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apostle2 06-15-2010 10:53 AM

"Two Brothers on Two50's"
So my <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:Street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">first street</st1:address></st1:Street> legal motorcycle was a used 03’ V-Star 1100 that I got from my dad. I’ve put a lot of miles on this bike and still enjoy it today. My big brother (arkridergc) has a Harley and we’re very fortunate that we get to ride together often. But as we rode along we would usually see a road or trail taking off somewhere and wonder where that road would go. But because our cruisers don’t work well at all on dirt roads, we just passed them by leaving that lingering thought of where those roads would lead to.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
So to put an end to those constant recurring wondering thoughts, we each purchased dual sport bikes. My self, an 09’ KLX250s. My brother, an 09’ WR250R. We both researched different dual sport bikes of all sizes and manufactures but in the end we decided on 250’s, and I’m so glad we did. These little bikes are just amazing for their capabilities. Now these roads we come across are no longer a curiosity, they are now an adventure.<o:p></o:p>

Never having the opportunity to endeavor a motorcycle trip that lasted longer than a couple of days, I pondered the thought of taking off on a trip with the 250 that lasted several days or maybe even a week, or longer. After discovering and reading the ride reports, I developed a relentless urge to ride the TAT. Yeah I know, many people have done it before us and posted their results and it has become old news to some. But after getting caught up in what seemed like a countless number of ride reports about it, I thought it would be the perfect trip for my first big outing because I kind of knew what to expect and I wanted to minimize as many surprises as I could. Even though I was curious (more like concerned) how the 250’s would perform on such a long trip, I decided it was worth a try. So I convinced my big brother to ride it with me, purchased the maps from Sam, started building tracks, routes and waypoints for the GPS (which was a learning experience in its own) and I put a plan together for us to shoot for. Then the farkels began for the both of us. Extensive research was involved trying to decide which luggage and accessories to buy, as well as what to pack and carry with us. proved to be an excellent resource for all of these tasks, a wealth of information available at our fingertips.<o:p></o:p>
Big thanks to everyone on this site!<o:p></o:p>
And to show my thanks, I’m providing this ride report to share my own experience of the TAT (at least the eastern section for now). Hopefully some fellow inmates or guests can gain a bit of knowledge that will be of value to them in some way or another.<o:p></o:p>
After purchasing the KLX I did the usual mods to gain a little performance. Big brother installed some mods to his WR as well but I’ll let him cover that if he wants to. I purchased an after market slip-on exhaust (Two Brothers of course), re-jetted the carburetor, removed the air box cover, installed a UNI Filter and 13 tooth front sprocket (although I re-installed the 14 tooth front sprocket for this trip). But a few mods were specifically done for a long trip.<o:p></o:p>
First was a rear luggage rack. <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kawasaki</st1:place></st1:City> didn’t supply the 09’ KLX250s with a rear luggage rack like previous models. So I built and installed a custom rack to mount the dry bag onto. It worked flawlessly.<o:p></o:p>

<o:p>The next mod was to install a 12VDC power socket so I could re-charge my Phone, GPS, Camera and MP3 Player. This power outlet was purchased at the local Wal-Mart. Cheap enough, easy to install, and weather proof.<o:p></o:p>

The original Garmin handlebar mount was installed to hold my Rino 530Hcx. I have to say that the Rino performed very well on this trip (rain or shine). We used routes for the outward trip and tracks for the return trip (TAT). We also installed Motocom headsets in our helmets to work with the radios built into the Rino’s, but half way through our trip we both developed problems with them. My left speaker quit working and my brother’s push-to-talk button started shorting out. So we eventually abandoned the headsets. But the Rino’s still worked great. At times I would still use the Peer-To-Peer function to locate Big Brother on my GPS map.<o:p></o:p>

Next, the BUTT necessities. Sheep skin cover from Alaska Leather. THIS IS A MUST HAVE! (at least it is for me). I actually ordered this the week before the trip and I wasn’t sure if it would arrive on time or not, but I’m glad it did. I road one day during the trip without it and regretted it.:cry It stayed on for the rest of the trip (when we were riding anyway). I took it off at night. I just couldn’t take a chance of someone steeling this. Big Brother decided on the “Sweet Cheeks” and seemed to be happy with it (although it does add a bit of weight to your setup).<o:p></o:p>

With all of these mods complete, its time to add the luggage and the stuff I’m gonna pack with me. I’ll cover all of this in the next post.<o:p></o:p>

Just GO! 06-15-2010 11:55 AM

Cool. :thumb I'm luvin my KLR250.

