Unexpected Time Off, What Should I DO?
Now that's a STUPID Question. Of course I decided to:
Ride some twisty roads:ricky
Explore some dirt roads.
Enjoy the Great scenery in the Smoky Mountains as the leaves change colors.
And that was just today. Five more days of great weather in the forecast. Guess what I'll be doing:p3rry
More pics and details to follow. Here's a preview:
I got two weeks off that I hadn't expected. Right during my one of my favorite times of the year. I came up with a plan and then changed it due to the weather forecast. My final plan: Ride out of Maggie Valley, NC for three days and then head to Murphy, NC for the Hanging Dog KLR rally.
I loaded my KLR650, XT350, camping gear, and way to much stuff into my Avalanche and left Marietta, Ga at around 9 this morning. At around 9:30 I got on I-575 heading north - away from Atlanta.
Traffic headed out of Atlanta wasn't bad but going into Atlanta it was still backed up. I'm glad I don't have to make that commute......it would drive me crazy.
Passing through Andrews, I stopped to get a pic of the giant chopper in front of Cherokee Cycles.
Huge pipes save lives????
Then It was off to Maggie Valley where I checked into the Applecover Inn and unloaded my bikes.
I finally went riding at around 2 in the afternoon. I had no real plan....I figured something would come to me as I rode along.
I started off by taking 276 over to one of my favorite twisty roads, 215. I drove up this road a few weeks ago in a cage and it reminded of what a great road it is......if you're on a bike. 215 was very scenic but also full of wet leaves until I got near the top so I had to take it easy. Then I picked up the pace briefly until hitting some fresh patching. When they patch roads around here they do a real crappy job and spread little bits of asphalt all over the place.
Crossing under the BRP I continued south. The whole road had been recently repaved here. I stopped for a pic.
The leaves seemed to be past their peak at this elevation. I was in the area two weeks ago and they were barely starting to change color.
As I rode along I saw a small sign that said National Forest 4663. I have been through here many times and never noticed this FS road. So I decided to explore. I pulled out my map and it looked like it should go through to Charlies Creek. It was a nice one lane dirt/gravel road that went back quite a ways and had several branches. Unfortunately I didn't find anything that went through. The branches all ended up at gates and the main road just ended. Here's a pic on the main road:
I went back to 215 then turned on to Charlies Creek. This is a great twisty paved road with lots of elevation changes to make it more exciting.
Charlies Creek was a fun ride.
There are a lot of Christmas tree farms in the area. You can see some in the left of this pic:
I turned down another Forest Service road.
But didn't go down it very far. It was getting late and it probably just dead ended anyway.
Back to Charlies Creek then left on a road I don't recall riding before. I turned off on an interesting looking dirt road which led me to a Christmas tree farm. So I took a quick pic and backed tracked before the owner had a chance to show up with a shotgun:eek1
Then I headed south on 281 for a few miles before turning around back to Charlies Creek. 281 was a great ride with plenty of curves.
Some great scenery:
A closer view of the lake in the last pic.
Then I back tracked to the BRP and headed back towards Maggie Valley on the BRP.
The leaves were past their peak but with the right light they still looked great.
The plan for tomorrow is to meet up with a couple of other inmates and ride lots of dirt, some twisty roads, and hopefully see some great scenery.
Time well used.. 2 wheeled relaxtion therapy and a vacation all in one. :thumb
The forecast for my second day was a little chilly to start followed by about as perfect as you could ask for: sunny and around 70.
It was a brisk but pleasant ride out of Maggie Valley.
My camera did not do justice to the bright red bushes in the median.
My first stop was the gas station on 276 near I-40 where I met up with Fancyindigo and Laura0107.
Laura was riding a DR650, Carmen a KTM with Sumo wheels and I was on my KLR650.
We started off on some nice scenic and twisty paved roads: Cove Creek - White Oak - Fines Creek.
I took this shot over my shoulder while riding and lucked out, they usually don't come out.
Then it was on to Shelton Laurel Rd which soon becomes dirt.
The scenery and colors of the leaves were spectacular, unfortunately, my skills as a photographer come up short in capturing it. Besides, I was having too much fun riding to stop and take a pic of every great view:ricky
We hopped on I-40 and got off on Hurricane Creek. We had no intention of riding through but Laura had never been there so we figured we would go up until it got rough and then turn around.
This is a short ways up.
Our plan was to go up to the point where it started getting rough. We almost made it to that point when
Laura decided to forge her own trail:
No damage or injuries but we decided to turn around at this point.
Carmen, who has recently "drank the Orange Kool Aid" on the way out.
And Laura at the same spot.
And just to document where we were.
We jumped back on I-40 for a whole mile, then up FS288 to Buzzard's Roost.
Laura and Carmen make their way down to the overlook.
And of course the famous Buzzard's Roost, a thousand feet above I-40.
I took a few pics here but the others didn't turn out very good. I used the flash on this one. Laura took a few pics using her camera and a tripod. Hopefully they came out. Regardless of the pics, the view was spectacular in person.
