The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go...1200 miles on the Trans-eastern Trail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Skyclad, May 26, 2013.

  1. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

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    So, I had the time available, I have a wife that understands my need to ride, and I have a bike well suited for the task. What better time to take a couple of weeks and ride a bit of the Trans-eastern Trail on the way to Rick’s Rendezvous?

    Ah, the Trans-eastern Trail? If you don’t know about it, and are in the eastern US, you have got to check it out. Chip has put together an amazing connection of roads, both paved and unpaved, to get up and down the Appalachian Mountains. I plotted out a route from Pennsylvania to Georgia using the TeT that took me through farmland, across mountain tops, and secluded woodland valleys. The roads varied from fun, sweeping twisties to tight switchbacks on pavement, and gravel to Jeep trails when the pavement ended.
    After playing on the TeT, I headed north to Rick’s Rendezvous. Great time, and a wonderful way to remember the Party Boss. Then it was the Blue Ridge Parkway home. Yep, not a bad way to spend a couple of weeks.

    Come one, let’s go for a ride…

    Day 1 – York, PA to Brandywine, WV (289 miles)

    Stopped at the local Rutter’s to get a quick breakfast before hitting the road.
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    Wrightsville, PA

    Since I got a later start than I was planning, I took the fast way to where I was picking up the TeT. Went through Gettysburg to get there. At one point, I looked over at the sidewalk and saw this ugly dude on a beautiful bike.
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    I picked up the TeT at Blue Ridge Summit. From here to Georgia, some 1200 miles away, I am in the hands of Chip and the rest of the crew that put together the routes I am following. It did not take long to hit the first unpaved road in northern Maryland.
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    Very shortly after I hit the gravel, I had my first detour. There were several times throughout the trip that I had to find my way around road closures. Some were due to road work, some were due to bridges out, some were due to the rain, like on Hwy 622 in Virginia.
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    BTW, just because Virginia calls it a “highway”, that does not mean that it is much of a road…or paved…or even open for public use, as I discovered last year.
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    This is what I think of when I think of a highway, and this is the best way to view a highway, in my opinion. I much prefer riding on Virginia’s version.
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    (Interstate 81, just south of Stephen’s City, VA)

    Remember what I said about the rain closing roads? Well, here is Moore’s Ford. I did this crossing last year, when it looked like this.
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    I decided not to try it this year. But I did see some butterflies, and had planned on this possibility. I took the bypass and continued merrily on.
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    Now, folks that know West Virginia know that there are two things you are going to experience when you visit the Mountain State. First, you WILL see deer. That took all of five minutes after I crossed the border this time. Second, you WILL get rained on. That took ten minutes. I do love West Virginia. The riding is pretty good, and the scenery doesn’t suck.
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    The first somewhat challenging road I hit was NF-344. It is somewhat washed and rocky, but no big deal on a 990, even when fully loaded. There are also a few water crossings to deal with.
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    I think the last road of the day may have been the best. Good surface, good scenery and more water crossings. It is just a state forest road, I am not sure of its name.
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    The forest road dumped me out on US-33 and I headed into Brandywine for the night. Found a hotel at Fox’s Pizza. Nothing special, but it was a place to lay my head at the end of a long dry.

    Great day of riding. A few real gems like the state forest road and Camp Run Road stick in my mind. Bike is running great and I am finding the riding challenging enough to keep me on my toes. Throughout this ride, I really learned a lot about what the big KTM is capable of doing. The only limits I have come close to are my own.
    #1
  2. Cuttle

    Cuttle twisted

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    waiting on the mud-pit pics....:lurk
    #2
  3. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

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    That would be Day 5. Have patience, grasshopper.
    #3
  4. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Hey! Nice to meet you at Hampton. mtngal and I enjoyed your music too! Following along on your report on the TET. I am starting a project on building up a midsized adventure bike and hope to ride this group of roads one day with it as well as more sections of the TAT that I have not been on. Take care and thanks for posting this up! Ed
    #4
  5. Paratrout

    Paratrout Been here awhile

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    It was great meeting you at RDV and passing the Jameson's around. I'm looking forward to more pics of your trip, thanks for taking the time to do this.:clap
    #5
  6. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Endeavor to persevere.

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    From Alabama to Newfoundland, it's all Appalachian
    IN! :thumb :lurk Great to tilt a few with ya at the RDV.

    Hopefully we'll get to ride together this summer.:deal

    Aarrff, I saw your bike, but if we met, I didn't know you were you. :lol3
    #6
  7. murdock84

    murdock84 Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to more photos from the trip.
    #7
  8. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

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    OK, this is the fiasco I've been waiting for :lol3 it was good to see ya again at the RDV! :wave

    :stupid

    :lurk
    #8
  9. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    Big bike be bumping
    #9
  10. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    in ... let's see how that big bike does in the rough ...
    #10
  11. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    :lurk I'm in!
    #11
  12. H14

    H14 Live, Laugh, Love.

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    Been waiting for this one........................I'm IN.
    #12
  13. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

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    Day 2 – Brandywine, WV to Marion, VA (285 miles/574 miles total)

    I woke up to a beautiful morning in Brandywine, got the bike packed up and hit the road. Well, stopped to grab a quick bite to eat first, but was heading south by 8am. Life is good and I am looking forward to another good day. Hell, any day spent on a motorcycle is a good day, though some are admittedly better than others. This was one of those better ones.

