Kentucky backroads

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by ghostdncr, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,122
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    It's looking like I'll be doing a loop down into central Kentucky on Saturday. I'm planning to head east out of Louisville pretty early on the DR650 and keep a somewhat leisurly pace on secondary roads. If I'm not mistaken, the maximum speed limits along this route will be 55mph and the backroads and tracks will have the usual outbursts of water crossings, gravel, and dirt, but nothing too ridiculous. Anyone interested in riding along or meeting up along the way needs to give a shout.

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    Here's some pics from previous rides in this area, just to give a general impression of what I'm looking for:

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    I&#8217;m always drawn to the lonely places. There&#8217;s a comfort to be found in quiet solitude that once realized, it&#8217;s near impossible to dismiss. When riding through areas like these, I&#8217;ll sometimes shut the bike off and sit there, listening to the random tinks of the cooling exhaust. There&#8217;s usually little else beyond the wind playing through the grasses and the various insects murmuring among themselves. See that puddle in the next photo? I've ridden 100 miles to hit that puddle and the few others scattered along this stretch of gravel. The state's long-term plan to pave every road, lane, driveway, and goat path has severely limited the dual sporting opportunities, and may help explain the cruiser and crotch rocket infestations found hereabouts.


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    The gravel drive on the left? That's where my great-grandmother lived. No pics of the dwelling, as it collapsed years ago. I lived there off and on as a youngster, and learned everything needed to be considered a card-carrying Appalachian-American. We didn't have running water or indoor plumbing, and "Mammy" did all her cooking on a wood-fired kitchen stove. We never had fewer than five large coon hounds living under the front porch and there were holes in that old shack you could throw a housecat through without messing up its fur. Looking back, it's a wonder I survived to adulthood. :lol3

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    The midsection of Kentucky isn&#8217;t very high on anyone&#8217;s must-ride list, I don&#8217;t think. It&#8217;s a mostly non-descript place, sorely lacking in altitude, high-gradient waterways, or much in the way of splendor. It has a smell about it in the summertime, a distant hint of decaying vegetation and stagnant water. Seems like most of the creatures that inhabit this place reflect the same static nature. Generally, nothing appears hurried except the mice and a few species of insect. I was born here back in the early 1960&#8217;s and while the area has changed pretty dramatically since then, many aspects have resisted the onslaught of time. Regardless, the ravages of time impart their own abstract beauty.


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    #1
  2. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,122
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I&#8217;m planning to ride the &#8217;07 DR650 on this trip. I got it from an inmate in eastern Pennsylvania last weekend and this will be my first ride of any distance on it. The simplicity of this bike is refreshing and I&#8217;m quite excited about its lack of radiators, a dry sump, and oil in the frame. If the engine gets too hot to continue, we&#8217;ll stop for a snack and a map check. Here&#8217;s a photo shamelessly stolen from the previous owner:

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    It&#8217;s been fitted with an Acerbis 5.3 gallon tank, Cycra handguards, a windscreen, 12V power outlet, skid plate, and a bunch of suspension mods. The Dunlop D606&#8217;s are nearly shot, but they should hold together long enough to finish this trip. All in all, it appears to be well-sorted and exactly what I've been looking for in a dirt-oriented adventure bike. The route I have mapped out is almost 300 miles (and will likely go over that once side trips are figured in) and should give me a good indication whether or not it will suit my needs over the long term.

    It seems most of the DR guys claim a range of around 250 miles with the Acerbis. I haven't ridden anywhere in the lower 48 that would require much over half that range on the road. It's about 100 miles across the Great Salt Desert from Tooele, UT to Wendover, NV on I-80, but the off-road version would take a bunch more fuel. Wonder if 5.3 gallons would be enough for that ride?
    #2
  3. HappyCRNA

    HappyCRNA AllTalkNoAction

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    Location:
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    Looks like a great time! Is that the stock seat with the Acerbis tank?
    #3
  4. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    Location:
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    #4
  5. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
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    Pre-ride planning has amounted to this small collection of gear. There are a few more incidentals that will get thrown into the tank bag, like tire irons and a sandwich, but this is mostly the extent of it. No doubt, the pre-dawn fuel stop pic will show how everything gets fitted. The tank bag's a magnetic one normally used on the Ninja and I'm going to attach it to the DR's rear rack. Looking at the DR, I can't imagine what kind of bag would work on its pointed tank.

