Day 3 and finally TAT'ing!
Living so far away from the beginning of the trailhead just sucks. It was a bold plan to try to make that trip in less than 24 hours. I have ridden 1000 miles in less than 24 hours (referred to a saddle sore 1000 by the true long distance riders - though my trip was too spontaneous due to a death in the family to really plan for the paper work to make it a real official ride and call it a SS1000), on my touring bike but that is just different. I will freely admit that 640 miles is the most I have in one day on my 650. I think I could 1000 but not in the conditions I was in and as fatigued as I was. That was just foolish...
So, right... on with the story. :o
After the Camp Host thumb screw, knee breaker experience, I was on the TAT within minutes. Jellico is a neat little town. I took a moment to cross the border into Kentucky just to say I have ridden there but did not count that in my "number of states" in the title of this thread. That would have made nine.
Even with my slight detour, I was on the TAT soon. It starts out with a nice paved section very suitable for most any vehicle.
I notice a mountain off to my right and think to myself... I bet my last spare tube that Sam will point me to the top of that thing if there is a way.... sure 'nuff, soon I was on some very nice gravel and tight switchbacks headed up this thing. Lucky for me, the recent rains had really washed the road out in places... it made things more technical and exciting. The county had patched some places with fresh gravel which reminds me of just larger bits of sand as the bike still gets very "soggy" in this stuff.
Not much you can do when you are staring up and left at a switchback, but twist the throttle.
Here is the TAT beginnings and a pic of the mountain off in the distance I was referring to:
A nice section of the early gravel:
A patched section that is already starting to wear away from weather and traffic:
Tribute to The Darth Peach
Quick and blurry bike shot. I love bike pics - mine, yours, all... so expect more.
I really like Sam's idea of "pavement". TN has some of the most interesting paved roads. Some are actually more narrow than gravel roads.
I don't get this.... what you see here is a house built out into a pond. You are seeing the majority of the pond in this pic. They get high marks for creativity, but I don't get it still... why build the front of your house out over a pond?
But you know what.. who cares. They like it I am sure... It made for a cool pic.. and the homestead is stunning.... so GOOD ON THEM!
More of the same valley:
The mirror shot.... everybody's doing it!
Could not have asked for better weather.
This goes on for miles.
The first 100 miles or so is actually a lot of gravel is memory serves. The first part and last parts of TN, to me, were the best.
Good ole southern' jungle.
I come around the corner and see this. The elderly fella in the back of the picture invited me to the party, but it was a cock fest.
Wow... look at those colors...
TN's idea of pavement
I know I have seen this underpass in other reports.
Some forgotten little TN town:
This kind of tarmac made me wish I was on a sport tourer like a ST1300.
TN has it's share of rivers! AND bridges... And it seems no two TN bridges are the same.
Too bad this came out blurry.
Let me interrupt this program with a Lesson's Learned Moment: Things I would do differently.
-- Installment ONE
CAMERA: Just go buy or save up for a GOOD camera. I did not want to take our family camera on this trip, so I bought a $99 compact from walmart. Small... 8 Megapixles..(woohoooo! - that was meant facetiously). I thought this would work out. WRONG. The pictures already suck and the fact they are 5-8 MPs only makes it worse, b/c I have compress the pics to make the load faster. This makes a bad picture worse. So... take it from me. Bring a good camera. In the end, all you will have is your pictures to remember your trip. The real details of your trip that is. And get one that uses batteries and not some stupid rechargeable battery - even if you don't plan on camping any. Trust me on this.
...back to regularly scheduled programming
I took a break and hiked down to this little creek. The water was sooooo clear. This particular part was very deep. I have a video of this creek I will upload later.
One of many variations of TN bridges:
Things start to get hairy here.
Some of it my fault. Some of it my GPS' fault. (bad routing) Some of it, very manageable, some of it, near panic state. But I'll leave you with this teaser:
(edited to remove the idea that I have officially
completed a Saddle Sore 1000)