    As usual, the West Virginia scenery was pleasant.
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    First unpaved road this morning came quickly. CR-24 started with a little bit of water…well, actually, it was the deepest water crossing that I did this ride. I would guess that it was a little more than two feet, as my front tire was completely underwater at some point.
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    The riding just got better from there, with great dirt and gravel roads and several more streams to cross along the way.
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    I love oddly shaped tress.
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    The day continued on like this. It would almost be boring, if the riding wasn’t so good. I was loving it, just riding and getting into that motorcycle space where you no longer care what day it is; you aren’t certain what state you are in. Just riding and dealing with what the road has to offer around the next corner. I was happy to find myself there so quickly.
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    The TeT at this time is a fun mix of paved and unpaved roads. The most frequent signs of civilization are the old buildings scattered about the landscape.
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    Oh, yeah, let’s not forget the little waterfalls. To be honest, I like the little falls as much as the big, famous waterfalls. I like the more private, intimate feel; being the only person there. Knowing that I am seeing things that most don’t know about and overlook as they rush through life.
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    I did notice a “For Sale” sign on this place. I wonder what the asking price is?
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    The clouds were starting to look somewhat ominous, but no rain yet, so I wasn’t too worried. The riding was still good, the bike was running great, and I was just loving life.
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    I am not sure when this area was on fire, but I could still smell the burnt wood. This is also when the clouds opened up. I got a few pictures before it turned into a deluge. Traction also went to shit, so keeping both hands on the bars seemed like a rather good idea.
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    Still, I couldn’t resist the little falls.
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    Not quite as much fun now.
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    But it was still beautiful.
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    By this time, the rain was still coming down hard, and didn’t look like it was going to let up anytime soon. I didn’t feel like fighting the bike in slick conditions anymore, so I rerouted the rest of the way into Marion on paved roads. I gave up a ride through Burke’s Garden, but I have been there before, and know that I will be back again. I figured I could afford to miss it this time.

    Two days into the ride, and I am having a great time. The concerns of regular life are of little consequence to me right now. Me, the bike and the trail. That is my world, and it is indeed a beautiful world to be in. Folks talk about thinking deep thoughts while riding. For me, it is a chance to empty the mind. Kinetic meditation on motorcycle, and when I am on the bike, the only thing in my mind is the present. What is behind me is behind me, and what road ahead brings will be dealt with when I get there. I am here and now, and the rest of the world will be waiting for me when I get back.
    #13
  14. barnyard

    barnyard Verbal tactician Super Moderator

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    Very nice.
    #14
  15. intothenew

    intothenew Briar Patch Navigator

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    In, and looking forward to more.
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  16. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    :lurk
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  17. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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    #17
  18. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

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    Chip, I will be linking this to the TeT and TeT-s threads. I also have a few closures that I will report there.

    Thank you so much for coordinating and assembling the TeT. It truly is an amazing thing that you have done. If ever we meet, beer is on me.:clap
    #18
  19. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

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    The meditation; clearing the mind; leave the world behind.
    I agree with you. It's a beautiful thing.
    I think maybe the meditation is the safe riding mind.
    If one is watching all the possible eventualities;
    the next intersection, road condition or debris,
    every car and there possible next move....
    then our mind is on these things and
    because we are way ahead of any hazard,
    our mind is relaxed.

    Of course my thoughts do wander sometimes.
    Anyway, nice report. :clap:clap
    #19
  20. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

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    Day 3 – Marion, VA to Hot Springs, NC (242 miles/816 total)

    I woke up to rain in Marion. Cold and rainy…bleh, not the way I wanted to start the day. At least I got a good night’s sleep, and was ready once again to tackle whatever the road had to throw my way. There would be no re-routing on this day. Let’s get this show on the road.

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    Well, shit! OK, there will be no re-routing for the first 18 miles…
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    Easy to find a way around the closed bridge and get back on the trail, and I got to see things from the other way. Sometimes that makes all the difference, and you get a shot like this.
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    Back on the trail and heading into the mountains. Once again, I am getting away from civilization and other people. This is exactly where I want to be.
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    Son of a bitch!
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    No quick go around this time. Still, I am on my bike and the weather is improving. Yeah, I could live like this until the cows come home.
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    Well, that was quick.

    I have no idea why the forest road was blocked. Considering the amount of rain the area has had, it would not surprise me if the road was washed out. Not a big deal though, the detour was enjoyable, and if you think you are going to be able to travel extensively, especially on forest roads, without hitting detours, you may as well just park the bike now.

    Now, back to the ride and the scenery.
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    Not the first thing that somes to mind when I think of Virginia..or North Carolina…what state am I in anyway? Hmm, I don’t think it really matters.
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    Funny thing happened along this time. As it turns out, Dennis Cove Road is part of the TeT. Black Bear Resort, the site of this year’s Rendezvous is on Dennis Cove Road. I figured I would stop on the way by to check the place out. As I get off the bike, the hostess greets me and asks,”Aren’t you a little early?”

    “Nah,’ I reply, “I still have 700 miles to go before I get here.”

    The look on her face was priceless. Really made to stop worthwhile.

    So, I knew for certain that I was in Tennesse, but it does not matter what state you are in when the riding and scenery is like this.
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    It is not foggy, it is cloudy. I am a bit over 4800ft here, and the clouds are about 4500 ft.
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    This is Beauty Spot, in…uh…Tennesse, I think. The trail goes by it, but it is worth the half mile side trip for the view. From what I understand, it is also a favorite camping spot for thru-hikers. I can see why.
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    And to finish the day, how about some more old buildings?
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    I rolled into Hot Springs just as the rain was starting to fall. Grabbed a room at the Alpine Court and then walked to a BBQ place that I saw on the way into town. The Still Mountain Restaurant & Pub was not officially open yet, but they were having a Mother’s Day weekend thing, so I was able to enjoy some wonderful ribs. They are officially open now, so if you are near Hot Springs, you gotta stop in and have a bite to eat. Hell, at $9, I had to get a second order.
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    Yep, life is still good.
    #20