Now where's that next post. :lurk

taranaki 06-15-2010 12:13 PM

I'm in.

BTW which rear fender delete method did you use?

oilfieldtrash 06-15-2010 02:08 PM

In. I have a wr250r myself so I really like these ride reports

apostle2 06-15-2010 02:38 PM

I'll get the next post up this evening.
The rear fender was deleted using the Edge Light Kit from But I don't like the blinkers I got from them. They keep popping loose. I Had to re-tape them three or four times during our trip. I'll be looking for different ones to replace them with.

Icculus1284 06-15-2010 03:31 PM

Having just purchased a KLX 250s('06), I'm really looking forward to this report.


apostle2 06-15-2010 08:12 PM

The Stuff
Other than modifying the bike to make the long trip, another big objective was to pack as light as possible. I researched and pondered many hours (probably too many) on what I was going to pack, and I have to say that I'm very satisfied with what I ended up with. We didn't have any cooking items because we decided we would just eat at any place that had food along the way.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
So, what stuff did I end up packing with me? For starters, luggage:<o:p></o:p>
I purchased Wolfman luggage peaces because they were designed to work together and designed specifically for motorcycles (and no…I’m not associated with them in any way, I just like their stuff). This luggage installs on the bike very neatly and is quick to load onto and unload off the bike. I didn’t buy any of the rain covers for the luggage peaces. Anything that I didn’t want to get wet I just put inside the dry bag or zip-lock bags. Wolfman luggage is absolutely worth the money to me.<o:p></o:p>
Wolfman Front Fender Bag<o:p></o:p>

Woflman Enduro Tank Bag<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>Wolfman Enduro Saddle Bags<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Wolfman Enduro Duffel Bag (connects to the Saddle Bags)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Wolfman Expedition Dry Duffel Bag<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Streamline Hydration Pack with 70 oz. bladder (has quite a bit of storage built in and is still a fairly small pack)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Tent Bag (I guess you could call it luggage)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Stock Tool Pouch with stock tools and some extra items inside<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Cargo Net (for holding Jacket in place when not wearing it and keeping the rain suit easily accessible during threatening weather)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

