Kentucky Adventure Trail - or less

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by CHIMZ, May 25, 2018.

  1. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    First things first: Many thanks to Jeff@theQuadShop for putting together the tracks for the KAT.

    A couple of weeks ago my buddy and I loaded our too-big-for-this bikes on a trailer and left Chicago for Slade, KY. We spent the first night at lil' Abner Motel, chatting with some Harley riders from NJ on their way to bike week in SC.

    We only had 2.5 days of riding - time constraints courtesy of businesses and families. So we knew we wouldn't be able to do the full KAT, or even the 500 mile half loop. Our goal was to simply go out there, get a taste of the KAT, and have fun. We're not experienced off-road riders, and we haven't been riding much in the winter due to the wonderful winter weather in our part of the world.

    Given all of that, our bastardized version of the KAT is far less interesting than most RRs posted here. So this is less of a true Ride Report, and more of collection of random pictures from various parts of the KAT, in no particular order.





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    We had a freakin' blast, even with our big bikes. The first few hours were by far the hardest as we encountered a few muddy sections fairly soon after we started. We paid for being rusty and got stuck or dropped the bikes numerous times. It's not the falling that's hard.. it's trying to pick up a 650+lbs cow on a hill covered with muddy rocks. Part of the adventure, no doubt - although it's way more fun to stay on the bike. I'm no expert rider but I know that much :)
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    After the first few hours we realized that slow and steady isn't getting the job done. We started trusting whatever little skill we possess, and the power of bike - encountering mud, water, rocks - and responding uniformly by opening the throttle and going for it. And the bikes handled anything we threw at them and more. With each water crossing or mud pool we got just a bit more confident. It made for a much easier time traversing these sections, and way more fun.

    We're coming back to do the whole thing - for sure. This was the most fun we've ever had on two wheels. And the only piece of advice I'd give (outside of showing up with smaller bikes) is for guys to bring your own alcohol. It was quite a surprise for us urbanites to realize there are still dry counties out there.. a nice cold beer at the end of a riding day would have mighty nice. The nice man at front desk at our motel said it's only a 30 mile ride to the nearest beer. Yeah.. no, thanks. We'll have nice cold.. water.

    And if that's our only complaint - it means we had a pretty damn good time. Highly recommended, although if you're riding a big bike, i suggest riding in a group of more than just 2. These beasts are hard to get upright in muddy conditions.
    #1
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  2. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    This is still from day one. Like others have posted about - it's hard to truly get a good sense of how steep the incline really is. I'm always amazed at how sections that seemed like climbing straight up a mountain look like a nice straight road in pictures and videos.
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    After getting muddy and tired you start approaching things with "i might as well go for it" attitude, which means you gun it and let the bike do its thing. At times I felt like i'm riding an angry bull at a rodeo. These bikes proved to be super dependable, strong, and relative to their weight, quite maneuverable. It was like felt the German engineer who built this machine was talking back to me going: "Ya, da bike can handle this section. Da question is can you handle it little boy?"
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    Managed to drag an entire tree with me at one point.
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    #2
    Neemangs and GAS GUY like this.
  3. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    The weather was absolutely perfect. High 70's to high 80's during the day, 60's at night. We did stop in various places to enjoy the beautiful scenery, get some water on our faces, etc.

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    We opted for motels rather than camping - mostly to keep the bikes just a bit lighter. It was good. First night in Bettysville, and 2nd night in Mt. Vernon. We always look for the type of motel where you can park the bike right outside the room.

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    And i'll leave it at that - great ride with a good friend. We'll be back, perhaps with smaller bikes, and with more guys..

    So long Kentucky, for now.
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    #3
  4. celltech

    celltech Been here awhile

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    You two my friend, are complete animals! That looks like some calories spent with those big bikes. I love it!

    Thanks for posting
    #4
  5. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    Thanks :) Honestly I think ignorance was bliss in this case. We just didn't know any better so we just went for it, and outside of some mud and minor repairs on the bike, we managed to return in one piece. Return trip planning already began.
    #5
  6. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

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    I would return with smaller, more dirt oriented bikes. I couldn't imagine taking those high dollar bikes and doing that to them. Maybe I'm just cheap......
    #6
  7. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    No, you're just smart. We're the dumb ones :) we managed to finish our trip with very minor issues. I have to reconnect one of the aux lights that broke off when the bike fell at one point. That's about it. My buddy riding the GSA has zero damage. Nevertheless he just got himself upper crash bar extensions for future trips. I started the search for a smaller bike. Damage to bikes aside, I think it's just more fun to do this trail with smaller bikes.
    #7
  8. TooTallRacing

    TooTallRacing Been here awhile

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    You guys are bad ass for doing what you did on those big bikes! Myself and two friends spent the Memorial Day weekend on the KAT, we rode small bikes dual sport bikes. We still struggled in sections, I could not imagine doing it on big bikes like you did. We also had a great time. I agree about the dry counties. Kentucky should be more concerned with the local meth heads than preventing a tourist from drinking a light beer at the end of the day.
    #8
  9. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    Amen to that. We love meeting locals on these trips. Quite different than most people we meet in Chicago. The battle scars of addiction were evident in most towns we stopped in for gas or a bite to eat. Heart breaking really. And thanks for calling us bad asses. i'm going to screen shot this to my kids. They have a slightly different view of their 'old' dad.
    #9
  10. BMWs2Dave

    BMWs2Dave Been here awhile

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    You guys were nuts to take 600+ pound bikes off road on trails like that. BMW marketing department has done a good job persuading people to do stuff like that on a R1200GS, but anybody with dirt bike riding experience knows that lighter is better when off road. I could not imaging trying to lift or get unstuck a 600 lb. bike in a muddy rut as shown in one of your pictures.
    #10
  11. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    I understand the point, and i agree. But the fact is that I own this bike, and I have 2 options. I could either ride it to the nearest coffee shop, showing off my mid-life crisis toy. Or i could take it out there and see what it (and I) can do. I pick door # 2. We realize it's not the ideal bike for this ride, but that's ok. We're not the ideal riders either :) We don't mind falling, and we don't mind working together to pick up a muddy beast. It's all part of the experience for us. Next time we go there perhaps we'll bring smaller bikes. Or maybe come back with the big mamas. Honestly, after the few hours we stopped being so timid and it paid off. We didn't drop the bikes again, and managed to handle everything we encountered. And the paved sections were just a blast on this bike.
    #11
  12. CHIMZ

    CHIMZ Adventurer

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    Might as well add a few pics, to show that we did some time ON the bike, not just off it :)

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    #12
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