Full Throttle Touring - 150 through the Rocket City

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Thanks for the info. I'll check out the roads around Grant as well as the Bandito Burrito. As for Lake Guntersville.................................
  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Saturdays ride may have been dissappointing but that wasn't going to stop me from trying again on Sunday. I knew the area around Guntersville, Al was really scenic since I often pass through it when commuting between Huntsville and Marietta.

    The first thing I needed to do was to decide whether to take the KLR or the Kymco. I wanted to take the Kymco but was a little concerned about riding on 431 with it's 65 MPH speed limit. I was planning on avoiding 431 as much as possible since I prefer the small back roads over the highway but I would need to get on 431 at least part of the way. I decided to go with the scooter. This would be my longest ride on the scooter but I figured if Nathanthepostman could ride from Sydney to London on a 105cc Honda, I should be able to handle Huntsville to Guntersville on 150cc.

    The weather forecast for the day was 73 degrees and partly sunny. When I left for the ride it was overcast and gloomy, just like yesterday. Just like yesterday, I underdressed for the temperature. So I turned around and got my JR overpants. I should have got an extra sweatshirt too:baldy You think I would have learned my lesson. The problem is that it feels warm when you are not riding and when you first put on your gear it tends to feel too hot.

    I took back roads to the west side of Huntsville, then headed up Green Mountain Rd. As I mentioned in my last post, I don't hate all signs. here's one of my favorites:

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    Some times these curvy roads signs are a joke with only a few minor bends ahead. In this case it wasn't. This road is steep, narrow and twisty as it climbs up the mountain. I took a few pics but none captured any of the tight curves. There was still crap on the road left over from the many snowstorms we had this year.

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    With the rise in elevation came a decrease in the temperature. This mountain really wasn't very high but the drop in temperature was noticeable. I needed to do something to warm up so when I saw this sign:

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    I decided that I hike was just what I needed to warm up.
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    So I parked my scooter, stashed my helmet, gloves and overpants under the seat and in the tail trunk, and started my hike. Had I ridden my KLR, which has no hard luggage, my stuff would have been left on the bikie, in the open. I could have run a cable through the jacket and helmet and I doubt anyone would mess with it here, but I felt better being able to lock it all up on the scooter.

    Just off the parking area was a pavillion and lots of picnic tables and chairs right off of the lake.

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    Not too busy today but I'll bet that on a weekend in the summer this place will be crowded.

    I decided to hike the trail and saw this.

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    Not sure what species of local wildlife this was:lol3

    Picturesque covered bridge.

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    not sure for what purpose it was built. No one but us tree hugging hikers out here.

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    This is how you put up signs without ruining the view.

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    An old log cabin. I think this was actually used "back in the day" when it was built. Note the ATGATT hiking gear. I kept most of my gear on since I was cold. I was just now starting to warm up.

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    The trail was very nice to hike on, Most of it was covered with wood chips with a few sections of wooden walkways.

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    Then there was this. For once I wish there was a sign with an explanation of the history of this chapel.

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    Perhaps Huntsville's first mega-church???

    Here the reverend K. L. Aviator preaches the gospel according to ADV:lol3

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    Note that no one was dozing off in the pews during my sermon! :lol3

    The next exhibit did have a sign.

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    Pretty neat exhibit but hard to get a good pic of since it was behind glass.

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  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Hike complete, I was now nice and warm and ready to continue my ride.

    Green Mountain Rd changes name in the middle to Shandlee Rd. At both ends it is Green Mountain Rd. Kind of unusual. It is gentle hills and curves in the middle as it runs along near the edge of the mountain. There are a few houses up here with some really great views. I'm sure they're not cheap. Then I saw this hanging in someones yard.

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    Not sure what it was supposed to be but it reminded me of Kokopelli, so prevelant in Utah and New Mexico.

    Going down the mountain there were some more steep and tight curves:ricky

    Then it was back roads for a while. I went through the time town of Owens crossroads, crossed 431, through the tiny town of New Hope, then headed south towards 431.

    Just before getting back to 431 I came to an intersection. I needed to go straight but the road to the left headed up a mountain and had a curvy road ahead sign. I had no map of the area and didn't know where it went so I did what any good ADV rider would do. I took it. After climbing up the mountain it straightened out and became fairly boring. Not wanting to back track, I continued until I found a through road on the right. This road was FUN:ricky

    Another steep curvy road as it went down the mountain towards 431. I saw this natural bridge and stopped for a pic.

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    As mentioned, some fun curves. the super 8 handles them well and is a blast to ride.

