You Only Live Twice

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    After Waterrock knob I rode about 5 more miles on the BRP then got off on 19 and headed South through Cherokee. Cherokee has been a tourist trap for as long as I can remember but I think the biggest tourist attraction now is the huge casino in the middle of town.

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    I have never been in the casino and probably never will. I'd rather spend my money on gas to ride around on all the great roads around here than throw it away in the casino.

    More of Cherokee.

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    The Harley T shirt shop.

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    Not too much further down the road I reached my destination.

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    This motel was up on a hill in Bryson City. I booked this room well in advance because it was Friday night and this area tends to get booked up on weekends due to all the motorcyclists as well as car clubs who come to this area. It would also set me up for what I planned on doing Sunday morning.

    It was still pretty early in the day so after I checked in I headed out to explore the area. I wanted to find a road I had heard about many years earlier but had never gotten around to riding.

    I guess I could have done some research or asked for directions but where's the fun in that? So I wandered around a bit until I finally stumbled on what I was looking for.

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    No I wasn't looking for the high school so I could pick up some really young girls.

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    It was the road to nowhere. This road had been built many years ago with the intentions of it going "somewhere" but they never finished it so it became known as the road to nowhere.

    Since I wanted to see what nowhere looked like I headed down the road:D

    It didn't take long to come to this:

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    I turned into a curvy, scenic but somewhat rough road. I was having a fun ride until I got stuck behind some road slugs.

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    Despite going slower than the average school bus these riders, except for the one in the back, couldn't even keep it on the right side of the road:dunno

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    I couldn't stand to watch so I stopped and took a break before continueing. I eventually came to the end of the road. This is what nowhere looks like.

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    You can actually continue on if you want to hike. There is a long tunnel that leads to some hiking trails. Someday I'd like to come back and do some hiking.

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    Heading back into town I soon caught up to the road slugs so I stopped and took some pics. As you can see it was too nice of a road to waste.

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    Back in Bryson City.

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    There were plenty of touristy and most likely expensive restaurants here but I went looking for something away from the tourist areas. I found this Mexican place which was reasonably priced and very good.

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  2. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Whenever I'm in the area I try to meet @TrashCan and his buddies who show up early for breakfast at Deal's Gap. I had to get up and on the road right around sunrise. Getting on the road that early often provides great lighting for picture taking.

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    Fog and low clouds meant no great sunrise shots but.....

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    It is a very scenic area regardless of the lighting.

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    Not much going on at the Deal's Gap Motorcycle resort so I continued on to the overlook.

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    This is a real fun road when there is no traffic:ricky:ricky:ricky

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    I normally meet Trashcan at the overlook but on one was here yet.

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    So I rode to the lake and turned around.

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    Since I was on a scooter I could just ignore this sign:rayof

    Back to the overlook. I still had it to myself.

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  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I hung out for a bit. It was a beautiful day and this is a nice spot. A few bikes and cars went by. A big diesel pusher motorhome towing a car went by. I wonder if he knew what he was in for driving this road:scratch Later in the day this would become a real busy place. For now it was mostly quiet.

    Some sport bikes went by. I managed to get a pic but I don't think I will be putting Killboy out of business anytime soon:D

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    It looked like it may have been Trash Can's buddies but I couldn't be sure since. I waited a bit longer and TC showed up.

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    We talked a couple of minutes and headed off, me in the lead. It had been around 10 minutes since the RV went by but we caught up to it pretty quickly. I turned on my camera hoping to get some pics of it crossing the Double Yellow for the Killboy Fail thread but it pulled into the first turnoff to let us by:clap

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    We were early, but not too early for the photogs who hang out on this road.

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    Not many people at DGMR this early.

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    In a few hours this parking lot would be packed with bikes and exotic cars and plain old weird stuff like this:

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    I ate breakfast with TC and his buddies then hung out for a while.
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  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    As much as I enjoy hanging out here, eventually I always have to leave. I headed out on 129 towards Robbinsville. While the "dragon" gets all the hype, this the ride to Robbinsville is pretty nice too. Just off 129 is a dead end road with some good picture spots.

    Would you believe this is about a mile from Deal's Gap. I'll bet over 99% of the riders who come here never see this.

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    129 runs along the Cheoah river. This was one of those days when they let the water loose and it was raging.

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    I stopped to check out this swinging foot bridge.

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    The vast majority of riders come to this area and ride 129, 28 and the Skyway. There is some pretty cool stuff here if you are willing to get off the main roads.

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    A small scooter is perfect for exploring these roads.

