The Mobius Trip

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.

  1. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    The Index: (click links below to see more details)
    ----------------------------------------------
    Mobius I, May, 2008: [NYC - "TAT pt. 1" - Albuquerque, NM]

    Mobius II, Sept. 2008: [Albuquerque, NM - "TAT pt. 2" - Flagstaff, AZ]


    Mobius III, May 2009: [Flagstaff, AZ - "TAT pt. 3" - Reno, NV]


    Mobius IV, Sept. 2009: [Reno, NV - "TAT pt. 4" - Seattle, WA]


    Mobius V, May, 2010: [Seattle, WA to Anchorage, AK]

    Mobius VI, August, 2010: [Anchorage, AK - Inuvik, NWT - Anchorage, AK]

    Mobius 7, May, 2011: [Anchorage, AK - Edmonton, AB]


    Mobius 8, Sept, 2011: [Edmonton, AB - "Tura I'doh" - Idaho Falls, ID]

    Mobius 9, May, 2012: [Idaho Falls, ID - "Great Basin Loop" - Idaho Falls, ID]

    Mobius 10, Sept, 2012: [Idaho Falls, ID - "Hazed & Confused" - Denver, CO]


    Mobius 11, May 2013: [Tuscon, AZ - "TKO" - Las Vegas, NV]


    Mobius 12, Sept. 2013: [Las Vegas - 3-Step Hideaway - Las Vegas... "The Rematch"]


    All GPX files are available for download from here.

    ----------------------------------------------

    The Beginning:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Why Mobius? The surface forms a continuous and ongoing path. When cut down the center it generates interconnected links . It's disorienting. It's a simple concept that's hard to describe. Enough rhetoric.
    :fishie
    The kernel of the idea of this trip started around the end of '07. We floated the concept and fine-tuned it in a thread titled: "Dedicated trip bikes: Fly-ride-store-repeat?" in the Trip Planning forum, and we thank those who have helped and advised along the way.

    So this is the first post, of the first leg, of an ongoing ride report, chronicling each stage of my and Francine's (La Donna Fugata... or LDF)'s project... throwing into the mix what works and what doesn't for anyone else who may want to keep a couple of itinerant migratory motorcycles as pets. :wink:

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    Note 1: Mobius 1-8 .GPX files are available for download here.
    Note 2: Read on for the background, and the very start of Mobius trip I: NYC to NM on (mostly) the Trans-America Trail, or... consult the index above:
    #1
  2. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    In a nutshell: Keep our main bikes in NYC, and buy two DRZ400's. Whenever we can coordinate a 2 week vacation, ride the DRZ's from wherever we left off, to the next destination. Cover as much remote, isolated dirt, forest service, logging roads and jeep trails as possible. Camp and cook on our own mostly, hotel when we must. Ditch the bikes in a storage unit somewhere, fly home. REPEAT!

    Start with the Trans-american trail as a framework. Mobius I took us from NYC to Albuquerque, NM. Next, with extra-bits to/from arrival/storage/departure points of Albuquerque, NM and Flagstaff, AZ we added the CO & most of UT TAT in Mobius II. Mobius III crossed the Great Basin (whew!) and then some, dropping down to Reno, NV to store the bikes. For Mobius IV, we tackled the PacNW and took another 2000miles in two weeks to get ourselves to Seattle, WA. Mobius 5 was half dirt, then mostly pavement the rest of the way to Anchorage. Mobius 6 looped us up to Inuvik and back to Anchorage, 3000 miles of riding. M7 brought us back southward along the continental divide to Edmonton, AB in 2300miles. M8 followed the Canadian Rockies and the Tour of Idaho T1 route to Idaho Falls. M9 made a big loop around the Great Basin. M10 took us from Idaho Falls through MT, WY, and CO down to Denver. After some bike maintenance, M11 started in Tucson and unfortunately ended in Las Vegas at the trauma center. :cry M12 Looped out of Las Vegas exploring the North rim and back to Vegas via southern UT. Here's what the 27,600mi cumulative M1-M12 looks like (each color = 1 day riding):

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    :freaky

    And so it goes... (read on for Mobius I, or consult the Index)

    :ricky:ricky
    #2
  3. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    So I had been packed for days. Well two days, anyway.

    Riding gear:
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    Packed gear:

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    And I managed to get out of work early on wednesday. I swung by our building to drop off LDF's BMW keys, and ran into our neighbor Bonnie who is friends with Chris, the guy who panhandles across the street. We took some photos and I was on my way down to TN. Who says NYC isn't a small town?

