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Discussion in 'Southeast, The Lair of the Dragon - The Blue Ridge' started by Baggi'tard, Jul 31, 2014.
Kyle, hats off to you for posting up cool routes for people to ride, saving them assloads of time and effort. There are many a riders that do not like to share such information, particularly the super top secret stuff that is not common knowledge.
I wish I lived closer
Man, did I find some cool "new" stuff today. I plotted out a bunch of forest roads and such in the Suches GA area. You'd think I would have ridden dirt bike down there more, but it is a quick 55 mile jaunt down Hwy 68/60 to get there the quickest. Anyway, I'm going to turn a bunch of what I learned into a loop around Suches. Could be an alternate for some of the +SM500+, or really in addition too. I was able to connect and ride through some roads that don't connect on maps or databases. Hell Yeah!
One of the first things I hit was FR35, NW of Suches and west of Hwy 60. Just a fun unimproved jeep trail mostly, but easy cruising.
Right across Hwy 60 you can then pick up FR640/644. The FS vehicle use map seems to show it connecting, but Garmin did not. So I rode that to get a track, again, little more than an unimproved jeep trail but easy enough riding. This was about as rough as it got.
Next I rode over NE of Suches and north of Hwy 180 in the Cooper's Creek WMA. Mostly well maintained, but Duncan Ridge Rd was just stupid-ass fun. GA likes to build a bunch of water break whoops in the roads, so it was a leg work out and lots of air time!
Then I went back up into that area on FR33 and veered off on FR637, which does not go through on the vehicle use map or on Garmin. But on Garmin it's SO close to Flatland Rd, so I took a chance and discovered it does go through and it's got some holy shit deep rutted out "tunnels" The picture doesn't do it justice at all. It was a lot of fun going down hill, wouldn't be too bad going up hill (north). But holy cow it will be a muddy horrible nightmare when it's wet. Lucky for me it was dry and kinda sandy.
Where the two roads "don't meet" it crosses this creek. I met a father and 8-10 yr old on dirt bikes near here.
After gassing up and having a snack in Suches I proceed toward the west/southwest of Suches and then back north. I found the coolest thing. There is a Amry Ranger training base just outside of Suches, well who knew! Camp Frank D Merrill, 5th Parachute Regiment (Band of Brothers). The forest road I wanted to take FR141/141A is not even on the vehicle use map, but it is on Garmin! So too funny, the road is the southern property line of the base for couple hundred yards, but the gate was OPEN, so I went through. I rode past a couple Army bldgs, then across (through) the Etowah River and kept riding. I encountered some civilian cars and I also encountered Army Rangers out in the field and on the roads several times. One time they stopped me to wait for guys to get off the road ahead so we chatted a few minutes. And YES the road I was on was a marked USFS road, the co-driver assured me it was ok. Too funny.
Later on I found FR42A, it was a steep spur road to the top of a hill, the best technical/rocky stuff of the day. The mighty 'Berg makes it easy..
Did 220 miles and found a lot of stuff I had never ridden before, what a great day.
Since Afghanistan has been in the news lately, got me thinking and reminiscing, so I decided to edit a bunch of the raw video I had from 2012 and 2013 missions and such. The video editor I have now is much better than the one I maybe used 5 years ago, plus I didn't have them stored anywhere on YouTube. So I just created a playlist and have dropped most of the ones I'm going to edit in the Tellico Adventure Trail channel. Mostly they are 7-10 minutes long or so. They are mostly the off-base missions we did in Ghazni Province, with Texas Agribusiness Development Team or Provincial Reconstruction Team Ghazni. The projects centered around agriculture and water resources improvements and other construction projects the engineers did. Lots of scenery (ugly and pretty), interactions with locals and kids, helicopter flights, etc. Thought y'all might find it interesting, there's even some footage of motorcycles.
TX ADT 6, PRT Ghazni, Afghanistan videos
Here's the little "non-routable" technical section I've added as an alternate to the +SM500+ track. The pink track is an alternate to the Red Route, it is FR637 and Flatland Rd. These don't connect on any map database I've seen, nor on the FS VUM. I'm going to use it in the "Ranger Loop" too. In dry conditions it will be fun, in wet I won't recommend it as it could just be horrible. Nice creek crossing at the bottom tho. Also, that section of Duncan Ridge road in the Red Route is good fun.
Back in '13, I rode into Suches along Highway 60 from the west. Good ride. Then exited Suches on 180 (Wolf Pen Gap Rd) towards Blairsville. Need to return to the area and hit-up these roads you're marking.
quite a bit of good riding around Suches. Some of it's marked and on the normal routes but there's a lot of "extra" stuff in the area if you know who to hook up with (not me unfortunately). @jrou111 might point you in the right direction. Flatlands is a pretty well known route, but as you said if you are on a bigger ADV bike it can be a challenge, and if it's muddy, make sure you have good tires. I've done it quite a few times in rain and on a 950 but I always have dirt appropriate tires. The creek at the bottom can be hard to ford if it's been raining a lot. It runs fast, so if it's close to your knees in height, turn around. trust me. :)
thanks for providing some good tracks. I'm thinking in the fall to spend a couple of days doing the loop with some friends, a few of us would be on KTM 950 Super Enduros. Was thinking a 3 day weekend, and hitting good single track if it's fun... as we get closer I'll get with you and see what routes would be best.
Here's the extra loop you can get with the +SM500+ track file. The "Ranger" loop, named after Army Camp Merrill (mountain phase Ranger training), which you will ride past or through depending on if the gates are open (supposed to be). So if you want an extra ride in the Suches area, this is mostly roads not already covered by the Yellow or Red Routes. You could do the same here in Tellico Plains, with several loop routes you could do in the middle of the +SM500+. There are "other" things along the way to explore too if 150 miles isn't enough for you.
Looks like you've got Grassy Gap road on there. I was there earlier this year. 5 minutes before this I passed an AT&T service van... they must have been lost.
I do! I don't think you can blame Garmin for that spill tho. LOL. You've demonstrated why I don't ride big bikes with a bunch of luggage on this terrain anymore and why 250lb enduro is so much more fun!
Here's the full set of +SM500+. The revised red, green, yellow routes are 558 miles. With the Blue Ribbon and Ranger tracks there is a total of 873 miles. Just drop me a PM if you'd like it.
Here's a reasonable extension, or alternate, route from Maggie Valley to Andrews if you are on the gpskevin TAT route. That track is routed from Maggie Valley on highways through the Smoky Mountain NP and to the closed road Parson Branch (I guess just so you can ride through Deal's Gap). It's inevitably horribly clogged with tourists, especially Cades Cove one way loop. So here's a route from Maggie Valley to Andrews (where the current trans America trail "start" is). Much/most of it is gravel, only a very few paved back road miles to get through Cherokee, and then near Andrews. 107 miles.
I need to get out that way and ride...
With @peejman ...
I'm coming down there. Sooner or later.
maybe it's been asked, but I don't remember reading this: are these trails big bike friendly (read: 2 up on a 1200GS)?
much of it is fine, all my named loops in the Tellico ADV Trail are OK? for that (not sure how "enjoyable" that is two-up on a huge bike tho?). The SM500 should be OK for that, my revised +SM500+ is NOT. There are plenty of roads suitable for most any machine.
More yes than no. Depends on how wet it is. There's a fair number of videos in this or the "reports" thread to give you an idea.
oh, duh!! lots of videos on my YouTube channel "Tellico Adventure Trail" from last 3 years or so.
cool, I'll look them up, thanks
Guess this is what happens when you take your "dirt noob" 78 yr old dad riding and you meet a black bear on the trail...