Scootering the Southeast with Maddiedog

Discussion in 'Battle Scooters' started by maddiedog, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Marietta, GA, USA
    I was about to post in Day Trippin again, but I figured that I should chronicle my tinkering and riding in one place rather than over many threads, given none of the day trips are that interesting. I go on all sorts of long (500+ miles) and short rides (200+ miles) with my dog, Maddie. We ride on a PCX 125 that I've heavily modified to be very accommodating of long-distance touring. I'm also the unofficial guru of the Honda PCX -- I run the Honda PCX forums at http://www.hondapcx.org, so PM me or ask if you have any questions about the PCX.

    Me, Maddie, and our PCX:

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    My PCX is a 2011 125cc MKI PCX. There are 4 versions of the PCX, mine is the oldest. The oldest model is arguably the most easily moddable version, given no one was expecting Honda to release so many versions. It's also the most prevalent model overseas, due to the HUGE initial sales in Asia.

    With the current modifications, my PCX maxes out at 73mph GPS and sustains power for highway cruising at 60-65mph. I do bog down up STEEP inclines, and sometimes can only maintain about 45mph when climbing mountains. I still get roughly 80mpg, sometimes as much as 95mpg if I stay off the highway.

    Modifications to the PCX so far:
    - 170cc Big Bore Kit (how-to coming soon) (Takegawa kit)
    - Steeper counter gear (Kitaco)
    - Steeper final gear and pinion (Yuminashi)
    - High speed variator (Takegawa)
    - Reinforced belt
    - Airbox snorkel mod
    - LED floodlights
    - Stebel Nautilus horn
    - Givi windshield
    - 12v outlet
    - Custom rear rack
    - Misc cosmetic (rear fender removal, trim pieces, etc)


    Modifications planned:
    - Aftermarket camshaft
    - Lowering rear shocks (stock rebound is too low, and lower height = better aerodynamics)


    There seemed to be some interest in my ride reports in the minimalist touring threads and the dog thread, so here's my existing ride reports:
    - Weekend trip on the Silverwing, 1000+ mile weekend: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=909379
    - Overnight camping trip in Vogel: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=728968
    - Trip through NC / TN: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=970438

    I'll be posting day trips of us riding around the Southeast and me tinkering with the PCX shortly, stay tuned. :lurk
    #1
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  2. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Marietta, GA, USA
    Me and the pup went for a ~250 mile day ride Sunday. It was fun. Somehow my iPhone flipped some of the photos horizontally, which is weird... I'm going to try to use a real camera next time.

    As all excellent rides should begin, we met up at Taco Bell. Maddie and I split a quesarito, which was some delicious conglomeration of calories and meat byproduct. Delicious.

    My friend Freeman got a new bike, a V-strom. It is quite nice, with full luggage, crashbars, etc. We cleaned the thing up Saturday night (lots of :freaky involved), added foglights and completely readjusted the suspension (including changing linkage to bring it up to a ridable height). It's a cool bike.

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    We hopped on 400, one of the main highways out of Atlanta, and rode up and into Dahlonega.

    Freeman holding up the ADV rider "salute"

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    We kept going Northeast into Helen, GA. Helen used to be a logging town long ago, but when the industry died out, started catering to tourists by becoming "alpine themed." The entire town is supposed to resemble a German town. Even with my limited international traveling (read: none), I am skeptical.

    Hmm, smells kinda like kraut.

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    We rode over to Cool River Tubing (in the background of the below pic -- even the tubing place is themed), and parked our bikes.

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    Luckily, the tubing company is fairly dog-friendly. They were impressed that Maddie just hung around us without a leash, and gave me a kids tube for her to ride on. :lol3 The tubing company is downriver from where we get in the Chattahoochee river to go tubing, so we loaded up the tubes they gave us into a trailer and boarded their bus. The bus went back through town. Maddie made friends with some girls behind us and rode in their laps for most of the short bus ride. :evil

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    We unloaded our tubes and hopped in the river. The water is perfect this time of year, and the air's not ridiculously hot yet. Maddie's been tubing a few times, she typically shares a tube with the beer cooler. We don't drink and ride though, so she shared the tube with a backpack. I clipped her to my tube so she wouldn't go too far away.

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    Freeman didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose him. :deal

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    Maddie hopped off and swam some, but rode most of the time in the tube -- the current's a bit too strong for her to swim the whole way.

