Before it gets too cold!!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ginger Beard, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    At this point I was eager to make it to the cabin before nightfall. I decided to skip the portion of the SEAT that runs between the GA border and Robbinsville NC (I'd be riding it the following day) , opting for the curvy paved roads instead. Not a bad option to be quite honest. The little WRR is perfectly at home on these roads and wringing it's neck happens to be one of my favorite pastimes.

    I rode up to the cabin just before dark. My buddies were still on the road finishing up a day loop to Western NC/TN but I was greeted by Luis , a close friend of my buddy that had the crash back in FL. Luis had already gotten the camp fire going and we sat around it getting acquainted until the others showed up.

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  2. BornAgain

    BornAgain Been here awhile

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    How's your buddy doing? Well I hope. The only problem I have reading your RR's it makes me realize how much I miss the South. Texas is great and I've loved making it home for the last 38 years (I married a native "Houstonian" and that earned me a visa which allowed me to stay :lol3) but it ain't the South. I was born on the right side of the Mason Dixon line and it just stays in the blood. Really enjoying the RR and the pics are great, even if it is making me extremely jealous :ricky
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  3. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    @BornAgain Thanks for asking, he's doing well. Not quite back to riding yet but soon. The South is definitely in my blood. I grew up in rural Florida and the lessons I learned there in my youth remain as a guiding force even at 45 years old for better or worse. Sounds like it might be time for your own road trip . Spring is right around the corner man! :jkam
  4. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    About an hour after I arrived, so did my friends. It was great to see them. It's funny that we only live a couple of cities away from one another but it takes riding multiple states away for us to hang out.

    Sometimes life is busy and we immerse ourselves in the family unit, work and a daily routine. Time with friends seems to be far less frequent but the bond remains. That thing that made us all friends in the first place fails to wane in spite of time and life's pressures. Having lost one of my closest friends just over a year ago, I was reminded of the fragility that comes with the passing of years. We lose people. Try as we might to put our fingers into the cracks, the flood of time is relentless and inevitable. I've caught some of what's left from my loss in memories. To me, that is what these types of trips are. They're to fill the bucket of memories for when the dam breaks and they're an important step in being comfortable and content with the time that remains . No person has ever stated on their death bed that they regret having had too many adventures, laughs and smiles with those that share their hearts. Make those memories count and create in a way that leaves you with a smile.

    We spent the evening catching up an planning the next day.
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  5. danh600

    danh600 Long timer Supporter

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    My best riding buddy lives two hours away in FL. We spend more time riding together in NC and AL than we do in FL. Takes an event to get us together. We need to fix that. We did ride together in FL the other day, but that is because we were leaving the state for a few days. :rofl
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  6. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    The next morning was a bit cool as we suited up and headed out for a ride. the decision had been made to take a ride down a road that I had avoided like the plague for many years.


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    And so it came to pass that I would once again be riding the Dragon. It's not a bad road by any means. In fact it's quite fun. Unfortunately it's also a hub for moto tourism and a spectacle of photographers and some "less than good" riders.
    My friends are lucky that I like them.:lol3


    My buddies rolled out of the lot about 15 seconds ahead of me which is all it took...

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    I found myself stuck behind an outfitter bus full of kayaks, a small SUV and lady aboard a bagger. That last one had me almost crack. She refused to use any pull-offs or wave me by (which the bus and SUV eventually did). This was the only point on this entire trip that I wished i had big hp numbers because I would be carrying triple her corner speed but as soon as we'd exit , she would floor it to the next corner where she'd come to a screeching halt. Rinse and repeat. There were multiple corners with a good sight line and a clear path but no way I could out accelerate her so I was pretty stuck. Even the mini van behind me was getting frustrated at her antics. See? There's a reason that I dislike these popular roads. Eventually there was a clear corner and I made my move but I was behind her for most of the really good stuff before the overlook.


    The hand says it all

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    And the guy that was behind me and carrying more corner speed than bagger lady

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    Everyone was well rested when I showed up at the overlook. :lol3

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    Gentlemen, present beards!! :imaposer
    Regardless of the pace, I still had fun. Don't tell the cool kids.

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    We left "The Dragon" and headed for the more scenic roads of TN. It was cloudy and getting chillier as the day pressed on but man, that view!!
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  7. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Another great report, Dave! I'm gonna hafta ride that way someday...
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  8. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    We were heading for Bald River Falls near Tellico Plains when the group split up slightly. Luis and James were enjoying a relatively spirited pace while Juan, Aaron and I were busy taking in the sights and stopping to hike around a bit. Snacks were also in order, something which Aaron always seems to have on him. Eating Pop Tarts in the middle of a river. I can cross that off my bucket list!

