Smokey Mountain 500 on Honda Trail 125 CT125's SM500

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by trialstech, May 13, 2021.

  1. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Hey everyone. I wanted to start a thread about last weekend's ride doing the SM500 with my friend the two of us on our 2021 Honda Trail 125 CT125 bikes. We loved the ride and did it in three days Fri-Sun camping on Friday and Saturday nights and had great luck with the weather. This is a first placeholder post while I compose the posts for the lead up, and each day.
    #1
  2. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    For starters here's a short video with a couple clips.

    #2
  3. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Day 1: Asheville NC to Tellico Plains TN
    Breakfast: 1/2 Clif bar, 1/2 cup coffee
    Lunch: other 1/2 Clif bar, water
    Dinner: camp rations, 3 Budweisers
    Miles: 200
    Hours travel: 10

    I'm not sure if you saw my introduction post on ADV but I am returning to riding motorcycles after about a decade away. My friend Ang started pestering me last October or so about getting a Honda Trail CT125 and going with him on the Trans America Trail summer 2021 as an epic buddy trip. I thought he was freaking crazy. He's an old friend of mine and we have had many adventures and misadventures in the 30 years or so. One thing I know about him - and I am the same way - is that once there is something he is interested in, he will go forth with it with full intensity, and study, and follow through. He's also kind of a persuasive guy and I guess I can be talked into wild ideas being kind of a kook myself. So he told me about putting the deposit down on the bike and being on the waiting list, and telling me about the TAT (which I wasn't familiar with), and sending me KiwiGrom and Ed March videos and all of this stuff to get me hooked. And he succeeded. I put my name on the list for a Honda Trail 125, and we both got our bikes 1 day apart, in early Feb.

    So we are planning this TAT trip (I'm only doing half because of work) but I plan to do the western half driving out to meet in NM/CO border. For us, this SM500 weekend was a full gear test after the months of messaging back and forth about what to take and how to pack it. Plus now fully bitten by the riding bug, I have been eager to get out there and do mountain roads, camping, travels, and have fun. The Smokey Mountain 500 last weekend was perfect for all of this.

    I hauled my Honda up Thursday night and we departed Asheville NC early Friday morning. I was looking forward to my first day off of work for the year and being out of cell phone range for the weekend. The trip to the start of the 500 in Robbinsville area was a slog of a few hours on highways where our wimpy machines speed was no match for hill climbs, but we made it to Bryson City in about 2 hours. We topped off the gas and were excited to get rolling.

    ....
    #3
  4. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Yer dudes...
    #4
  5. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Day one was comprised of rolling hills, sweeping curvy roads, lots of river rapids views and waterfalls. Amazing waterfalls. The weather was crisp and perfect, although a bit cool. The off road sections were very approachable ranging from mild dirt to average gravel to a few places with brand new gravel which was more loose than either of us preferred.

    After the travels to get started, the hours accumulated along however we were so jazzed to keep riding and see what was around each corner, and each turn, that we put in a 10 hour ride without even feeling tired, sore, or annoyed even though we had several GPS mix ups and turn arounds.

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    #5
  6. SwampyDeadHead

    SwampyDeadHead Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hell ya.
    #6
  7. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    As we got towards the end of the day there were a few water crossing sections before Tellico Plains. The first one was actually the gnarliest of the whole weekend. I'm not a rock expert but it was like slate-type rock which was slimy and very slick. That one we navigated very carefully, and myself I got boots full of water because I dabbed and it went up to my knee. That's okay I was able to dry out my socks the next day using mesh bags I stuck the socks in and clipped onto my pack as I rode. The rest of the water crossings were tame and handily crossed by the trusty badass Honda Trail 125's.

    We finally made it Tellico Plains and refueled at a gas station where we happened to meet @klaviator. Small world. We headed to the campsite and tried our best to make a fire. We failed. I ended up carrying our charred but still unburnt firewood logs back over to the community pile in shame. I fell asleep for about 1 hour but woke up because of a howling dog in the neighborhood near the campground. I gradually woke up more and more until I was wide awake, my mind reeling thinking about curvy roads, navigating rocks, work worries, and other brain torture. I wandered out of the tent at some hour to hit the restroom and on the way back I noticed the sky was completely clear and there was the most amazing starry night glowing above us. I've seen big skies before but it has been a while. Also, everything seemed so huge and close - like the Big Dipper was right damn there, and it was HUGE! Anyway I was nearly sleepwalking. I returned to my tent and forced myself to sleep. I remembered I had a pair of earplugs in my tank bag, which I installed and the next thing I know I hear Ang waking me up because I've now suddenly slept in and it's 9 o'clock and time to get moving for day two.

    ...

