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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Feb 9, 2015.
I set up another photo and video ride. There was a lot if interest in doing a ride like this but most of the people had schedule conflicts or bike issues. One guy got up in the morning and discovered a nail in his (flat) rear tire. So we ended up with three riders. After breakfast at Huddle House we headed off to a scenic spot in Guntersville that was right by the lake.
Then we headed off for out next spot which be the steep, hairpin infested twisty roads on Crow Mountain. We took 227 and 67 getting there. These two roads are very scenic as well as a lot of fun to ride. Last time we did this we stopped at several spots to get pics and video. This time we just rode through but I did get some pics on the go.
Crow Mountain has some nice steep and twisty roads. IMO, 39 is the best of them. However, 33 has better spots to set up and take pics/video. We decided to ride up 39 while shooting video on the go and then ride down 33 and set up on one really great curve and shoot stationarly video and pics. That's what we did. On the way down 33 we saw a tow truck, a bike parked and some people standing.sitting around. As we got closer we saw a Gold wing nose down in the trees over the edge of the road. It didn't appear anyone was seriously injured. This next video shows the ride up 39 and down 33 as well as some from around Guntersville.
Morning Jerry You must be up early preparing your sermon
Love these autobiographical reports ... a life well lived indeed. As a military officer myself I was perhaps more intrigued by the Navy stuff than most here Are your ground jobs just additional duties? Or is that what you're really evaluated against vice your time in the cockpit? In the Army promotion to O5 (and above) relies solely on your ability to either command or staff well -- no one cares about how good a technician (i.e. tanker/signaleer/intel etc.) you are.
Second question -- did I miss it or was the transition to scooter mostly unexplained? It seems like your style of riding and ability stands far at odds with a scooter. I'm sure the Aprilia does well enough but ... you used to be somebody! Guess I'm just worried about what happens when I hit 20...
Anyway, thanks for this. Those early years and pictures of California are a real treat.
First question. As a Navy pilot I spent much more time doing my ground jobs than flying. I flew 20 out of 21 years and only accumulated about 4700 hours. Had I been an instructor pilot in the T-34 or H57 I would have accumulated more hours. Some pilots did get a lot more than me, and some much less. The fact is that your ground jobs are mostly what got you promoted, even at the lower ranks (03-05). Maybe it was different in the tactical jet community, I don't know. You did have to be a competent pilot to be promoted but as long as you were competent, it was performance in ground jobs that made the difference. After 05 the chances to fly were very few anyway.
As for transition to scooters, I went through many phases in my riding. I started on pretty standard bike, then I went through the sportbike phase, then dirt and dual sport. Then I got scooters. Through it all there has always been some sport bike rider in me. While I enjoy a lot of different aspects of riding, nothing beats running a twisty road at a fun pace. Some things I really like about scooters are, great storage and practicality. The smaller scooters make you feel like you are going fast even when you aren't. It's also great when you pass some one on a top of the line sport bike on a 250cc scooter on a twisty road.
Anyway, I haven't given up on motorcycles as I am still riding those as well. So while I got scooters, I didn't stop riding motorcycles. The biggest advantage of scooters is that I started riding for daily transportation and doing it much more than I ever did before I got a scooter.
So I was riding my scooters a lot but I hadn't given up on dual sport riding. I headed out Saturday morning on my KLR headed for Two Wheels of Suches for some dual sport riding in the Chattahoochee Natl Forest. The weather forecast for this weekend was mid 90s and humid but that was for here. I knew it would be much nicer at the higher elevations in N. GA. I headed out and rode to Scottsboro were I met Jeff on his WR250. From there we rode back roads across Alabama and Georgia. We rode Some fun paved roads and avoided going through any congested areas. The only real town we went through was Lafayette, GA. I've done this route before and didn't take any pics until we stopped at the Springer mtn parking area at the start of the Appalachian Trail.
Then we did a bit of hiking and we both hiked the entire width of the AT. I got a pic of Jeff doing the "hike".
Then we continued on to TWoS via dirt nearly the entire way. When we got there a third rider was waiting for us. He had been up around Tellico Plains riding that area.
Ken and Jeff hanging out on the porch at TWoS.