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    Our bikes watched us from a vantage point.
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    Seriously, it's really hard to find an undesirable location in these eastern forests.

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  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Thanks Dave! If you ever decide to make that ride I'd love to tag along or help you with routes! :beer
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  10. HickOnACrick

    HickOnACrick Groovinator

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    Many of my rides take me near the Dragon. The only time I will ride it is early on a weekday; even then, I will inevitably catch up to a flotilla of pirate ships. Watching middle-aged, overweight, out of shape pirates try and navigate even the easiest curves is laughable. I have yet to have one wave me through, and more often then not, when I pass them, I see them do a little handlebar flinch when I get aside them...they are completely unaware that anyone is behind them.
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  11. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I'll take you up on that.
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  12. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    We met back up with Luis and Juan at the falls. Aaron being the person that he is, quickly finds a trail to the top. We all hightail it for the trail and follow suit.

    *DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if hiking the falls is prohibited.

    James for scale
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    Your friendly neighborhood ginger stopping by to say hello

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    This one's for the ladies...Or fellas. I don't discriminate.
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    We spent about an hour here just enjoying the scene. What a truly beautiful place!


    When it was time to leave, James, Aaron and I decided to ride a section of the SM500 on our way back to the cabin. It was a nice break from riding the blacktop and it gave Aaron and I a change to hang it out a bit on this twisting , climbing forestry road. With limited suspension travel and street tires, James was relegated to a more "regular" pace.


    A break before the road starts to head down again.

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    The skies began to darken and we were getting hungry so we hopped back on the Cherohala Skyway. This section of this scenic road climbs to nearly 5500 feet. What a difference in temps up here! It was downright chilly at this elevation.
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    That night we hung out at the cabin. hot tubbed it a bit and got into some heated video game competition. James is the current leader for top ace pilot in 1942.

    Don't freak out, that's a thumb...
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    Post tub game night. Keeping it NC17.
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    The next couple of days I spent hanging out at the cabin with friends, just enjoying some company, a camp fire and a truck ride into town for lunch. I also got caught up on laundry and since this was a dry county, I dried out my liver a bit.
  13. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    When road clearing also gets you some choice fire wood.

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    Who wore it best? James and his Hot Tub Merika' suit or Richard in his "I'm going for a ride, who cares if it's 40 degrees out?".

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  14. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    While I don't mean to gloss over two days, no one needs to see a picture of me doing laundry or getting into how very seriously we were taking 1942. I'll summarize by saying that it was great to spend a few days with my friends and to make new ones in Luis and Richard.

    I left the cabin on Friday morning and left to meet my buddy Rich in Waynesville NC. Over the next couple of days, he and I would be riding the "PLUS" sections of the SM500 which adds more technical options to an already fun route.

    With temps in the mid 40's, Richard and I were both pretty bundled up. Meanwhile we left James and Juan to enjoy a hot tub soak.

    Richard and his awesome XV Cafe racer build which he rode up from the ATL area.

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  15. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    A cool sunny morning in NC. I had a little over an hours ride to get to Rich's house along beautiful roads that follow the Nantahala river.



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  16. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    I got to Rich's around noon and we headed out to get lunch and some supplies. We'd be hitting the trail tomorrow morning and we were both damn excited.


    I really dig the small town of Wyanesville. It has a quaint little downtown with some good restaurants and bars and it's close enough to the middle of nowhere that you don't feel locked into an urban area.


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    Later that evening we went back into town for dinner and a few drinks, then came back and hung out around a bon fire until it was time to pass out.


    It dropped into the low thirties that night which prompted us to sleep in a bit. Even then we awoke to frost on the roof of the house. We bundled up and were ready to rock.... Around 10:30 a.m. :lol3
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    An off roader's paradise. I really love NC. IMG_20191018_111937.jpg
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  17. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    It wasn't long before we were in the trails but right before that I had a woman get angry at me for being in the way of "her" pump at a local gas station. Not only had I already begun to fill my tank well before she even pulled in but there were 8 pumps with only two being used. She still dug down deep to find enough animosity to honk at me and throw her hands up before speeding off and never getting fuel. Angry Lady in a Cadillac, no more menopause for you!!