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    I had about 4 hours of daylight left, and my objective was to make as many miles as I could on interstate so I could enjoy the next two days on Skyline Drive through Shenandoah Nat. forest, and then the Blue Ridge Parkway down to Rick's place near Deal's Gap.

    So this is what I did:

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    It sucked. But I knew that the number of interstate miles was dwindling, and I was glad to get it over with.

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    #3
  4. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I made it to Harrisburg, PA. Found a cheap Motel 6 or Super 8... Can't remember.

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    (Sweetcheeks are AWESOME!) :bow

    Had dinner across the street.

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    Called LDF. Slept well. Woke up early.
    #4
  5. VDG

    VDG Long timer

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    :clap :clap :clap
    :lurk
    #5
  6. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I had another hour+ of hellish droning, vibey, wind buffeted, cold, boring interstate to suck up before I hit the Shenandoah:

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    Finally:

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    You pay $10 to get into the park. Speed limit is 35mph. I saw one other vehicle.

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    A few things were going through my head. LDF's pace had historically been a little slower than mine, so this was my opportunity to wick it up a bit. BUT, I had knobbies, and gear, and a 400cc bike, and I was riding solo, and if I wadded myself or the bike up on the way down I would essentially ruin her vacation.

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    So, I pushed in moderation. It was a relief to smell the woods, and be off the interstate. This was just another motivation to keep the speed within reason:

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    #6
  7. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Bacon.

    :dg

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    #7
  8. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I like all the pull-outs, overlooks, and historic commemorative plaques:

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    Both Skyline and the BRP I'd like to do again with LDF and the big bikes. I could see how getting stuck behind a line of RV's would be aggravating, but choose the right season, day of week, and time of day, and these roads are just magical.
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    You're going all that way on that bike?? :eek1

    Looks good :thumb

    :lurk
    #9
  10. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    We have 2 Fuji Finepix 30's. They rock. The lens on one of them somehow got dirty / foggy. This is the one that I had for the first part, then LDF was shooting with it. It's since been fixed. (I have to pick it up tomorrow from the shop). $120 - new lens.

    Anyway, sorry... it was a little overcast, but not as foggy as the photos seem.

    :dunno
    #10
  11. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    [​IMG]

    But first, it's dinner-time here at Bellevue. Time to feed the crew. :dg
    #11
  12. JBSmith

    JBSmith Ink-stained wretch

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    (Sweetcheeks are AWESOME!)

    And Sweetcheeks are what?
    #12
  13. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Sweetcheeks: Seat cover for monkey butt prevention. :deal

    See this thread.

    Ray's web site seems to be down, but he was still selling them as of a couple of months ago. PM him for info? :dunno

    I originally purchased them just for the paved ride down to TN. However, they didn't interfere at all while riding, (unless standing up while really steeply descending), and ass comfort was um... intolerable after about 30 minutes without it on the stock seat.

    LDF rode the first day without them. Tried them the next day, and used them the rest of the trip. They look a little weird. Don't care.:nono

    I was a bit concerned that they would wear out over a long ride, but the canvas just sort of fades, like blue jeans. No holes after 3400 miles on mine.

    There was one stretch in NM after we left the TAT where we had 200 miles (we had a 206 mile range) to a "maybe" gas station. The next nearest "for sure" gas stop was 28 miles further. I filled two 2L bottles as reserve. Obviously NOT a recommended nor long-term solution for storing gasoline, but it worked great for the few hours we were on that one section.
    #13
  14. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I know it's called the Blue RIDGE parkway, but since the leaves on the trees hadn't really filled in, I really appreciated that I was following a ridge.

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    Great riding, and fantastic vistas to both the east and west.

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    I didn't stop much... just rode hard and steady all day.

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    Caught, followed and eventually passed a couple of guys on cruisers:

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    Dogwoods in bloom. Smelled nice.

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    Found a cheap motel near Route 77, almost at the boarder of Va & NC. Wasn't taking too many photos. Just riding.
    #14
  15. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    The day's stats:

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    I picked up some bevarage at a nearby gas station, and got the first of many "Did y'all ride that bike all the way from New York?" incredulity from a couple of guys.

    Everyone we met along the way was really curious and nice. (No one made fun of the sweet cheeks). Grabbed an awesome pork barbeque sandwich from this place:

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    Wished I had snapped a photo of the proprietor. Dead ringer for Dr. John before he lost all that weight. Asked if I wanted fries, and after I said no, threw a bunch in anyway. I ate them.