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    And just so I would remember the name of the road.

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    Then it was time for the 65 MPH four lane.

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    It wasn't bad at all. I cruised along at an indicated 50-55. I'm guessing my speedo is about 5 MPH fast but have yet to verify that. There wasn't much traffic on the road and the traffic that did pass me wasn't going that much faster than I was.

    Finally, Guntersville in sight.

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    As you can see, it's still a gloomy day and being close to the water made the temperature drop. Time to get off the bike, play tourist, and take some pics.
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    First order of business in Guntersville was to find a county map. Someday I'll break down and get a GPS. Until them I'll buy maps.....or just wander around seeing "where does that road go" with no idea until I get there. I found a map, then headed off for some waterfront pics.

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    It's still gloomy.

    I head downtown to check out the old main street part of town.

    Guntersville has a scenic downtown but it is not very tourist oriented and is dead today.

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    Nothing much to see here today. I head down the road where all the "real" tourist attractions are. Mcd's. BK, Wendy's etc. I settle on Taco Bell for a light lunch. Then time for more exploring. I check out the east side of Guntersville.

    Somebody has a nice view.....and some big bucks.

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    This road is real scenic. There are no houses to spoil the water view to the right, just a long Hiking/runnig trail and some parking places to stop and enjoy the waterfront.

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    It's a real nice ride and the sun is starting to break through the clouds.

    Then I head back to the main drag and head south on 431 across the bridge.

    here's the view on the other side of the bridge.

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    I had towards the lodge in the pic and continue on past it on Hyatt Dr. This ends up being one of the high points of the trip. The road twists and turns up the mountain. It is residantial at the beginning and the end but there is a section in the middle where it goes through some rugged landscape and becomes a real roller-coaster of a ride:ricky

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    It's narrow steep and twisty, just the way I like my roads!

    Even the residential sections are fun and very scenic with lots of great views of the lake and mountains in the background.

    Then I head east on 227. The mighty 11 horsepower of my kymco soon have me stuck behind some slow moving cages.

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    227 is another nice road. No real tight curves but very scenic. Eventually I come to an intersection and stop to consult my map. Perfect timing to get these pics.

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    I'm not the only one out wasting gas today:D

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    of course, I'm wasting a little less than they are. I had filled up back in guntersville. .73 gallons and 67 miles. That works out to 92 MPG!:nod Thats my best so far.

    Then I head back towards Guntersville. I do some exploring on the way and head up Hyatt Mountain Rd. Another steep and twisty ride up the mountain.

    Anyone looking for a good deal on some real estate??

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    I consult my map and decide to turn around.

    Some pics going down the mountain.

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    With no leaves on the trees there are great views of the water and mountains in the distance.

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    but the tight and steep curves keep most of my attention on the road.
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Heading back through Guntersville I decided to get some more waterfront pics now that the sun was out.

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    Looks much nicer with the sun out.

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    Hyatt Dr, which I enjoyed so much is somewhere in those mountains across the lake.

    Heading across the bridge, north on 431.

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    Traffic on 431 was moving faster than this morning but it didn't bother me to plod along in the slow lane.

    I mostly retraced my route from this morning. I stopped for gas along the way. I was wondering if my 92 MPG from this morning was a fluke. It was, I only got 81 MPG on this fillup:D

    Then it was back of Green Mountain.

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    Did I mention I like twisty roads???
    :ricky:happay:ricky

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    It's not as good as some of the roads in the Smokies, but it sure was fun anyway.

    I made it home a little before sunset. I rode a total or 175 miles, only 5 less than my previous day on the KLR. It was my longest ride on a the scooter. I thought I would have issues with the seat on longer rides but it was pretty comfortable. Of course, I did stop a lot, I'm not sure I would want to ride for hours on end on this scooter.

    I think that's what makes the scooter such fun. Its fun to ride but it's also convenient and easy to stop whenever the whim hits me. I got to see a lot that I may have just blasted past on a bigger motorcycle.

    Unlike yesterday, I was not dissappointed with today's ride. There's still a lot more exploring to do. Stay Tuned.
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I almost forgot. There were quite a few motorcycles out riding and enjoying the spring weather in February. The vast majority were Harleys. They all waved at me and my lowly scooter except one group of riders on pimped out sport bikes.

    I also had a Harley rider ask me about my scoot. Said he was interested in getting one for short trips around town.
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I have now gone riding for the last ten days in a row. I think that's a record for me for February. This happened while running some errands:

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    1000 miles and I actually caught it. It's hard to see through the glare but the "1" is orange with a blue background. I haven't seen an odometer like that before.

