Deal's Gap Dual Sportin'

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by daveinoh, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Made my first trip down to Deals Gap this past weekend, had a great time! I have been reading about the roads in the area for years and decided this was the year I made it down, even if for a quick weekend.

    Left home in Cincinnati about 5:30am and slabbed until first light, then got off the expressway and ran down US 127.

    Stopped for gas in a small town somewhere in KY, as I paying at the pump with my credit card I was saying to myself "ya'll don't know me!" (it was funny at the time, too much caffeine)

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    Made it to the gap in the afternoon, rode the dragon on the way in. The KLR was no slouch in the twisties!

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    Met up with my friend Jason and decided we'd go off the beaten path on Saturday and find some dirt to play in.

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    Started out tame enough, Tatham Gap road leading between Robbinsville and Andrews. Gravel but fairly well packed, beautiful scenery, endless curves and elevation changes. The road's nickname is "The Dirt Dragon" for good reason.

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    There was an access road that led to an area called Joanna's Bald. We hung out here for a while because directly above us were 7 or 8 cell towers. We had 3G at 4700ft.

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    From there we found our way to a national forest road (104 i think) that cut back up indirectly toward Robbinsville. It started as a gravel road and got increasingly more rugged (and more fun) as we continued on. We put our "part time" dirt machines to the test.

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    Quick side note: waterproof riding boots will NOT help if you do this.

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    We had a couple spills (I meant to do that), and got good and dirty.

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    We kept on forever, not even scratching the surface on the trails we were finding. Finally, a local on the way to his cabin stopped and we got some directions back to civilization.

    We were exhausted. Had some dinner at the bar and grill. Spent some time straightening body panels and my tweaked forks\handlebars and shooting the breeze. I was in bed by 10 I think!

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    Woke up early the next day and started packing up to head home. Stopped at the overlook for a couple quick pics.

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    I headed home from there, 6 or so hours in the rainy cold, but I had my rain gear on and an audiobook in my helmet.

    All in all an awesome trip, already making plans for spring.
    #1
  2. twigsnapper

    twigsnapper How did I get here?

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    Nice pics! And congratulations on finding the cell towers. We probably past each other at some point, was there last weekend with Davo-55, he was on the black klr with supermoto wheels. We did Parsons Branch to avoid the rain and fog on Sunday, didn't know about the trail of tears thing.
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Nice... you covered both the on road and off! Any action pics from killboy or he's not out during the week?
    #3
  4. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Didn't see Killboy on the Dragon on Friday, but 129photo snapped one of me on my way in. I'll have to go look for it.
    #4
  5. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    I did see a few more dual sports running around, I think they were avoiding the Harleys like we were. We were afraid to do Parson's branch because we thought we'd get stuck in traffic and time was so short. I highly recommend the trail of tears route, it is easy to find, and not a Harley in sight (or earshot).
    #5
  6. twigsnapper

    twigsnapper How did I get here?

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    We had a big loop planned, up the foothills, across 321, down 441, then 28 back to the dragon. The fog was terrible on the parkway, and its elevation is just over 2000', so we didn't think the crossing the Beech Flats Prong at 5000' was going to happen. So we headed for Parsons Branch, having no idea about the traffic going thru Cades Cove Loop. Parsons was nice hard pack gravel, some surprising pot holes, but the water crossings where all shallow, nothing like your pictures.
    #6
  7. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Tatham Gap was hard packed as well, the rougher terrain we just happened across by accident. I would definitely like to go back and explore the miles of connecting trails we found off the national park road. I also found an awesome place with free primitive camping to serve as a home base. I'm thinking spring in the mountains!
    #7
  8. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Here's my "slayin'" shot. The Dragon was fun a couple times, but there are far too many great roads in the area to explore to spend too much time on it.

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    #8
  9. Davo-55

    Davo-55 Long timer

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    Daveinoh, I saw you and your KLR a couple of times on Saturday. We went with more asphalt riding in mind, but Sunday's weather steered us toward's Parson's Branch. You made a good call on the traffic, it was bumper to bumper on Sunday on Cade's Cove. We had times of not moving or barely moving quite often on the loop road, felt good to hit parson's branch. We only saw a few vehicles the entire 10 miles. Your pictures are great, what put your KLR on the ground?
    #9
  10. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Lol, inexperience and short legs! I was trying to start out turning left and up a branch in the trail and stalled it. I just laid it down and laughed about it. Later I got a little squirrely in the mud and laid it down a bit harder. The bike is an absolute tank!
    #10
  11. Ernbo6

    Ernbo6 Twist of the wrist

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    Thanks for posting your trip. I have done the ride several times but never knew of the "Dirt Dragon." Now I'll have to take the Tiger up there and negotiate that piece of road.
    #11
  12. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    It's a great road, my only regret is that we never got back over that way to go back up it in the opposite direction. Your Tiger will do just fine. Do watch for the access road to Joanna's Bald, it's worth the detour.
    #12
  13. (none)

    (none) poser

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    Awesome. Good to see another Cinci rider around here. Looks like you had a great trip. You running Conti Trail Attacks? Looks like they did pretty well.
    #13
  14. daveinoh

    daveinoh Been here awhile

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    Yup, Trail Attack on the rear. Stock Bridgestone on the front. Very pleased with the trail attack so far. 2500 miles on it and very little sign of wear, should last a good long time. What part of town are you in? I am in Delhi Twp.
    #14
  15. (none)

    (none) poser

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    A little down the road from you, over near Eden Park. Sent ya a PM.
    #15
  16. halflife

    halflife ride 2 live

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    Dave, I loved your pics and descriptions.

    I'm in the Atlanta area and get up to the N Ga mtns regularly, but hadn't been as far N as the Andrews / Robbinsville area. As I ride the FS, I'm always scoping places that would make great campsites. Did you happen to save a waypoint of the area you mentioned?

    I'd love to meet up there for a camping weekend in the Spring if you're interested. I think my riding ability is prob similar - I really enjoy the FS, but the KLR is too heavy for aggressive singletrack.

    Give me a shout.
    #16
  17. slime

    slime Healing nicely

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    Both Killboy and Zeefotos are usually out during the season (between normal hours) Go to there sites and have a look, I would bet you find them. Nice report and pictures!
    #17
  18. SidewinderX

    SidewinderX Hey, watch this!

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    Great ride!!

    Me and 3 others are heading that way next Wed thru Friday. I cant wait. :clap
    #18