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    #15
  16. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Got an early start,

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    and had another big day:

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    Didn't take long to get to the NC state line:

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    And then a curious thing happened. It was cold :vardy. I hadn't had any coffee. :yikes I had a full tank of gas, and based on the previous day's riding knew not to expect any services of facilities or restaurants or anything on the parkway, so I was wondering how I would survive the next 4 hours without coffee 'till I had to stop for gas, or else how I could scheme to take a quick detour for a cuppa joe. As I'm searching through the GPS database for what might be a quick stop, I pass what is I swear the only coffee shop directly on the BRP. Bluffs Coffee shop, and they're just opening. I stop in, warm up, grab some breakfast and coffee and am on my way.

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    A little ways further, there was a detour, and for a couple of miles the route jogged into cultivated suburb / exburb / country club / farmland. It was like stepping behind the curtain at Oz. SUV's were ferrying kids to school. Farm workers (or landscapers) were bundled up in jackets riding to a job in the back of a pick-up truck. A garbage truck was making it's rounds. All of a sudden I had to look out for cars coming out of driveways, use my turn signals, it was a jolt.

    It really drove home what a jewel this road is. It represents a sliver of remote through an ocean of civilization. In a way, it turned out to be a neat contrast for me when I realized how out west, the interstate represents a sliver of civilization through an ocean of remote.

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    Early afternoon, I was needing a gas stop, stretch break. I ended up having to leave the ridge, dropped down in elevation over 1000 ft on one of the twistiest 2-lane roads I've ever been on to a small town about 4 miles off the parkway. So I get that there are plenty of more challanging motorcycling roads in the area. But the BRP, at least when I was riding it, is about the longest stretch of unbroken, unspoiled, twisty, unmonitored, remote pavement on the east coast that I can think of. I really look forward to doing it again. Riding the Terra Mostro. With the street wheels.

    I have a hard time envisioning traveling north-south on any other route in the future. (Again, high season for blue-hair's in RV's I might change my mind.)

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    Dunno who these folks were. They saw me taking a photo and started moving out of the frame, I was just like, "no, it's OK, I kind of don't want to wait, I don't mind"

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    I don't know which was more tasty, this:

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    or this:

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    I always make a point of sampling local cuisine. :brow
    #16
  17. shleppy

    shleppy Shlepdawg on da smoov tip

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    Rancho Santa... Awe who gives a crap !
    Touring on a DRZ 400.. sweeet ! As a fellow DRZ owner I'm all over this report :thumb

    Would love to know what luggage and rack setup you are using on the back.
    #17
  18. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    One last little stretch through this area:

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    It's called the Dragon's Gap, or The tale of the Deal, or something like that. It's pretty neat; an 18 mile chicane, with elevation changes. Nice way to finish nearly a thousand miles on a DRZ in two days. I didn't scrape a peg or anything, but that could be because the pegs are about two feet off the ground. But Rick said my chicken strips were pretty small and that I did pretty good considering I'm a damn yankee.

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    And he should know because he rides it all the time on all kinds of bikes. :deal

    Rick, aka Motor 1, has rightfully rapidly ascended among the ADV gliterati, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gaspipe, and Gaprunr, et.al. If any of you has the opportunity to spend time and get to know Rick, do so... He is one of the kindest, most generous and humble inmates I've ever met. I won't go on about his accomplishments, because it's not his style, but he lives and breaths motorcycles, and has apparently kept himself on the steep part of the learning curve for decades. Which means he knows... well, you do the math. A lot. About alot.

    We first spoke about 10 minutes after he posted a blue '04 DRZ for sale in the Flea Market. I called him, and we ended up chatting for about an hour. In that time he had provided intel for us to ride the TAT, which he continued to do up until the minute we left ("Have you thought about what you're going to do when you have to stand down a bull in the middle of the road??? 'cause it will happen...")

    (flash forward)

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    Anyway, I bought the DRZ for LDF (it had been lowered... perfect), and Rick offered to store it until we were ready to start our trip, and offered to host us while we prepped and packed the bikes, and loan tools, and receive shipped tires, and source a tube after I pinched my spare, and even drove out to the Knoxville airport (TWICE!:bow) when Francine's flight was diverted to Chicago overnight because of weather.

    Top prize for above and beyond:

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    Thank you so much... hope to see you soon in NYC. :beer:beer

    I arrived late afternoon, and after taking off my gear, but before taking a shower or any of that other fluffery, I tore into LDF's bike to get it ready for her.

    Honeybee, meet Blueberry: :wave

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    The day's stats:

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    #18
  19. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    So I woke up early, and LDF wasn't scheduled to get to Knoxville until late morning, so it was more bike prep:

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    Rick has every tool known to man, and claims not to know how to use them, but I remain skeptical. :rolleyes

    The bikes / set-up in a nutshell:

    Both 2004 DRZ400s.