    On an unrelated note, there was some really sad news for the motorcycling community here in the southeast yesterday. Two Wheels Only Motorcycle resort will be closing down permanently due to the land owners not renewing the lease. This has been one of my favorite ride destinations for over 20 years. I have had so many great memories there. I will miss it tremendously:cry:cry:cry


    On a more positive note, the weather looks great tomorrow so I will be riding to Little River Canyon with Brunstei who also has a report going in the day trippin section. Report with pics to follow.
  9. cbolling

    cbolling Here...Hold my Beer.

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    175 miles on the scoot in 1 day. Very nice. The most that I have on my Zuma is close to 100, but man was it fun.

    It is so true what you said about being able to stop on a scooter. Last Friday I rode the scoot into the mountains on a route that I have taken many times on the motorcycle. I must have stopped 10-15 times to take pictures of things that I just blew by on the motorcycle.
  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Saturday morning I looked outside and it looked like the weather forecast was correct as I was greeted with wall to wall sunshine. I got on my KLR and headed off to meet Brunstei AKA Capt Highlighter at the base of the Saturn 5 rocket which dominates the Huntsville landscape. I chose the KLR instead of the scooter due to the fact we would be spending a lot of time on high speed roads and riding a pretty fair distance. I love my Super 8 but it would not be suitable for this ride.

    John showed up at the rocket on his SV650 just after 9 and we hit the road. John is also new to Huntsville, arriving shortly after I did. This is also his home away from home. This is the first time our schedules matched up so we could ride together. It would be interesting as this was my first time going on a ride with someone who would also be doing a ride report. The link to John's ride report is here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=650489

    It was sunny but chilly as we started off. Our route was: 575 to 231 south, exit at Airport RD, then Green Mtn Rd to old 431, 431 south to Guntersville. 431 is a four lane road. I normally don't care for anything over two lanes but 431 is pretty scenic with lots of water views.

    We stopped and checked out old downtown Guntersville.

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    Then we rode around the back side of Guntersville. This is a pretty ride, mostly along the water.

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    Then we headed off for Little River Canyon. Out route was 431 south, left on Hyatt Mountain Drive (this is a fun scenic little back road), right on 227, and east on 68. 227 is a pretty nice drive at first as it runs through the moun tains and has many water views. Then it becomes a pretty straight and boring ride. I can see why there are so many Harleys on the road. For much of what we would ride today, a Harley would be a better ride than my KLR. We stopped at the intersection of 68 and 59 and had lunch at Smokin Joe's restaurant. The food was good and the prices were very reasonable. The food was not so spectacular that either one of us felt the usrge to take any food pics.

    Then we continued on 68, left on 176, and 176 took us to Little river Canyon. ,As soon as 176 got to Little River Canyon ( I'm going to abreviate it as LRC from now on), it became a fairly twisty rollercoaster of a road. We stopped at an overlook (the first of many) to take in the view of the canyon and take some pics.

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    Looking at the map at the overlook I saw that there was another road heading south along the LRC that we had passed by. It looked interesting.

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    A couple of Harley riders from Birmingham stopped at the overlook so I chatted with them for awhile. They had come up the road I noticed and said it was worth riding. It was a little rough and pretty steep but they figured it would be great on a bike like my KLR. So we turned around and headed back to that road. We figured if we rode all the way here, we might as well see as much of the canyon as we could
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    So we headed back and turned down the road that goes to the mouth of the LRC. I can't remember the road number, my CRS is acting up gain:D
    The road surface was fairly rough but it was paved. It was a real roller coaster with some fairly steep grades.

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    We followed it until we got to an interesection. I took a left, went down a STEEP hill, and stopped for as couple of pics.

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    looking back up the hill, the pic doesn't really show how steep the hill was.

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    One of the Harley riders I had talked to earlier had mentioned the he couldn't believe the grade of some of the hills. He must have been talking about this one.

    Then we truned around and headed back.

    I took a few over the shoulder shots but only one came close to turning out.

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    So we traded places and I followed John so I could get some action shots.

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    Did I mention this road was a real roller coaster?


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  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    There were plenty of scenics overlooks.

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    Of course, all scenic spots look better when you get to them on a motorcycle:D

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    Another way to enjoy the canyon.

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    It looks like fun.

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    but not as much fun as riding:ricky

    Capt Highlighter coming down one of the many hills on this road.

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    Although it will probably be prettier here when everything starts to bloom and add some color in the spring, it is also nice to be able to see through the trees while riding and catch glimpses of the canyon.

