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Old 05-23-2008, 06:45 PM   #16
DR. Rock OP
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Got an early start,



and had another big day:





Didn't take long to get to the NC state line:



And then a curious thing happened. It was cold . I hadn't had any coffee. I had a full tank of gas, and based on the previous day's riding knew not to expect any services of facilities or restaurants or anything on the parkway, so I was wondering how I would survive the next 4 hours without coffee 'till I had to stop for gas, or else how I could scheme to take a quick detour for a cuppa joe. As I'm searching through the GPS database for what might be a quick stop, I pass what is I swear the only coffee shop directly on the BRP. Bluffs Coffee shop, and they're just opening. I stop in, warm up, grab some breakfast and coffee and am on my way.



A little ways further, there was a detour, and for a couple of miles the route jogged into cultivated suburb / exburb / country club / farmland. It was like stepping behind the curtain at Oz. SUV's were ferrying kids to school. Farm workers (or landscapers) were bundled up in jackets riding to a job in the back of a pick-up truck. A garbage truck was making it's rounds. All of a sudden I had to look out for cars coming out of driveways, use my turn signals, it was a jolt.

It really drove home what a jewel this road is. It represents a sliver of remote through an ocean of civilization. In a way, it turned out to be a neat contrast for me when I realized how out west, the interstate represents a sliver of civilization through an ocean of remote.





Early afternoon, I was needing a gas stop, stretch break. I ended up having to leave the ridge, dropped down in elevation over 1000 ft on one of the twistiest 2-lane roads I've ever been on to a small town about 4 miles off the parkway. So I get that there are plenty of more challanging motorcycling roads in the area. But the BRP, at least when I was riding it, is about the longest stretch of unbroken, unspoiled, twisty, unmonitored, remote pavement on the east coast that I can think of. I really look forward to doing it again. Riding the Terra Mostro. With the street wheels.

I have a hard time envisioning traveling north-south on any other route in the future. (Again, high season for blue-hair's in RV's I might change my mind.)





Dunno who these folks were. They saw me taking a photo and started moving out of the frame, I was just like, "no, it's OK, I kind of don't want to wait, I don't mind"



I don't know which was more tasty, this:



or this:



I always make a point of sampling local cuisine.
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DR. Rock screwed with this post 05-25-2008 at 06:11 AM
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:13 PM   #17
shleppy
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Touring on a DRZ 400.. sweeet ! As a fellow DRZ owner I'm all over this report

Would love to know what luggage and rack setup you are using on the back.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:02 PM   #18
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The end of the beginning

One last little stretch through this area:



It's called the Dragon's Gap, or The tale of the Deal, or something like that. It's pretty neat; an 18 mile chicane, with elevation changes. Nice way to finish nearly a thousand miles on a DRZ in two days. I didn't scrape a peg or anything, but that could be because the pegs are about two feet off the ground. But Rick said my chicken strips were pretty small and that I did pretty good considering I'm a damn yankee.



And he should know because he rides it all the time on all kinds of bikes.

Rick, aka Motor 1, has rightfully rapidly ascended among the ADV gliterati, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gaspipe, and Gaprunr, et.al. If any of you has the opportunity to spend time and get to know Rick, do so... He is one of the kindest, most generous and humble inmates I've ever met. I won't go on about his accomplishments, because it's not his style, but he lives and breaths motorcycles, and has apparently kept himself on the steep part of the learning curve for decades. Which means he knows... well, you do the math. A lot. About alot.

We first spoke about 10 minutes after he posted a blue '04 DRZ for sale in the Flea Market. I called him, and we ended up chatting for about an hour. In that time he had provided intel for us to ride the TAT, which he continued to do up until the minute we left ("Have you thought about what you're going to do when you have to stand down a bull in the middle of the road??? 'cause it will happen...")

(flash forward)



Anyway, I bought the DRZ for LDF (it had been lowered... perfect), and Rick offered to store it until we were ready to start our trip, and offered to host us while we prepped and packed the bikes, and loan tools, and receive shipped tires, and source a tube after I pinched my spare, and even drove out to the Knoxville airport (TWICE!) when Francine's flight was diverted to Chicago overnight because of weather.

Top prize for above and beyond:



Thank you so much... hope to see you soon in NYC.

I arrived late afternoon, and after taking off my gear, but before taking a shower or any of that other fluffery, I tore into LDF's bike to get it ready for her.

Honeybee, meet Blueberry:





The day's stats:

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Old 05-23-2008, 08:31 PM   #19
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Prep day

So I woke up early, and LDF wasn't scheduled to get to Knoxville until late morning, so it was more bike prep:



Rick has every tool known to man, and claims not to know how to use them, but I remain skeptical.

The bikes / set-up in a nutshell:

Both 2004 DRZ400s.