    The yellow one: Honeybee ~3500 miles. Bought from inmate BobbyC. Acerbis tank, 14/44, E-bay rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, Andy Strapz expedition pannierz, Wolfman tank bag and small duffel tail bag. Heated grips, hardwired GPS, cigarette accessory socket, fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards, disk brake protection, spare throttle and clutch cables zip-tied in place, two rear rim-locks, (none in front... rethinking that one), airbox 3X3, dynojetted, full Yosh exhaust. D606 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.

    The blue one: Blueberry ~7500 miles. Bought from inmate Motor 1. Clarke tank, 15/44, Stock rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, and Ranger Panniers, Wolfman tank and tail bags. Heated grips and hardwired GPS. Fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards. One rear rim lock. airbox 3X3. Maybe rejetted (seemed to do better at higher altitude), stock exhaust, unknown if cored. Lowered with #3 Kouba link, and bar risers, dropped forks in front. Gel seat? MT-21 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.

    Whew, did I forget anything? :scratch

    So LDF arrives, and we pick her up from the airport, and stop to visit this Dual Sport emporium for last minute purchases:

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    And get to meet Gaprunr, who later scores me a new heavy-duty rear tube when I pinch mine changing the rear tires.

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    And he warns us about the slimey slippery creek crossings in Tennessee and not to even think about riding across or else we'd fall, and that we'd do best to walk each bike across with two people at a time...

    (Flash forward):

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    Anyway, if you're trying to figure out whether your luggage is tough enough for the TAT, don't bother... make sure it can survive airline baggage handlers:

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    So besides recovering from spending the night at O'Hare, LDF set about sewing holes in her side bags. While I held a clinic on how to pinch tubes:

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    And we generally enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on Rick's superfine property:

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    LDF throwing a leg over Blueberry for the first time:

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    Rick's GasGas taking a nap:

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    #19
  20. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Bikes loaded and ready:

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    Bye Rick, Girl dog and Black dog... :wave

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    We're on our way!

    :clap:wings:ricky:ricky:super:rayof

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    Now, since we were already south of Knoxville, we elected to skip the first hundred or so miles of the TAT since it would have meant driving north to Jellico, only to follow the TAT back south, so I pieced together a route that hooked up with the TAT by traveling almost due west from Rick's

    Do we lose bragging rights to officially having done the TAT in its entirety? Sure. :dunno... But I don't think I did so bad with my route:

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    Crossing the Clinch river near Oak ridge, where I used to go with the rowing team on our spring break to train:

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    First gas stop where we met a couple of ADV riders who were out riding sport bikes on twisties and wished us well on our journey.

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    I don't remember their screen names, or real names:

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    Didn't even remember to get a photo until they were taking off. Raises an interesting point of where my head was at (can't speak for LDF). So much prep and planning. Attention to details. Anticipation. Anxiety. You know how you're not supposed to do anything to your bike the week before a big ride? Well, we definitely broke that rule. How far would we be able to ride each day? Was Albuquerque too ambitious? How technical? how challenging? where would we find food? gas? Where would we be sleeping that night?

    It really took a couple of days before we started to relax and enjoy. Remember to stop and take out the camera. Appreciate the scenery. Savor the curves. In retrospect my head wasn't in the game. Or rather, I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees.

    This photo is a perfect example of that: I had chosen a road which was closed. If you look to the right, there's a sign for an overlook. We were so focused on rerouting and getting on our way, and not losing time, and making up ground, that not only did we fail to take the time to ride what, two minutes out of our way to spend 3 minutes enjoying what was I'm sure a nice view, but we (I at least), didn't even see the sign until now when I'm looking at the photo.

    Weird.

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    But after a few days, we eventually got a handle on how much distance we could cover in a day, it took much less time to make and break camp. We developed a system for figuring where we would eat dinner and sleep each evening... And we really started to relax and enjoy.

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    We eventually hooked up with the TAT proper, and in fact, TN, while having nice and twisty secondary roads, is 80-90% paved. :cry

    But it was good for LDF to get used to a bike that was completely new to her. And she did great. :clap:pynd

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    So somewhere near Chattanooga,

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    we found a campground, drove about 7 miles into Manchester for groceries, beer and gas, and settled in for the night.

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    Whispering Oaks campground, I think... although there was a state campground nearby at Old Stone Fort State Park.

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    Splittin' kindling:

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    Day's stats:

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    #20