Having grown up in the south I had a chance to return. Was going to have four days with nothing to do while my girlfriend conducted some business in Nashville. Coming from Bend, Oregon the first order of business was finding a bike to rent. Called around and the only thing I could find was....you guessed it.......a Harley. Not really wanting to rent a Harley and dress up like a pirate my search continued. An inmate recommended an outfit in Townsend, Tn. that rented dualsport bikes. Everything from WR250's to GS1200's. I made the call to www.GSMMotorent.com
and hit the jackpot. Dan Dickie, the owner, is really nice guy who knows bikes and is an avid dualsporter. He was more than helpful over the phone and I ended up reserving a Yamaha Super Tenere. I can't say enough about Dan and his business. Plus, he's got a fridge with cold beer! The bike was well prepped, clean and ready to go. I arrived the night before and Dan spent half an hour going over some routes in the area, places to stay and must see sites. As I flew in and didn't have any transportation that night to go back into town he even offered me the use of his truck. If you need to rent a bike from a stand up guy and top notch business give Dan a call. I would highly recommend them. So I picked up the bike the next morning, loaded it with all my crap and took off on a 450 mile loop that Dan had set up. I did his loop along with an extra couple of hundred miles. Had a great time. I had planned on bringing my camping gear but at the last minute opted out and decided to motel it. The Super Tenere Dan has is well farkled with hard bags, nice tank bag, skid plate, dualsport tires, etc. Dan encourages you to take it off road. He doesn't expect the bike to be babied but rode for what it was intended for. If you drop it and f*%k it up.....you fix it. More than fair in my opinion. Luckily, I put it thru it's paces and didn't drop it.
Some pictures of Dan, his shop and the shop boss!
The shop boss. Unlike Dan, the shop boss doesn't really give a shit about the customers or if they have a place to sit.
Dan's shop and a friend working on an old bike while the shop boss keeps an eye on things.....
Of course had to have a little breakfast first thing......
After breakfast.......the destination for the day.
The ride for the next few days.....first time on the Tenere and loved it.
Stopped a lot during the day for some short hikes and general screwing off with no where to be.
After some sightseeing in the Cades Cove area headed for this. Sign is way overrated. The road, although washed out in a couple of places, was really nothing. A good rider could get a Gold Wing over this. Not sure why they make it sound so daunting. Couple of small water crossings that were pretty slick from algae but come on.....it's not as bad as the sign states. Did see a small bear though so it was fun. This road pops you out on the "Tail of the Dragon" road. What a zoo......more on that later.
Popped out on Hwy 129 "Tail of the Dragon". Something like 318 turns in a little over 11 miles. Place is crawling with bikes, mostly Pirates on Harleys. I don't really get it. There are so many epic roads, both on and offroad, to ride in the area but it seems everyone congregates here to buy a friggin T Shirt, strut around at Deals Gap, and ride this stretch of road. Way to crowded for my taste. I stopped at Deals Gap to check out the scene and view the Tree of Shame. Was told that at least a few people die every summer on this one little stretch of road. I think 7 people ate it here last year.
Tree of Shame....they hang parts from the wrecks here.
This couple had shipped their bike to the states from the UK. Paid $3500 to have it flown here. They had heard about "Tail of the Dragon" and wanted to ride it. Go for it.....I'm outta here.
More to come.....