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ghostdncr 06-14-2012 06:19 AM

Kentucky backroads
It's looking like I'll be doing a loop down into central Kentucky on Saturday. I'm planning to head east out of Louisville pretty early on the DR650 and keep a somewhat leisurly pace on secondary roads. If I'm not mistaken, the maximum speed limits along this route will be 55mph and the backroads and tracks will have the usual outbursts of water crossings, gravel, and dirt, but nothing too ridiculous. Anyone interested in riding along or meeting up along the way needs to give a shout.

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Here's some pics from previous rides in this area, just to give a general impression of what I'm looking for:

I’m always drawn to the lonely places. There’s a comfort to be found in quiet solitude that once realized, it’s near impossible to dismiss. When riding through areas like these, I’ll sometimes shut the bike off and sit there, listening to the random tinks of the cooling exhaust. There’s usually little else beyond the wind playing through the grasses and the various insects murmuring among themselves. See that puddle in the next photo? I've ridden 100 miles to hit that puddle and the few others scattered along this stretch of gravel. The state's long-term plan to pave every road, lane, driveway, and goat path has severely limited the dual sporting opportunities, and may help explain the cruiser and crotch rocket infestations found hereabouts.

The gravel drive on the left? That's where my great-grandmother lived. No pics of the dwelling, as it collapsed years ago. I lived there off and on as a youngster, and learned everything needed to be considered a card-carrying Appalachian-American. We didn't have running water or indoor plumbing, and "Mammy" did all her cooking on a wood-fired kitchen stove. We never had fewer than five large coon hounds living under the front porch and there were holes in that old shack you could throw a housecat through without messing up its fur. Looking back, it's a wonder I survived to adulthood. :lol3

The midsection of Kentucky isn’t very high on anyone’s must-ride list, I don’t think. It’s a mostly non-descript place, sorely lacking in altitude, high-gradient waterways, or much in the way of splendor. It has a smell about it in the summertime, a distant hint of decaying vegetation and stagnant water. Seems like most of the creatures that inhabit this place reflect the same static nature. Generally, nothing appears hurried except the mice and a few species of insect. I was born here back in the early 1960’s and while the area has changed pretty dramatically since then, many aspects have resisted the onslaught of time. Regardless, the ravages of time impart their own abstract beauty.

ghostdncr 06-14-2012 12:01 PM

I’m planning to ride the ’07 DR650 on this trip. I got it from an inmate in eastern Pennsylvania last weekend and this will be my first ride of any distance on it. The simplicity of this bike is refreshing and I’m quite excited about its lack of radiators, a dry sump, and oil in the frame. If the engine gets too hot to continue, we’ll stop for a snack and a map check. Here’s a photo shamelessly stolen from the previous owner:

It’s been fitted with an Acerbis 5.3 gallon tank, Cycra handguards, a windscreen, 12V power outlet, skid plate, and a bunch of suspension mods. The Dunlop D606’s are nearly shot, but they should hold together long enough to finish this trip. All in all, it appears to be well-sorted and exactly what I've been looking for in a dirt-oriented adventure bike. The route I have mapped out is almost 300 miles (and will likely go over that once side trips are figured in) and should give me a good indication whether or not it will suit my needs over the long term.

It seems most of the DR guys claim a range of around 250 miles with the Acerbis. I haven't ridden anywhere in the lower 48 that would require much over half that range on the road. It's about 100 miles across the Great Salt Desert from Tooele, UT to Wendover, NV on I-80, but the off-road version would take a bunch more fuel. Wonder if 5.3 gallons would be enough for that ride?

HappyCRNA 06-14-2012 12:07 PM

A ride I'd love!
Looks like a great time! Is that the stock seat with the Acerbis tank?

ghostdncr 06-14-2012 12:17 PM


Originally Posted by HappyCRNA (Post 18910646)
Is that the stock seat with the Acerbis tank?

It's one of these, which are supposedly built on the stock DR seat pan: Only a week into ownership, but I'd say the reviewer pretty well nails it. If the bike turns out to be a keeper, there will probably be a Renazco fitted before long. Check this out (pic borrowed from BurnieM):

ghostdncr 06-15-2012 02:45 PM

Pre-ride planning has amounted to this small collection of gear. There are a few more incidentals that will get thrown into the tank bag, like tire irons and a sandwich, but this is mostly the extent of it. No doubt, the pre-dawn fuel stop pic will show how everything gets fitted. The tank bag's a magnetic one normally used on the Ninja and I'm going to attach it to the DR's rear rack. Looking at the DR, I can't imagine what kind of bag would work on its pointed tank.