After climbing back up to the bikes, a couple of guys on KTMs showed up. Sorry, I already forgot your names but if you read this, it was nice meeting you:wave
We continued down FS288. The combination of bright sunshine, colorful leaves, and great twisty dirt roads made for a great ride.
We crossed into Tennessee and headed to Hartford on some narrow roads, paved and dirt. I don't know the names of most of them.
Approaching Hartford, I believe this is the Little Pigeon River.
We had a good lunch in Hartford but I forgot to take a pic of the restaurant or the food. I did not forget to get some ice cream for desert:D
More than anything else, it was the ride reports in this forum that really got my attention and made me become active on this forum. As much as I love reading some of the great ride reports, I enjoy the opportunity to meet and ride with fellow enthusiasts even more. I had never met Laura or Carmen before today. It was because of this forum that we were here today having a great ride together.
Before continuing the ride report, I'd like to Congratulate Carmen who just passed her boards for Physical Therapist the day prior:clap .
I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to go for a ride on a perfect day like today.
The plan for after lunch was to backtrack for a ways then go through Smoky Mountain National Park. We started out following the plan. More scenic roads.
The kudzu was still bright green in contrast to all the trees.
Then I decided to go exploring and we ended up on a great narrow gravel road that got us back to where we wanted to go. Often when I go exploring, I end up having to backtrack. This time it worked out perfectly.
Then it was time for more exploring. We headed down a road I have been on before, but only from the other direction. I never knew the official name of the road, although we named it "Bob's Way" due to an incident involving someone named Bob. It turns out that there is a sign from this direction: FS289.
Here's Laura coming down the hill.
Carmen's bike somehow managed to pick up some dirt. I wonder how that happened:dunno
We stopped at the bottom of the hill to enjoy the scenery and take some pics.
This spot was really peaceful, deep in a valley, next to a rushing stream. Laura spent some time trying to photograph the stream. The angles she was using wouldn't have occured to me but I went ahead and took a pic from the spot she did.
This tree had much of it's root system exposed by erosion from the stream.
The trees overhead were glowing from the bright sunlight and were quite a contrast to the shadows in the valley. I tried to capture it in this pic:
Laura was trying to do the same thing.
Then it was off to explore a trail I had seen last time I was here but didn't have the time to explore. The trail ran up along the stream.
I was hoping the trail would go through but it ended here.
And one more shot.
Then we back tracked out of the valley. Going forward on 289 would have been more challenging than we felt like today. Here's Laura coming up the hill.
Carmen crossing a creek.
Followed by Laura.
Most years there are only a handfull of days when the leaves are at their peak colors and the sunshine is just right. Today was one of those magical days. During lunch we had talked about trying to get some pics and try to capture what a perfect day it was. Carmen had a commitment back in Asheville so she went ahead but Laura and I decided to use the stretch through the park to capture the beautiful scenery.
We leap frogged and took turns stopping and getting pics of the other riding by.
This road is fun to ride. hard packed dirt and not too much gravel.
The leaves were probably past their peak and many had already fallen off,
But the bright sunshine made up for it.
There were endless curves.
The next pic needs no explanation.
More great curves to ride:ricky
We bypassed Cataloochie Valley and went straight to Cove Creek Rd. Normally this road is an abslute blast to ride - smooth hard packed dirt and continuous curves.
But today the traffic was horrendous...You'd think we hit rush hour in Atlanta:eek1 I guess that everyone wanted to see the Elk and the changing leaves. We had a slow ride today.
Then we hit the pavement and more great curves:ricky
We soon ran into traffic.
At the end of Cove Creek we went our separate ways, Laura to Asheville and I headed back to Maggie Valley. It was a GREAT day of riding!
Laura, it was great meeting and riding with you. Hopefully we can do it again someday. I'm looking forward to seeing the pics you took.
I still have much more riding to do, including a ride with Carmen tomorrow. It will be her turn to show me around.
Since I will be camping the next few nights, it may be a while before my next update.
What a fantastic day of riding yesterday! Klaviator and fancyindigo were so gracious to let a creaky, pokey old flatlander tag along. Fancy was rocking sumo wheels with Avon Distanzias on some rather gnarly terrain at times. :bow
I had 160 miles on the odometer at days end and was pooped but just elated. I felt like John Denver, but on an Appalachian high instead of a Rocky Mountain one. Mostly my face hurt from grinning so much throughout the day. I'm taking today off to rest up and visit with family, then tomorrow I'm going to take my husband on his XRL to some of the same spots from yesterday's ride.
Klaviator, when I get back home I'll post my GPX track and elevation log from yesterday's ride. I might try to get the track into one of the Google Earth flyover thingies. Thanks again for being such a fantastic tour guide.
To top off a perfect day of riding, when I returned to Asheville my mother and stepfather had takeout from Urban Burrito waiting. :yum Highly recommended! :thumb
:clap Nice to meet you guys...looks like a hoot of a day and you even got to meet this old grey headed dude on one of the KTMs...:lol3 Hope to see you soon and would love to hook up for a ride sometime :thumb
Looks like you had a great few days!!
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