Ultimate Twisties Tour - Pavement and Dirt

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by klaviator, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I LOVE CURVES!!!! And I LOVE RIDING CURVES!!!

    [​IMG]

    Well this ride report is not about riding those kinds of curves:evil

    Here's what I'm talking about:

    [​IMG]

    And this:

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow I'm headed up to North Carolina to ride some of the best twisty roads in the country:ricky And I'll be doing it for a WEEK:wings And I'm not the only one:rayof
    #1
  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I've been riding this area for years and it's one of my favorite areas to ride. This time I'm bringing a few other suckers...err...riders along.

    First, my long time riding buddy, Steve:

    [​IMG]

    Bob (Dirtroadpassion) is also coming for the whole trip.

    [​IMG]

    Don (SloDon) has a lot of street riding experience but is new to off road riding. Bob and I went riding with Don for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was an easy local ride with little or no mud......or thats what I told Don:evil

    [​IMG]

    I LIED:lol3:lol3:lol3

    And he's still coming with us:D

    And yours truly:
    [​IMG]

    There are more riders coming but I don't have their Pics....Yet:evil I'll try to get some pics of them in "interesting" poses:wink:

    Note to others: You may want to post your own pic here. You never know what I will end up posting:eek1
    #2
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    The plan is simple. We will be riding out of Andrews, NC for three days, and Maggie Valley, NC for four days. We will be trying to ride the best the area has to offer, both paved and unpaved. For more details, see the trip planning thread here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=564670
    #3
  4. britman

    britman Britman

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    North metro Atlanta
    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    I left my house in the Hotlanta burbs at a little before 9, driving my Avalanche with my XT350 and KLR650 loaded in the back. I rolled into Andrews around 11:00 and found 4 other KLR riders already waiting at the Andrews Town Motor Lodge. In addition to Bob, Don, and Paul (Britman), already introduced, there was Jim whose pic I'll post at some time. We offloaded the bikes and got on the road around noon. The plan for today was to do some exploring. Nothing challenging or muddy:evil Don, Paul, and Jim are all very experienced street riders with almost no offroad experience. They all recently got their KLRs. We started off with a few miles of scenic, twisty pavement, then some gravel. We stopped so Bob could adjust his mirror which had vibrated loose. I think his KLR got infected from the Harley which it shares a garage with:lol3 (Actually, KLRs probably vibrate more stuff loose than Harleys) It gave me a chance to take a group pic:

    [​IMG]

    Then it was off to find the Fires Creek WMA. Between my map, Don's GPS, and blind luck we managed to find it. None of us had ever been there but we heard it was a bunch of easy gravel/dirt dead end roads with some scenic overlooks. Here's what the roads were like:

    [​IMG]

    and this:

    [​IMG]

    Did I mention that 3 of these guys had little off road experience, and none of them had tires resembling knobbies?:eek1
    #5
  6. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    A local in a pickup who had lived in this area his whole life stopped and talked to us. He said that they used to be able to ride all over this area on their dirt bikes but in the last few years the Feds had really been cracking down. He also gave us directions to the spot with a good view of the area around Andrews. We followed his directions but eventually came to the dreaded "road closed to vehicles" sign"

    Here's Don just before that point. The road was a lot rougher than the pic shows.

    [​IMG]

    We stopped at the sign. Don's bike had managed to pick up some mud. One of the mud holes was a lot deeper than expected, at least the path he took through it was. It deposited a bunch of mud on his saddlebag. He named that mudhole the "mudhole of doom".

    [​IMG]

    We hiked a little ways to find the overlook but turned around after a couple of hundred yards. We weren't exactly dressed for hiking.

    The weather in the southeast had turned really hot. Forecast For Atlanta was 90+ and humid. It was pretty comfortable up here in the mountains because of the shade and elevation.