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  13. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    We got back on 176 and headed north. We stopped at some more overlooks. At one of the overlooks, as we were walking back to the bikes, a rider on a VFR pulled up. He said "one of you are on Adventure rider" I figured the ADV sticker on my bike must have clued him in. It turns out he saw my post from a day or two ago when I posted that I would be riding to LRC with a rider on an SV650. He was actually keeping an eye out for us.

    The rider was "grapejuice" on this forum. I aready forgot his first name. I have a bad case of CRS. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it:lol3 Grapejuice rode over from Chattanooga. LRC is probably a little closer to Chattanooga than Huntsville but he had never been here before. There is so much great riding to the East and north from chattanooga that there was always plenty of great riding to keep him entertained. We did compare the riding here to that further east. From a sport riders perspective, the roads in the smokies are definitely better. While 176 through LRC is fairly twisty, it has lots of hills as well as some gravel on the road, making it very challenging to push the bike without taking to much of a risk. Roads, like 129 at deal's Gap for example, are much easier to ride fast on. While Deals Gap may have tighter curves, they are well banked, cleaner and very predictable. On the other hand, this road was very scenic and had very little traffic. We did not get stuck behind slow moving traffic even once. My biggest complaint about the riding here in Alabama is that you have to endure some long stretches of fairly straight and boring riding to get to the good stuff. I can really see the appeal of having a cruiser for much of the riding around here. Of course, I haven't had the chance to really explore and find the best roads and routes to get to them. I suspect I will eventually find ways to bypass many of the main roads by taking smaller more interesting back roads.

    Back to meeting Grapejuice. I thought it was really cool how he saw my post and we ended up meeting here. It was a pleasure talking with him. I would have liked to have talked longer but it was getting late and we all still had a long ways to go. I did take a pic. Grapejuice said it would probably be the first time his pic was posted on the forum.

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    Grapejuice, it was great meeting you. I looked at your profile and you weren't kidding when you said you were just a lurker. Your odometer is still at zero. time to stop lurking and get out there and actually post something:deal
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    We continued north, stopping at a few more overlooks.

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    Capt. Highlighter surveys the canyon, trying to decide whether or not to annex it for Canada. :lol3

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    I'll bet this house has no back door:eek1

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    We're not the only ones enjoying the view.

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    a closer view.

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  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    As we got further north in the canyon, the road seemed to get cleaner and I started to pick up the pace through the curves:ricky

    The number of scenic overlooks also increased so we never rode far before it was time for another stop.

    Here's a view of Little River Falls.

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    Using the zoom on my camera.

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    Then we took a right on 35 to the Falls parking area. After parking we headed down to the falls on foot. I was trying to decide; should I jump off the falls or not:scratch
    .
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    luckily there was a sign there to help me make this important decision.

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    Little River Falls

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    Then it was time to head for home. We went west on 35. 35 was a mostly straight road until just before Fort Payne where there were a few curves as it descends down the mountain. Old downtown Ft Payne looked interesting. Sometime I'll come and explore it but we didn't stop today. Then it was a pretty long and boring drone on 35 until it got to the Tennessee River. There were some nice overlooks and the sun was setting. I shot a few pics while riding but didn't do a good job of capturing the scenic views.

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    looking north from the bridge over the Tennessee River.

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    Trying to capture the sunset.

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    Then it was a long drone on 72 back to Huntsville. The KLR will run along just fine at 70 MPH but that is not what it is best at.

    Another unpleasant surprise was that it started raining bugs. The warm weather the past couple of weeks brought them out.

    We got back to huntsville after dark. I rode just over 250 miles. Over all it was a good ride, a good day, and much better than anything I would have done had I not gone riding.
  16. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    He's not kidding. I have street tires on the SV and I wasn't that happy when the rear skipped sideways on me a few times on bits of gravel on the road to this point - I was definitely missing the Sherpa or Vstrom back in my garage at home. I got to the top of this hill, and it had enough gravel on it that I knew coming down my street tires wouldn't likely hold on braking, and coming back up I wasn't sure how the traction would be either, so I chickened out :muutt and slowly turned the bike around only about 10' down from the intersection. Of course a park ranger vehicle arrived just then and watched me, just waiting for me to dump the SV with an audience, but I got it back up to the main road branch without issue and just waited for Win to come back up.
    I'll try to get my RR up in a day or so - meanwhile, here's a shot of Win northbound around one of the turns:
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  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I'm looking forward to reading your version of the ride. I'll add some pics to your report after you post it.
  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    After such a beautiful day on Saturday, I was a little disappointed when I woke out Sunday morning to a gloomy day. I had no definite plan except that I WAS going to go for a ride again. I decided that staying closer to Huntsville and doing some "full throttle touring" would be the way to go. I headed across Huntsville via city streets and up the mountain around Monte Sano Park. I had come here some time back when it was cold and winterey. Although gloomy it was quite nice today with a predicted high in the 70s. I expected to find a lot of large expensive houses on top of the mountain but most of the houses were older and not that large. I'm not sure how expensive they are. As I headed down the north side of the mountain I saw something interesting so I went and checked it out.