    We rode out the river and the small rapids on it, changed and dried off, then rode across Helen to look for dinner. Can you spot the scooter and adventure bike among the Harleys?

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    Kraut dog for dinner. Delicious. I love sauerkraut.

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    Maddie had some too. Omnomnom bratwurst!

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    We were well-fed and ready to ride. It was still afternoon, so it was time to go enjoy some good mountain twisties. We headed out of Helen up to Richard B Russell Scenic Byway. It's always a good ride, with lots of elevation change and sweeping curves. The bikes performed beautifully, but we were constantly dodging gravel.

    I'm on the right side of the double yellows, I swear. :huh I'm just leaned way over and holding the camera way out:

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    We rolled on through, and hit Wolf Pen Gap next. Wolf Pen Gap is a lot tighter than Richard B Russel Scenic Byway, but they were paving it, so we got to enjoy lots of fresh tarmac. But, Freeman just got an adventure bike, so we detoured off of the Gap and took off down a gravel trail.

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    The PCX performed perfectly, as usual. It's a bit squirrely on the big gravel with such small onroad tires, but a bit of working the handlebars keeps the rubber side down. Maddie usually sits on my lap, but she stands when the going gets rough.

    Freeman's V-Strom was a bit more well-suited for the application, with dual-purpose tires. He only had to wait for me once though -- the linked brakes on the PCX work way against you when trying to maintain control on steep gravel downhills, so I had to take it slow to prevent the front from washing out.

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    Our offroading was cut short though, a HUGE tree had fallen across the path, and the woods are too tight to fit the V-Strom around.

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    The woods are getting dark too:

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    PCX in the wild:

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    Time to turn back...

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    And back on the road. We stopped to get out the camera, there was a black bear in the road. It ran off before I got my phone out to take a picture though. There are lots of black bears and deer around here. The bears usually stay small (under 50 pounds) and typically don't pose a threat. The deer can be way more harmful -- I've had more than my fair share of close calls with deer in the road in North Georgia. Never, ever ride faster than your headlights can see, especially at and right after dusk.

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    We kept on down Wolf Pen gap. No wolves spotted, but plenty of other wildlife. The deer started coming out, so we burned our headlights on high, flipped the foglights on, and kept a hand hovering the brake at all times.

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    Beautiful curves. ;)
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    We got out of the twisties and into the countryside. It's beautiful up here. Maybe I'll retire around this area someday.
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    Some curves picked up again as we rode south down SR60, out of the Chattahoochee National Forest.

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    We rode past Lake Zwerner (that's what google maps calls it :eek1) and then rode back through Dahlonega.

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    We stayed on Highway 9, avoiding the slab and cruising at a relaxed pace.

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    We powered on towards home. Maddie fell asleep on her favorite spot in the whole world, tired from a long day of adventuring:

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    #2
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  3. AMAC1680

    AMAC1680 Outdoorsman, advocate, paraplegic

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    Very cool indeed.
    The only way my Pup will ride is on the back rack in her carrier.

    Be Big,
    AMAC
    #3
  4. CMS

    CMS Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Maddie, have your driver keep these trips going, they are great !!! They also have peaked my interest to do some trips in the same areas. :clap:clap
    CMS
    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Great start to what will hopefully be an ongoing thread. North Georgia is a great place to ride. The one thing I don't like about moving to Alabama is that I am further away from the great riding in N. Ga and NC.

    Hopefully we can meet up in N. GA sometime.
    #5
  6. gumshoe4

    gumshoe4 Long timer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Excellent. Brought back some memories in two ways:

    1. We lost our dog Buckwheat about 10 years ago. He was part JRT and part Chihuahua and he looked VERY much like Maddie, down to the floppy ears.

    2. In 1979, I was stationed at the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia. My buddies and I went up to Helen almost every weekend to go trout fishing.

    Good times. Thank you for sharing yours!
    #6
  7. GREY.HOUND

    GREY.HOUND Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    central valley, california
    great report and looks like an amazing ride. I spent some time on your forum before deciding on my SC250; it's a great place for info on the pcx.
    GH
    #7
  8. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Marietta, GA, USA
    Thanks for the replies everyone. :D Glad you enjoyed the pics so far.

    I did some work on the big bore kit how-to tonight. I decided I'd upload some teaser pics of a naked PCX. Naked bikes don't break the rules, right? :lol3

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    An extra ~50ccs makes a lot of difference: :evil

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    Tranny...