    So we decided to explore the rest of the Fires Creek area. Did I mention that I loved curves? There were plenty here:
    [​IMG]

    And a few pics taken by Bob:

    Here's me and my camera hanging around my neck so I can get pics on the go.
    [​IMG]

    Typical "road" in the Fires creek WMA.
    [​IMG]

    Don and Jim.
    [​IMG]

    Here Bob managed to capture my Glowing personality.[​IMG]
    #6
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    One of the things I decided to try on this ride was taking pictures while riding. I didn't look at the screen, just point and shoot. I could only do this on smooth dirt or pavement. Here's a few:

    A nice curve
    [​IMG]

    Some pretty countyside

    [​IMG]

    Leaning while taking the pic

    [​IMG]

    After some nice pavement, another rocky uphill dirt section.

    [​IMG]

    We ended up riding about 100 miles, about 90% of the time we were off the pavement. It was a good start to the trip.
    #7
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Got up early enough to catch the sunrise in Andrews. It looked like we would have a beautiful day.

    [​IMG]

    Before getting into the ride, let me post a pic of Jim. He is one of the guys who has a lot of street riding experience, but is new to off roading. He had a blast on day one and his bike was properly baptized.

    [​IMG]

    We started off by taking FS304 over the Snowbird mountains. Plenty of curves on FS304. Bob shows how to ride around those curves.

    [​IMG]

    There were also some nice views.

    [​IMG]

    More pretty scenery to ride through. I got this Pic of Bob while I was riding. I took a lot of pics like this but many did not turn out very well. It's a lot easier to do on the pavement but even many of them didn't come out that good.
    [​IMG]

    Jim crossing a bridge.
    [​IMG]

    Back on the pavement. This was a typical view as we were often riding along rivers and streams.
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    We then went over the Cherohala Skyway, via the dirt route, then river road with the madatory stop at Bald River Falls to take some pictures.
    [​IMG]

    Then some more riding.
    [​IMG]

    I love riding along these rivers and streams.
    [​IMG]

    Then we stopped just before Tellico Plains for lunch. Hot dogs or burgers with ice cream for desert eaten by the side of a river. It doesn't get much better than this.
    [​IMG]

    Even this duck wanted to get some food.

    [​IMG]

    And the scenery wasn't bad either:D

    [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Spacelord

    Spacelord Mutha Mutha

    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    876
    Location:
    Dawsonville Ga.
    nice repot, makes me wanna ditch work and head north.
    #10
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    After lunch we went into Tellico Plains and stopped at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. I pickep up some ADV stickers. Last fall I stopped here and got some stickers and took them home and put them in a safe place. I haven't seen them since:baldy This time I stuck them on the bikes before I lost them.
    [​IMG]

    Although we didn't go to Deals Gap, we did go by the dragon.
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    It was really hot so we got back on the road to get that cooling air and hopefully some cooler air at the higher elevations. It was so hot that there was melted tar on the first back road we got on. It made the road feel really weird and I stopped to see if I had a flat tire. When I stopped to take the next pic, I left bootprints in the road:eek1

    Here's "downtown" Rafter, NC.
    [​IMG]

    A nice twisty back road.
    [​IMG]

    We stopped for a break at this stream.
    [​IMG]

    Next stop was to allow Steve to drink from the magical NC mountain "fountain of youth"
    [​IMG]

    After that we rode a great twisty dirt road up to Farr Gap. I was having too much fun to get any pics:ricky :wings

    We did eventually stop and I was able to work on my skills as an action photographer.
    [​IMG]

    This kid knew how to beat the heat.
    [​IMG]

    I think we were all tempted to join him but weren't dressed for the occasion.
    [​IMG]

    So we got back on our bikes and headed toward the Cherohala Skyway alonng this scenic gravel road.
    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. britman

    britman Britman

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    North metro Atlanta
    The black goop they had schmeared on the road did not agree with my Shinko 705's. I could see the tire tracks from the more aggresive knobbies you guys were running.
    #13
  14. Minimike

    Minimike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    896
    Location:
    Tellico Plains, TN

