Highfive goes Dragon Hunting

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by HighFive, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    You ever notice how the best of trips seem to take on a life of their own? Events just occur that you never could have predicted, and shazaam, opportunity is knocking at your door! The only question that remains is whether or not you seize the moment. Well....I'm proud to say, for once in my life I actually heard that knock, opened the door wide, and ran through it.

    My oldest son graduated High School this year. And, for various reasons of sorts, he is going to college in Virginia starting this fall. Momma's not totally happy about it....we live in Oklahoma for goodness sakes! :eek1

    She said to him, "why such a big change"? The boy replied, "In reality Mother, it is barely even a discernible change. I am just an Okie becoming a Hokie. It is but one additional letter, you see." :deal

    Hhhhmmm.....that boy is ready for college. Nuff said. So now, I have to take him (way) out there for his Freshman Orientation. Its a long drive. Its gonna last a couple of days. What's dad to do? Sit thru the painful parent orientation? :nono Not a chance! I'm loading up R² and going riding em them there hills. I've never 'been there and done that' before.

    I'm formulating a plan. Why, I'm going Dragon Hunting! My wife says "Do What?" Oh yeah...I'll be chasing some mighty fine Tail, sweety. :huh Needless to say, I had some explaining to do. About the "Tail of the Dragon" at Deals Gap, and all that.

    What's R²? Well....I'm glad you asked. I give you Exhibit 1:


    [​IMG]

    Just my trusty dusty, little blue engine that could. My fuel injected Yamaha WR250R. Lots of folks call it a WRR. But I named mine R² And it seems to have kind of caught on....globally. But I digress.

    The big day came, and I told the boss I was leaving work and don't know when (or if) I'll ever return. That went over about as well as it did when I told the wife the same thing. Use your imagination....

    Stuffed R² in the back of my pickup truck, stuffed my boy up front (would have reversed it....but R² couldn't seem to suck in enough to get the back door shut. So, she'll just have to get wet if it rains. :cry

    Away we went. Before long it looked like this:


    [​IMG]

    Ok...I skipped the Oklahoma portion. That was the "before" part. I've already seen it too much.


    Then, later it looked like this:


    [​IMG]


    And much much later it finally started looking like this:


    [​IMG]


    After a grueling 1,100 miles of driving we finally stop near Roanoke, VA so I could get some gas. And I tell you....things are looking promising, real promising...


    [​IMG] :evil


    I figured I'd have a looksee around these Virginia hills for a bit, then get some REAL satisfaction when I scoot back through Tennessee. That was The Plan, anyway. But what happened in Virginia was.....shall we say...."unpredicted". More like WOW² Stay tuned...

    HF :thumbup
    #1
  2. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

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    :lurk

    I really wanted to go . . . but I was stuck . . . workin' . . .

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

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    :lurk
    #3
  4. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    By the way....I forgot to mention....this is kind of a "Live Report". I'm actually on the trip right now. Just a few days into the riding. I'll be posting updates each evening, if I can get a Connection on my Aircard wherever I end up camping.

    HF :1drink
    #4
  5. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    As Plans go....they didnt'. My favorite Wingman couldn't make the trip. I'm flying Solo! That has its advantages and its disadvantages, as you'll soon see. Riding the bike Solo is a real FREE feeling. There's no discussing or debating where to go or what next. You just go! Wherever, whenever, into whatever. Its great!

    But I need to backup and share what happened in transit from Oklahoma. Knowing I was coming thru Memphis, Malibu Dan invited me to a meet and greet at the famous Corkey's BBQ. Being a new WRR owner, he's had plenty of inspiring questions about this DS stuff. This would be a good time to meet face to face. And since it included good food, well...I had a PLAN!

    Dan actually purchased TWO WRR's. :eek1 We thought one was for spare parts, but I soon learned different. I beat him to Corky's by 7:30 pm, then he & his son coming riding in on their purdy blue twinkies. We have a nice time eating lots of famous ribs.


    [​IMG]


    That's Dan & his son on the left, me & my son on the right. While time stood still, we closed the place down....literally! Now, I point out Exhibit 2 (above): Keys in the hand of Dan's son.


    [​IMG]


    Time to go....but things don't go as planned. While Junior was self-sufficient, Malibu Dan couldn't t seem to find his KEY. :rofl


    [​IMG]


    So, the hunt is ON! :bueller Every pocket....


    [​IMG]


    Every square inch of parking lot....


    [​IMG]


    And, for some reason....that only Dan can explain....under every bush. :dunno


    No luck. He's stranded! So now, I've become the Search & Rescue of Memphis, TN. Got to shuttle people back & forth from Corky's to Rancho Malibu to Corky's, and all that. After about another hour, all is well, as Dan actually knew where his SPARE key was. Go figure...

    Its so late now, my son & I bid farewell and just decide to keep on driving. Too much adrenaline in the blood from all the excitement to go to bed anyway. So, onward mush....

