Smokey Mountain 500

Discussion in 'GPS Tracks - Northeast, Southeast & Florida' started by andy29847, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. BIZAV

    BIZAV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks guys for the replies. I'll investigate more when my gps arrives.
  2. cyclingkk

    cyclingkk Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    49
    Awesome ride Andy! We rode up there this past weekend. I'm not a fan of the uphill rocky section on Charlies Creek because it snuck up on me during the gradually increasing gradient and size and looseness of the rocks and all of a sudden you were just there on larger rocks and I was trying to keep my speed up. The rest was much easier comparatively speaking. And here I thought Charlies Creek crossing was going to be difficult. Not compared to the other deeper stuff. Loved all the water crossings and the weather was phenomenal and couldn't have been better and I did this all on KTM1290SA with Continental Trail Attack II 90/10 tires.

    I also wanted to mention that I used BaseCamp to create routes. Creating a route from the track is easy, but not while on the road as GPS issues with most likely ensue. Here's a reliable method:
    0. Ensure you have disabled all route avoidances and set route to fastest time. Most people have their GPS's set this way. It's just easier for everyone and easy to remember
    1. Highlight Andy's yellow waypoints
    2. Right click highlighted waypoints
    3. Click "Create route from waypoints"
    4. Zoom in on BEGINNING of route to the point where you can see roads and the yellow track
    5. Pan and follow map until you see yellow
    track and the new route (different color) that isn't following the track
    6. Grab your route and pull it onto the yellow track somewhere in the middle. You can add multiple extra waypoints to ensure accuracy
    7. Once recalculated, the new waypoint(s) should follow the yellow track. If not, add a few waypoints to the routes to force it
    8. For my maps, I had all the roads except for two, one being Charlies Creek
    9. To fix, I placed a waypoint at the beginning of the road that will end on the GPS and changed the name of the waypoint to say "Turn right, continue till end of road" or something similar. I also placed a waypoint somewhere in the middle and at the end of the road to let me know I was still on track. That way, I hear the announcement in my headset and don't have to reference the map constantly
    10. Repeat all above steps for each of green and red. For the next time, I'll change the green color to a darker color since I had a hard time seeing the green track over the maroon route.

    Thanks Andy for posting this ride up!!

    [​IMG]
    Elad, JohnfromJersey, B-Mac and 2 others like this.
  3. BIZAV

    BIZAV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Just finished our portion of the SM 500 so I thought I would pass on my thoughts to help the next. Our bikes consisted of panniered and bagged KTM 690 and a KLR. Riders- Intermediate skill level. Route direction- Clockwise originating in Macedonia, GA (halfway point for both riders coming from Atlanta and Asheville). We overnighted at Copper Inn in Ducktown and Ironhorse Lodge.

    The overriding comment about the route is - Awesome! I would recommend that you take seriously the highlighted areas previously pointed out as places that require more skill than the rest. Going in the opposite direction made these areas even more unique.

    -The two creeks between from Macedonia and Suches were a breeze. There is a patch of thick gravel (9in + ...20 ft long) between Suches and FS 28-1; so beware of that.
    -going DOWN the north side of Springer MT (FS28-2) was one of those high concentration areas. A lot of rock out croppings and mud craters made by the 4 wheel enthusiasts. It was a relief to get to the bottom with neither of us taking a fall on the rocks.
    - Heading North from there to Ducktown was nice- great road, great views!
    - Copper Inn in Ducktown sucks; do yourself a favor and if staying in Ducktown go across the street to the Country Inn- looks nicer and the food/gas options are on that side of the road anyway. Do yourself a bigger favor and stay in BlueRidge- awesome restaurants and bars.
    - Going the opposite direction across the creeks after Tellico (Southward direction)was a show stopper for us- we crossed the first with no issue but the second was a different story. When we got there there were 4 Jeeps attempting to get a cross. Someone took a bucket loader to the North bank to create a challenge for the 4 wheel crowd and ruined it for everyone else. There is a slim path to the water on the left but you cant get a rolling start through the water - you must carefully get in the creek then hope to continue through the heavy silt. Crossing South to North would be much easier since the bank is in its natural state and you could get a rolling start.
    - After bypassing the remaining creeks we connected back with the route and headed east. I neglected to take seriously the previous info regarding the aircraft crash and we had to turn back due to a road closure. We took the the Cherohola Skyway which was great so no complaints about getting to Ironhorse via this alternate route.
    - Ironhorse Lodge was very nice. You can choose your price point in accommodations and the only quirk is the food ordering process. If you think you want dessert go ahead and check that off at the start or you’ll need to go back to the check in desk to order, then carry the slip to the kitchen window. Again overall very nice, friendly staff and atmosphere.
    - Our last day was rained out with rain starting at 10p and lasting til 4:30a. We opted to call it a trip and parted ways back to Atlanta and Asheville.

    Summary-
    The route is more Big Bike tolerable vs. Big Bike friendly. Anything over a 650 and you would need to have more skills than a basic intermediate level if you wish to navigate the harder areas. All and all a great route and many thanks Andy for creating!
    mbabc, Kiharaikido and sick_boy like this.
  4. BIZAV

    BIZAV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Some quick additional points:

    Navigation used- Primary was REVER with offline maps; Secondary was my InReach. I tried to make my InReach primary but I could not keep my phone from locking/blackening the screen after 2-3 min when bluetoothed using the Garmin Earthmate app. Im sure it was something I was not doing right but I gave up after the first day and just followed the REVER app. We did download the pdf maps and ordered the 4x6 prints. Both were useful for strategizing the next day/lunch discussions not so much while riding the route.