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    Whats this? :dunno

    Other than a small sign that said Burritt museum, there was no indication what this was. I have trouble resisting a winding road that goes up a mountain so I rode up.

    Sure enough, there was a museum. What kind of museum? :dunno

    I looked around, checked out the outside of the visitor's center. It didn't say. Admission was $8 so I decided it would be cheaper to research it online. I could always come back. Any excuse to go for a ride:ricky

    I did get one pic on my way out.

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    I did look it up online. Dr Willian Burriss, a physician and inventor built a mansion on top of this mountain. In 1955 he donated the mansion and the 167 acres it sat on to the city of Huntsville. Huntsville turned it into the cities first museum, and added a bunch of 19th century stuff to the site. Now the museum hosts educational tours as well as special events.

    Probably too much culture for me. Despite being a Damn Yankee, I've got too much redneck in me for this kind of stuff:rofl

    I headed down to 431. 431 is a four lane main road going into Huntsville. It is fairly steep going over the mountain and has a 55 MPH speed limit except as it gets into the city where it drops to 45. This would be a good test for my little 150. First I went and checked out the scenic overlook on 431. The view was not as good as it was on the highway but was an interesting place to stop. Like many of the mountainsides around here, it was very rocky. A small park had been built on the hillside by putting in walkways, park benches and picnic tables around all the rocks. It looked like there were a few people here just hanging out.

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  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I left the scenic overlook, headed back up the mountain, and down the other side. Time for some full throttle touring.

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    That's all I could get despite a pretty steep downhill. I think the Super 8 is limited on top speed by gearing. Going uphill I could do 50. At 60+ the front end starts vibrating up and down. It could be an out of balance tire but I think it's a combination of stiff suspension, short wheelbase and imperfections in the road that cause it. This thing was designed to zip around town, not for open road touring. I suspect that the People 150 with basically the same motor but 16 inch wheels would probably be a better ride outside of town.

    I turned left on Dug Hill rd. It looked like an interesting road on the map and I wanted to check it out. It was a nice winding, somewhat hilly and pretty country road with a 35 MPH speed limit. It was a pleasant ride and of course I obeyed the speed limit at all times:evil

    It ended at route 72. I had no desire to jump on a 65 MPH four lane so I turned around. At the end I had to jump on 431 going up a steep hill, in a 55 MPH zone, from a dead stop. I waited for a gap in traffic and went for it. The Super 8 eventually got up to 50 (indicated) and I actually had to use the left lane to pass a slow moving truck.

    The view on 431

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    Going downhill towards Huntsville I saw a road on the left that looked interesting so I took it.

    This road headed up a steep hill and had some real interesting houses on it.

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    I have always been fascinated by houses built on steep hillsides. everything in this nieghborhood was steep. I snapped some pics as I rode along.

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    I suspect that the price tags on these houses are even steeper that the road or driveways:eek1

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    Unlike many new subdivisions, no two houses looked alike in here.

    I stopped to take this next pic to show how steep the driveway was. As usuel, the pic doesn't really show how steep it was.

    [​IMG]

    I wonder what these people do when it snows. Even with 4wd, you are not going up that driveway with any snow or ice on it. You could go down, but you couldn't stop:eek1

    I'm also curious. How do they pour the concrete for this driveway. It seems to me it would all just run downhill. Maybe they make concrete slabs on level gound and then move them into place after they are dried?
    I'm sure that construction costs go way up when building on steep terrain like this.
  20. soboy

    soboy Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,295
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    Hi klaviator, I am really enjoying your full throttle touring. Does your Kymco measure its odometer in kilometers or miles? My Agility's odometer is in kilometers, so 1000 would be 621 miles. Enjoyed your Little River Canyon report - I have ridden that area a few times and found it extremely fun and scenic riding. I also have been to Guntersville dozens of times and love it up there. Beautiful area. Really, really sad about TWO closing - I stopped there every single time I rode in North Georgia. I will miss that place a lot.