That covers everything luggage wise. Now the stuff inside the luggage:<o:p></o:p>
Inside the Fender Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Tire Spoons<o:p></o:p>
Spare Front Tube<o:p></o:p>
Patch Kit<o:p></o:p>
Stockman Multi-Tool (very handy)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside the Tank Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Motorcycle Registration & Proof of Insurance<o:p></o:p>
Electrical Tape<o:p></o:p>
Reading Glasses<o:p></o:p>
Head-Mount Flashlight<o:p></o:p>
Tire Gauge<o:p></o:p>
Helmet Camera<o:p></o:p>
12VDC to USB Adaptor<o:p></o:p>
Mini 12VDC to AC Converter (for charging camera battery)<o:p></o:p>
Cable for charging phone<o:p></o:p>
Cable for charging helmet camera<o:p></o:p>
12VDC GPS Charger<o:p></o:p>
AC Battery Charger for Camera (plugs into AC Converter)<o:p></o:p>
2 Bandannas (to help hide the helmet hair in restaurants)<o:p></o:p>
Ear Plugs<o:p></o:p>
1 Tube of Lock-Tite<o:p></o:p>
1 Tube of Sun Block<o:p></o:p>
2 Spare Chain Master Links<o:p></o:p>
1 tube of Quick Steel<o:p></o:p>
Spare Spark Plug<o:p></o:p>
Micro Leatherman (Squirt P4)<o:p></o:p>
Small Carabineer (for hanging flashlight inside tent)<o:p></o:p>
Folded Maps for backup<o:p></o:p>
Plastic Compass for backup<o:p></o:p>
Most important…Toilet Paper!<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside the Left Saddle Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Two 1 Liter Aluminum Bottles for Fuel<o:p></o:p>
Spare Rear Tube<o:p></o:p>
First Aid Kit<o:p></o:p>
Inside the Right Saddle Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Two 1 Liter Aluminum Bottles for Fuel<o:p></o:p>
Tire Pump<o:p></o:p>
Spare Bungee Cord<o:p></o:p>
(The aluminum bottles are empty alcohol bottles that I got from work, but they work great for fuel bottles)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside Enduro Duffel Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Spare Extra Long Chain (extra long so to have extra links for chain repair)<o:p></o:p>
Chain Breaker<o:p></o:p>
2 Piece Rain Suit<o:p></o:p>
Elbow Pads (stored inside when I was wearing my jacket)<o:p></o:p>
(Tent Bag straps on top of the duffel bag)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside the Expedition Dry Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Big Agnus Sleeping Bag inside stuff sack<o:p></o:p>
1 pair of shorts<o:p></o:p>
1 T-Shirt<o:p></o:p>
1 pair of Sandals (flip-flops)<o:p></o:p>
2 pairs of riding socks (non-cotton so they dry faster)<o:p></o:p>
2 pairs of Underwear (non-cotton so they dry faster)<o:p></o:p>
1 set of riding clothes (Pants, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place>Jersey</st1:place> and Gloves)<o:p></o:p>
1 pair of Waterproof Insulated gloves<o:p></o:p>
1 set of thermals (bottom and top, non-cotton so they pack smaller and dry faster)<o:p></o:p>
1 Jacket Liner<o:p></o:p>
1 package of Wet Wipes (Wet Ones)<o:p></o:p>
1 small bottle of Dawn dish washing liquid<o:p></o:p>
(for washing clothes, body, hair and anything else, works great)<o:p></o:p>
1 can of bug spray<o:p></o:p>
T-Handle tool kit<o:p></o:p>
1 toothbrush with plastic travel case<o:p></o:p>
1 tube of toothpaste<o:p></o:p>
1 stick of deodorant<o:p></o:p>
3 mini cans of deodorant spray (Axe)<o:p></o:p>
1 micro-fiber towel<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside the Streamline Hydration Pack<o:p></o:p>
70 oz. bladder<o:p></o:p>
MP3 Player & Earphones<o:p></o:p>
Cable for charging MP3 Player<o:p></o:p>
AC Wall Charger for GPS<o:p></o:p>
Various Snacks (Payday, Jerky, Peanuts, etc…)<o:p></o:p>
Bottle of Ibuprofen<o:p></o:p>
Zyrtec D tablets (I have allergies)<o:p></o:p>
Small bottle of Visine<o:p></o:p>
Extra SD Card for camera, video camera or phone<o:p></o:p>
(I have one extra 1 Liter Aluminum Fuel Bottle that actually fits in the back pack if needed, but I didn't carry it this trip)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Inside Stock Tool Pouch:<o:p></o:p>
Stock tool set<o:p></o:p>
Valve Stem Core remover<o:p></o:p>
Metric Allen Wrench set<o:p></o:p>
7 Ty-Raps<o:p></o:p>
Needle Nose Pliers<o:p></o:p>
Short Crescent Wrench<o:p></o:p>
Small bottle of lubricant<o:p></o:p>
Spoke Wrench<o:p></o:p>
4" Vise Grips<o:p></o:p>
4 small alcohol wipes (for cleaning tubes before applying a patch, will be moved to fender bag)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Tent Bag:<o:p></o:p>
Eureka Backcountry 1 Tent (including tent, rain fly, poles and steaks)<o:p></o:p>
Homemade Footprint for tent (cut out to size from a cheap medium weight tarp)<o:p></o:p>
Big Agnus Inflatable Sleeping Pad<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

