Kentucky Adventure Tour (KAT) June 22-27 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by dstutz, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    Excellent advice and I appreciate the info. I’ll check out your thread when I get on my office computer.

    By the way, that’s not my past bikes , those are what I have now:D (and picking up the SM Friday)
    #21
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  2. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 4 - June 25 - Renfro Valley, KY to Stearns, KY

    Try as I did, Mitch wouldn't climb up on there with me in our gear :(:
    [​IMG]

    Another shot of our $40 accommodations:
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    At least it was quiet as we were the only tent people there.

    And the kitchen in daylight:
    [​IMG]

    So we didn't cover that much ground (on the route) the day before, we lost Penn, bikes were a bit banged up, Mitch was grumbling a little bit about possibly cutting the route short....but we were still feeling good and had actually slept a night in tents. A good bit of today was a bit demoralizing as we just ran into a shitshow of re-routes mostly due to high water. We passed a couple noticeable spots 4 times. I kept offering to stop so Mitch could buy a bike from the yard sale some dude was sitting at. Meanwhile, he was probably wondering WTF our muddy asses were doing driving back and forth in front of him all morning.

    The rats nest at the top represents 5 hours and about 71 miles from leaving the campground at 9am.
    [​IMG]

    Based on our experience with water levels so far we decided to not even attempt the "Deep Creek" crossing so we took the bypass. Here's someone else's video of what that looks like normally:


    I was curious what it looked like so when we were on the other side we popped down off the highway to take a look and were greeted with this:
    [​IMG]
    To be honest, I couldn't even tell where we were supposed to head to on the other side so neither of us were losing sleep over skipping this one.

    We looped around and back up and did hard 4. We had known there was a big tree down from one of Jeff's videos that he did as part of the Renfro Valley Dual Sport and the go around was to go down the hill and then back up. Mitch and I were somewhat concerned about this part as in Jeff's videos people on enduro bikes were having some issues and again the whole 350lb DS bike with luggage thing was in our heads. We got to the tree and I even saw the go ahead and was like fuuuuuuck, but I dismounted and walked up further and realized some wonderful person had trimmed part of the tree down to make room for bikes to pass so crisis averted and on we went. When we got to the end of the hard where it pops out on a real road we were greeted with this:
    [​IMG]

    Thankfully this guy wasn't that serious about keeping people out as it was extremely easy to ride around the gate.

    Pretty soon after we encountered this:
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    Some scale?:
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    This wasn't marked as a potential deep spot...was muddy, flowing fairly well, looked deeper than 2 feet and we had no idea what the bottom was like so we noped the fuck out of this one and backtracked a little and took an alternate path to head back to the main where we promptly ran into another block..and another...then headed back through some roads from earlier to really go around and got back on the main. So it was 2pm and we were *finally* back on the road.

    We got to hard 5 which is more multi-use singletrack but Mitch wasn't feeling it so we skipped and stayed on the main loop. Just a little further (around 3:30) we hit deep section where the trail was in a creek bed for about 150-200 feet or so but it was pretty high. It was running clear and could see the bottom but parts of it looked over 2' deep. I walked a good bit up the side but we just didn't want to take the chance. It probably would have been possible to push them through but there were other roads around so why risk it...backtrack and start going around.

    Here's one of Jeff's videos showing this section in nicer times, we would have been heading the opposite direction. And of course, in hindsight looking at this video now we probably could have hugged the side like he said and made it ok.


    Upstream:
    [​IMG]

    Downstream:
    [​IMG]

    So I check the GPS and see a potential way around so we start driving for a bit and I hit an intersection take a closer look and I'm like uhh...I don't think any of these actually go through, so Magellan strikes again and we backtrack some more to bigger, non dashed-line roads to get around and back on the main loop.