We got there pretty early and still had time to do some riding but none of us were motivated enough to do it. It felt great just hanging out here. The temperature was very comfortable unlike the lower elevations we had been riding in most of the day. We had a great dinner at the lodge then hung out some more.
We got up Sunday morning and had breakfast. I didn't get any food pics but we all agreed that the food was really good and price very reasonable. I ran into someone who I seem to run into every time I come here. He told me that he heard Flatland road was in really rough shape and didn't recommend riding it. I have heard that before but asked someone else for a second opinion. He said it was rough but since it was dry we should be able to make it. So off we went. We figured if it got to bad we could always turn around. The problem with that thinking is that once you get into the rough part it is really hard to turn around. On the rough part of the trail I came up behind some guys on big bikes who really seemed to be struggling and where stopped right on a hill. I managed to get by and continued on. Jeff was not far behind me and we stopped to wait for everyone Ken. It was quite a while before anyone else came along. He had stopped and helped one of the guys having problems in the rough stuff. I'd like to post some pics showing the trail but was a little to busy riding to take any pics. I did get a few on some of the easier places.
The guys on the big bikes didn't know the area and decided to follow us for awhile. Got a pic of the group:
We continued on to Helton Creek Falls.
After that the other three riders headed off to get lunch. We continued on. Crossing Helton Creek.
Jeff's WR250 only has a 2 gallon tank so we took a little detour to get some gas and a snack. After the big breakfast none of us were in the mood for a big lunch.
Then we headed over to the Cooper's Creek area. We rode some great deserted dead end roads. Taking a break in the middle of nowhere:
Unfortunately my bike developed starting problems. I discovered that one of the battery terminals was partially broken We still had a lot of great trails to ride but i decided to play it safe and head back to TWoS.
On the way back we also discovered I had no headlight or tail light
Once back and parked in the shade it was time for some trouble shooting.
Replacing a fuse fixed the headlight and replacing the tail light bulb fixed that. We never did figure out why the starter sometimes wouldn't work I need to replace the battery as well as the bolts holding on the seat which I left somewhere in the Chattahoochee. On top of that one of my forks was leaking again
At least we would have another great dinner at the lodge........except they weren't serving dinner that night. We ended up having pizza at the gas station.
On Monday we rode home. My starter worked just fine.
Caught this on the ride home from work.
I took another ride to Suches and camped for a night.
I ate breakfast then went out and rode some curves. First up 60 for about 10 miles and back, then 180 and up 129 to the top of Blood mountain and back. Then it was time to pack up. I hung out for a while and then had lunch. As usual there were a some people I knew there as well as the a bunch of cool bikes.
Then I headed away from the mountains and into the big city and one of those rare occasions where I had to get all dressed up.
My son Scott was getting married.
I'm going to back track to August since I forgot a "minor" little event.
I get limited vacation time every year so I normally try to use it to go riding. This year would be our 30th wedding anniversary so I decided to do something Debbi would really enjoy. She does ride with me but riding is not her passion like it is mine. So we decided to do a cruise to Alaska. The plan was to fly to Seattle, get on the cruise ship, stop in three Alaskan ports as well as Victoria, BC. We started planning our shore excursions well in advance. We picked out excursians for our first two ports. Our third post would be Skagway. Here I found a scenic train ride ($$$) and a scenic ride in van going up the scenic pass road out of Skagway. The price for the van tour was pretty reasonable and I was getting ready to book it when I thought that I would be in a cage going up a scenic road wishing I was on a bike
So I decided to do a little research and discovered that there was a place in Skagway offering scooter and motorcycle rentals as well as a scooter tour
So I wouldn't have to spend an entire week without riding and would be able to see some of Alaska on two wheels
Debbi was fine with the idea. We decided to do the tour. The scooters would be Honda Ruckus's (Rucki?). They are 50cc scooters designed for a rider only, no passenger
Debbi was OK with that. She gave up riding years ago but figured she could handle a 50cc scooter. Just to be safe she rode around a bit on my Kymco Super 8 the week before the cruise.
So this trip began with a flight to DFW and another to Seattle. Not my idea of fun since I hate flying
We spent the night in Seattle and the next morning took a shuttle to the cruise ship. Debbi, who had done some cruises before, was expecting major hassles and delays boarding the ship but it was pretty painless. We took a shuttle to the Cruise ship dock where we boarded our home for the next week the Ruby Princess. I knew that cruise ships where big but this thing was a floating City. It was 950 feet long and 19 decks tall.
