KY: Red River Gorge & Daniel Boone Natl Forest

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by MeanStreaker, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    511
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    Many emails and conversations over the past year can be summed up about like this:

    "Hey Tim. Man, I freaking love my KLR. You should get one too. Check out this ride report of some idiots attempting __________".

    Thankfully, a short time ago, Tim (aka DryFire) looked past my incessant nagging, the stars aligned, and he now is the proud owner of a 2007 KLR650. So, since we are

    1) Scheduled for a week-long dual sport trip at the end of July following Cannonshot's UPAT

    2) I have almost zero miles on dirt or gravel despite logging tens of thousands on pavement in the past 15 years, and

    3) The KLR is DryFire's first motorcycle, he doesn't have his license yet, despite logging a lot of hours on quads in the gnarly stuff...

    We thought a quick shake down trip in search of gravel would be in order to test out our gear and see what we were getting ourselves into. Here's a quick recap of an overnight trip from SW Ohio to the Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest area of central KY. I noticed there isn't much in the ADV archives about this area, so maybe these few pictures will help someone else out.

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    #1
  2. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    All told the trip was just under 600 miles, some great stretches of gravel, a few little challenges, three or four small water crossings, one long one, three bacon cheeseburgers, one primitive campsite, zero mechanical failures, and only one KLR dirtnap.

    Our rides began solo early Thursday morning, June 9, with DryFire heading east through Cincinnati and myself traveling southeast on SR 741 and 123 from the Dayton area until we met up in Blanchester, OH.

    Here we are at 0830 ready to roll.

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    We continued east through Blanchester on 28, then turned south on 134 and a small piece of 68 until we saw the turn off for a twisty piece of backroad recommended on RideOhio.org - Chicken Hollow Rd. We then took that to Wiles Rd, which promised some gravel and a creek crossing.

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    Wiles Rd certainly delivered! It starts and finishes rather tame and quickly turns to something a bit more technical throughout the middle.

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    As the gravel turned to small rocks, which turned to large rocks, which turned to small boulders, it certainly put my newbie skills to the test.

    Then we arrive at the "creek crossing". As you can see, DryFire gets across relatively easily.

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    I did not have as much luck, stopping my momentum against a large rock every now and then and spinning my tire on the slime covered shelves.
    But finally.... success!!!

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    Maybe that's easy for some on a loaded KLR650, but that stretch was definitely a challenge for me.

    As we continued on Wiles Rd, we passed the "No Outlet" sign warning folks to not enter where we're coming from, then it turns into rather tame gravel again before transitioning to rougher pavement.

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    We turned south on SR 763, enjoying the nice twisties it has to offer, and crossed the mighty Ohio into Maysville, KY and lunch at Delite's Diner, a great little Mom and Pop place with two older Greek folks in their 60s or 70s (I'm guessing) consisting of the entire staff.

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    #2
  3. patmo

    patmo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
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    849
    Location:
    butler, ky/Franklin, tn
    Subscribed...keep it coming.
    #3
  4. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner

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    Clearwater, FL USA
    looks like a nice ride
    appreciate that you shared it with us
    thank you
    #4
  5. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Dayton, OH
    Gearing up to leave our lunch spot, I noticed a memento from our creek crossing earlier:

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    I guess it's here that I'll mention I could not be happier with my Sidi Adventure Rain boots. I had a pair of Sidi FlexForce SRS, precursors to the Crossfires I believe... and boy were they uncomfortable.

    The Adventure Rains are comfortable(ish) to walk around in and seem to have great protection in all the right spots. I read a lot of the long threads on here, including the grand debates between the overseas Gortex offerings vs the stateside AdvRains. After hearing me rave about them after a few hundred miles, Dryfire picked up a pair as well.

    After standing in water above the ankle during the creek crossing, plus standing in a few mud bogs later in the trip (pics forthcoming) :evil, plus slabbing about an hour and a half in pouring rain for the final leg of my trip home... both sets of our AdvRains were 100% bone dry.


    We continued south out of Maysville through beautiful country and stopped for some water at this covered bridge.

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    #5
  6. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    Nice! I'm born and raised in Clermont and Brown county, and I didn't know about that Wiles rd you found! Check out North Pole pike, the next road down from Chicken hollow, it has a covered bridge on it you ride through. RRG is an awsome area! If you want tons of gravel road that's an easy day ride, check out Shawnee state forest.
    #6
  7. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the tip! I've ridden around West Union, but need to do more exploring in Shawnee for gravel.
    #7
  8. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Continuing on down south from the Ringos Mills bridge via beautiful roads (801, 60, 211, 36, 480)... we finally hit the very twisty and scenic 77 entering the Red River Gorge area.