Although I haven't ran D606s on anything for a couple of years, it seems the more they get worn, the faster they seem to wear. I took this shot just a few minutes ago while lubing the chain. I'm fairly certain there's 300 miles left on it. :lol3

dancerdave 06-15-2012 06:47 PM

lots of good riding near Somerset Ky.. off 192 is a place called Mount Victory and it leads you to Ano that will take you to some of the best riding we have found there.. also Bolterhouse Rd has an over look of Rockcastle river that is priceless, about 1500 feet to the river from where you stand, take that road to the river and enjoy..take a camera.., the road follows the river and dont know how far, ran out of time..

FJracer 06-15-2012 07:10 PM

My Old Kentucky Home
Great reminders of the nearly untouched corners of my home state. Thanks! I ride the 57 different ways to get back to Clark Co.(KY) from west Tenn. 5-8 time a year on Wing or FJR. My DRZ allows me to explores the underbrush and hidden sights within this state.

FJracer 06-15-2012 07:16 PM


Originally Posted by dancerdave (Post 18921161)
lots of good riding near Somerset Ky.. off 192 is a place called Mount Victory and it leads you to Ano that will take you to some of the best riding we have found there.. also Bolterhouse Rd has an over look of Rockcastle river that is priceless, about 1500 feet to the river from where you stand, take that road to the river and enjoy..take a camera.., the road follows the river and dont know how far, ran out of time..

I'm taking note! I've come down 89 twice outta Clark Co. and turned west to run thru Somerset. Will look up 192. Thanks!

joseywales12 06-16-2012 03:36 AM

Recently moved here and I'm learning my way around these roads. I'm looking for the dirt trails, but have also discovered Dirty Turtle up in Bedford. If anyone near Louisville is going out riding, I'm game. Thanks!

dancerdave 06-16-2012 10:07 AM

another nice little ride off hwy 80 going east take 1956 then then 1249 then cleft rock rd then turn left on to JB road and enjoy.. it is quite an adventure, we found it just by my wife saying "wonder there this little road goes" it will come out in Livingston Ky on hwy 25.. beautiful ride.. take some pictures.. some water crossing but not too bad..

ghostdncr 06-16-2012 07:30 PM

Ended up being 362 miles, and it was epic. Pics and details to follow:

ghostdncr 06-17-2012 03:12 AM

Departure worked out to be right at 5:30am. It was only 76 degrees but the humidity was high enough that combined with my protective gear, it made me break a significant sweat just trying to get the door locked. It only took a few minutes to get the bike loaded, odometer reset, and then get on the road. I headed out of town on Shelbyville Road, with plans to make my first fuel stop about 8 miles from home. Here's the gas station shot I promised earlier, along with the odometer pic:

The last weather forecast I checked indicated partly cloudy skies, an afternoon high of 90 degrees, and humid. The eastern horizon offered some scattered cloud, but nothing threatening. I managed to get the waning crescent moon in the upper left of the photo, although there was almost enough light to obscure it by this point.

Shelbyville road goes from a heavily developed, strip mall cacophony to rural Kentucky in the space of about a mile. Once I passed out of the business part and into the "country" part, the temperature dropped considerably and gave much-welcomed relief from the heat and humidity. I was already loving my Camelback and the difference it makes in dealing with the heat. I soon found this vista and made the first official photo stop of the day. How about those clouds building in the west? While I'm not a meteorologist, those look like they could produce some rain:

The mighty DR beside a hay field:

I turned south on US-127 and headed down to Harrodsburg. Reaching Old Fort Harrod, I was delighted to find I had the park to myself at this early hour. Here's a couple of links if you'd like to read more about the history of the first permanent settlement in the state of Kentucky:

mbabc 06-17-2012 06:46 AM

Good one John. Looking forward to the next installment. I've a few route ideas on heading down that way to combine with yours

Some Sunday, early start ?????

ghostdncr 06-17-2012 08:31 AM

Sounds like everyone wants a Sunday ride, so let's plan on that for next time. You guys must not get sore, because I'm having a really hard time getting around this morning. Not sure how that's gonna play out Monday morning at work. :lol3

I'm definitely swapping that Procycle/Saddleman abomination of a seat for a Renazco as soon as the funding can be scraped together. I believe Saddleman made their fortune in building Harley seats and should probably avoid dirt bikes altogether, as they're totally different animals. Swap out the seat, change the tires and oil, and I'd head out for Alaska or Tierra del Fuego (or both!) on the DR tomorrow. Wish I'd found this bike thirty years ago!

ghostdncr 06-17-2012 01:43 PM

Next, I passed through the Hustonville and Yosemite areas. I abandoned the near-interstate feel of 127 and took to the back roads at Hustonville. My mother lived here for a short time in the early 1950's. Her dad was a very accomplished furniture maker and he moved his shop and family there, before finally settling in Campbellsville later in the decade.

Looking at this old marker, I started wondering who set it there. Do you ever do anything like that? I don't know how to decipher the markings, but I wonder what year they installed this and what was going in their lives the day they did this one.

Man, it would suck to live here! Poor folks.

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