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    Warning: try stupid stuff at your own risk:

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    ... I had to test it somehow! :rofl
    #8
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  9. JerryH

    JerryH Proudly Powered By Internal Combustion Supporter

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    Hmm. Have dog, will travel. Cool.
    #9
  10. CaptnJim

    CaptnJim Scooter Pilot

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    Love it - a PCRuckus? A RuckusX? A Pruckus? You and Maddiedog are great ambassadors for the PCX! Keep 'em coming! :clap

    Jim
    #10
  11. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

    Joined:
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    Marietta, GA, USA
    Me and the pup bought a V-Strom and have been strommin it up lately.

    I'm never selling my PCX though, it's just too fun. :evil


    More on the Strom later though, I have a couple of rides I haven't posted pics of.


    Mini-RideReport #1:
    Me and Freeman went up through TN again, but I completely failed to take any decent amount of pictures. Me and Maddie stopped at Bojangles in Ellijay for lunch. MADDIE LOVES BOJANGLES:

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    She's all "dad, more chicken-like product please?"

    Of course, I obliged. I think she ate more chicken than I did. We started to get geared up and back on the bike to keep hauling ass Northbound, when it suddenly got dark. We looked up, and blackish clouds loomed overhead. Hail began raining down, about the size of marbles. We took shelter under the nearest a gas station overhang. F that.

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    Wind whipped around us, and we strongly reconsidered our choice of vehicles. Me and Freeman decided to stick it out and wait for the calm rather than seeking a tornado shelter. As quickly as the hail started, it ended, and we had a completely clear ride up to Iron Horse in NC. :huh

    We set up camp, Maddie played ball.

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    The next day, we packed up, headed out, and rolled on home.

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    I seriously failed to take more pics from that trip. :lol3 Oh well, much fun was had. :ricky
    #11
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  12. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Marietta, GA, USA
    Mini-RideReport #2:

    The local scooter group, GASS, wanted to go on a tour up through AL and TN to see some sights. Here's GASS' facebook page if you're local to Atlanta; we ride regularly and are going on another ride next weekend: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GOTGASS/.

    There were 7 or 8 of us this ride. As most good rides go with GASS, we started at the Red Eyed Mule and enjoyed some delicious biscuits for breakfast.

    We rode out West, riding over the border from Georgia into Alabama to Little River Canyon.

    Maddie in front of the canyon at one of the flatter areas:

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    "GUYS, I HEAR A SQUIRREL!"

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    Some more of the falls:

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    The local GASS crew (I'm taking the pic, so I'm not pictured):

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    We hopped on the road that follows the canyon. It's a narrow road, but is fairly well-traveled. I took a pic of all the scooters. I was the 2nd smallest there; a Buddy 125 was the smallest in the group. We had a Piaggio BV300, a 2T modern Vespa, a couple of Vespa 250s, and a Silverwing with us. The ride in front of me and behind me:

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    There are numerous rock formations in the area that have been worn into odd shapes by nature over time. The rock is limestone and weathers easily, which is how such weird shapes can be formed. I was surprised how close the road came to lots of the formations; this one the road split to go around.

    Fuckin Mandy tagging nature:

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    Nearby, an even bigger rock with some big ledges:

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    Me and the pup hopped on top of one of the boulders and one of the riders we were with snapped a pic:

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    We rode Northeast towards Cloudland Canyon and enjoyed the altitude. Lots of fun roads. We passed a hang gliding place, some huge cliffs, and dodged lots of potholes on poorly-maintained mountain roads. The PCX bogged a bit on some HUUUGE hills, but pulled way ahead of the 2T Vespa and the 125cc Vespa.

    At the top of one of the peaks somewhere around there:
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    We kept heading Northeast to Lookout Mountain, and bombed down the mountain. John on his BV300 lead the ride and set a brisk pace. We're both the fastest in the group by far, and completely lost the rest of the group by the time we got to the base of the mountain. Lots of twisting and lots of leaning. The PCX performed beautifully as usual, and I only leaned far enough to drag the tupperware a couple of times.

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    Chattanooga was uneventful as usual:

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    We stopped at Nikki's Drive-In... It was average at best. I don't understand why it's so well-reputed in the area. Oh well, the bikes are gassed up, I was gassed up, and it was time to head on home...

    ...But first, TUNNEL!!!!

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    TUNNEL!!!

