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Old 04-20-2013, 07:54 AM   #16
gearheadE30 OP
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Location: Indiana
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After riding the Dragon, we rode back to the road where the SCCA puts on their hillclimb. I’ve forgotten the name for the moment, but if I can pull it off of Google maps I’ll update the post. It’s a pretty good road but it’s a little gravelly. Being that I’m used to road bikes, I didn’t trust my tires much and took it pretty easy in most corners. The straights were mostly wide open, since the little 350 starts to run out of steam as speeds increase. It would hold about 65 on an 8-10% grade in fifth at WOT, which was probably 6500-7000 rpm. The KTM was bored at that pace, and I don’t even think the truck noticed the hill was there.


Bridge we passed on the way. The river had been pretty high so the trail on the other side was impassable.





At the top was a very cool overlook that gives a good view of the Robbinsville area. You can see the river as well, and it is really quiet and secluded up there.







Solomon climbing a tree:



After the overlook, we were kind of pushing for time. George and I had originally planned to ride a more dual-sport oriented trail that Mark called Snowbird, but we really needed to make it to Asheville in order to meet George’s sister. We were already a day behind our intended schedule, and since Snowbird looked like it could be a solid 4 or 5 hours of riding, we decided to wait on that until the next trip. I guess now we have to go back sometime, since there are a bunch of trails and roads around that we found out about during or after this trip.



So we rode back to the hotel where we had left the DRZ and started to pack up. All of our stuff was already out of the hotel room since we had to be out by 11 and by this point it was 1 or so in the afternoon, so it wasn’t that difficult. I decided I wanted to ride to Asheville since it was a downright beautiful day, and Solomon ended up riding the KTM with me. That ride ended up being about 100 miles from Robbinsville, and it went by pretty fast. There were a few big hills that I could have used a little more power on, and the thin air was screwing with my already rich jetting, so I’m sure I could go down a few sizes on the secondary carb and have less issue. At the highest points on the highway, maximum acceleration was about 80% throttle. When we got to Asheville, Solomon said he didn’t even notice that the KTM had a 6th gear until we were halfway there. It’s a pretty quiet bike on the highway - unlike the XT, which had lost a bolt that actually acts as a plug and had gotten really loud.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #17
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The place we were staying in Asheville was actually a house that Laura (Georgeís sister) had stayed in while working in the area at one point. The lady who owns the house hadnít rented the living space out again yet, so we stayed there the final two nights. Mary is a pretty awesome person, and we are very grateful that she let us stay there. We pulled in, unloaded our stuff and parked the bikes, and then drove the Ram to a local brewery called The Wedge. There was a bunch of other people on bikes as well, including a few vintage BMWs, a couple of GS1150s, and a Moto Guzzi V7.


Badass stools:









Laura met us there with food, which was fantastic. I canít remember where it was from, but it was delicious BBQ, and BBQ and beer was exactly what I needed after all the riding. It was good to unwind and chat a bit, and the atmosphere there was pretty cool. Being used to ďnormalĒ Indiana, I always think more artistic, local-oriented areas are really cool. Apparently a lot of people come to Asheville because itís a beautiful area, but there isnít a whole lot of work, so theyíve ended up with a lot of local business and an overall well-educated population.



So we left the Wedge and headed back to Maryís to drop the truck off, and then explored a bit. Maryís house and the surrounding neighborhood is home to a large flock of turkeys, which Iíve never really seen outside of a forest setting with only one or two at a time. They really arenít bright creatures at all. We had interrupted their path to where they sleep for the night, and they had a hell of a time getting around us. Solomon got a few pics of them:




We got in Lauraís Mazda3 (Iíve never been in a car with a totally blown out shock before) and headed up the hill to this massive fancy hotel to watch the sunset.







