the car ahead of me got to the gate, I noticed the passenger talking with the guard and pointing my way. They moved on and I moved up. As soon as I got to the gate, the guard stepped off the curb like he was going to start something. He barks, "Is that GoPro on?" Really, dude? I understand OPSEC as much as the next guy, but was there a need to go full Hooah on a TRADOC post? Hell, anyone with a driver's license can get in. If someone was really interested in casing the joint, all they'd have to do is drive in themselves.
I told him the camera was off (it was) and showed him my ID. As he handed it back to me he said the car ahead of me reported that I "don't know how to drive that thing" and that I "almost hit them several times." He waited for an answer, but I just shrugged. My God, I don't know how people can put up with this shit on a daily basis. I'd go nuts or get busted down to Private.
I got back on post about 7 PM and took one last photo at Signal Towers, the home of the US Army Signal Center of Excellence.
The GPS says I have 233 miles for the day and 829 for the trip. It also show the descent from the mountains down to the coastal plain.
All in all it was a great trip. I'd do it again, even with all the rain. The creek crossings really built my confidence and I identified that I need to get faster on downhill turns. Best of all, I didn't drop the bike a single time.
The only thing I do differently is have waterproof boots (I've already ordered Alpinestars Scout WP boots) and maybe a few extra parts in case something really bad happened. I have a 4-day weekend for Labor Day. Who knows, maybe I'll do the same route in the other direction. For now it's...
Nice little report. I was through that area in May, going the other direction across the top of GA. I remember your river quite well, and had the same problem of finding the exit. Good times.
If you want to check it out, here is a link to my RR.
Enjoying your blog Joe. Thanks for posting your adventures.
Thanks for all the comments. I've got a few odds and ends left to post. Here's a few artsy photos from the good camera. It spent most of the weekend in a Pelican case because of all the rain.
You saw the sights, now hear the sounds. Each 60-second video brings you a bit of nature. Pick your happy place.
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Rain on a Tent
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Rain on a Steel Roof
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Glad you liked my route.
As far as the river goes, there's supposed to be some challenges in 'Adventure' riding! LOL... and there IS a bypass!
Mapped that route out while I was in Afghanistan - gave me something to look forward to riding when I got home.
I've got some interesting stuff in OH for when you get back up there - not released yet - and still working on it!