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    WOOOO TUNNNELLLLL!!!

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    I get way too excited at tunnels. I rode on home separate from the group -- I had to be home quickly to help with the baby, so me and Maddie buzzed down the interstate Southbound to home. :D
    #12
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  13. bman

    bman Been here awhile

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    dat motor done burnt up
    Great report. I concur about Nikki's. If you would have continued on a few miles after the tunnel, you would have found Dub's Place in Red Bank.
    Very tasty homemade food and very dog friendly.
    #13
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  14. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

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    Dub's place? I know where we're eating next time! Thanks for the recommendation, bman. :D



    I've got another mini-RR, this one was a weekend ride on the Strom. I figure I'll just post here though, rather than making yet another Day Trippin thread.


    Here's me and Maddie's new ride, a Suzuki V-Strom:

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    I'm so used to the light weight and small size of scooters that the first two mods were to remove all the luggage and luggage racks, then to replace the topcase with a more functional Pelican case. I recouped $400 in cost of the bike by selling the luggage too, bringing the end cost to $2600. :evil

    The next mod was figuring out how Maddie would ride. I didn't want her to ride in the topcase; she's used to riding in front of me. I had a backpack that I've had since college that served me very well, but has been replaced with a GoRuck. I undid the straps so I could have 4 points to tether the bag with.

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    The shoulder straps loop around the front tank supports, and have webbing that is clipped with a carabiner to secure the strap itself.

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    The lower straps secure to the crash bars using removable zip ties.

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    MADDIE, WANNA RIDE?

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    Air dog go!

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    Pat the bag, she automatically goes in the bag. Smart dog.

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    All we're missing is camping gear and a weekend....


    ...Or are we?

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    All loaded up and ready to rock.

    Let's go ride! Up the highway as usual:

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    Rest stop on highway 411:

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    Nature calls :lol3

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    Owning and commuting on a bike is one thing... But you should always have a love affair with your bike. If you don't get off of it, look back and go "damn, that is a fine machine," you're not riding the right bike for you. The PCX and the V-Strom are the only two bikes I've felt that way about. It's perfect for its function, and has done everything I've attempted to do with it very well. I've already put 3000 miles on it, and at the time of this trip, was probably already 500 miles into my ownership. She's a keeper.

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    Loaded up. Back on the road.

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    Cruising past the mountains.

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    We rode through Deal's gap / Tail of the Dragon again, and made the highlights as usual (HYOOOGE pic). :lol3

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    We stopped at the resort. It was a Friday, so not too busy. I prefer Deal's gap when it's not busy; it's much more fun. I parked next to two Strommers who were down for the weekend from Michigan. I don't remember their names, unfortunately. One had an ADV sticker though!

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    5-0 was out in full force doing exercises for the upcoming weekend.

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    We went to Iron Horse again, their accommodations are always top-notch. I pitched camp, and played some ball with Maddiedog again.

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    Really roughing it here. :lol3

    Ramen (the good stuff with a label in only Japanese) with some tuna and some Jack Daniels on the side.

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    Maddie apparently wants some.

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    After dinner, I explored camp some and talked to some of the other campers around the site. I went back to the bike to grab my iPad to read and found this...

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    Damn dogs that live at the campsite marked their territory on my bike!! :lol3 Oh well, dogs will be dogs. Later on through the trip, I found my front wheel peed on at least half a dozen times. If I actually cared, I would have been pissed. Instead, I guess I was just pissed on. I digress...

    I found a chair to relax in and partook in some drinking, some reading, then relaxing by the fire.

    I spoke to a fellow riding an R1200GS, beautiful bike and nice guy. I think he was Romanian, and was a nurse when he wasn't out riding. He's a member here, with a username and name that I have since forgotten. I think he was from Buford, GA. We talked awhile about good deep stuff -- morality, patient treatment, life... He was a nice, down to earth guy. I really hope our paths cross again. If not, safe travels brother...

    The iPhone is terrible at taking nighttime photos.

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    My riding buddy Freeman rolled in around 11pm. He got caught up at work :puke1, so I had left early in the day without him. Maddie's hilarious, Freeman's like her 2nd dad. Freeman petsit Maddie once, and now she responds to the name "Sputnik" like it's her own, listens to any and all orders Freeman gives her, and generally wants to be with Freeman as much as me. I think she'd trust him to ride, but he doesn't want the responsibility of riding with a pup. Either way, as soon as Freeman got there, Maddie ran up and immediately was on his lap. Good girl. :D

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    We did lots of :freaky and bullshitting then set up Freeman's hammock in the dark, and went to bed. Headlamps are your friend for setting up camp in the dark, I don't think we could have set up his hammock tent drunk and in the dark otherwise.


