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Old 09-29-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
hanksmybuddy OP
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A rental bike....cheese grits and sweet tea in the Great Smoky Mountains

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.....

hanksmybuddy screwed with this post 09-29-2012 at 09:43 PM
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Old 09-29-2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Oops...just realized I should have posted this in Day Trippin and not here seeing as it's only a 3 day ride. If a moderator could move it for me I'd appreciate it.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:48 PM   #3
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Carry on sir, can't wait to see pictures of the smokeys.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:57 AM   #4
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Well, I guess I'll keep posting here in Ride Reports until a moderator moves it over to Day Trippin. After the chaos at Deals Gap I started working my way towards a little town called Tellico Plains. Took as much gravel as I could piece together getting there. Ran across some more old homesteads and a couple of local riders.



Scott was camping in his RV and was from the Atlanta area I think. We discussed the merits of riding in shorts I ended up running into Scott later in the day and we had lunch together just outside of Tellico Plains. I ran into him in a motorcycle ship looking at riding pants




Can't remember the name of this local guy out of Knoxville but he was on a brand new GS1200. Had totaled his last one near here when he slammed into a guard rail. Had to have some major surgery but was back at it 3 months later on his new ride.






While in Tellico had to have some boiled peanuts and a cold one....



Found a little cabin to rent for the night. Small but clean....$40.





Love walking around small town America.





Up early the next morning to ride the Cherabola Highway back towards the east. 60 miles of pure bliss. I thought this road was a lot more fun, no traffic (I hit it right at daybreak) and scenic than Hwy 129 "Tail of the Dragon". Took some little side roads but there are alot of closed roads out this way. Shame they have to close everything off. The same thing is happening out west as well.







Plenty of this..... paved and unpaved.



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Old 09-30-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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Great report, keep it coming...
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:46 AM   #6
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Tks for the RR, your pics do a great job of capturing the beauty of that part of Tennessee....
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:17 PM   #7
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I'm lovin it, from the looks of your cabin me and 3 buddies stayed right next to that cabin the night before we started theTAT, back home to Oklahoma.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:36 PM   #8
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Screwed around all day taking some side roads. Destination was the Ironhorse Motorcycle Lodge http://www.ironhorsenc.com/ . Dan had told me about it and figured I'd try and end up there for the night.

Road going somewhere...









Rolled into the Ironhorse and was hoping to stay in one of their bunkhouse/hostel type rooms. No luck as a large group had them all booked up. They did however have one private room left. As it was getting late and I didn't want to ride anymore I stated I'd take it without asking the price. Dumb ass! $100 . If camping or staying in one of the bunkhouses this place would be a great place to stop. Lots of bikers and a really clean area. They don't have a resturant but do serve an evening meal and breakfast. You sign up and they serve for a two hour period. Food wasn't that great but it filled the gut. You get two choices for the evening meal. Neither choice was going to win any culinary awards. After settling in to the room I walked over to the building labeled Cantina in search of a cold beer. No joy! Found out I was in a dry county and you can't buy a friggin beer! What bunch of morons came up with that local regulation. Lady stated that everybody stops about 12 miles back in the wet county and brings it with them. No cold one tonite Super nice people though and a nice place.

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
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Good thread and great pictures. Not sure if you will remember or not but we ran into you at the restaurant parking lot in Tellico Plains. I was on the black VStrom. Glad your trip went so well.

Cheers !
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:35 AM   #10
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I was up in that same area about a month ago, I unfortunatly was on my Harley (However, I was not playing pirate!) but after seeing your RR, I wish I had rode my DR-Z (long ride on a DS from Mobile Alabama). Some great pictures, and you are right, some great people too!.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by XT Traveler View Post
Good thread and great pictures. Not sure if you will remember or not but we ran into you at the restaurant parking lot in Tellico Plains. I was on the black VStrom. Glad your trip went so well.

Cheers !
Yea I remember. Was nice talking bikes with you and your friends. Always like meeting other riders on my trip as I'm usually solo. Had a great trip and the Tenere performed great.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg MacD View Post
I was up in that same area about a month ago, I unfortunatly was on my Harley (However, I was not playing pirate!) but after seeing your RR, I wish I had rode my DR-Z (long ride on a DS from Mobile Alabama). Some great pictures, and you are right, some great people too!.
Just kidding about the pirate thing. Although you do have to admit some of those Harley riders could easily go to the set of "Pirates of the Carribean" and fit right in.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:46 PM   #13
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While staying at the Ironhorse introduced myself to a rider by the name of Kent who was riding a KLR and camping. He was from the Atlanta area and knew the area well. In fact, he was a contractor and helped build one of the buildings at the Ironhorse and knew the owner. He showed me some stuff on a map and then invited me to ride along with him the following day. Sweet.....I'm in. He comes up and rides a few times a year and knows the area. He also rides a Harley and has put something like 60K miles on it in 3 years!. Had dinner with him that night and met the owner of the Ironhorse. We talked motorcycles for hours and then met up the following morning at breakfast for an early departure. Fell in behind Kent and just followed. Perfect day ..... weather, riding, views, great people.











Explored a side road two track that looked really promising but the Tenere, especially since it wasn't mine, was a little large for it. Wish I'd of been on something a little smaller and we would have seen where it ended up. It really started dropping and I didn't want to get that pig down there and not be able to get it out.







Was a great day riding with Kent. We parted ways as I had to get back to Townsend and Kent was staying another night at the Ironhorse. Following day my girfriend picked me up and we did some hikes and visited the Biltmore House in Asheville. If you haven't been to this, go. It's friggin expensive, $59, but worth it. Really interesting tour of the place and the lives they lived.











Was a great trip. Thanks for looking.

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Old 10-01-2012, 10:30 PM   #14
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This is actually the trip im planning to take as a "pre-flight" to my Alaska next summer. Looks great, but I am bummed to hear that many of the roads are closed off.

I had grandeur visions of a DR650 in the woods of the Smokies, but I guess like everything else, "wild" is being fenced off and "civilized".

Very nice pics and a very nice trip; thanks for the time!
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