WildKAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jakbrand, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    If you crave a dual sport ride loaded with creeks, caves, and cliffs then clear a week on your calendar for Kentucky Adventure Tour.

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    #1
  2. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    In addition to the great riding, you'll meet people along the way that actually want motorcyclist to visit the little towns where the KAT will take you.
    And when you get to McKee Kentucky, you should know that it pronounced, "MACK --- KEY". Don't worry, they'll let you know if you get it wrong in very short order.


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    #2
  3. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    IMG_0271.JPG The KAT or Kentucky Adventure Trail is one of the finest mixes of trails and twisty pavement that you will ever ride. A dual sport riders dream loop which carried us 1007 miles in five days by the time we were through. Widely varied terrain that tested your abilities and rewarded you with scenic views from the highland areas. Jeff@TheQuadShop is to be commended for a monumental effort in putting together a fantastic route and sharing it here on ADVRider for all to enjoy.
    #3
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  4. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    So lets begin..........Three riders with a thirst for epic rides focus in on Kentucky after reading other ride reports that touted this as a must do dual sport ride. JakBrand, Bert and myself, Tooly will be coming in from the south, Fla and Ga. So we pick a southernmost starting area to leave the vehicles. That point was Brimstone Campground at Huntsville, Tn which was near a loop start point of Jamestown. We decide to meet and camp there then begin our tour of the KAT early the next morning. Tents pitched and a steak dinner with all the trimmings filled us to the brim as we eagerly awaited the morning start. IMG_0204.JPG IMG_0203.JPG
    #4
  5. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    We’d just completed an annual get together ride in South Georgia, when ToolGuy1 calls me up and asks,”You want to ride the KAT?”

    To which I response,”What’s a KAT?”

    Turns out that one of the ADV faithful (Jeff@thequadshop) has spent considerable time putting together a 1000 + mile ride throughout central and eastern Kentucky.

    He’s included a little of everything from Twisty pavement to Single Track.

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    I found out that both ToolGuy1 and JakBrand were already committed to the ride, so without hesitation I agreed to go as well.

    We were fortunate to find that fellow ADVer Bluelghtning had just returned from the trip and he shared his current tracks with us along with critical current info.

    With tracks in hand and a date set, we went about getting the bikes prepped. I’d completed my pre-ride prep when Bluelgntning mentioned that they had to replace brake pads ½ way through the ride because of deep mud they had encountered. One more trip on www.rockymountainatvmc.com to buy an extra set of pads and we were ready to roll.

    Our plans were to for ToolGuy1 and I to meet just South of Macon Ga and ride up to the Brimstone campground (southwest of Jellico Tn) on Saturday June 11th. JakBrand would meet us latter in the day as he would be headed up to Michigan for a ride afterwards.

    Everything went off as planned and we all met at Brimstone and set up camp prior to our first day of riding.

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    With Steaks, beans and potatoes on the grill, we would not go hungry this night.


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    I should point out that Brimstone is an ATV/Offroad park with miles and miles of trail system to explore.

    The only thing that disrupted a perfect start to this ride was the fact that Quad/side x side riders do tend to ride loud quads late at night….like when you are trying to sleep and prepare for a 1000 mile ride. When I say.”Late at night…I mean Midnight to 2am they might still be going strong.

    There is nothing more concerning than being woken from a sound sleep by a loud side by side as your tent is filled with 100,000 lumens of light provided by a full LED light rack mounted to the top (and or bottom) of a Polaris Side by side coming straight at you.

    Camp day is behind us now..Let’s get to the ride report.
    #5
  6. Jeff@TheQuadShop

    Jeff@TheQuadShop TAT survivor

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    Subscribed! :lurk
    #6
  7. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    Day 1

    There are many benefits of riding with a small group of likeminded riders on a ride like the KAT. The first and most advantageous was that each of us was up early and ready to ride by 6:30am.

    We’d start with a quick local breakfast in the town we were staying or find a place along the route.

    We usually would have two meals a day with a Meal bar thrown in for good measure somewhere throughout the day.

    Today we’d pack our comfortable camping gear up in the truck as we would not see it again until we arrived back here in Brimstone Tn.

    We each carried various emergency camping supplies should we get caught on the trail, but our goal was to travel as light as possible and search out a place to stay each night. We almost got to try the emergency camp gear out the first day..More on that later.