    It was about 4:30 when we got back on the main loop. So we were 7.5hrs into the riding day and were like half way to where we ended up staying for the night :) At this point things smoothed out and we plodded on, rolling into Stearns, KY around 8:15pm and staying in yet another motel. In this case the Big South Fork Motor Lodge. Turns out the guy running it had just bought the place and was getting into the groove of things. I don't think he was able to rustle up a hair dryer for us to use but I told him why he wanted it and the fact that he was on the "KAT" route (God, I feel strange trying explain stuff like adv routes to normal people...) and he seemed interested and said he might get some boot dryers. He did let me use the hose at the back of the place to wash off my stuff. And hey, the A/C worked...I said F it and cooked up my water in the room for dinner tonight:


    So as I said earlier Mitch had been grumbling a little bit about possibly cutting the trip short and if it would have come to that I would have relented but I was like "just wait...we're in the DB NF, this is the crappiest part of the route, the whole lower leg is more paved and faster gravel". So the second part of the day gave me some vindication as we were able to cover some decent ground.

    Day 4 stats: 214 miles, 11.25 hrs, 7.75 moving, 27.7 moving avg, 71 max speed, elevation 745 ft min, 1603 ft max.
    #22
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  3. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 5 - June 26 - Stearns, KY to Harlan, KY

    Spirits were lifted slightly at the end of the day yesterday...there wasn't more riding southwest at this point before we'd turn northeast and be heading in the general direction of the truck for the rest of the trip so I was happy. Today would have us dip down into TN for a little bit before returning to KY then bouncing around in between the VA/KY border and through bits of the Jefferson National Forest, and Cumberland Gap. We headed out a little after 8:15 and I think headed into town for a quick McD's breakfast then back onto the route.

    Rock Creek Rd heading out of Stearns and the DBNF and into TN:
    [​IMG]

    This is representative of a lot of the day. Things stopped sucking so much (which is good and bad at the same time) it seemed a lot dryer in general so we were making decent progress. We reached hard 6 just before noon and broke off on that. It snaked up into the hills past a lot of natural gas wells (I think) and then worked down into a nice valley and just snaked around the base of the hills. Some nice scenery:

    Up in the hills:
    [​IMG]

    Down in the valley:
    [​IMG]

    3:30pm we broke off to do Hard 7. This one is primarily a ride along a ridge but the trick is you have to get up to that ridge. It wasn't terribly hard but we definitely didn't do it one go without stopping :). Here's one of Jeff's videos showing just the beginning of the climb:


    It was just over a mile and took us 20 mins to get up (max 21mph for that section :)). Pretty soon after that we ran into this:
    [​IMG]

    We tugged/broke some of the smaller stuff and then just helped lean over and pull through the bikes under the bigger part. Was regretting my Badlands jacket a bit at this point, in fact, I think I may have taken it off until we got to the end of the hard as it wasn't super technical but was just a slow plod following the ridge.

    Next up is Cumberland Gap. I had been up there on previous trips but Mitch had never been, I asked if he wanted to stop and he wasn't interested but then when we got there because I was somewhat familiar with it I just started heading up the mountain and then was like shit, missed the turn over the comms (serious mistake) and we just went up anyway, LOL. About 5:30pm at this point.

    This is one of those places where you can fulfill your "two places at the same time" dream:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Oh, yeah. Mitch and I walk up to the overlook in our boots and pants, left the jackets and helmets with the bikes and there's this old couple up there sitting on the bench and the woman goes "Doin' much wading up here?" and I'm like "WTF?" and then realize we looks like idiots in our pants/boots and explain it's motorcycle gear.

    Continuing on, we skipped past the Hensley Extreme optional hard section as Jeff says it's tough on an enduro bike with a good rider and we have and are neither.
    #23
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  4. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    Day 5 continued...