And that's it. There wasn't anything more that I needed on the trip. But there are a couple of items that I will add for future trips. (1) Duct tape. I'm going to rap it around the tire tools (another trick I've learned from fellow inmates). (2) Small 6 oz. can of Bel-Ray chain lube. I have room for it and it sticks to the chain better than the 3-in-one oil.<o:p></o:p>
Now that we had decided on what and how to pack everything were gonna take. We wanted to take a trial run to see if there was anything else we may need, somewhere close to home. And lucky for us, we were just in time to attend the SLAP 2010. A perfect opportunity to try out our setup completely, 3 days of adventure close to home, get to try out all the camping gear and everything else. So we went, had a blast and meet some great folks. Read the ride report HERE. Buy the way, I recommend attending SLAP 2011, it'll be fun.<o:p></o:p>
We had four days after SLAP 2010 to get everything cleaned up and re-packed for the Eastern TAT. It was a busy four days, but we were ready. Day 1 of the trip coming soon!<o:p></o:p>

Klay 06-15-2010 08:26 PM

Wandering on 250s...great! :lurk

apostle2 06-21-2010 08:47 AM

Day 1
Day1: May 28<SUP>th</SUP>, 2010<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
We get a late start but we get started none the less. The bikes are packed, were excited and yet nervous at the same time. But we’re ready.<o:p></o:p>

Yours truly (apostle2)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>Big Bro (arkridergc)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

“Two Brothers on Two50’s)<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We leave the house and fill the tanks up with fuel and take off on I40 eastbound. We ride the slab all the way to Wheatley, AR. The route that I planned for us had us turning off I40 at Brinkley, but I wasn’t paying enough attention (this becomes a frequent event) to the GPS and passed the Brinkley exit. So we took the next exit, got fuel and worked our way south to Hwy. 49, then headed east.<o:p></o:p>
This was our first food stop in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">West Helena</st1:place> (Subway). The rear blinker lights I installed with the Edge Rear Light kit don’t seem to want to stay fastened any more. So every couple of days of riding I had to re_tape them so they will stay in place. Here I am re_taping them for the first time on the trip. It was a good thing I packed a new roll of electrical tape for the trip.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Soon after we eat, we reach the bridge that takes us across the MS river.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Then we enter <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Mississippi</st1:State></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We work our way east on Hwy. 49 until we reach Hwy. 315. We continue east on Hwy. 315 until we get to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Sardis</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. We were going to pitch the tents at <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Sardis</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> but there wasn’t a single camping spot available because it was Memorial Day weekend. So we continue east and get a hotel room at <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oxford</st1:place></st1:City>, MS. We were in a rush to get the bikes unloaded because rain was eminent, we got everything in the room just in time.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Day one was officially in the books. A total of 284 miles in about 6 hours on the 250’s. Not a bad day.<o:p></o:p>

apostle2 06-21-2010 10:01 PM

Day 2
Day 2: <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:date Month="5" Day="29" Year="2010">May 29th, 2010</st1:date><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
We wake up somewhat early, around <st1:time Hour="19" Minute="30">7:30</st1:time> and load the bikes. Big Bro leaves the room to check out the continental breakfast and reports back that we probably should eat somewhere else. So we leave the hotel and continue on our planned route and find a place to eat.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p>I think the food was pretty good. I was so hungry I didn’t really notice or care.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We continue east on Hwy. 6 until we get to <st1:place><st1:City>Tupelo</st1:City>, <st1:State>MS</st1:State></st1:place>. Here we get on the Natchez Trace. I’ve never ridden on the Trace before so this was a cool thing for me. Some day soon I plan on riding the Natchez Trace in its entirety but on the V-Star. We only traveled about 60 miles of the Trace until we reached Hwy. 72.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Not a bad peace of road. The Natchez Trace can be a three day trip of its own.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Big Bro<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

While we were riding on the Trace, we crossed over into <st1:State><st1:place>Alabama</st1:place></st1:State>.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Once we reached Hwy. 72 we exit the Natchez Trace and head east. As we’re rolling into <st1:place><st1:City>Huntsville</st1:City>, <st1:State>AL</st1:State></st1:place> I notice something unusual protruding through the horizon.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

