I go off on a big ride every year with 3 other guys and call ourselves The Road Hawgs – a name stemming from when we started our annual epic adventure ride in 2011. We rented Ultra Classics in Seattle and rode the PCH to LA and over to Las Vegas. We’ve done a ride every year since and it’s usually been a one to two week+ ride ranging from 3K to 7K miles. Two years ago we switched our plan from epic road trips to tackling the TAT and that trip is chronicled here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/my-first-adventure-ride-the-tat.1077645/ Having an interest in recreating that great experience on the TAT, but wanting to do it more inexpensively and in less time, I posed the idea of stitching together tracks from various sources to create our own Appalachian Adventure. I started out with the goal to plan a TAT-like ride that would take us from Maggie Valley NC to Maine. We wanted to ride the Appalachians starting in the Smoky Mountains and Pisgah Forests in North Carolina; up through the Jefferson and George Washington national forests up through the Shenandoah in Virginia; get some trail riding done in the Seven Mountains area near State College PA; and onward as far as we could make it toward Maine in about 8 - 9 days. The notion was to stay off the pavement as much as possible but if some excellent twisty roads were needed to connect trails or some interesting stops came along, we'd enjoy those as well. We’d managed to average about 250 miles a day on the TAT so on the surface, reaching Maine seemed a stretch but remotely possible if we had 11 days to get there and get back home (Annapolis and Atlanta). I started boring down on all the GPS & Nav threads and ride reports on here and other forums and repositories for anything that might be useful – hence the name Frankenstein. The track we rode was stitched together from body parts of anything I could dig up that looked useful. One of the first found was the excellent Maine Adventure Trail created by BoatAnchor with GPS tracks from Jellico TN to the northern most tip of Maine. Others include the NY leg of the TAT tracks; the Trans PA Trail; inmate tonyjuliano added some local knowledge in VA; and some track routing of my own to hit up a few places we wanted to see along the way. Some of the tracks were well tested and ridden and some not so much but hey, it just adds to the adventure, right? Our planned route is turned out like this: The GPX file for the actual track that we rode can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/nhspy8kn7t92a6k/Appalachia Track.GPX?dl=0 (I'm not sure that I've shared that dropbox link properly. If anyone can advise me on how to do that so that anyone can fetch it, that would be dandy) We’d head up the center route on the map and hustle home on the road shown on the eastern side of the map. However, to paraphrase a quote about life and offer a bit of foreshadowing, the adventure happens while you’re on planning on something else. We only made it up to NY and came back down the western leg shown on the map. We all rode new KLRs we prepped for the TAT and the other three guys were committed to riding that faithful steed again this year. I stepped off the Road Hawg reservation and decided this year to bring my ’16 R1200GS. I bought that bike to take on the personal challenge of taking it anywhere I’d go on the KLR and from the moment I informed my buds, the concern was evident. They were all convinced that I’d wreck the trip by bringing the GS and they’d spend a week and a half picking my quarter ton+ up off the ground. It didn’t help my case that shortly after I got the GS, I took it off on some easy single tracks in PA and it kicked my ass to the tune of 3 shattered ribs and a collapsed lung. The fact that I was fully healed AND had gone off to the two-day BMW off-road school did not temper the taunts I was getting but ultimately they resolved themselves with a reminder of our Road Hawg rule #1: anyone that can’t continue for any reason gets relieved of their water, gas, and tools and left for dead while the rest continue. By the way, that rule is immediately followed by rule #2: what happens on the trail, stays on the trail – unless there’s photos or video and then it’s posted the moment there’s an internet connection. So what happens is anytime one of us takes a dirt nap, there must be photos, laughing, and considering whether this justifies invoking rule #1 and only when that’s settled is help rendered. Enough about all that. Let’s ride. My actual adventure began a couple of days before the other three guys in that I had to get myself from Annapolis MD down to Murphy NC – about 650 miles. Bike packed: I launched in the evening from home for a short 2 hour leg out to Strasburg VA putting the DC traffic behind for the start of the ride south. This slab ride the next day down to Murphy is where the big GS is really in it’s element. Cruise control on, feet kicked up on the crash bars, and I’m easy ridin’ while making good enough time that I didn’t get passed by anyone in about 500 miles making my way down to Murphy by dinner time. I have a friend in Murphy that runs a very brisk tire changing business out of his home fronted by the website www.RideWNC.com. We met there to shoe the KLRs with new threads before the TAT and Mike was great in getting us all the new tires we wanted to start this adventure. After a breakfast at my favorite place in Maggie Valley, The Buttered Biscuit, it was time to head off up into the hills.