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    #7
  8. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Here is Day 1 on Ang's channel video recap:

    #8
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  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I hope you don't mind. Here's the pics I took of you and your bikes in Tellico Plains.

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    #9
  10. Kayakgk

    Kayakgk Long timer

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    Awesome looking forward to more.
    #10
  11. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Day 2: Tellico Plains TN to Suches GA
    Breakfast: 1/2 Clif bar, 1/2 cup coffee
    Lunch: other 1/2 Clif bar, water
    Dinner: campground wraps and fries, 2 Yuenglings
    Miles: 170
    Hours travel: 9

    Once on the road after packing up and leaving Cherohala Mountain Trails Campground we rolled on a little ways in the cool morning wind and on the still-dewy shadowy roads until we turned off in the first dirt/gravel road of the day. We pushed through many lovely gravel roads, curvy mountain backroads, and wonderful scenery and turns. The miles became a bit mesmerizing, as my mind became a cross between hyper focused on the road, the lines to travel, following the route, and being in tune with the little Honda machine -- but at the same time my brain was starting to have deeper thoughts. Thinking about times in the past doing crazy shit with my riding buddy Ang. Thinking about other motorcycle trips I've been on. Trials riding. Daydreaming about places I'd like to ride next and things I want to see. Thinking about then, now, and the future. And how far can we go before we need more gas.

    View attachment 2978923

    The hills became more steep, and the terrain a bit more rugged. the waterfalls of yesterday were replaced with more gnarly yet beautiful riding. the road was full of fallen trees which had been chainsawed through cleaning way for us to climb, and keep climbing. The little Honda Trail 125's just kept chugging along.

    We did notice our progress seemed to be a bit slow, so we kept pushing forward. I felt like the off road riding to day was much better than day one. More challenging, more steep, more rocky. Higher altitudes, and more fun. On the top of one of the mountaintops we took a break for a minute somehow I got cell service on my "home" phone. There was a text from my wife: "Call your mom". It was mothers day. "Oh Shit" says Ang. So we both took a couple minutes and called our moms from the tip top of a mountain.

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    ....
    #11
  12. salty_dog

    salty_dog Trips near Attala, WMAs and Central MS dirt roads

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    Y’all don’t eat much, I’d be starving by now! Sounds like a great ride so far!
    #12
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  13. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    I lost four or five pounds that weekend. Could become a new diet craze!
    #13
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  14. NCJ

    NCJ Ruoy Ratava

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    :lurk
    #14
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  15. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    I'm not sure what is going on but I've been trying to add photos to the last post but they don't seem to be working.

    Attached Files:

    #15
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  16. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    The north Georgia sections were awesome fun. Really rough and fun climbs on a rocky climbing road (not sure what the name is) with great views. Also surprisingly I was not feeling tired or saddle sore. After what we considered to be an epic section Ang called the "rock garden" we were soon on our way into Suches, closer than we expected. We thought we were going to arrive at dark, but we made it in before sundown. We pulled into TWoS and parked next to some Harleys and immediately a few folks started talking to us about the bikes. There was some kind of BMW event happening - lots of new cruiser bikes setup I guess there had been a demo day or something. Plus there was a musician playing rockabilly cover songs on the deck and lively gathering happening. The campground restaurant seemed more appealing than dehydrated backpacking meals so we rewarded ourselves for the days ride with fries and wraps. At our campsite we chatted with several folks who came by to check out the Hondas. We spoke to one rider from the low country of SC who advised us that the Charlies Creek section coming up on the 3rd day might be in rough shape - rutted out. Sounds fun.

    IMG_0440.jpg

    We ended up hitting the sack early. I managed a good nights sleep. We calculated a long ride to get finished with the route plus a few hours back to Asheville, so the plan was to wake early and get on the road.
    #16
  17. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Video of Day 2. Team CT125!
    #17
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  18. NCJ

    NCJ Ruoy Ratava

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    Home Fry! :thumb
    #18
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  19. Orangepartyhat

    Orangepartyhat n00b

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    I love this. Well done!
    #19
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  20. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Day 3: Suches GA to Asheville NC
    Breakfast: n/a
    Lunch: Clif bar, water, "cow tail" candy stick at gas stop
    Dinner: one beer at brewery, then fast food on drive home
    Miles: 250
    Hours travel: 12 (plus 2.5 drive home to SC)

    I actually got a decent nights sleep, and we both woke early to get on the road. With all of the miles we needed to cover, and the fear we might ride all day long we decided to skip breakfast and roll out. It was a fuzzy sleepy few first miles. The weather again was perfect - lucky us! As the day opened and we warmed up to the riding we again were greeted by amazing roads and curves, trees, climbs, and scenery.
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    #20