Before long we were underway. Looking back at Seattle.
Exploring the Ship was an adventure in itself and there were times I could have used a GPS to help me navigate around the ship
We spent a day at sea and explored the ship some more.
Our first port was Ketchikan.
There were a lot of float planes flying around.
We did a walking tour of the town. Our guide was a native Indian and former mayor of the town.
This whole part of town was actually built on wood pilings. I would never have guessed that by walking around. You can kayak underneath much of it.
The ship pulled out of post early in the evening. More float planes.
Some thoughts on touring on a cruise ship versus riding. Both offer the chance to see some great scenery. Alaska is a beautiful state and the views from the cruise ship were spectacular. Most of those views are still coming up. Since Alaska is a huge state, whether you ride or cruise you only get to see a small fraction of the state.
One thing that is unique on a cruise ship is the food. Food is available 24/7 and doesn't cost anything over the basic cost of the cruise unless you want to eat at some specialty restaurants on board or buy alcohol or an extra drink package. So with all this food available is is real easy to pig out and way over eat. We tried to take it easy with the eating. Debbi's strategy to not gain a bunch of weight was to not use the elevators on the ship except for a few exceptions. Those exceptions were for coming aboard with luggage and when dressed up for formal night. Debbi has done other cruises and has done this before. I didn't realize what a big deal this was. After all what's a couple of fights of stairs once in a while right? Well, our cabin was on deck 11. Most of the things we had to go to were on decks 5,6,7 and 15. Occasionally we went to decks 16 and 19. That's a lot of stairs.
One similarity between riding and cruising is that you did get to meet other people. When we went to the dining rooms we normally sat at a "share" table instead of getting our own. This gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of other people.
Day 5 Wednesday. This day would start early as the ship was going to cruise up a fjord to view a glacier. The plan was to cruise up Tracy Arm Fjord but due to ice buildup the alternate, Endicott Arm was chosen. I got up a little after 5 AM and headed up to the buffet to get some breakfast. Then it was back down to deck 7 to go outside and enjoy the view.
Then it was off to our next port, Juneau. We wouldn't be the only cruise ship there.
Just like Ketchikan, there were a bunch of float planes flying around.
I have never flown a float plane but I'm tempted to get my float plane rating and maybe getting a seasonal job in Alaska someday down the road after I retire from working full time
Debbi and I choose different excursions in this port. She went on a helicopter ride to a glacier combined with a Salmon bake. I went the cheap route and got a ticket to ride the Tram up Mt Roberts. Mt Roberts is a 3819 foot mountain overlooking Juneau. The tram goes up about 1800 feet. I had heard there was some nice hiking at the top so I figured I could get some exercise, burn off some of those calories I had been taking in while enjoying the scenery. So I road the tram up and pulled out my camera. This is our cruise ship.
There was a visitor center, gift shop and restaurant at the top. I didn't come here to buy trinkets or eat. I did pick up a trail map from the visitor center. The Map showed basically two trails. One was a short loop trail and the other trail went to the top of the mountain with various stops along the way. I decided to see how far up I could go.
The start of the hike was in a forest but still offered some nice views.
As I went up the forest thinned out.
I didn't make it to the top of the mountain but I got a good workout. If I had more time I might have made it. Maybe next time
I took me about an hour to get back to the Tram. Up to that point this felt like an adventure. Then I had to wait in line to catch the tram back down. Now I felt like a typical tourist again being herded around like cattle. One of the things I like about riding is I usually get to avoid being a "tourist".
When I got to the bottom I decided to check out the tourist section of town. Here I was being a "tourist" again. Note the crossing guard in the crosswalk.
This Harley had Florida tags. I wondered if he rode all the way here. Well except for a ferry ride since you can't actually ride here.
What the locals ride. A small scooter would make sense in a town like this.
Juneau, like Ketchikan is a very scenic town with all the mountains and water as a backdrop. However, like Ketchican, it is full of jewelry stores and the typical tourist shops. It was interesting walking through the town but I would get bored here pretty quickly.
I headed back to the ship and met Debbi as she returned from her excursion.
