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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Spinalcracker, May 7, 2013.
Cool ! Looking forward to it !
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Last time I was in the south I was fascinated by the old service stations. I saw these today.
They make me think of a time when these back roads were the only way to get around before the super highways and interstates. A trip that takes us a couple of hours would be an all day or several day adventure.
This is why I like to travel by motorcycle on the back roads. To maybe go back in time a little. Slow down to 40 miles per hour and not miss everything zooming by at 80.
There is so much out there I think you could spend your whole life on the road exploring the USA and meeting people that are not that much different that yourself.
The highway system is a lot like life. You can spend it going as fast as you can only to miss everything just to get to the end or you can slow down, stop to smell the roses, stop to take pictures , stop to talk to people and still get to your destination but much richer with experiences.
At a four corner intersection. Can't you just see cars stopping for gas or a snack or someone from out of town looking for a place to eat or spend the night?
I just got home last night. Needed to see my 4 year old son so I did a 400 mile day on the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive on Thursday and a 500 mile interstate ride on Friday. I have lots of pictures and videos to sort through and will be posting stuff within the next 24 hours.
I wanted to offer some reflections on the Trans East Trail (TET) for those thinking about doing it. Do it! I was impressed with how well it was laid out by Chip and the contributors. The roads really flow together well and keep you interested. The paved sections are in pretty remote areas. The dirt sections are truly big bike friendly. Our "mid-sized" bikes (a joke, they were so heavy with gear) were perfect. There was only 1 surprise: the 2 water holes on our first dirt day. Even that wasn't difficult to get through.
For the most part the roads are maintained pretty well. One day we ran into a grader spreading new gravel and clearing out the ruts. Everything is very passable, although some roads were more rutted and rougher than others. It's a very accessible route for most people though I really benefited from having several years of dirt riding experience and a smaller bike. I wouldn't make it your first dirt trip and I would hesitate to take a big bike (1200cc) through the TET. Many of the roads have hairpins and are 1st or 2nd gear most of the way. For us, it was a lot of work to do 10-15 miles at a time. A jump onto pavement for a while was perfect. We ended up doing a route modification anyway. Our plan turned into riding pavement in the morning and late afternoon and do multiple stretches in the dirt in the middle of the day.
The other factor is the remoteness of the area. Much of the route are in wilderness areas and you won't see another soul while you're in there. Cell phones don't work. The whole region (between I-81 and the WV border) is very isolated. There are few gas stations or services (but plenty of churches). We had to climb over the mountains to I-81 each day to find lodging. Bring a buddy, or several.
We started the TET off Route 340 between Winchester and Front Royal, VA. We finished it coming out of Burke's Garden, near the NC border. We all had our favorite sections. I know Mike's was the ride into Burke's Garden. Mine was probably Dolly Ann Drive, just west of Clifton Springs. My favorite day was in the Douthat State Park: there were three really nice stretches of dirt roads one after the other. Another highlight was Wyrick Trail, right after it crosses Interstate 77. You follow the Appalachian Trail for a short distance then begin a climb up over 3,000 feet to the top of a mountain. There are no guardrails and in spots the trail is close to edges with over 1,000 foot drops. Thrilling.
The other take-away I had was an appreciation for the region and their way of life, which hasn't changed much in generations. The mountains really isolate this area from the rest of the country. Farming is still the predominant way of making a living. It's an incredibly beautiful area and I really enjoyed leaving the trappings of modern life behind (traffic lights, strip malls, traffic, suburbs...there were none). Burke's Garden was extremely humbling and had me questioning a lot of things I take as a given in life. A visit there is worth its own trip.
Finally, my riding partners were fantastic. We all rode with the same objectives: be safe and have fun. We seemed to be on the same page regarding the pace and where we wanted to stop and linger. Jim and Mike are very strong riders, dependable and kept me massively entertained on the trip.
I hope the pics and videos can do it justice.
First, thanks for your work on the Trans Mass Trail. I use it a couple of times a year.
I've been on the TET twice and somehow missed Burkes Garden both times.
Did you guys get into the endless dirt switchbacks in the GW and Jeff. NF's? My two TET tours were on a 250. My next will be on a DR650, loaded as usual. With the exception of two hero sections I think I'll be ok.
Nice RR. I'm about three weeks overdue on mine. I recognized some of the places in your pictures. Douthat camping is nice, especially by the lake.
Rich, thanks for the kind words. I looked at your RR before we left. Looks like we had some similar experiences: snakes in the road, walls of death, etc.
Here are a couple of videos I uploaded. The first one was one of the highlights of the TET, Criters Road, going into Lost River, West Virginia. It's got a steep ascent to over 3,000 feet and a slightly rough descent with two water crossings. It ends with a very nice ride through an open valley.
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ssmfBlUKLcg" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
The next video is a short, on the spot view of Burke's Garden:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/u6NQs0ZFjsk" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Both videos are viewable in HD
Two more videos:
Jim explains his budget bag system:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/A-RHN6PRLHQ" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Settling the issue of whose bike weighs the least:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/XIIpS6XiYe8" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Some random pics of some of one of the roads we did on the TET in VA and WV:
Amazing journey Gents!
Can't wait to hear it from you guys first person.
I'm on the road again!!! In tellico plains tonight and riding some fun roads tomorrow. I'm going to play tourist and stop at the Biltmore and a few other places on the way north.
Pictures to follow
Here's a video recap of Day 1 of the trip:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZXmX0EFdBbY" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Will try to get the videos out...
I like the video of weighing the bikes.
I wish I didn't know how much it was :huh I keep thinking about it.
Even with my rope and pulleys I don't think I could get it up by myself. I think I need that little Warn winch !! It would only add 10 lbs to the bike.
Great videos Keith
A video recap of Day 2 of our trip:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HTnJiLL1ZNM" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Here's a video of Day 3 of our trip:
<iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/db5X3jztXS4" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="720" width="1280"></iframe>
Update: Jim is now home and Mike is on his way, having poked around NC for the better part of a week. He picked up a new Klim riding suit, saw a graduation and played tourist at the Biltmore. He's picking his way up the Blue Ridge Parkway now and is in Blacksburg, VA.
I'm a tourist !!!! The Biltmore was very cool. Pictures to follow.
I picked up the Klim Overland jacket and pants at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. This suit is amazing !! Not a lot of bells and whistles but has been very comfortable from 88 to 59 degrees and has kept me completely dry while being in a drenching rain for several hours.
I shipped my BMW Rally 2 suit, gortex liners and 2 piece rain suit home. The box weighed 16.6 lbs !
Man, these two TET threads got me excited. I'm picking it up in Front Royal tomorrow and heading south for the weekend. As far as I can go until Monday morning, then slabbing it home.
Mike, it was nice meeting you at loftus'. I hope you had a safe ride back to mass.
Same here. Too bad my timing was off. Your Cow Pasture campout sounded fun. I made it home by 7 pm on Saturday after riding through rain and 38 degree temps for hours. I stayed on the couch for the next 2 days !! It was a great trip 3110 miles over all.
Short video from George Washington Forest. We were on roads like this for hours with nobody around.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sN6ZCQmDzx8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
It's raining and nasty out today so a good day to get the videos up.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/JnxP4As1QUo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>