As we get closer I realize what it is. WOW! Wouldn’t that be a ride!<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We continue northeast on Hwy. 72 and cross into <st1:State><st1:place>Tennessee</st1:place></st1:State>. After crossing into TN we turn east on Hwy. 41 and roll into Nick-A-Jack Lake outside of Chattanooga looking for a place to camp. Luckily they had some tent spaces available. So we setup camp.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>After setting up camp we venture off to find some dinner. We stop at a local convenience store that appeared to be a biker hangout as well. They were friendly enough and recommended a catfish restaurant located about 5 miles up the road. And they did mention that we needed to be really hungry if we were gonna eat there. Catfish sounded perfect. So off we went. Followed their directions to the T and found it exactly as they said.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

When the bikers said “be hungry”, they really meant it! We didn’t even order the all-u-can-eat dinner and still couldn’t finish our plates. And the food was absolutely excellent. I highly recommend this place if you’re nearby.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

On the way back we took our time to absorb the views along the way.<o:p></o:p>
Kudzu! Everywhere! <st1:State><st1:place>Tennessee</st1:place></st1:State> is literally covered with this stuff. I’ve read other ADVrider posts stating this but you just don’t get the magnitude of it until you see it for yourself.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

An old power plant that is no longer in production. We talked to a guy who new the history of it but I forget. Maybe Big Bro can remember.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

In route back to camp.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We make it back to camp. Big Bro stopped along the way and bought us each a 16 oz. beer but we were both too stuffed with catfish we couldn’t finish them. So we both just sat back and enjoyed the sunset before calling it a night.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>Day two in the books. A total of 296 miles for the day.<o:p></o:p>

apostle2 06-24-2010 07:54 PM

Day 3
Day 3: <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:date w:st="on" Year="2010" Day="30" Month="5">May 30<SUP>th</SUP>, 2010</st1:date><?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
We crawl out of the tents about <st1:time w:st="on" Minute="0" Hour="7">7 AM</st1:time> and start packing. It takes us about an hour to pack everything. <o:p></o:p>

Then we leave Nick-A-Jack and hit the road in search of some breakfast.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>We came across a Waffle House not far from where we camped. We got our fill of food and didn’t waste any time getting back on the road. We had a lot of ground to cover today. We ride the slab northeast to <st1:City w:st="on">Cleveland</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">TN</st1:State> and actually dropped down into the state of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Georgia</st1:country-region></st1:place> momentarily and then turned east on Hwy. 64.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We make good time until we catch up with some slow traffic due to a bus with several rafts stacked on top of it. I was curious where he was going with all of those rafts.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

It wasn’t long before we found out where all the rafts were going.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

The <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Ocoee</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>. All I can say is TVA new what they were doing. The engineering involved with the entire TVA water way system is impressive. I didn’t realize that the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Ocoee</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">River</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> was the white water venue for the 1996 Olympics until I started researching. If you want to learn more go to <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We travel further up the Ocoee to find yet another dam.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>And more folks having a great time on the river.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

<o:p>We continue on eastward on 64 until we get to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Ducktown</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">TN.</st1:State></st1:place> Then we turn north on Hwy. 68 and head for <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Tellico Plains</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">NC</st1:State></st1:place>. Just as we were rolling into Tellico Plains it started to rain. So we made a dash for a service station for cover. There were a few other motorcycle riders that had the same idea and joined us.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We decided to get gas while we were there so we wouldn’t be accused of loitering.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

It wasn’t long until the rain let up and we started riding around looking for a place to stay the night. We wanted to find someplace with a roof over our heads because the weather indicated a high chance of rain most of the night. And as luck would have it we ended up at a pretty cool place for the night. Cherohala Motorcycle Resort. Lucky for us the owner, Buck, had only one cabin available for us and lucky for us again it had two beds. If you’re in the area and looking for a place to stay around here I highly recommend this place. It’s located in a central area of some great motorcycle riding.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>