That evening the ship pulled out of port and headed for our third and final post in Alaska: Skagway. Skagway which would be day 6 on our trip would be different. In Skagway we were going for a ride
Up to this point we had great weather but when I got up the morning we pulled into Skagway, it was raining and gloomy
We weren't go to miss riding just because of a little rain so we headed into town. Our tour was scheduled for 9:30. When we got to Skagway Scooters they said we could go now or wait a couple of hours and see if the rain let up. Or we could cancel if we didn't want to go. We choose option B, wait a couple of hours.
They had riding gear so we picked out our gear then wandered around town.
The local "Harley Shop". Like the Harley shops in many tourist towns it's actually just a T shirt shop.
The rain would stop for a bit then start again.
We ate lunch then headed back to the scooter place.
We got into our gear and went out front to take this pic:
No, Debbi didn't gain 50 pounds eating all that cruise ship food. Debbi wasn't real happy with the way she looked in the gear since it's insulated and doesn't exactly make you look slim. The gear is First Gear. It was pretty worn out but it did keep us warm and dry. Our tour guide told us that a Klim Rep recently took the tour and talked them into getting new Klim gear to replace the old stuff next year. Helmets are optional in Alaska but we chose to wear the Speed & Strength helmets they had.
Most of the customers here have no scooter experience. No MC endorsement is required to ride 50cc scooter in Alaska. Because of this we started the ride by pushing the scooters about a block to a quiet side street where our tour guide could give us a brief on the scooters. Since we had both ridden the brief was nice and short.
Debbi and John, our tour guide.
So we headed off. This was my first time on a Ruckus or any 50cc scooter. It's a little small and not exactly overpowered but I fit on it OK and it had enough power to keep up with traffic.
We headed out of town. I brought up the rear so I could get some pics.
It didn't take long to get stuck at a train crossing.
I wondered if the train riders would get to see much with the low clouds. I was glad to be on a scooter instead of being stuck on the "cattle car" with all the other tourists
Our next stop was a historical Cemetery.
John gave us some stories behind some of the colorful characters buried here.
It was interesting but I was much more interested in what came next. John told us that since we were experienced riders we would be able to do the ride much quicker than the average group so we could do some extra stuff. So he took a short hike to this waterfalls near the cemetery.
When I go on rides I often go take off ahead of the group after stops so I can take some pics of the group from a different angle. I did that several times on this ride. Just after the Cemetery, John followed by Debbi.
Just to give you some idea where we were.
The roads were curvy and scenic and fun to ride despite being wet.
We stopped at this spot overlooking Skagway.
I went ahead again to get some pics. I saw this when I stopped. Most of the people on the tour probably miss this
At this point the pavement ended. I was a little worried about Debbi riding on the wet dirt road but she did just fine and kept up with John with no problems. I was a little concerned about riding the wet dirt as well but the little Ruckus scooters handled it just fine. Out average speed on the dirt was about 25 MPH which was also the speed limit and the speed of other traffic except for bicycle riders who were going slower. I'm sure the scenery would have been better on a sunny day but it was great on this rainy day as well.
Interesting place to live.
Our next stop.
So this bay had some interesting history. The most interesting thing about it, at least for me, was the story John told us. When he first came to Skagway, housing was in short supply. So John and his "old lady" (his words) just lived in his van. They would drive out to this spot every night and just sleep in the van.
Congrats on 30 years! My wife and I just celebrated our 30th anniversary this month. (No special trip to Alaska or anywhere else though.)
Thanks. Since this was last year, we celebrated 31 years this year. We didn't go anywhere special this year. Congrats to you too!
More riding and more scenery.
John pulled over and waved us on saying he needed to adjust his hood. He really wanted to see what speed we would ride if we weren't following him.
Debbi stayed at the same speed we had been going. John just wanted to make sure we were comfortable at the speed we had been going. He told us that many of the people who take this tour are afraid to ride "fast" so often the tour goes along at speeds as low as 12 MPH. I could ride a bicycle faster than that.
John spotted some eagles so we stopped.
This was one time I wished I had my Sony camera with it's 50X zoom with me. However, given the rain I just brought my waterproof olympus camera.
Debbi taking pics with her phone.
Our next stop was by a scenic bridge over the Taiya River. I gave John my camera and rode across the bridge.