    The KAT tracks are laid out in moderate (blue) and more difficult (red) tracks. We’d planned on riding as many of the red tracks as possible but when and where we’d run upon these tracks.. Especially if they were rather late in the day would sometimes dictate our plans.

    We woke up to a rather cool morning ride that was filled with country backroads asphalt between Huntsville Tn and Jamestown TN. There were some gravel thrown in for good measure, but this proved to be a great way to start off the ride and ease into the day.

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    Breakfast was in Jamestown at the local McDonalds and it didn’t take long for the day to start heating up.

    One of our first stops after breakfast was Split Bow Arch in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation area near Sterns Ky.

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    It was a welcomed stop as we were ready to do a little exploring.

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    JakBrand led the way to the trail below

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    It wasn't quite like the red rock arches we were used to in Utah but it was still pretty cool.


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    Split Bow has a Span of 52 feet and we made our way down into the trail system below for a little exploring before we continued on with the day 1 ride.

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    Toolguy1 stayed behind as guard dog to the bikes..Or at least that was his excuse for not heading down to the trail floor below.

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    #7
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  8. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    I'm in!
    #8
  9. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    IMG_0210.JPG Jakbrand grabs a photo at the steel bridge IMG_0218.JPG Yup, I stayed up top to guard the bikes :lol3 this day in time you can never tell when an opportunist may be lurking. Plus the fact that I figured there was some climbing up and down to be done and my ol' knee is not a big fan, I'll save it for the riding. Very cool area at the arch and I had a great view to enjoy while I waited on the young bucks to explore. Fantastic roads on the morning warm up ride but the plot was fixing to thicken as the trails came into play on the afternoon portion of the ride. :clap Who likes singletrack?...............:y0!I know, EVERYBODY!............well stay tuned.
    #9
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  10. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    For the rest of the week, we'd ride between Blue (adventure) and Red (more intense) tracks..TO be honest, some of the blue could have qualified for red.
    As rest stops we'd all laugh as someone was sure to ask...Is this a Red Trail?
    #10
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  11. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    The kids next to our campsite trailered all kinds of machines to Brimstone.
    A cherry Honda TL trials bike caught my eye.

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    They fired up the ATVs shortly after sunset and did not return until midnight. Fun! I should have ridden with them.

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    #11
  12. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    We trekked though Big South Fork on Day 1.

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    Crossed Tennessee/Kentucky state line

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    to hike Split Bow Arch near Stearns, KY.

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    #12
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  13. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    Rolling north along Sheltowee Trace towards Laurel Lake we encountered frequent creek crossings.

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    Nothing too challenging yet.
    #13
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  14. phoneman

    phoneman Been here awhile

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    Hey -- what happened ?
    Don't be holding back. I need to see what I missed.

    Looks good so far but did I hear the Gilligan's Isle music playing ? :-)
    #14
  15. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    Here's my pic of the steel bridge, one of many that we would see and cross as we toured Kentucky.

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    And the view of the river below.............

    Great scenery throughout this ride.
    #15
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  16. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    We cross the state line into Ky and Jak gets the photographic evidence.............

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    As the roads go from paved to gravel and then even smaller the fun factor increases quickly. This was a cool stream crossing as we head toward some nice singletrack..............

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  17. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    Continuing north on Sheltowee Trace through Daniel Boone National Forest we rode sweet singletrack with trials obstacles.

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    :lift heave ho!

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    Sheltowee translates "big turtle" and was the name given to Daniel Boone by the chief of Shawnee tribe.
    In the spirit of first nation I adopted the tribe name Haardeese which means "running bowel". :uhoh

    More Sheltowee singletrack. :clap

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    ebar

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    Tooly

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  18. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    Day 1..The afternoon session

    We were now well into day one when the first Red track appeared which meant the fun was about to start.

    Because fellow ADV rider BlueLgthning had shared his track from two weeks previous, I knew a couple of things about this area…

    #1 One of the riders in their group had broken his leg in this area on their first day and …

    #2 They had not made it through this track as they lost the trail about half way in.


    We passed the entrance onto the first section of the Sheltowee Trail system but quickly turned around and found it.