    We slept off the whiskey in the morning, and woke up around 10am. Most of the camp had long since packed and left, but they're all wimps and won't ride all day. :wink:

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    Breakfast (oatmeal) was made, coffee was had, and we hit the trails. We blasted out towards the twisties, in the general direction of the Cherohala Skyway.

    At the Cherohala Skyway, behind the first scenic highway once the actual Skyway starts, there is a gravel trail some call the Gravel Cherohala. It's got a ton of names and even more routes, but it's a fun ride. You start out on the right of the Cherohala and bear left at all intersections, then cross under the Cherohala, then bear right after passing under to eventually end up at Bald River Falls. Keep going after that on River Road, and you'll hit the Skyway again.

    At the entrance:

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    The Strom performed well on the gravel; we were able to maintain somewhere between 20 and 30mph depending on the area. Some areas were well-maintained and so deep in gravel that it was annoying, others were rutted out, and others were hard pack.

    Stopped by the creek... There were a few primitive sites to camp here. If not for the numerous mosquitos, I'd want to go back and camp:

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    Crossing under the Skyway...

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    About a half hour later, stopped for a piss break. ADV salute!

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    I buzzed past Freeman on a paved section:

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    And suddenly the road was paved. Pretty creek though.

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    Bald River Falls...

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    ... And Freeman...

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    We rode onwards to get back on the Skyway. I saw a cave in the cliffside along the way.

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    We headed back towards the NC side once we got on the Skyway. Stopped for a sec at an overlook:

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    We kept riding and encountered a wreck on a blind turn just after an overlook. A guy on a Honda cruiser that looked like a Harley (shiny expensive chromey thing that can't lean) had target fixated on a ditch and ate major shit. A crew of guys in leathers that the guy was riding with were banded around him trying to figure out what to do, parked in the middle of the turn. Me and Freeman stopped and asked if they needed help. The whole thing was a giant clusterfuck, read about it here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1008641

    At another overlook, Freeman shows off his bee-dodging skills:

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    And we finish the Skyway. Time to hit the Dragon before bed.

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    Killboy station #1 got me:

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    Freeman, Maddie, and me at Killboy station #2:

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    129 Slayer got a couple too:

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    Back to camp for dinner. Rice, green beans, more whiskey:

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    Maddie wanted some... again... :lol3

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    Ok fine dog, you can clean the dishes after I'm done:

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    Bedtime. This is Maddie inside the hammock tent, she sleeps on top of me inside the sleeping bag. She's my private space heater.

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    The next morning, we got up at the break of dawn and rode home. Camp broken down, bike and dog loaded, ready to roll back to Atlanta:

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    Hope you enjoyed the ride. :D
    #14
  15. TrimSlim

    TrimSlim Where's the chile?

    Joined:
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    Thanks for continuing to post on the thread. Really enjoying the photos-looks like a beautiful place to ride and camp. A few years ago in Minneapolis, I met a guy with a dog about the size of Maddie and she also rode in front of him. About a week after meeting them, I passed them going down the road-pretty cool.
    #15
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    The V strom is looking good.......but you need to stop riding it up side down. :D
    #16
  17. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

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    Gah! I think I fixed them. I bet the site I posted them from is in Australia. :rofl
    #17
  18. Lammy1000

    Lammy1000 Adventurer

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    You and Maddie are one in several million. Keep it up up!
    #18
  19. Chillis

    Chillis Long timer Supporter

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    Nice score on the Vstromm. One of my favorite touring rigs although my experience comes from the 1000. The previous ggeneration at that. Have only heard good reports of that 650.

    Did you ever win that poster from the picture website?
    #19
  20. maddiedog

    maddiedog In dog we trust

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    Location:
    Marietta, GA, USA
    Mine's a 1st gen 650. I love the 1000 too, but enjoy the lighter weight. I won't use 1000cc of power -- let alone 650. When I hit it rich somehow, I'll make a custom frame, drop a Honda 250 in it, and have a picolight tourer. Whole rig, including pup, rider, and gear will be under 400lbs.

    I did win the poster! Here's a quote from the other thread:

    #20