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  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Next up was the Cherohala Skyway. Many people like this road better than the "dragon" or other roads in the area. I like it but to be honest I sometimes get a little bored on it. There is nothing challenging on this road. Just set the cruise at 50, lean left, lean right and repeat. Or if you are on a small scooter, pin the throttle, lean left and lean right. On the steepest parts 35 was all I could do.

    It is a very scenic road.

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    I do like having all the scenic turnouts. I wasn't the only one out having fun.

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    Then it was back to CMTC where I loaded the S8 into my truck and headed home. That was it for the trip. 5 days and 900+ miles. It doesn't sound like all that much but this trip was a milestone for me. I finally checked off that block for going touring on a small scooter. Sure I did trips on my Aprilia but a 250 isn't a small scooter.

    After I got back I was already thinking about future small scooter trips. I'm glad I did this trip on the S8 because my plan was to replace it with another small scooter that was a little more capable of going touring. It was appropriate that I did this trip on my first scooter, the one that got me hooked on scooting.
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  6. misanthropic

    misanthropic Zero

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    I did AOCS in 89 then advanced NFO at Mather then on to VP 31 at Moffett. I got into street riding in Northern California then had to go my fleet squadron in HI. I got spoiled as well. Thanks for the report it brought back a lot of great memories.
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  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for checking in. it's always good to hear from someone with a similar background. So did you do any riding in Hawaii?
  8. misanthropic

    misanthropic Zero

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    Dirt only and it was fantastic.
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  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    It's cold and dreary and I have no motivation or desire to ride. Perfect time to continue what I started years ago at a time like this. I started this thread to organize my old pics and memories of my early riding years. I did that. Everything I post going forward has already been posted in my on going Rocket City ride thread. So why continue this thread? I guess it will give me a chance to go back, relive those good times and just post the highlights. It will also give me the chance to throw out some thoughts that have some 20-20 hindsight in them.

    MAY 2017

    I had returned from my trip on the Super 8, my first time touring on a really small bike. Looking back, the Super 8 I just did the long trip has become one of my all time favorite bikes, right up there with my EX500. Is it a coincidence they were both black and red? I still think they were two of the best looking bikes I have owned.

    But I was itching for a new Scooter, one with better performance than the Super 8 but without being a maxi scooter. I took a trip over to Allsport in Decatur.

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    They had this slightly used Smax with less than 150 miles on it and 9 1/2 months left on the warranty. A couple bought scooters but this one was too tall for the wife so they traded it back in on a Genuine Buddy.
    It wasn't the color I wanted but the price was right so I bought it.

    Of course I had to go out and take pics with my new toy in them. This was in June when I had added a Shad tail box to it.

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    So was this a better scooter than the Super 8? It certainly performed better but I still thought the Super 8 was more fun to ride in town. But the Smax had a bigger tank, got better gas mileage and had more storage for stuff.
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  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    May 2017

    I now had 5 bikes although my plan was to get back to four. I decided to keep my Super 8 a bit longer. Of course I still rode my other bikes. I still had another black and red bike, my 05 KLR650. On a ride through Priceville I stopped to check out a couple of aircraft on display that I had some history with.

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    This was a single engine Army Huey, not the twin Huey I had flown but close enough. And then there was the plane I had learned to fly in.

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    I flew the T-34 in 85 and the Huey in 90-92. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago but in others I remember it like it was just last year.
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  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    June 2017

    One of the big riding events around here was Dual sporting the Free State. This event had been put on by @Al Goodwin for years. It was the second one I attended. The way this event worked was that riders camped Friday and Saturday night at a campground in the Bankhead national Forest and there was a dual sport ride on Saturday. I missed the Friday Night Campout due to work....

    Work???

    Oh yeah, it's been a long time and I barely remember that anymore except that it interfered with a lot with riding.

    Back then I was using an Olympus TG830 camera. I took a lot of pics in the "dramatic" mode which made for some interesting pictures.

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    Lunch was at Chef Troy's in Houston, AL.

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    We got "lost" a few times but I was just following along so I didn't care.

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    I wish I could say that I remember all these people.....but I don't:(

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    I'm still glad I took pics with people in them. I don't remember everyone but there are others I do remember and are people I will hopefully always remember. These pics will help me do that.

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  12. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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  13. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    July 2017.

    I decided to take my 155cc Smax on a ride with "real" bikes. The Local Vintage club was doing a ride to Lynchburg, TN.