After that, we went back into town to see the drum circle and to hit some of the other local bars and breweries. The drum circle is apparently usually a pretty big deal, but as it was a little early in the evening and this was really the first warm weekend of the year, it was pretty calm. The most interesting beer I had that night was called ten-FIDY from Oskar Blues Brewery. I wish I had gotten a pic of the description; it was a riot. I suppose thereís another reason to go back haha.






Afterwards, we went to Ingles, which is a grocery store. For some reason I couldnít keep myself from calling it Ingles, as in the Spanish word for English. Iím not really sure how to get my computer to spit out an e with a tilde. There, we picked up some pizza, more beer, and some rather delicious cinnamon rolls. It was a good night of unwinding. At one point George got up and just never came back. We found him in his bed asleep. I guess he decided he was tired, and that was that.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:36 AM   #18
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The next morning we got up and headed to Sunny Point cafť, which was a fantastic way to get ready for the day. I bet it was 60 degrees and sunny out there. It was like everything was right with the world, especially once we got our food. Iíd definitely recommend stopping in there.







After sating our hunger and slaking our thirst, we headed back to Maryís to mount up and do some riding. Solomon, with his broken DRZ, headed out on a hike with Laura, and George and I headed to a state park/forest area southeast of Asheville. The park had a pretty decent gravel road running through it for maybe 10 miles, which was a nice break from pavement. I must say, though, riding on gravel kind of sucks. Itís very unpredictable, and Iím pretty new at the whole riding on dirt thing, so it definitely didnít seem very natural. Definitely good practice, though. At the end of the road, where it popped out onto a curvy highway, we stopped for water and a breather. A guy named Chris was also out there with his KTM 640 adventure, so of course he and George had to talk about KTMs for a while. He told us about a few other good roads and trails in the area, which unfortunately we didnít really have time to check out. Thereís reason number 3 to come backÖ






Georgeís bike had been leaking coolant pretty steadily, so we waited a bit longer for it to cool off so we could check the level, and as we waited, a couple pulled up on a DL1000 with their son on a KTM 640 Six Days. Iím jealous of the center stand he had on that KTM; it would have come in handy when I had that flat tire. They told us about another branch of the trail we had just ridden that climbed up the side of the ridge to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which was mostly closed at that point. Apparently there was an open section that would take us from there back into Asheville, so thatís the way we went. There was one stretch that was nice, smooth dirt instead of gravel. It was amazing. I never thought Iíd be so happy to see dirt again. The trail passed under the BRP, and that tunnel echoed like nothing Iíd ever seen. After we shut our engines off, the echoes lasted a good 10-15 seconds.










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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:40 AM   #19
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At the top of the hill there was a turnoff, so we pulled in to enjoy the view for a bit. Compared to flat old Indiana, the mountains are something else. Iíve done a fair amount of traveling, but I still always find mountains beautiful. At the overlook, we met a guy named Bob who had ridden up on his bicycle. Bob was a pretty interesting guy, and we chatted for a bit before getting back on the bikes. As we walked back over to them, we realized that my helmet was gone. Almost immediately, George saw it lying 20 feet down the side of the hill, so I climbed down and got it. Iím not really sure if someone was pissed at us and decided to throw my helmet over the edge or what, but it would be pretty hard for it to have fallen off my rack, rolled over a curb, and then rolled down the hill. Iím just glad it hadnít gone further down the hill, really. None of our other stuff had been touched, so Iím going to guess it got blown off or something. I wonít be leaving my helmet sitting on top of my bike anymore, thatís for sure.








While we were finding my helmet, Bob had taken off and headed back down the mountain. We caught up with him halfway down. I paced him at 55 mphÖthat just seems incredible to me. I hit 40 on my mountain bike once and while it was pretty stable, it takes a loooooong time to stop from that speed on a bicycle.



