Great Smokies & Wet Misery on the MABDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by maloryII, May 13, 2019.

  1. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    AAR:

    • For the MABDR the KTM 690 is an absolute champ. Close range gearbox is perfect for all the switchbacks but it'll sit at 80mph in 6th gear for hours on the interstate. It has enough range (~150 miles) to ride deep in the woods comfortably without needing a giant aftermarket gas tank. And it's light, light, light. I went down a couple times in mud in Tennessee and picking it up was trivial.
    • In favorable weather conditions my bivy would have been perfect. But the rain requires a more robust shelter solution. Next time I will bring an additional ground cloth and some 550 cord to create a rain fly for the bivy.
    • I can go lighter with the sleeping bag. 20 degree mummies are overkill. I'm going to pick up something like this.
    • Rain pants must be bibbed to work for sustained soaking rain. Waisted pants WILL leak. I need a better solution here. Based on the outstanding performance of my Arcteryx Beta, I'll probably look at a mountaineering solution.
    • Merino undergarments are THE SHIT. Warm, light, and they dry very quickly, even in damp conditions. My merino underwear dried while I was wearing it (and nothing else, sorry Pat) in about 2 hours.
    • Wolfman E-12 luggage... I love the roominess and how easy they are to take on and off. They also sit securely on the bike. They didn't move an inch. However they soak easily, and they hold water inside. I had standing water inside the bags for the duration of the trip. Obviously they're not intended to be waterproof, so why not include a drain hole?
    • Dry bags essential for packing inside luggage. Quality matters -- Pat picked up some cheapo dry bags and he noticed that they leaked a little bit.
    • Wolfman front fender toolbag. This thing does not work well. It just slides to the front of the fender, which bends the fender and causes it scrape your front tire. Thumbs down.
    • If you're riding the MABDR, do yourself a favor and run a knobby style tire. You don't wanna get rained on in those woods with a 60/40+ tire.
    • Need a gloves solution. I dislike gauntlet gloves, and lined gloves are a huge pain in the ass when wet. Does anyone make a truly waterproof summer glove? Perhaps hippo hands are an option. They're light.
    • Scenic (the app) worked very well.
    • The iPhone 7 is not waterproof.
    • The Klim Badlands Pro is WAY too heavy. change my mind. I do however love the lower back dump pouch.
    • Arai XD4 is a good helmet. Only the neck part got wet. Kept me warm and ventilated. Lens fogs but they all do.
    • Food/drink/gas very easy to acquire on the BDR. No reason to pack any of these to any significant extent.
    • I have no issue wearing a backpack while riding. It didn't even notice it was there and it was very handy to be able to throw things in there that wouldnt otherwise fit.
    #21
  2. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer Supporter

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    Reference the Wolfman fender bag, did you drill small holes in the front fender and run small zip ties through the mounting bracket holes and through the fender? This will stop the bag from sliding on the fender AND if the straps loosen, will prevent the fender bag from going into your front wheel!

    I recommend these for rain:
    https://www.aerostich.com/clothing/...h-short-gauntlet-triple-digit-raincovers.html

    I wish you had great wx for your adventure. I'm from Maryland and it can rain indefinitely. Everytime I read a ride report like yours, it takes me back to 1972 and Hurricane Agnes. It rained nonstop for weeks. Major flooding on the Potomac. It was a mess. Anyone who plans to ride the MABDR should really anticipate heavy rain.

    Thanks for your ride report!
    #22
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  3. STOP

    STOP Been here awhile

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    This is great, thanks!
    #23
  4. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    Thanks for the recommendation, never seen those before.
    #24
  5. bnschroder

    bnschroder Adventurer

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    Doesn't sound like much fun in constant rain. Planning on the MABDR in July and am dreading a rainy Summer, but hard to plan for good weather at any season it appears.
    #25
  6. Ken Hooligan

    Ken Hooligan aka Hooligan LT

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    Great RR, we'll have to link up to do some riding after your TDY.
    #26
  7. EsconDeasy

    EsconDeasy Ectomorph

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    Excellent shot and well written RR.

    “It’s Fucking raining again” :lol3

    It’s important to include the misery as well as the joy of a good ride. I look forward to whatever you come up with next.
    #27
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  8. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

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    good stuff. thanks for taking the time to report.
    pops
    #28
  9. mr.jadkowski

    mr.jadkowski Been here awhile

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    This is so true. A bivy is great, until you actually have to use it in the rain and it feels like you're trapped inside a wet coffin. Hammock and tarp? Dry, but you're gonna be cold if you don't bring an underquilt and the bugs will destroy you. On the east coast, there is no substitute for a quality two-layer tent that can protect you from the rain and bugs. Having the space inside the tent to keep yourself and your gear dry and comfortable is priceless. Besides, you're packing it on a motorcycle. Who cares if it adds an extra 5 lbs?
    #29
  10. 15's Pop

    15's Pop Been here awhile

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    agree.
    #30
  11. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    "This is just 100% not fun anymore."
    :rofl
    If it ain't raining it ain't training....
    Great RR!!!
    #31
  12. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

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    October last year was good until I had to outrun hurricane Mitch (I think it was). Caught me north of Harpers Ferry and then the temps dropped from the 80's in VA to the 40's in PA The 8 hour slog home from NY in 32F-34F (adjusted for wind-chill) temps was miserable.
    September might be the better time to ride it if you can swing it.
    #32
  13. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

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    Great report...enjoyed it!
    #33
  14. DirtyRooster

    DirtyRooster Adventurer

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    Is it possible to do sections 2,3 in one day?
    #34
  15. CRIAKLR

    CRIAKLR I like pie

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    Great RR. I have learned from painful experience the difference between too much gear and not enough gear....and/or the wrong gear. You definitely don't want too much but too little, or the wrong gear, makes bad weather even worse. For me trial and error has been my teacher. Live, learn and laugh while you're learning.

    Thanks for sharing the report.......Very enjoyable!
    #35
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  16. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    That's ~300 miles of almost 100% gravel... that's a long day. If you left very early in the AM and were a relatively experienced rider, I guess you could but you'd have to scoot.
    #36
  17. Mofo Flake

    Mofo Flake Incompetent off-road Supporter

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    Great report. Thanks for taking the time to write it all out.

    Stupid question...

    Was there any section (trees excluded) that a motivated teenager in a Civic couldn't make it up? If so, how about a stock 2wd suburban?

    Don't take that question as insulting (or discrediting), just trying to foolishly gauge what kind of speed I might be able to average.
    #37
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  18. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    In dry conditions the sections detailed here are pretty trivial -- I can't think of any portion inaccessible to a passenger car (the water crossings would be hairy.) what'll keep your speeds down is the tortuousness of the track -- lots of switchbacks etc
    #38
    Mofo Flake likes this.