    Hey, that's downtown Rafter, TN! You guys rode past my drive way to get there.

    minimike
    #14
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    You're right, it is in TN. I knew that, I just wasn't thinking when I typed it in. You sure have a rough commute to work every day:ricky
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    We then rode over the Skyway towards Robbinsville. I practiced taking pics on the go. Many didn't turn out but some were OK. Here's the best of the bunch.
    [​IMG]

    Then we took 143 and some other roads to Tatham Gap.
    [​IMG]

    This next pic was on the way down to Andrews. You can just see the the bikes below as well as an old wrecked truck that went over the edge.
    [​IMG]
    We finished the day with about 165 miles. It was a great ride but everyone was ready to get to the motel by the time we hit the gravely downhill on Tatham Gap.
    #16
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    After two days of a lot of riding in the dirt and gravel, The skills of the three dirt newbies had improved considerably and so had their speed in the dirt. Today would be more of a street day. Jim had asked me if the more aggresive, dirt oriented tires affected how we rode on the pavement. Today he would have a chance to find out and to see how the KLRs handled the paved twisties.

    We had the following tires:
    Steve - DR650 - Shinko 244s
    Bob - KLR650 - Michelin T63s
    Don - KLR 650 - Gripsters
    Paul - KLR650 - Shinko 705s
    Jim - KLR650 - Stock Dunlops
    Me - KLR650 - Pirelli MT21 front, Shinko 244 rear

    We started on Junaluska Rd to Wayah Rd to Rainbow Springs. Rainbow springs was our token dirt before lunch but it's a good dirt/gravel/rock road.

    Here's a few pics:

    A very high and loud waterfall right next to a cabin. I didn't get a very good pic but everyone was taking pics so maybe someone will post a better one.
    [​IMG]

    Steve and Don ahead of me.

    [​IMG]

    Then a few nice paved twisties before we briefly got on a FOUR LANE HIGHWAY.
    [​IMG]

    I try to do as little of this as possible. At least it's not Atlanta during rush hour:D
    #17
  18. britman

    britman Britman

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    North metro Atlanta
    The pot of gold waiting for us at the end of the four lane was worth it.
    #18
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    After the four lane, we worked our way to some of my favorite paved twisty roads. I got a few pics on the go but once the roads turned twisty, I had to concentrate on riding.
    [​IMG]

    I love these roads but some of the sport bike guys I brought through here complained about the rough road surface and about the curves being too tight.
    [​IMG]

    Some of my favorite signs. You can't read this one but it said 10-30MPH curves next 9 miles.
    [​IMG]

    There were a bunch of these.
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,891
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Many years ago I brought a friend through one of these roads on his Ducati 900SS. He didn't like it. He really felt the rough road because of the Duc's stiff suspension. He also didn't like the tight curves and said something about the limited steering lock on the Duc. I brought him through again years later when he was on a KLR and he loved it:ricky

    I got no complaints from this group today. Here's Bob charging around a curve.
    [​IMG]

    And Don and Jim.
    [​IMG]

    As the curves continued, so did the fun:ricky:wings:rayof:ricky

    You'd think we were a bunch of kids on sportbikes, not a bunch of old men on "slow" and old technology singles.

    Soon the testosterone kicked in and so did the speed.
    :ricky
    :ricky
    .
    The inner Valentino Rossi in all of us was starting to come out.

    :ricky

    And our semi knobbie tires were sticking just fine,
    Before we knew it, the ride had become a race:ricky
    and we were in a tight pack, going around corners, hanging off and dragging our inside knees:ricky

    Too bad Killboy wasn't there to capture the moment:eek1

    Luckily, there happened to be someone with a camera who caught us just at the perfect moment.

    Good thing, because I'll bet many of the readers out there wouldn't believe me otherwise.

    Here's the proof.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    :ricky
    .
    .
    .
    .
    [​IMG]

    :lol3:rofl:poser
    #20