    Woohoooooo!!!! We were finally riding!! We do this way too much... IMG_20191018_135357.jpg

    We had the forest all to ourselves IMG_20191018_141358.jpg


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    The ground was less than sticky and caused Rich to have his only fumble of this trip. A little too hot on on a loose corner. Don't worry man, I'll be one upping you soon!! :D

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    The trailed narrowed as we pressed on. Sorry about the slightly blurry pics. My phone was not liking the cold combined with the humidity of the dew burning off.

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    And it kept getting better...
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  18. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    These rock strewn double tracks don't look like much in pics. Throw some leaf litter atop everything and picking lines can get interesting. Combine that with tanking blood sugar and you're in for a good time.


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    So today was a great day of riding but to say that I wasn't on my A game would be an understatement. I had been fighting something off for the last couple of days and woken up in the middle of the night last night to a wonderful fever. I probably should have called it and waited an extra day before getting into the good stuff but as I am infinitely wise, I chose to go for it. I chose to do so while completely forgetting to pack snacks to deal with there being zero access to food for several hours.

    This is the section that let me know just how out of sorts I was. Rich hit it clean but I picked a crap line and bottomed out on a boulder so Rich had to give me a hand getting through the tougher section.

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    Thanks bud!


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  19. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    After that rock garden there were a couple more which we took with confidence. After several more difficult climbs and a water crossing, we stopped for a break. I reached for my Camelbak for a drink of water and to my surprise, I wasn't wearing it!! I had taken it off to pull layers back at the big rock garden and had set it on my tail bag, neglecting to put it back on. SON OF A BITCH!!!

    I had to backtrack in order to find it. It had too much important shit in it for me to just leave it behind (which I honestly considered). I was completely out of steam but I had little choice other than to ride all the gnarly shit that we had just come through not once more but twice!!!

    Including this sketchy ass "bridge" that was slowly falling apart
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    My eyes tell the story
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    And there's my pack just sitting there laughing at me for being a dumbass. I see you pack!! Just past the first big rock garden.

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    We came out of the tougher stuff and spent some time cruising groomed fire roads before coming to another technical section. I definitely should have bowed out on this part and met back up with Rich further down the trail but not being in my best head , of course my ego overrode my intellect.

    Now I was completely gassed , riding like shit and picking terrible lines. That combo bit me in the ass when I ripped through a leaf covered corner with a small drop. I saw what looked to be a good line to keep speed but what I didn't see was a slimy off camber root under those leaves. I rolled on the throttle to steer the rear end and to get the front light for the small drop and then ? Curtains!! One second I was up and the next I'm stuffing myself head first into a small embankment and catching my shoulder on a rock.


    I had hit the ground hard enough that Rich came running back to where I was lying to see if I was alright. I did a self assessment and laid right there on the ground for a minute or two. I was good to ride but I definitely jacked up something in my neck and my shoulder was pretty damn stiff.


    Wet root : 1

    Ginger Beard : 0


    At least I know the bags can take repeated thrashing.
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    The last couple of miles out of the forest let me know that I was done for the day in regards to off road.

    We found a forestry road that took us to the Cherohala and we rode that into Tellico plains where we had plans to stay at @Baggi'tard place, the main man that put together these "plus" sections.
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    As we climbed, the temps descended. No worries as this road is not only fun but had amazing scenery. A definite must if you ever plan to ride through the South Eastern USA.
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    Those clouds are the tail end of the cold front that had pushed through

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    The temps began to really drop as the sun lowered in the sky. We were at nearly 6000 feet and the wind had kicked up as well.
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    Now I've already mentioned how much I hate riding after deer thirty. The reality of hitting a critter goes up exponentially just before and after sundown. Unfortunately it is sometimes necessary and today was one of those days. Bewteen the multiple breaks, my get off and our late start, we were behind schedule.

    Our late arrival into Tellico killed our plans of hanging out with @Baggi'tard but his amazing wife did give me a fistful of ibuprofen for my neck and shoulder and set us up with a hotel room in the next town (leafers have this whole region on lock-down this time of year). She also gave us a couple of brownies that really hit the spot. If you are in Tellico Plains then definitely plan a stay at the Farmhouse Inn and say hello to a solid inmate. Rich and I plan on heading back!


    We got to the hotel about 9 p.m. , tired and hungry. We got pizza at a local joint and went back to our room where we passed out almost immediately. It had been a long day with some great riding and some self induced "adventure"...I don't recommend that last part. :lol3

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  20. JRowland

    JRowland Been here awhile Supporter

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    Smoky Mountain sub shop, yum. Those "plus" sections sure look fun, might not have been fun in your condition. I need to explore over that way.
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