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    Although I haven't ran D606s on anything for a couple of years, it seems the more they get worn, the faster they seem to wear. I took this shot just a few minutes ago while lubing the chain. I'm fairly certain there's 300 miles left on it. :lol3

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    #5
  6. dancerdave

    dancerdave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    kentucky
    lots of good riding near Somerset Ky.. off 192 is a place called Mount Victory and it leads you to Ano that will take you to some of the best riding we have found there.. also Bolterhouse Rd has an over look of Rockcastle river that is priceless, about 1500 feet to the river from where you stand, take that road to the river and enjoy..take a camera.., the road follows the river and dont know how far, ran out of time..
    #6
  7. FJracer

    FJracer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Natchez Trace Area, Tenn
    Great reminders of the nearly untouched corners of my home state. Thanks! I ride the 57 different ways to get back to Clark Co.(KY) from west Tenn. 5-8 time a year on Wing or FJR. My DRZ allows me to explores the underbrush and hidden sights within this state.
    #7
  8. FJracer

    FJracer Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Natchez Trace Area, Tenn
    I'm taking note! I've come down 89 twice outta Clark Co. and turned west to run thru Somerset. Will look up 192. Thanks!
    #8
  9. joseywales12

    joseywales12 n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Recently moved here and I'm learning my way around these roads. I'm looking for the dirt trails, but have also discovered Dirty Turtle up in Bedford. If anyone near Louisville is going out riding, I'm game. Thanks!
    #9
  10. dancerdave

    dancerdave Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Oddometer:
    168
    Location:
    kentucky
    another nice little ride off hwy 80 going east take 1956 then then 1249 then cleft rock rd then turn left on to JB road and enjoy.. it is quite an adventure, we found it just by my wife saying "wonder there this little road goes" it will come out in Livingston Ky on hwy 25.. beautiful ride.. take some pictures.. some water crossing but not too bad..
    #10
  11. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    Ended up being 362 miles, and it was epic. Pics and details to follow:

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    #11
  12. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Departure worked out to be right at 5:30am. It was only 76 degrees but the humidity was high enough that combined with my protective gear, it made me break a significant sweat just trying to get the door locked. It only took a few minutes to get the bike loaded, odometer reset, and then get on the road. I headed out of town on Shelbyville Road, with plans to make my first fuel stop about 8 miles from home. Here's the gas station shot I promised earlier, along with the odometer pic:

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    The last weather forecast I checked indicated partly cloudy skies, an afternoon high of 90 degrees, and humid. The eastern horizon offered some scattered cloud, but nothing threatening. I managed to get the waning crescent moon in the upper left of the photo, although there was almost enough light to obscure it by this point.

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    Shelbyville road goes from a heavily developed, strip mall cacophony to rural Kentucky in the space of about a mile. Once I passed out of the business part and into the "country" part, the temperature dropped considerably and gave much-welcomed relief from the heat and humidity. I was already loving my Camelback and the difference it makes in dealing with the heat. I soon found this vista and made the first official photo stop of the day. How about those clouds building in the west? While I'm not a meteorologist, those look like they could produce some rain:

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    The mighty DR beside a hay field:

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    I turned south on US-127 and headed down to Harrodsburg. Reaching Old Fort Harrod, I was delighted to find I had the park to myself at this early hour. Here's a couple of links if you'd like to read more about the history of the first permanent settlement in the state of Kentucky:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Fort_Harrod_State_Park

    http://parks.ky.gov/parks/recreationparks/fort-harrod/default.aspx

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    #12
  13. mbabc

    mbabc Curmudgeon trainee

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    Location:
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    Good one John. Looking forward to the next installment. I've a few route ideas on heading down that way to combine with yours