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    The red tracks are still Thurs June 9 and the blue tracks are the following day.

    I wish more pictures were taken, but the riding was just too incredible to stop and dig through the tankbag. Guess I need to figure out the best way to snap a few shots while on the move.

    We burned around 77, 11, 15, and the other great pavement to get to gravel and were having a great time.

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    The Gorge is definitely a beautiful destination. It's nice knowing there are a few scenic locales a mere day ride from home.

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    All of these overlooks were reached from maintained gravel with a few potholes.

    It's amazing how after a short time we both started feeling more comfortable. Standing on the pegs and shifting my weight on the turns felt really weird at first... but before I knew it, we were running down these nice roads and taking turns in third or fourth gear.

    After just a few minutes I realized how everything had turned upside down from what I was used to. Staying seated at any kind of speed on these roads is what felt out of control. I didn't expect that shift so quickly.

    I think we were getting the hang of this stuff.

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    After playing around for a few hours, stomachs started growling and we made our way to Miguel's Pizza. I hear it's about your only option you ain't cooking yourself.

    DryFire had been talking this up for a few days, got himself an Ale 8, and ordered us a pie just in time.

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    It was definitely popular as the place was packed. We arrived just in front of a huge church youth group. You ever seen way too many clowns get out of a tiny car? Imagine that with the addition of teenager appetites. Glad our order was already in.

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    After finishing off the pizza, we hit up the nearby Shell station and each purchased a $3 one day pass for camping in the National Forest. Then we backtracked to one of the gravel roads we explored earlier - Tunnel Ridge Rd.

    We parked the bikes, set up our tents more than 100 yards from the road as required by the man :deal as our light faded to black, collected more firewood than we ended up using, hung a bear bag (even though I think I'd successfully do the mauling if something went after the Oreos).... and turned in for the night.

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    #8
  9. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Somewhere East of Omaha....
    I've spent a fair amount of time in that general area as my Dad was from Danville & we would roam around his old stomping grounds whenever we went up to visit family. There is a lot of pretty country in central Kentucky.

    Don't know if I am doing this right, but here is a link to something of interest to me at least that is not far from the area you rode in your report. If it doesn't work I'll come back and edit it:-)

    http://tinyurl.com/6ehs4l4

    And IIRC, lots of twisties in getting to it.

    Ride safe.............John
    #9
  10. sgtpaco

    sgtpaco HoosierDaddy?

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    Indy
    Enjoying the report. Keep it coming. :lurk:lurk
    #10
  11. patmo

    patmo Been here awhile

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    Location:
    butler, ky/Franklin, tn
    The area just behind Miguel's is used as a camping area for a lot of college students and others that come to the area for rock climbing. Always an interesting place to meet people from other countries. Good pizza also. The lodge at Natural Bridge ST Pk also has a good restaurant, excellent place for breakfast. Do have to be a little careful while down in that area this time of year....snakes. Lady got bit twice while in RRG area last week. They will leave you alone unless threatened, but ALWAYS wear your boots when walking around, especially at night. Good report.
    #11
  12. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Friday, June 10

    DryFire kicked my tent around 7AM.

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    I crawled out of the REI HalfDome and had a cold breakfast of a granola bar and an apple while waking up. I never sleep well the first night in a new place - doesn't matter if it's spent in a Hilton or a tent.

    Looked like it was shaping up to be a beautiful day for riding.

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    We broke down camp, carried all of our junk back to the bikes, and had kickstands up around 8:30.

    Backtracking down Tunnel Ridge, we circled the Gorge via 715, hitting a few other gravel roads as we went... on our way to what was, by far, the highlight of the trip.
    #12
  13. goosecreek

    goosecreek fed up

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    wrenching th bike
    I havewanted to visit that area eversince I read an article about it in Backpacker magazine some years back. I am following looks like a good time so far.
    #13
  14. KneeKicker

    KneeKicker Long timer

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    Not very far from that area,been down that way several times and always find something new.