apostle2 06-24-2010 08:12 PM

Day 3 Continued...
After securing the cabin we unloaded the bikes and discussed about our next part of the adventure. You see, the only reason we came this far eastward was because we wanted to ride the “Tail of The Dragon”. I’ve read about it, seen pictures of it and even seen video of it. When planning this trip we noticed that it was just to close to pass up. So here we are trying to decide if we want to ride it today or wait until tomorrow. I check the weather on my phone and it shows rain in our path to the Dragon but it should clear up before we get there. So we decide to go for it. As per a suggestion from a friend of ours from work (Jim W) we ride over the Cherohala Skyway to get to Deals Gap. It was a neat but wet ride to the top of it due to rain, but definitely worth it.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>There really are some spectacular vistas from up here at 5,300 feet of elevation, but when you’re surrounded by rain clouds they're just are hard to see.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Just as the weather radar indicated, the rain finally quit just as we started our decent from the Cherohala Skyway. We finally get to Hwy. 129 and head north to Deals Gap with excitement but we got behind a group of Harley’s that were riding so slow I was about to pull my hair out from under my helmet. I have nothing against Harley’s, just these particular riders. My excitement eventually turned into acute stress and I actually considered hoping into the ditch and riding around them, after all, I’m on a dirt bike. They actually had a chase truck driving behind them with it’s flashers on to prevent others from passing them. But I bit my tongue and somewhat patiently followed. Anyway we finally make it to Deals Gap and some of that stress was replaced with excitement again. I felt a bit relieved.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

There were so many different types of bikes here from mini bikes to Harley’s to full race sport bikes, very diverse. It was about <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:time w:st="on" Minute="0" Hour="18">6:00 PM</st1:time> on a Sunday at this time and we weren’t sure if we would find a place open to eat when we got back to Tellico Plains, so we opted to eat at Deals Gap before riding the Dragon.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

So we start our trip up to the top of the Dragon and I can see where it gets its reputation. There are a lot of curves on this road. But what I don’t understand is the 30 mph speed limit. I mean…really? I guess it would be safe to assume that there are a lot of speeding citations handed out around here.<o:p></o:p>
We did catch up to traffic on the way up but at least they weren’t riding as slow as the Harley group we followed before. And some of them actually let us go by (Thank You). We get to the top and check out the view from the overlook. Nice!<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>The view of Calderwood Dam from above.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Big Bro’s camera had some issues with the humidity in the air. But believe me, we’re smiling under those helmets.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

<o:p>Due to the road being closed further to the north because of a rock slide, we had to go back down the dragon to get to Tellico Plains (darn the luck, LOL). So we wait around at the lookout for a bit to give the traffic a chance to get a head start so we would have a chance to enjoy it a little more. As we were heading back down I realize that I had a helmet camera that I brought specifically for this part of the trip. So I pull over and dig it out of my tank bag and fire it up. But by this time quit a bit of traffic passed us. I wanted to wait again but Big Bro reminded me that it will be getting dark soon. OK then, let’s ride.<o:p></o:p>

<OBJECT width=400 height=300>

<embed src=" ow_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fu llscreen=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="300"></embed></OBJECT>Dragon on a KLX250s from David Carothers on Vimeo

After I got to the bottom I was pumped full of adrenaline, OMG that was fun. I dragged a peg (I never would have imagined doing that on this bike), had the front tire air born briefly, hit the Rev limiter multiple times and a top speed of 78.1 mph. I know, 78 mph is nothing compared to the guys on the sport bikes and the like but hey, it’s a KLX250 with a stock jug and on knobbies. I was very pleased with how the KLX performed. Big Bro was a few minutes behind me and it was a good thing, it gave me time to calm down after that ride. I didn’t want it to stop. We conversed about a minute or two then take one last look and say goodbye to the Dragon. It was worth the trip.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

As we start our way back to Tellico Plains, I had to stop and admire Calderwood Dam from the Bottom. I look’s so much like the Hover Dam (another trip I plan to make). After I start the bike back up to leave the Dam, I noticed that my bike sounded different. It seemed louder and had a deeper tone. As if I blew part of the baffle out of the exhaust silencer. Oh well, lets ride.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We make our way back over the Cherohala Skyway and this time there weren't as many clouds hanging over us. So we got a few more pictures.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Just as we reached the summit we ran into to serious fog. I could only see about 50 feet in front of me which caused us to slow down considerably. Buy the time we got out of the fog it was starting to get dark. But we managed to get some pictures before it did.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