The rest of that trip was pretty uneventful. We made it back to the house just fine, and ended up taking the highway back instead of slower roads just because the roads werenít that great and there were tons of lights. We met up again, and as we were discussing where to get dinner and taking off gear, we noticed that the turkeys had migrated back up the hill and were congregating on the hill above us. Three of them, for whatever reason, had taken to running in a circle around a tree. I bet they ran around for 5 minutes. Every once in a while they would stop, reorder, and keep going, or else they would stop, change direction, and run the other way around the tree. Some of them had started flying up to their night perches. I had never seen a turkey try to fly before, and if you havenít either, it is a sight to see. Basically, they point themselves in the right direction before they take off, and then launch themselves laboriously into the air. They have to beat their wings quite hard to get all that tasty turkey meat off the ground, and at sounds like a helicopter taking off. Once in the air, they fly in the general direction of the lowest branches of a tree, in hopes that theyíll get close. Many of them overshot their targets, a few beat branches a few times with their wings, some landed on branches that were way too small to support them, and all of them wobbled precariously as they landed. From there, they take short, hopping flights into higher branches to sleep for the night.






After tiring of the turkeysí entertainment, all of us loaded into the Mazda3 and went to a local Mexican restaurant whose name Iíve since forgotten (Iím probably the worst person at names in the history of humanity) and had a massive dinner, replete with the almost obligatory frozen margarita. It was a great way to end the day.


And thatís pretty much the Ďtripí part of the trip.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:46 AM   #20
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The next morning, we got up earlyish, cleaned up the house, and loaded into the truck for the drive back. The weather got steadily worse and worse and worse as we went north, hitting heavy rains, ice, snow, and construction. It got a little hairy at one point, when we first discovered it was icy, but other than that, the trip went smoothly. We dropped Solomonís stuff and the DRZ at his house, and then he drove us partway up the highway, as he was headed that way anyway and it would cut out an hour of seat time in 35 degree, drizzly weather.



Nothing like a green bagel on St. Patrick's day:





Of course, when we got the bikes out and loaded up, my XT wouldnít start. After kicking it for 5 or ten minutes of kicking, George and I went to get dinner at the Subway next door and Solomon bid us farewell. After eating, the XT still wouldnít start. What had been the most reliable bike was fast becoming the most annoying, since we really needed to hit the road before it got even colder out. In the end, George towed me around the lot to spin the engine over and try to un-flood it. Eventually it caught, and we were good to go. My jetting is slightly too rich, and at that point I hadnít really figured out how to get it to start properly when it was that cold, so it had flooded after the first few kicks, and the rest just added to the problem.
The trip back, luckily, was pretty uneventful. We ran 65-75 mph the whole way and made it back to Purdue in one shot, but it was so cold. I donít think Iíve ever been that cold in my life. By the time we got back, I was lying on my tank bag with my feet on the passenger pegs to get out of the wind, which actually worked out pretty well. I would have done it earlier, but there was traffic until the last 45 minutes of the trip. And then we were back, unloaded, and back to real life, as it were. Classes started again the next morning, but I wasnít in the mood to do homework, so I just unloaded and went to bed.





Tail sticker:


Beautiful weather:



All in all, some of the most fun Iíve had. Now that Iíve been on one trip, Iím trying to decide if I should modify my other bike (1979 GS750E) for more trip ability, since Iíll definitely be doing this again, or if Iíd be better off buying another, more dual-sport-oriented bike. At this point, quite awhile after the trip, I think Iíll stick with the current stable and just modify things to suit my needs a little better. Something about that old air-cooled fourÖjust canít bring myself to get rid of it. The XT is also getting a few new parts, including metal oil pump gears, much better suspension, a new clutch, and improved jetting, and I think from there it will be a much more competent bike.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you all enjoyed it.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:08 AM   #21
jdfog2
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Subbed - like THIS thread after reading just the first installment !

My daughter (and a lot of my money) go to Purdue.

And I have been looking for $400 (or $500 or $600) deal like that on an enduro that is a fixer upper too.

Will be looking forward to the rest of the thread.

Jay in West Central Indiana
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