The yellow one: Honeybee ~3500 miles. Bought from inmate BobbyC. Acerbis tank, 14/44, E-bay rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, Andy Strapz expedition pannierz, Wolfman tank bag and small duffel tail bag. Heated grips, hardwired GPS, cigarette accessory socket, fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards, disk brake protection, spare throttle and clutch cables zip-tied in place, two rear rim-locks, (none in front... rethinking that one), airbox 3X3, dynojetted, full Yosh exhaust. D606 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.

The blue one: Blueberry ~7500 miles. Bought from inmate Motor 1. Clarke tank, 15/44, Stock rear rack, Dirt Bagz side racks, and Ranger Panniers, Wolfman tank and tail bags. Heated grips and hardwired GPS. Fully hardened for adventure touring: radiator guards, skid plate, handguards. One rear rim lock. airbox 3X3. Maybe rejetted (seemed to do better at higher altitude), stock exhaust, unknown if cored. Lowered with #3 Kouba link, and bar risers, dropped forks in front. Gel seat? MT-21 front, new MT-21 rear mounted.

Whew, did I forget anything?

So LDF arrives, and we pick her up from the airport, and stop to visit this Dual Sport emporium for last minute purchases:



And get to meet Gaprunr, who later scores me a new heavy-duty rear tube when I pinch mine changing the rear tires.



And he warns us about the slimey slippery creek crossings in Tennessee and not to even think about riding across or else we'd fall, and that we'd do best to walk each bike across with two people at a time...

(Flash forward):



Anyway, if you're trying to figure out whether your luggage is tough enough for the TAT, don't bother... make sure it can survive airline baggage handlers:



So besides recovering from spending the night at O'Hare, LDF set about sewing holes in her side bags. While I held a clinic on how to pinch tubes:





And we generally enjoyed a beautiful afternoon on Rick's superfine property:



LDF throwing a leg over Blueberry for the first time:



Rick's GasGas taking a nap:

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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:11 PM   #20
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It's a go

Bikes loaded and ready:



Bye Rick, Girl dog and Black dog...



We're on our way!





Now, since we were already south of Knoxville, we elected to skip the first hundred or so miles of the TAT since it would have meant driving north to Jellico, only to follow the TAT back south, so I pieced together a route that hooked up with the TAT by traveling almost due west from Rick's

Do we lose bragging rights to officially having done the TAT in its entirety? Sure. ... But I don't think I did so bad with my route:





Crossing the Clinch river near Oak ridge, where I used to go with the rowing team on our spring break to train:



First gas stop where we met a couple of ADV riders who were out riding sport bikes on twisties and wished us well on our journey.



I don't remember their screen names, or real names:



Didn't even remember to get a photo until they were taking off. Raises an interesting point of where my head was at (can't speak for LDF). So much prep and planning. Attention to details. Anticipation. Anxiety. You know how you're not supposed to do anything to your bike the week before a big ride? Well, we definitely broke that rule. How far would we be able to ride each day? Was Albuquerque too ambitious? How technical? how challenging? where would we find food? gas? Where would we be sleeping that night?

It really took a couple of days before we started to relax and enjoy. Remember to stop and take out the camera. Appreciate the scenery. Savor the curves. In retrospect my head wasn't in the game. Or rather, I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees.

This photo is a perfect example of that: I had chosen a road which was closed. If you look to the right, there's a sign for an overlook. We were so focused on rerouting and getting on our way, and not losing time, and making up ground, that not only did we fail to take the time to ride what, two minutes out of our way to spend 3 minutes enjoying what was I'm sure a nice view, but we (I at least), didn't even see the sign until now when I'm looking at the photo.

Weird.



But after a few days, we eventually got a handle on how much distance we could cover in a day, it took much less time to make and break camp. We developed a system for figuring where we would eat dinner and sleep each evening... And we really started to relax and enjoy.



We eventually hooked up with the TAT proper, and in fact, TN, while having nice and twisty secondary roads, is 80-90% paved.

But it was good for LDF to get used to a bike that was completely new to her. And she did great.



So somewhere near Chattanooga,



we found a campground, drove about 7 miles into Manchester for groceries, beer and gas, and settled in for the night.



Whispering Oaks campground, I think... although there was a state campground nearby at Old Stone Fort State Park.



Splittin' kindling:



Day's stats:





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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space

DR. Rock screwed with this post 05-25-2008 at 06:14 AM
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:49 PM   #21
Mark_S
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Hi

How do you find the neck braces for adventure riding?

Did you need to modify your jackets?

cheers


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Old 05-23-2008, 11:04 PM   #22
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We wore them for the whole of our Nova Scotia trip last fall. No jacket mod necessary. I don't notice when I'm wearing it... if I ride without it, I notice.