    Some Sunday, early start ?????
    #13
  14. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
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    Sounds like everyone wants a Sunday ride, so let's plan on that for next time. You guys must not get sore, because I'm having a really hard time getting around this morning. Not sure how that's gonna play out Monday morning at work. :lol3

    I'm definitely swapping that Procycle/Saddleman abomination of a seat for a Renazco as soon as the funding can be scraped together. I believe Saddleman made their fortune in building Harley seats and should probably avoid dirt bikes altogether, as they're totally different animals. Swap out the seat, change the tires and oil, and I'd head out for Alaska or Tierra del Fuego (or both!) on the DR tomorrow. Wish I'd found this bike thirty years ago!
    #14
  15. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    Next, I passed through the Hustonville and Yosemite areas. I abandoned the near-interstate feel of 127 and took to the back roads at Hustonville. My mother lived here for a short time in the early 1950's. Her dad was a very accomplished furniture maker and he moved his shop and family there, before finally settling in Campbellsville later in the decade.

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    Looking at this old marker, I started wondering who set it there. Do you ever do anything like that? I don't know how to decipher the markings, but I wonder what year they installed this and what was going in their lives the day they did this one.

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    Man, it would suck to live here! Poor folks.

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    #15
  16. BackRoadNomad

    BackRoadNomad Wandering around

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
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    Location:
    St. Bethlehem, Tennessee
    KY Ride Report.

    I live on the border of KY/TN in Clarksville, TN. I'm going to check out riding some of the same roads you wrote about. Love your DR650...I owned a 1999 DR650. Very capable for adventure riding!
    #16
  17. dickensheets

    dickensheets smprparatus

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    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    The DR will not have a problem with the heat. Ever.

    Ryan
    #17
  18. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    The area between Dunnville and Knifley is where things started getting good. Most of these photos were taken in the Neatsville area at the first Green River ford of the day. This one is a little wider, a little deeper, and can get kinda slick at times. Being solo, I just rode up and down the river's edge and through some of the trails in the area and passed on a full blown crossing:

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    This is the view of the Green River looking west off the Hwy 76 Bridge at Neatsville. It's a little to deep to ride across at this point. :lol3

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    Miles of gravel. Roads like these helped me get a feel for the DR's capabilities, and it seemed perfectly content to run these at 40-50 mph. For the most part though, I kept my speeds much lower because of the wildlife. I saw a number of deer and an absurd number of wild turkeys jump across the road ahead of me. One hen turkey had thirteen poults trailing behind her, running about and tripping over one another. I had no interest in an impromptu harvesting of game, so I generally kept my speeds at a reasonable level.

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    This little hole of water was about 12-18" deep and I crossed it several times. Lots of fun without much danger of going down.

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    #18
  19. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

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    It's a great area to ride. We should probably plan some kind of camping weekend and really pick this place apart. The Corps of Engineers have closed off lots of prime riding areas.

    The DR will not have a problem with the heat. Ever.

    I was really impressed with its performance under pressure. I got it really hot down in some tight, muddy woods riding, but all I noticed was the power starting to slack off as the heat built up. I stopped and walked around in the woods for a few and let it cool down and it was ready for another round. :thumb
    #19
  20. ghostdncr

    ghostdncr Burnin' daylight...

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    This section was just plain sweet! The ATV's have torn it up pretty bad, so negotiating their ruts proved to be the biggest challenge. The DR handled it well and left me looking like a pro, in spite of my limited riding abilities. The lily pads in this marsh were in full bloom and while they had almost nothing to do with this ride, I felt they were worth including:

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    This is the second ford across the Green River. We haven't had much rain and the flow is mighty weak. Unlike the earlier ford, I crossed this one several times at different points, going deeper each time. I was never concerned about the airbox going under, but did get about midway up the crankcase a time or two. The views are from both sides of the river:

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    Watch out for the low-hanging vines! This is also one of the sections where a deer bolted from left to right about 30 feet in front of me. Fortunately, I was easing along in second gear when she appeared.

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    Damn beavers!

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    The woods are closing in, now. Lots of ducking and twisting, stopping and starting:

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    #20