    HF :thumbup
    #5
  6. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

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    HighFive and R² on an adventure....Subscribed! :clap
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Toronto
    You're doing the Dragon on the that bike?

    Let's see what you've got! :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. malibu_dan

    malibu_dan Adventuring Mystic

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    Okay, okay...enough with the chit-chat! Let see some riding!!! BTW, the bald spot in the picture is much steeper in real life. :deal

    This is just peaches; doesn't matter how fantabulous my exploits are from this point forward. :freakyEverywhere I go, people are going to ask me if I have my keys with me? Do I know where my spare key is? You sure you've got them with you? :huh

    Oh, well, I'm in anyways; don't want to miss a HF RR. Let's see some some R² in it's natural habitat! :lurk
    #8
  9. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    Alright...alright...I'm getting there. I promise it will be worth the while. Somebody's anyway. Now where was I?

    Oh yeah....we leave the gas pump and pick a tiny twisty backroad for the mad dash down to town. R² starts beeping at me, so I pull over for a looksee. Apparently, she wants to take in this scene for a moment. She thinks she sees a Dragon! I've got proof, here's the photo. Looks like there's several of them hiding down in that valley:


    [​IMG]


    Still jealous of our budding relationship, College Boy wants his turn. Fair enough, since it is Father's Day weekend and I'll be all alone....sort of.


    [​IMG]


    Check out all that smoke. :eek1 Gee....I could of had a V8! It was everywhere. This must be why they call them the "Smokey Mountains". Ok, I'm slow on some things....just not the trail.

    Within mere minutes of arriving in town, I dump College Boy at the campus curb and say "Adios!" Then, pick a basecamp, unload, & gear up even faster than humanly possible. Man, if the Krabill could have only seen Flash Gordon move...

    Off I go into the wild green yonder! Just pick a road...any road to nowhere. It didn't matter.

    There was lots of this:


    [​IMG]


    And, lots of that:


    [​IMG]


    Plus an absolutely endless amount of these:


    [​IMG]


    Yeah....I can get in to this. Beautifully gorgeous countryside, with immaculate road surfaces, and only one glaring concern: No Traffic! Nope! None! Nada! It kind of got eery feeling. But then I got used to it, and just let her rip! :deal Gadget Boy proud knee dragging on a knobbied up WRR.:evil Believe it GB...

    HF :thumbup
    #9
  10. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    I actually had a Plan to go ride some route that Bluepill suggested. Apparently he had recently been through that area and found this perfect little jewel. So, I'm winding my way Northward when, for one fateful reason or another, I encounter an inquisitive local who feels the need to interrogate me:

    Where you from, Stranger? What you doing here? Where you going? You got a Plan? (No joke...he really said it).

    I leveled with him, told him about College Boy, and how my real PLAN was to go ride around Deals Gap in TN. His eyes get as big as frozen pizzas! "Why you don't need to go down there. We've got our own Dragon right here in Virginia!" :huh

    Now, my eyes draw tight, my palms getting a little sweaty. I'm listening....continue. :ear

    Says its "Tuggles Gap". Down...er..up over yonder a good bit (pointing off into the distance). Turn at Pete's, down the white gravel (for a shortcut) to Floyd, follow the creek long way....and find the old cabin. Then, you're good as there. :eek1

    That's about all I squeezed out of him. But I'd heard enough. Who needs a gps anyway? Sorry BluePill. I'm Dragon Hunting! I've got a new PLAN...


    Down & up yonder:


    [​IMG]


    Passing Pete's...or maybe Floyd's? (I know its a No Passing Zone, but the Man said...)


    [​IMG]


    Could be this white gravel?


    [​IMG]


    Maybe even this old cabin?


    [​IMG]


    And then...it happens! I pass through some weird old looking rock frame tunnel around the road and stumble upon this:


    [​IMG]


    Its real..its really REAL! That was the craziest wild goose chase I've ever been on in my life. I had just a few clues where I was going. And 60 something miles later, I found it. And these roads....oh my....these fabulously beautiful roads with no traffic to speak of. Its just insane! Who cares if I don't find it. Its just so worth the going...like never before.

    HF
    #10
  11. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu Long timer

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    i've been riding around Va for the past month now, look for the state highways that are in the 600s or 1200s. Those seem to be the narrowest, twistiest ones.
    #11
  12. Chuck289

    Chuck289 Air cooled

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    This right here....this is awesome!

    :wings
    #12
  13. Nice_Rumble

    Nice_Rumble Long timer

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    Good stuff!
    #13
  14. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Trail Jester

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    upstate NY, USA
    Inspiring ride report HF ... keep it coming!
    #14
  15. emerson.biguns

    emerson.biguns All idiot, no savant

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    Hey Dan, I guess we all have our own senior blonde moments, huh? :razor







    :D



    HF,

    Thanks for taking us with. It's always much better when you don't stick with the plan, no?

    We'll be waiting for more.