    :clap
    #14
  15. JTucker

    JTucker Long timer

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    Looks like fun, I've done a lot of four wheeling around Slade over the years.
    #15
  16. Ron Bernert

    Ron Bernert hiding in plain sight

    Joined:
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    Oxford, Ohio
    Thanks for the post! I was actually looking for a ride this weekend, and think I'll try yours!
    #16
  17. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Dayton, OH
    So there we are... riding gravel as we come to it... enjoying a few more overlooks across the Gorge...

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    We went out both forks of Indian Creek Rd which has great riding along the water.

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    It was obviously popular for camping as there were more (parked) cars and tents along this stretch than anything we had seen before combined.

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    DryFire was leading and as I came around a turn I saw he was pulled off to the side. Thinking it was time for a stretch I pulled up next to him as he yelled, "Did you see that?"

    He explained going a little deep in the last turn, getting into the muck along the shoulder of the road, and scoring a big time save. :clap

    You can see the tracks he ground in the shoulder and his path back across the road.

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    After a 10 minute break of water and oreos, he started scooping handfuls of mud off the bike, pulled a 6 inch earthworm off the front of his skidplate and flung it into the woods. :lol3

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    At this point the Save To Biff scoreboard still read

    KLRs - 8
    Red River Gorge - 0
    #17
  18. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    So what route did you guys end up taking home? Indian creek road is cool but too bad it doesn't go through any more, that gate has only been up for the last couple years. It is good for fly fishing tho. Now you've got me motivated, reading this, and my brother is going camping this weekend down at RRG but I'm stuck out of town. :cry

    Not to threadjack at all, but here's a good loop if you get down there again. Some sick water crossings on Sand Lick Rd and some good places to throw up a tent too.

    There is a gate at the end turning off of Rt 11, but no others so legally you would have to ride it all the way to the end, and turn around, then ride it back out. Makes no sense. Your choice.

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    #18
  19. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Alright ladies and gentlemen, it's now time to share the best riding of the trip. If you ever make it out to RRG, you absolutely HAVE to check out Spas Creek Rd.

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    When filling up Camelbaks and canteens the day before at the Nature Center, the friendly Ranger was full of useful info. He told us Spas Creek starts off with nice gravel and then turns to a "Four Wheel Drive Only" track. I asked him how gnarly it got and he only looked at us sideways and didn't really answer.

    DryFire has spent a lot of time hiking in the gorge and that is one road he's never checked out, so of course it made the list.

    Spas Creek starts by passing a couple little houses near the intersection with the main road. This one looked really serene. Next to grazing horses, in the backyard, there was a well tended small, obviously family, cemetery plot. Inside the manicured fence was a swinging bench. We assumed the hand painted mural over the entrance memorialized whomever was buried there.

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    I can't imagine a more fitting resting place where family can come spend time and pay their respects.

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    Continue on and you'll soon discover Spas Creek has it all. It starts out like any other piece of gravel we'd ridden and then opens to a beautiful valley scene.


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    After a short distance the road stops being maintained. It's a little more overgrown and there are some minor mudbogs that are fun to blast through.

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    It's at one of these that the Gorge finally lands its first suckerpunch. :deal

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    Man Down! Man Down! :(:

    DryFire was trying to go up the right side on a little bank to avoid a large bog, lost some momentum and went to put his left foot down. Finding nothing there, I watched as the bike ever so slowly kept tilting further and further left until Tim hopped off and the bike landed in the middle of the puddle.

    Assuring me he's OK, I of course snapped the above pics quickly before helping him right the bike. :wink:

    I even thanked him for the warning he gave to let me know he was going down. While fighting to keep the bike upright, he covered the horn as it slid to the ground. :rofl

    No damage done and it was a tiny tipover. No big deal.

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    After this small stretch of road I took the lead and Spas Creek really delivered! A lot of (manageable) mud pits, some small water crossings (one down and back up a somewhat steep creekbed), small rock shelves to maneuver... This was the most fun road of the trip. I had one major save that was more luck than anything else when I came to a point in the road covered with some deep, serious quad tracks with loose slippery piles of mud everywhere.

    Again, I really wish I had taken more pictures here, but it was just too much fun to ride and definitely challenging enough that there weren't many places I wanted to stop and lose my momentum.

    I guess you'll just have to go see it for yourself. :clap
    #19
  20. MeanStreaker

    MeanStreaker KLR > Pee-wee's Bike

    Joined:
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    Hey Troy, Sand Lick Rd sounds pretty sweet. Thanks.

    Hey Tim, when are we going back!?!? :D



    I'll post up our return route next.
    #20