    Post Trip Wish list for my KTM:
    -Steering damper
    -Handle bar risers

    Otherwise both bikes did great. No flats; just need to troubleshoot my volt meter which started flickering after the first day....probably from getting jarred by the rocky sections.
  5. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    South Carolina
    You are using references for locations that I am having trouble correlating on the maps I have. I am guessing that the 2 creekcrossings you are referring to are on Helton Creek Rd, between waypoints 307 and 308. Also, FS28-2 seems to be Nimblewill Chruch Rd. I believe that the name changes to Old Bucktown Rd north of the turn to Amicalola State Park (waypooints 228 and 229). Old Bucktown Rd is pretty rocky. If you can clarify your comments about locations, preferably using waypoints, that would be helpful.

    I'm glad youse guys had a good time. I rode OCT 4-6, out of the Ironhorse. We were doing out and back rides, and I didn't go as far south as Suches. I did take a group across the Tallualah River and down Tower Rd. (315 to 318). The Tower Rd. hill used to be severely eroded and was a challenge for big bikes. The road was graded 2 or 3 years ago and was much easier after the work. Traffic and storms are making the hill a challenge again. All of my guys got down OK, but nobody wanted to go back. :).
  6. BIZAV

    BIZAV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    You are correct Helton Creek area was our first two creek crossings (Waypoint 307) out of Macedonia. FS28-2 on my Earthmate app map is called Nimblewill Gap Rd. (Waypoint - 229 heading West).
    andy29847 likes this.
  7. smoltz

    smoltz Been here awhile

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    Jan 12, 2011
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    NH
    For folks that have done this recently or that live in the area, what's the weather like currently? What's the weather typically like here in late December? Thinking of doing a week long trip to this area at the end of the year.
  8. JustBob

    JustBob Uh...who me?

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Young Harris, GA
    As you might suspect, the weather can be quite unpredictable, but it's usually wet. Might be 55F wet or 12" 28F wet. Not a good time to plan a trip south in my opinion. That said, I am able to ride every month of the year, to include the deep winter months. HTH.
  9. smoltz

    smoltz Been here awhile

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    I guess I'll have to play it by ear. I know it's not ideal, but the company I work for is shutdown for the week, so trying to figure out where I can take a trip too. Maybe the south west is a better idea, even though it'll mean more time in the car to get there.
  10. Kiharaikido

    Kiharaikido Been here awhile

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    Weather is always questionable but it really just depends how hearty you are. I ride all year and I live within an hour of the loop.


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  11. jrou111

    jrou111 Stair Climber

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    Clarkesville, GA
    Our winters are pretty hit or miss. In December, one week it can hit 65-70 degrees and the next an ice storm blow through. The nice thing is that most of the frozen accumulation disappears within a couple days. For December, you'll most likely either encounter pleasant 50-60 degree sunny days or it'll be 35-45 degrees and rainy. I rode it my first time at the very end of Dec a few years ago. One day it was bad storms, next day it was nice, and the last day it got cold and rainy as the day progressed.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that many of the facilities close down. Two Wheels of Suches closes for the season on Nov 27th, and I know several other places do too. The Cherohala can be >30 degrees lower in temps than in Tellico Plains, and can close due to snow and ice.
  12. smoltz

    smoltz Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I am definitely going to plan a trip to this area (along with trips to a couple other areas) and then I'll make a decision in the days leading up to it and go one way or another depending on which the way the wind blows me.
  13. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Been here awhile

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    Annapolis, MD
    We're going to do this this coming weekend, probably starting from Suches. Since the TWoS is closed, anyone have a recommendation for where to stay near there?
    smoltz likes this.
  14. B-Mac

    B-Mac Aged Beef

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    South Central, Ohio


    I would push on to Point 306 and go north to Blairsville on 19/129 or go south to Helen (can be busy) both have hotels/food.
    or drop out early and go to Blue Ridge. I have stayed at all three. Nice food, drink, and Hotels. (YMMV)
    FireDog45 likes this.
  15. DCTFAN

    DCTFAN VIN# JH2SD0451GK000002 '16 CRF1000LD

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    GA
    http://www.highvalleyresort.com/accommodations.asp
    Best call ahead to make sure they have what you need.
  16. DCTFAN

    DCTFAN VIN# JH2SD0451GK000002 '16 CRF1000LD

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    From Suches, Blairsville, Helen or Blueridge GA are only a few hours making for a nice lunch stop, not a day's worth of riding.
    IF you start from Suches by 10:00 AM, Stecoah NC or Tellico Plains TN is an easy day's worth of riding. This time of year,
    both points have scarce Camping/lodging unless you're primitive camping or checking into motels.
  17. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

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    Gray GA
    How doable is this route on a Desert Sled? I traded my Klr and WR in in August, and never got a chance to ride it on either of those.


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  18. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    Successful completions on Yamaha TW200s and BMW 1200GSs and nearly everything in between. There are a few bumpy spots, some creek crossings, and a lot of really easy dirt road. What is your desert sled?
  19. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

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    Gray GA
    Ducati [​IMG]


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    Kiharaikido likes this.
  20. andy29847

    andy29847 Dirt Road Rider

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    Location:
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    Now that is just kool. I have not seen one of those before. You should be fine.