    .
    #15
  16. Jaynen

    Jaynen Been here awhile

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    Oceanside CA
    Wonder if there are any fancy road side photographers at Tuggle's Gap so we can see some pics of you leanin er over :)
    #16
  17. Colemanfu

    Colemanfu King of all manfu

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    DAYTONA USA
    I was up there a week ago. Did it with 606's. Let me know and I can tell you some good trails. By random luck I met up with some klrworld.com guys having a ride out. Perfect - led around by the locals. Have a safe trip.

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. TBItoy

    TBItoy Adventurer

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    Cookeville, TN
    I'll be on the Tail and the Skyway this Friday on my RR :clap
    #18
  19. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    There's a strong sense of danger here. Happens anytime you get near a Dragon's lair. No time for chit chat....I'm straight to the hunt. And just like that, I catch my first glimpse of her tail:


    [​IMG]


    I quietly pull over to the side, careful not to disturbed this sleeping dragon, and watch for any signs of movement. Its eerily quiet. So much so, I just ease R² into a stealth dead engine roll in neutral. I want a peak around that bend.


    [​IMG]


    She's definitely a dragon with very well defined features. Check out those alternating high bank angles. They get even steeper further down, but no room to pull over for a photo there (because the banks are so steep).

    I've seen enough. Time to take her by surprise. Especially since I haven't seen any other hunters, yet!


    [​IMG]


    She's short, but very good. I can't believe I forgot to clock the mileage. Maybe one mile, or two. But Tuggles Gap has some of the highest bank angles I've seen. And the spacing is very close on some. You come out of one turn only to immediately thrust into the opposite angle. It produced a new sensation for me. I'm used to all the flat hairpins and zig-zags. It was very nice to "ride the banks".

    I turned around at the bottom and road back up to the top. That direction seemed more fun to me....always does. The vertical angle (top to bottom) is really quite steep. More than any others I've seen.

    So, you get high bank curves combined with a steep incline all the way through. Consequently, I'll rate Tuggles Gap "One Thumb Up". Its not a big enough Dragon to be a destination. But if you're anywhere near Floyd, VA, you definitely want to hunt this dragon down.

    Here's another shot from the top. I finally got some traffic. It really helps show the bank angles. These were the final turns on top, and not nearly as banked, as the curves in the middle section. Even still....don't they look good?


    [​IMG]

    HF :thumbup

    p.s.
    No photographers....but also, little to no traffic! Which would you rather have?
    #19
  20. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    After returning to the top, I decide to take a much deserved break and get a bite to eat. Noticed some spies had showed up. So, I squeezed R² in amongst these Harleys. Ain't she purdy!


    [​IMG]


    I ask the nice lady "what's your specialty"? She replies, in very Virginia-esk, "Mexican Food". :huh Looked like a burger & beer joint to me...with hardware and auto parts to boot. Now, being from the Real Southwest, I'm immediately having justifiable doubts about Mexican Food in the Northeast. But, then she closes the deals (she's good) by telling me she makes everything herself from scratch...even the tortillas. A few minutes later, she proudly delivers this fine plate of real tacos:


    [​IMG]


    Como Say Dee-say...."MUY GRANDE MUCHO Bueno Bueno Bueno"....or something like that. It was the real deal. Tuggles Gap just earned another notch on my stick. Its has GREAT food! The kind that makes you want to go there in a bad way!

    After the super good (and cheap) lunch, I go slay the Dragon a few more times. Ok, more like 16 times....but who's counting? I do so, because I can. I don't have any plans otherwise. Then, I finally head out to investigate that old cabin a little closer.


    [​IMG]


    Might make a decent campsite (indoors). It didn't. But, I clearly notice the possibly faint impression of an old road going up the hill behind the cabin. Doesn't look used in the last 25 or 50 years (+/-). Suddenly....I've got a feeling. Krabill knows all about "HF feelings". So, I take a run at it. Just bushwhacking through all the overgrowth. Somebody really needs to clean this road up a little (ok...a lot). Its steep! Even steeper than Malibu Dan's bald spot. About a quarter mile up there above the cabin, I pull the reins for a rest on the first, and only, flat spot.


    [​IMG]


    Walked over to the edge for a looksee and WHOA....Ho-Chi-Momma!! It was a sheer drop-off, maybe 200 ft. down!!!

    I go have a little sit-down and self-talk session. Hhhmmm.....nobody knows where I am. Nobody has been up this hill in maybe 100 years (+/-). And, did I mention it was steep? This is the point I realize the disadvantage of flying Solo. Such a bummer! I decide to turn around and go back....a wild sliding ride, to say the least. The ground was like 1000 years (+/-) of pure leaf mulch. I purposely DIDN'T take a photo over the side, because I knew somebody would say it didn't look very steep...

    I bid farewell to the cabin and set my compass Northward. I hear there is a Bent Mountain up that way, and even some kind of Blue Ridge. Now, I've been in the woods a long time. I've never seen a Blue Ridge before. Sounds like a PLAN.

    HF
    #20