I wear it whenever I go for "a ride". If I'm moving the bike to the other side of the street for alternate side parking, I don't wear it. If I'm riding to do errands in the city, I don't wear it, but if I'm getting out the pants, and the boots, it's on as well.
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"I came into this game for the action, the excitement; go anywhere, travel light... get in, get out... wherever there's trouble, a man alone... Now they got the whole country sectioned off; you can't make a move without a form." --Robert De Niro as Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle in Brazil, 1985. The Mobius Trip index | Spot tracking live 4/18-5/4/13 | AdventureLoft™ Tent Space
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:14 AM   #23
Mark_S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR. Rock
We wore them for the whole of our Nova Scotia trip last fall. No jacket mod necessary. I don't notice when I'm wearing it... if I ride without it, I notice.

I wear it whenever I go for "a ride". If I'm moving the bike to the other side of the street for alternate side parking, I don't wear it. If I'm riding to do errands in the city, I don't wear it, but if I'm getting out the pants, and the boots, it's on as well.
Thanks for the response

I really enjoyed your Nova Scotia ride report BTW
Looking forward to the rest of this one as well

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Old 05-25-2008, 09:27 AM   #24
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More TN twisties and sights



Passing through small towns, farmland, mostly paved, some gravel roads. A few water crossings. A good way to get our feet wet, so to speak.





This next shot is NOT out of sequence... there were cacti in TN!



Passed through some Amish communities: They are WAY ahead of the curve when it comes to dealing with $4+/gallon gas prices.



Their farms and houses and yards were all so neat and tidy.



A sharp contrast to some of the trailer homes with junkyard front yards,



and abandoned dilapidated structures that we passed.







Maybe Dan Quayle lives here:



I can't spell either.

Amish laundry day:



A rooster tent-city:



We passed several of these. They aren't chicken-coops. The roosters are shackled to their tents. What's going on here? My best guess is that these are suspected terrorists. A little Guantanamo for chickens. Can anyone else explain?
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Old 05-25-2008, 09:35 AM   #25
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The riding

Here are some shots of what to expect in the lower TN portion of the TAT:









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Old 05-25-2008, 09:53 AM   #26
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The infamous slick water crossing incident

So. We've read all the other TAT ride reports. We've seen the photos. We've heard the stories. We saw Sam's warning. We had specific instructions from Gaprunr towalk the bikes across...

But we (I) still wasn't sure which one(s) were really slick and which weren't.

We had several water crossing which I had walked across, not slippery, then ridden across fine. Had we passed the bad ones? Were we just so early in the season that the algae hadn't grown the biofilm yet? Had one or more of the obviously new bridges we went over eliminated the slick-bottomed danger?

Parked for scouting purposes:



So I walked in, it seemed grippy. I checked to the left, to the right...
Right seemed better. There was gray rock which seemed fine, and brownish, which seemed slippery.

I picked my line, stood on the pegs, and started across. No problem.

Until I was almost all the way across... I cracked the throttle to get a little momentum to climb up the far bank and BAM!:



Sooo close!...



Walking it out... oh, the shame. Such hubris... how could I have thought I was different.



No damage to the bike, or body. Boots probably saved me a twisted or badly bruised ankle. Wish the helmet could have saved my ego the same.

Yes, it is that slick... My tire tracks:



Lesson learned, my punishment was to walk Blueberry across.



We carried on with high spirits, good morale, nice weather, no damage. Didn't even have to break out Mr. Happy Puppet. LDF hamming it up:



I think this is where we started to relax and just have fun.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:02 AM   #27
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I'm hooked. Can't wait to see more. Meanwhile I'll check out your earlier Novia Scotia RR I somehow missed.
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Old 05-25-2008, 02:15 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DR. Rock
A little Guantanamo for chickens. Can anyone else explain?
Cock Fighting Roosters. I wouldn't stop and take too many pictures.
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Old 05-26-2008, 06:10 PM   #29
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quote: " I have a hard time envisioning traveling north-south on any other route in the future."

no no no no!

here's some of what you missed, thru no fault of yer own:

but it takes years of research and riding to find it..
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:23 AM   #30
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OK, time to get this back on track...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajones
Cock Fighting Roosters. I wouldn't stop and take too many pictures.
Very cool, thanks for clearing that up. We didn't see anyone, but I hear you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeyuh
no no no no! here's some of what you missed, thru no fault of yer own:
but it takes years of research and riding to find it..
Please don't get me wrong: I know there's tons of great riding all around there... I'm just saying if I had to drive to Atlanta, for a conference or something... I'd love to take 3 years and follow the yellow line... not practical; The interstate... I'd need a lobotomy. So the BRP is the best compromise... no years of research to find... it was just so easy to slip into a zone on that road. Anyway, it's all good, next time I'm down that way I'll be looking you up for a tour!

On with the report... where was I?
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