    I’ll need to stop right here and make this statement as it will surley be asked by responsible motorcyclist.

    The Sheltowee Trail system is set up for hikers, bikers and motorcycles. Not all of the trail will allow motorcycles so you need to review the Forest Service maps if you plan on riding the trail system to make sure you are riding on authorized trails.

    Fellow ADVer Jeff@thequadshop has spent a considerable amount of time researching this route and I applaud him for his efforts in putting these tracks together. Major task and everyone the rides the KAT is thankful for this service.



    With that stated, we’ll go on to the single track portion on todays ride.

    We head into the woods and immediately start dropping elevation down to a creek which we’d run back and forth over a number of times.

    We passed the section where Bluelghtning’s riding partner broke his leg and then where this group lost the trail and had to find an alternate way out.

    I can also see why they lost the trail. I was a little busy so no pictures were taken, but the trails petered out into a stream and seemed to disappear. Our track points were far between at this point and we could not tell which way to go. JakBrand headed downstream and found an overgrown and rock covered trail barley visible heading uphill and to the north side of the stream. We couldn’t tell if this was correct, but it looked to be our only option. Turns out to be the right choice and we continued picking our way along this red track.

    It was about 4:00PM at this time and we had been riding for about 9 hours at this point. As we climbed a rather difficult section, my bike stalled and as I started to restart it but it would not start, I noticed the tank was swollen.

    We were riding slow and it was about 95 degrees in the shade of the forest. My gas had started to boil and the vent hose could not handle the amount of gasses trying to escape so it blew excess gas out of my carburetor bowl overflow. I pulled the cap off my tank and let the bike (as well as us) cool down. I couldn’t get the bike to start up and I smelled gas as if it were flooded. After repeated tries I pulled everything off the bike and changed the plug.

    We were all thinking two things.

    1. We might get to try out that emergency camp gear here next to this creek on our first night and

    2. If this bike doesn’t start, how will we ever get it out of here.

    As I pulled that tank off, I noticed that I was almost out of gas. The pressure in the tank must have been overriding the float in the carburetor for a while and blowing excess gas out the overflow. Now You’d think an experienced rider would have checked the gas before he pulled everything off…Ohhhhhh.

    With everything back together, a fresh plug for good measure and turning the gas to reserve a funny thing happened..It started right up. (more on why this actually happened later in the ride report)

    So now that everything is back together we are faced with one of our biggest obstacles of the day.

    JakBrand had already cleared it with much effort. We knew this section would be a challenge because we could hear the struggle he was having on the climb even though we could not see him yet. After he had completed this section JakBrand had walked back down the trail to us while I was working on my bike.

    I think JakBrand was afraid to tell us this before as we were working on my bike. I assume he felt we could only handle one crisis at a time…LOL.

    Now that the bike was good, he felt it was time to break the news.

    JakBrand: Now Guys, the next section is going to look very difficult but it is doable ( in his best cheerleader voice).

    All you have to do is complete this little downhill rocky section into the slippery creek, keep your momentum up as you head out the creek and up the other side. Make sure to get you front end light while keeping your rear wheel driving but not slipping as you approach the first of three rock ledges. Once you clear the ledges it will get interesting.

    You can’t see it now but as soon as you clear the ledges, you’ll be looking dead square at the butt end of a large log laying in the middle of your path. You’ll need to throw the bike hard to the right and rail it in the little erosion rut. Up, up the rocky incline, go over three more ledges and your home free.



    Thanks for the play by play JakBrand. You want to go over that one more time?

    Needless to say we made it but I think JakBrand has some interesting video of my attempt at this section.


    You want to share that JakBrand?


    More to follow but here is a sample of the single track we experienced this day.
    #18
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  19. jakbrand

    jakbrand trialatarian

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    Ebar trailside maintenance.

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    Got spark?

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    Ebar ready to roll.

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    #19
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  20. toolguy1

    toolguy1 Been here awhile

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    Yup, an interesting section indeed. it wouldn't have been so challenging had the obstacles been spread out a bit but they came rapid fire.......boom, boom, boom........rocky creek bed to rocky rooty uphill to huge square faced rock going uphill that you had to get the front wheel up and over then your staring at the butt of a log at the midway point where you make a sharp right turn...........that's a lot happening in a short period of time..........Lol
    #20
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