This was also the beginning of the Chilkoot Trail.
John explained some of the history of the trail then we continued on.
Many of these old bridges are being replaced by more modern, concrete ones but I like these old bridges, rust and all.
Then we rode to the town of Dyea.
Well there used to be a town here. Eventually they decided that the location of the town of Skagway was more desirable so they moved the town. Everything from the old town was removed and there is no trace of it anymore.
Since we were making good time, John took us on another side trip.
We took a short walk up the river to this spot.
So what's here?
A closer view:
That's an Eagles nest. Look down and right from the nest and there's an Eagle. This was another time I wished for my Sony Camera.
Then it was time to head back to town.
And back to the ship.
After Skagway, the best of the cruise was behind us. For me Skagway was the highlight of the cruise. Maybe riding 50cc scooters may not sound too exciting but we did get to ride in some beautiful, if wet, Alaska scenery.
We spent a day at sea transiting back towards our next port, Victoria. It was only a short visit. It got this shot going into Victoria.
We walked into town and then we returned to the ship and enjoyed one final dinner in our favorite dining room. Afterwards we headed to one of the lounges to sit and enjoy a piano player/singer. This was something we did the last 4 or 5 nights of the cruise. He was really good and it made for a relaxing evening.
The next morning we pulled back into Seattle and that ended the cruise.
One last pic. We had this taken during one of the formal nights.
I headed out Sat morning for the Rally in the Valley. This Bamarides event is held annually in Paint Rock Valley. It's a Fri night through Sunday event involving camping as and Street and Dual Sport rides. I had to work Friday night so I got there in time for the ride on Saturday. Since I haven't worked out all the problems with my KLR I decided on the street ride. It's good that I did because the Dual sport ride ended up being a rock fest not suited for a bike as heavy as a KLR.
Getting ready to head out. Typical mix of bikes which is normal for Bamarides. We ended up with a Harley, 2 Goldwings, 1 metric cruiser, 2 scooters, 1 adventure bike and 1 naked sportbike.
We rode some twisty roads and stopped at the Suwannee Natural Bridge.
Lunch was in Monteagle. I checked out this interesting place during a gas stop after lunch.
Camping Sunday night. Since summer nights in Alabama are so chilly we built a small campfire
On Monday following the Rally in the Valley I loaded up the Versys and headed out of town.
I mostly slabbed it until north of Chattanooga. Then I had fun on 30/315/39 and then the Skyway which has been recently repaved on the NC side. Crews were still working on the shoulder so we had to follow a follow me truck for a few miles. The leaves were starting to change in a few places but I didn't get any good pics.
I decided to stop by Deal's Gap then head for Iron Horse for the night. I took a left at the end of the Skyway and rode the super twisty but rough road through Joyce Kilmer. There were quite a few bikes at Deal's Gap. It almost looked like a weekend. As I was walking around I spotted an old riding buddy I hadn't seen in 11-12 years. That's Gary on the right. The guy on the left is an inmate here. (Porkbutt)
I had been wondering what happened to Gary. We used to ride together once or twice a year mainly at HSTA rallies. He didn't seem to have changed since I last saw him. It was really great just running in to him here.
I rode with Jeff on the left a few times as well way back in the day.
So this changed my plans. Well I didn't really have any plans except to ride a bunch of curves for the next week. So I pitched my tent at Deal's Gap. Then we headed to the Tapoca Lodge for dinner.
This was at the Tapoca Lodge. Anyone remember when gas was 17 cents a gallon + 1 cent tax? That was little before my time.
Got up early the next morning and took a pic of the campground before making a run through the Gap. I had another good run both ways with little traffic.
Then I ate breakfast and then did another ride through the gap with Gary and Jeff. I managed to stay with them until they got around some traffic and I got stuck behind it for a bit.
Some exotics at the overlook.
We had a good run back up. Gary must be getting old because He let me lead. Well maybe it was the fact that his rear tire was wearing out and he had a few more days of riding on this trip.
As I was packing up I got to talk with my "neighbors" from the night before. This couple rode their Bonneville's down from Quebec. They were headed back home via WV.
I was impressed that they fit their camping gear, cooking stuff, rain suits and clothes in the small amount of luggage they had on the bikes.