    Mostly uneventful gravel and nice backroads moving along. We were shooting for Harlan and just before town there's what appears to be a fun section on the main loop snaking up into the hills. So we're following along and all of a sudden I look down and track is gone and I'm like woops, missed a turn. Cue about 15 minutes of looking at the GPS, driving back and forth, getting off the bike and scouting some overgrown stuff and I'm just like WTF is the road? So I'm up on the hill walking back and and I hear an engine...I see a 4x4 utility quad with a couple on it and I'm like, maybe I can ask these guys but I get back to the bikes a little late and we just miss them, they're continuing on in the direction I was mistakenly going so we go after them hoping to catch up real quick and talk to them. They're not flying but they're not putting either but I do catch up and then Mitch and I are talking wondering how long until they see us. I think I beeped the horn a couple times but nothing. Finally the woman on the back just casually looks back and you can see her jump a little just not expecting people. I think I waved. Then the guy really takes off. And Mitch and I are just like "now what?" so we just follow them at a pace that is slightly faster than I would normally be comfortable with but at this point we're just kinda like "how is this gonna end?". I mean...it's "Adventure" riding, right? We hit an intersection and I slow down a little cause, remember, we're lost and I ask Mitch which way and he's just "FOLLOW THEM!!!" so off we go. They're both looking back occasionally and I'm like "still here" in my head. After a few miles of this the guy stops and pulls over and we stop and I'm like "Well that was fun" to them and we explain we didn't know where were going and basically just offered to follow them out of the trails as I had zoomed out a bit and was like ok this can work. So instead of coming up into Harlan from the SE we came out of the hills into Yancey then E and South a tiny bit into town where we found yet another motel, the Mount Aire Motel.

    Stepping back a bit, earlier in the day I casually mentioned to Mitch over the comms that I could really go for some Mexican. We had been eating the dehyrdrated meals for dinner each night. Lunches were always just snacking on Cliff bars (Mitch and I were already trading flavors) and jerky and breakfast was usually quick on the road. So I was just daydreaming about some real food.

    We get settled in and set up our boot drying apparatus that we have almost perfected at this point. We've found that if you get too gung ho with the hair dryers they overheat and shut down but we've got this setup to do 3 at a time using the socks to close up some gaps as well as dry them slightly:
    [​IMG]

    So we're scoping out some food and I see "El Charrito" across the way. It's a bit of a walk in my flip-flops but whatever, it's Mexican and it was glorious.

    I wanted a margarita...it's been 5 long ass days. I ask the waiter and he says its such and such price. Then he offers a pitcher for like $14 and I ask Mitch if he wants to share. "What? No..." So I just say ok just one for me then. After the waiter leaves I say "You don't want a margarita?" and he says "I don't want to share one with you!". I'm like..."you don't want to share a pitcher??" And then we realize I was having a better time understanding our imported waiter than he was and I run after the guy and change the order to a pitcher. Anyway...it hit the damn spot:
    [​IMG]

    I was also enjoying the table behind us where it appeared a guy was taking his mom out to dinner but I'm pretty sure they were actually a couple. After dinner we're walking back and it's dark at this point and this guy is walking our way across the parking lot and he's like "Hey! Can you get liquor over there?" And we're like "Uhh...We just went to the Mexican place and they serve" and he's like "GREAT! 'Cause I just crushed some tall boys, ran out, and I need more."

    We made it back in one piece, didn't get arrested walking right past the State Police barracks and had a restful night.

    Day 5 stats: 221 miles, 11.5 hrs, 8 moving, 27.9 mph avg, 65 max, elevation ft 727 min, 2425 max.
    #24
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  5. montanatravels

    montanatravels n00b

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    Yah, I definitely did want a margarita but all of a sudden they are both trying to talk me into sharing one of those big romantic margarita drinks... Everything on the menu was cheap enough that I decided NO THANKS! I'll go ahead and get my own drink. That way I can just have however much I want at the pace I want. I ended up VERY happy with the decision for the pitcher, as well as the choice to get the one of everything mega meal that was basically 3 plates of food for I think about 10 bucks.
    #25
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  6. dstutz

    dstutz Long timer

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    As was I cause I know I helped polish off some of your plate...
    #26
  7. B-Mac

    B-Mac Aged Beef Supporter

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    :lurk Day 6 ?
    Harlen to Matewan?
    Bueller Bueller.:D
    #27