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mikem9 01-21-2013 05:59 PM

KTM LC8 Club rides to NW Georgia
I'm not sure what is going on, but it's kind of weird! :D Several of my dirtbike and streetbike buddies have purchased KTM LC8 bikes (950/990 Adventures etc) in the last year or so. It's like the flu running through my friends. These guys don't just admire their bikes like we normally see from fellow riders. They are in love and obsessed with these things. And, just like a spouse or significant other, that love and passion also seems to be interrupted with periods of severe frustration (when things break on the bikes). And this does seem to happen to all of them at some point. But, they dismiss those breaks as a small price to pay for these awesome bikes.

I also follow an Advrider thread here in Georgia called DOGS (Dualsporters of Georgia). Same thing seems to be happening there. Seems like every month we are reading about new riders who bought one.

Today there are approx. 7 guys in my group of buddies that have an LC8 and several others who are talking about it. They formed their own informal exclusive club. They were going to call it the 990 club, but some of the guys have 950's. So, they called it the "LC8" Club. My friend Phil D. nominated and voted Stan A. to be the President. No none complained so he is the President. A few days later, Phil D. sent Stan his first complaint letter (seriously) to complain that there were not enough rides for the club being planned. So, Stan planned a ride.

Since I don't own an LC8, I'm not on the mailing list :huh, but the members can bring friends, so Phil forwarded an email to me about today's ride. (Thanks Phil). The email said "Street Only Ride to NW Georgia". So, I thought, great, I can bring my Suzuki Bandit. As LC8 owners are prone to do, Stan lied about the "Street Only" part.

So our little group was made up of Stan - Dark Gray 990 Adventure, Phil D. - Blue and Orange 990 Adventure, Don, White KTM Adventure (how many colors do they make in these things??). Andrew Buckley (ACME Rider's Supply), who was on his BMW GS 1200 because his new to him KTM 950 lost a Clutch slave yesterday. Didn't bother him, he still gushed like a 14 year old girl talking about a boy she likes in school about his KTM! FYI, he also really likes his BMW. (Must be nice! But, having several bikes helps him to empathize with the market he serves, he says.) We also had a brand new rider on the ride, Jim - very nice guy. Bought his first motorcycle 2 months ago. He bought Don's nice red V-Strom 650. Jim did great today. And, then there was me on my Suzuki Bandit.

So, here's our little group near the top of a nice dirt forest road ridge, somewhere in NW Georgia - (I was just following Stan all day). on his "Street Only" ride.

So, Andrew starts looking up the hill behind the middle guy in red in the pic (New rider Jim). He says "Hey, I know this place. Brown Dog from Advrider took me here one time" and he cranks up his BMW and takes off, standing on the pegs, up the more rocky and more dirtbike oriented road. He's got aftermarket exhausts and who knows what other mods on that thing. When he whacks the throttle - man that thing sounds good. I've never seen someone ride one of those big GS's like a dirt bike in person. I thought they were just big comfortable street bikes. He railed that thing pretty good up that hill. This evidently got Don's juices going, which is easy to do! :) Don jumped on his new to him 990 and took off after him. Looked like a dirt bike jumping over some rocks and small rock ledges. By now I'm understanding a little more about this Adventure bike thing. It's not just about going slow down smooth dirt roads like my Bandit is capable of doing. These bikes are pretty dirt capable, especially since you can also jump on one and tour the country! I hope I'm not starting to get the flu also!

After the guys come back down, they tell us that there is a great view at the top and suggest that only the more experienced riders go up who are riding adventure bikes. Stan gets that gleam in his eye and starts his bike. I couldn't stand it anymore, I had to see what was up there. I just take it nice and easy on the Bandit. Stan, however, rides his like a big dirt bike!

Stan's Adventure and my Bandit at the start of the rocky hill.

Stan at the top - pic looking West I think.

Continuing to test the limits of the Bandit as an Adventure Bike - looking East I think?

This brings up an interesting question. I hear Advrider Inmate Brown Dog took an interesting route on his 950 SE around here. We want to hear more about that! :)

After riding for several miles up this dirt ridge to the start of this hill, Jim, the new rider on the V-strom, informs us that he's only been riding a motorcycle for 2 months and this is the first time he's ever ridden on dirt in his entire life!! Ever! Jim rode well all day - always stayed within his limits. Never dropped the bike and I never even saw him wobble. Great job Jim! By the way, If you are ever reading this Jim, Stan lied about the ride didn't he! :D

For lunch we stopped at this place. It's on the outskirts of LaFayette Ga. We all gave it two thumbs up. Great food - Chili, Burgers etc., fast service - they get it about motorcycle riders - we want to ride. And very friendly service.