We finally made it back to the cabin just as it got dark. (Yes this picture was taken previously). While I was getting off the bike, Big Bro also mentioned that my bike sounded louder. I guess all of the high rpm's on the Dragon blew some of the baffle out of the exhaust or compressed the fill material enough to create more of a void in the exhaust silencer. Oh well, it was still worth it.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>One of our neighbors at the resort was sitting on the porch with his wife as we rode up. So we chatted about the run to the Dragon and back and swapped stories. A few minutes later two more dudes rode up on a couple of dual sports. Dave and Cliff. Dave had the cabin next to us and Cliff had his tent pitched in front of it. Then the owner, Buck, showed up and we had an all-out social gathering. Dave and Cliff even gave Big Bro and I a beer. Sweet! We had a great time hanging out with these guys swapping stories and talking shop. We learned that Cliff actually has family near <st1:City w:st="on">Fayetteville</st1:City>, AR. Funny how Big Bro and I were riding near <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Fayetteville</st1:City></st1:place> just the week before at the SLAP 2010. Dave and Cliff live around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Nashville</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">TN.</st1:State></st1:place><o:p></o:p>
And get this, Dave actually operates a dual sport tour guide service called Dual Purpose <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Tennessee</st1:State></st1:place>. If you want some dual sport riding around <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Nashville</st1:City></st1:place> give Dave a shout. You can contact him through his website at<o:p></o:p>
As much as everyone enjoyed hanging out with each other, fatigue finally set in and we all called it a night.<o:p></o:p>
Day 3 was over and I was tired. We covered a lot of ground today, a total of 304 miles.<o:p></o:p>

arkridergc 06-25-2010 09:40 PM

Arkrider's contribution
Apostle2 has done a great job of telling the experience of Deal's Gap and Cherohala Skyway and I'll just say I agree to all of it. My WR250R was a blast on the Dragon and as far as the Skyway goes...its beautiful but bring rain gear.

Here are some random photos

First sections of extended dirt road.
These guys can be really fast if they need to be.

You don't want to miss the road here!

Bridge over the Duck river at Manchester, TN.

Middle Tennessee has lots of horse farms.

We drove thru Amish country. How these folks have remained in but seperated form the modern technology crazed society amazes me. You will dodge lots of horse exhaust on the roads and then pass a farm where they are stacking hay with a brand new lookling John Deere.

We did have a handful of creek crossings.

Looks simple enough huh?

Very deceiving. Slick as snot it was!

No real damage other than a tweaked foot peg and wet socks and underwear. Not to worry. We are hillbillies after all and we improvised.

Our mother would be so proud.

Tennessee has mostly paved or chip and seal roads which many on the forum seem to see as a demise but I loved them except where they chose to just throw gravel over broken up pavement or to fill potholes or washouts. Nothing quite tightens the sphincter muscle like coming around the bend in full lean at 50 mph and find your front wheel rolling across marbles. Oh shit just doesn't adequately express the ...tension.

The gravel roads began in earnest after crossing into Mississippi but that is not to say all the Mississsipi roads were gravel. There just isn't as much pavement. Arkansas, for the most part is gravel.

There were three bridges (counting the dam at Great Falls) that required a re-route. We cheated on this one as it looked plenty sturdy enough and we could see where other motorcycles had passed and besides that, our next intersection was within sight and a re-route meant five miles of go around.

Typical chip and seal "back road" in Tennessee going thru a nice shady spot.

Very sweet stretch of road!

We dealt with rain the first couple of days but by the time we got out ot TN we began to deal with the dust with the exception of eastern Mississippi.

This even helps soggy bottoms feel a little better.

Middle Tennessee.

The road went right thru the middle of this dairy farm. We picked up an aroma that stayed with us for a day or two here. :wink:

Tree farmers are a patient lot. Anyone know this species?