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    Even though this was a vintage club, most of the bikes on the ride were modern and ranged from 750 to around 1300cc. We took mostly back roads and I had no problem keeping up even with some brief blasts on some 65MPH four lane roads.

    While I had been to Lynchburg before I think that this was the ride that got me interested in exploring the roads in that area.

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    Fayettevile.

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    I was impressed with how well the Smax handled this ride as well as the getting around 90MPG!

    That evening I went out for a short ride and got a couple of cool pics.

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  14. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

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    Weather finally got turned nice here yesterday and today, but more cold rain is forecast for tomorrow and Friday.:vardy Keep the arm pictures coming, they're a reminder that warm weather is just around the corner.
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  15. Stubanger

    Stubanger Adventurer

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    Glad you're continuing this thread klaviator. I've read it start to finish,I remember it taking me a day and a bit to catch up in 2019,a great read :clap
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  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks. I wasn't sure I would continue this thread. I don't want to just repeat what is in my other thread. I think I can do that. Although I'll be using the same pics I think I have a different viewpoint looking back a couple of years after it happened. I'm sure that when the weather warms up I'll stop updating this for a while but then I wouldn't want to catch up too close to the present time anyway.
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    July 2017. After my ride to Lynchburg with the Vintage club I did a couple of solo back to explore the area and get to know the roads well enough that I would be comfortable leading a group ride there.

    The first ride was on the Versys.

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    The second ride was about a week later on the Majesty.

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    These next two pics are at a County lake not too far from home.

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    So I found some cool roads and had a couple of fun rides but I still had no idea of how much riding there was in that area. That would take some time to find.
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  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    July 2017.

    In mid July we were experiencing the typical summer Alabama heat and humidity. I set up a dinner on the Bamarides forum and we had a few people show up including a couple from the Gulf Coast.

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    We had the typical wide range of bikes that I had come to expect from our group here in Alabama.

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  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    August 2017.

    I thought it would be fun to set up a group dual sport ride out of Two Wheels of Suches. I was itching to go back to the area I had done some much of my early dual sport riding. On top of that Suches is at a high enough of elevation to be much more comfortable in the summer heat than Alabama. It turned out to be a memorable ride that I would never forget for reasons you will soon see.

    The ride started on a Friday morning when I met up with @BuckeyeDoug who rode with me part of the way there.

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    A creek in Talking Rock, GA.

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    It ended up being a 250 mile ride to Suches. When I got there I set up my tent and camping stuff then had dinner and hung out on the porch. There was a bunch of regulars there. I had met most of them before. I talked a bit with a guy riding a Vespa 250. He offered to let one of the other guys ride it. While the guy was suiting up the TWoS owner showed up on a Grom. At that point people started calling for a race:ricky

    In most people's eyes a grom is practically a scooter:dunno

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    So off they went down 180. We didn't get to see the "race" but the Vespa had way more power and speed but the Grom was faster around the curves.

    This was one of the things that will stick in my memory. I didn't know it at the time but that Vespa GTV in the pic would end up in several of my ride reports in the future in a way I would never have guessed.
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  20. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    When I camp, I'm always up early. Saturday was no exception. I took a few pics.

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    One of my favorite views since I first found the place in 1990. It has changed a bit but the basics, the big red building with a bunch of bikes parked outside hadn't changed.

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    Eventually my co-riders got up and we headed inside for breakfast. From left to right: Melony, Al, and Brooks.

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    The ride that day would be very memorable for everyone on it. It just wasn't the usual dual sport ride.
    One of the bikes on this ride was just a little ..........different.

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    In case you are wondering, Brooks was on a 1979 Vespa PE200 2 stroke scooter with 10" knobbies. Hed had decided he wanted to give dual sport riding a try and that by putting Knobbies on the Vespa it might just work. He was interested in riding the Smoky Mountain 500 dual sport loop and thought it might be a good idea to do a shorter ride to try things out. Al and I were a bit skeptical but figured it was worth a try.

    We ended up being shocked. After a few miles of pavement we turned off on a dirt and gravel forest service road. It wasn't real rough but then it wasn't exactly a real smooth well groomed dirt road either. We were shocked at the speed Brooks was willing to ride on that road:ricky

    I wanted to get an action pick but I had to real twist the throttle to be able to get far enough ahead of Brooks to do it.

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    We stopped for a break.

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    We headed down a rougher forest road with some water breaks across it that made for some nice whoops. I was getting air over the whoops but Brooks hung in there behind me. Al was riding two up and taking it easy since Melony had just recovered from back surgery. Again, we were shocked at his speed.

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