One thing I like about NW Georgia and the Chattanooga TN. area is it's different. We are so used to heading to Suches and surrounding areas. Someone said today, that when we start our bikes it's like they just automatically go to that area. The landscape in the NW part of the state is different. A series of long ridges with large flat valleys in between. Pretty area!

So, after lunch we headed up towards Chattanooga and Lookout Mtn. Lookout Mtn, is the site of famous civil war battles. (As a southerner I'm supposed to say "The War of Northern Aggression" :D) The Confederates had cannons up here and held off the Union troups for quite a while until thick clouds came in and gave the Union Army a chance to attack. When you see the cannons up here and see how far off they were shooting, it's really amazing.

Some of our group: (L-R) Andrew, Me and Trail Boss Stan

There was free admission and no staff at Lookout Mountain today. They just left the gates unlocked. Andrew got all stoked and rode his BMW into the park and popped wheelies all through it. :lol3 Just kidding, but it could have happened and we told Andrew that even if he got arrested it would have been good PR for his business. He didn't agree.

From there, we toured the beautiful neighborhoods on Lookout Mtn. Very nice old neighborhoods. Then, Stan took us through the campus of Covenant College. Another cool place with great views in every direction.

Fall pic I found of Covenant College:

From there we kept riding down the ridge on a nice road. We came upon a hang gliding area. It's supposed to be one of the most popular places to hang glide in the nation. When you get up there and look at their jump off point, it must take some serious guts to do that.

A hang glider pilot (not sure what you call them) preparing his hang glider for a jump. Our bikes are in the background. It was very windy up there today and each pilot needed at least two helpers to help with his glider.

A take-off

Enjoyed the ride everyone! Thanks for taking us on a great route Stan, and thanks Phil D. for letting me know about it!.

To be continued......

fullmonte 01-21-2013 07:31 PM

Nice RR of our local area. If you ever want to soar with the birds, I highly recommend a tandem flight with a hang gliding instructor at Lookout Mountain flight park. Its an incredible experience that's well worth the money.:deal

MudFly 01-21-2013 07:35 PM

Nice Mike! Your posts always make me want to go ride. Guess I'll have to grab a cold drink and go sit in the garage for awhile tonight to settle my nerves. :1drink Husky is up on a stand at the moment with no tires.

Brown Dog 01-21-2013 08:42 PM

Here Ya go Mike :
Here's a pic down the West side, just around the corner from Your Overlook pic.
This pic is compliments of Phil aka Kewlbyme?

Note: I didn't go down from the overlook. I went up from bottom & turned around where it makes a 90 degree left turn (top of this pic) straight up to the overlook :eek1

ABuck99 01-22-2013 07:35 AM

Nice post Mike-

Here are some other images & video of the crazy guys running off the side of a 400' drop off strapped into these crazy little mono-winged things made out of fence poles and windbreaker material and a sleeping bag.... some people say we're crazy for riding motorcycles- but I say hang gliding is down right off the chart insane.....

mikem9 01-22-2013 09:28 AM

BrownDog - now having seen that hill, it's one of those where the photo doesn't do it justice. Great pic. I would have liked to have seen that hill climb! :D

Fullmonte - We were in awe at that place and that sport. So cool!

MudFly - If I had known you wanted to ride street with us, I would have let you know. I thought you were only interested in going on dirt rides where you throw your bike down into gulleys etc!

ABuck99 - Amen! those folks are definitely crazy.

Tukata 01-22-2013 06:31 PM

You have a few fun times with some Krylon and they kick you off the island


mikem9 01-23-2013 07:37 PM

Tukata - that's a wild looking LC8!

wheatfly 01-24-2013 05:08 PM

Nice RR....... I just picked up a used Wee Strom this past weekend but I've been lurking on ADV for almost a year. I've been riding an SV650 for about 6 months and always go towards Suches, Neels Gap, etc. as you say but have been wondering what the NW part of the state is like to ride.

Fireman1000 01-24-2013 06:58 PM

Nice report. I've never been to that area on a bike. We took a family trip to Chattanooga several years ago though.

sailboat 01-24-2013 07:52 PM

I live just outside Macon and just bought a 990 adventure. I agree, great bike. Maybe I can catch up with you for a ride. 3 of us are planning a 4/5 day North Georgia trip in the next month or so.

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