This whole trip I was reminded just how drastically the TVA changed the lives of the people who lived here prior to the great electrification.

They definately grasped the concept of working with the natural surroundings and creating recreational opportunities.

At first we looked at this obstacle as a downer but the drive around the lake took us through a neat little town and recreational area.

This dam is at the other end of the lake from the power plant in the above pictures. They actually bored a hole through the rock for the turbine feed pipe on the other end of the lake when they had all these gates with water to drive turbines right here at the man made dam. This puzzles me.

More scenic stuff.

Ever wonder how towns get thier names? Americana at its finest.

Bridge over the Duck River at Manchester, TN.

The Sweet Cheeks definatley saved the day but I'll bet my gelpad will fit just about perfectly on top of it for next time. The Sweet Cheeks makes the seat lots wider but does nothing as far as making it a little softer.

Good eats here.

I passed up several of these tree tunnels that were denser than this one before I decided I'd better snap a pic before I run out of them.

I'll bet this person played with "Lincoln Logs" as a kid. I love log houses.

The Illinois Central Rail southbound. If you stand real still and quiet, you can almost feel the ghostly rumble of "The City of New Orleans" as she rolls "thru the Mississippi darkness, rollin' down to the sea" (Steve Goodman)

Comin' back to homeground.

How hard is it to ride in a muddy rut? Ever tried to herd cats?

Alright, we made it Apostle2's place. I live a couple of miles away and today is my 22nd wedding anniversary so I'm thinkin' I'd better get on home. Seeya Bro.

The horses have proven themselves worthy.

Our longest day of riding.

My little WR250R has earned its Dragon's Wings.:clap

All in all it was a great experience. I'm looking forward to more riding this fall in Colorado. Back to you Dave.

french horn 06-26-2010 01:55 AM

Great to see Bro's hav'n fun together, and what a ride.
Thanks for sharing fellas. :clap:clap:clap

apostle2 06-28-2010 11:14 PM

Day 4
Day 4: May 31<SUP>st</SUP>, 2010<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
After a good nights sleep, we get up about 7:00 AM and start loading up the bikes. Dave and Cliff had started loading up as well. Buck was up early as well and walked over to chat and thank us for the business and company. All three guys suggest breakfast at the “B&B Country Store” just up the road from Cherohala Motorcycle Resort. So we take their advice and join Dave and Cliff for breakfast. (Cliff on the left, Dave on the right)<o:p></o:p>

I’m glad we took their advice because the breakfast was excellent and the staff was great. After breakfast we go our separate ways (photo courtesy of Cliff).<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
<o:p>As you can probably tell in the above picture there is still rain in the vicinity. Big Bro wanted to try to find a pair of waterproof gloves so we head back into Tellico Plains to a place that Buck recommended. “Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters”, this place had exactly the gloves he needed and they’re an supporter. You can buy ADV stickers there if you need them. Neat little store tailored to the dual sport rider, and the owner rides a Super Sherpa!<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

You can see most of the Sherpa in the far right of the picture.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

After our visit at Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters, we head north for Jellico. We start on two lane highways. Hwy. 68 to Hwy. 11 to Hwy. 321 to Hwy. 95 to Hwy. 61 to Hwy. 25 until we end up in Lake City.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Once we reach <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Lake</st1:PlaceType> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">City</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>, we take I75 to Jellico. Even from the interstate the scenery is pretty good around here.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Before I even knew it we were in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Jellico</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">TN.</st1:State></st1:place> A cool rush of excitement comes over me when I see the sign and realize that we made it. <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

Once in Jellico we grab some lunch and review our route for the TAT. Then we get some fuel at a store just across the TN state line and inside <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:place></st1:State>. Now we can add another state to our repertoire. Seven states total for the trip. Even though we were only a few feet inside <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Kentucky</st1:State></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>

<o:p>From here we simply follow the tracks along the TAT, nothing really picture worthy. Very little dirt roads but we end up getting a hotel at Harriman for the night. Dinner was provided buy the Cracker Barrel next door to the hotel. A total of 234 miles and another day in the books.<o:p></o:p>

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