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Old 08-28-2008, 10:32 PM   #1
buildit OP
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Looking for a GAP in the rain

Well as long rides go this might be the only one I get to do this year and thanks to Mother Nature it was less than ideal. But like any adventurer I will take it with a grain of salt and remember the ride for what it was, a trip to some places I had never been.
The trip was from Columbus to visit friends in WV on Monday. Tuesday to Charleston, SC to visit family and then into the Smokies to ride Deals gap and explore the area. Then back home again.
Day one was perfect! I dropped off the dogs at the kennel and made it to Mike and Kay’s in record time despite taking some side roads. Big Rigger and his son showed up for dinner also and we all had a good time talking bikes, joking around and having a great dinner. As always they made hospitality a fine art by putting out a wonderful enchilada dinner and chocolate cake for desert.

Day two I got a little later start than I should have but I felt bad hurrying off after enjoying such fine hosts. I took I-77 south through WV and started to hit small pockets of rain in Virginia. But when I made it down the mountain into NC it really started to pour. I was forced off the road several times for fear that the four wheelers wouldn’t see me. So 50 to 60 miles at a time I made my way to Columbia and I-26 where the rain finally stopped. I made it to my Grandmothers around 8pm in Charleston and had a good time visiting with her.
Day three we spent the morning talking and watching the weather channel to see where the rain was heading. It looked as if it would all move to the NE away from the Smokies. At 11am I set off up I-26 in what could best be described as a cool Charleston morning.
Well as I rode towards Asheville I came to realize how wrong the weather channel was. As soon as I could see the mountains I could see and feel the rain.

I took 19 West from I-40 towards the South side of the Park. The roads on the way up and down the mountains are cool but I seemed to be behind one form of slow moving vehicle or another the whole time. Or was I just going that fast?
From 19 I took 74 to Nantahala. What a beautiful area along the river there. I can see why the river boat services litter the area. From Nantahala I took US 129 to Robbinsville and got a place for the night. Even though I had a tent, I didn’t see setting it up in the rain and sleeping on soaked ground as exciting seeing how I was already very wet.
It worked out well as several of the other riders staying there and I had time to hang out and chat about our individual rides and the bikes we had.
One guy had a classic Nighthawk that he had ridden all the way back from California.

Day four I was up before the alarm clock at 6:30 packing and looking for the sun to come up. It never did and just as day light broke the rain came pouring down for almost an hour. When it stopped I decided to just get on the bike and ride. Looked like I’d be wet no matter what. I guess I was just hoping to ride the area on dry roads so I could challenge them a bit more safely.
As it turns out the roads all around the park are in great shape! I was amazed with how well the loaded down V-strom was cutting corners on the wet surface of 129 towards Deals Gap. At the bottom of the hill leading up the mountain there is an impressive hydro electric dam that I stopped to see while I got my video equipment turned on. Realistically the Dragon could start there as it is a fun mile or so into the gap.

I of course made the obligatory stop at the Deals Gap Inn for two small dragons and a t-shirt.

Just as I was pulling out two of the guys from Pennsylvania I had talked to the night before pulled in. We commented on the huge crowd of BMWs showing up. Must have been a BMW rally of some sort?

So off I went. I think the ride can be summed up as follows, turn rain, turn fog, turn down tree, turn rain stopped, turn branches in road, turn rain again and so on till I came down to the lake on the Tennessee side. I rode part of the way back up since I did it all non stop to get some photos. Some in a corner.

Some overlooking the dam.

I even took a smoke break while I read the wall and all the names of those who had come and gone that way.

I spotted two cars with Killboy.com on them but neither was snapping photos. Too many BMWs’ maybe? I guess the plus side to all the rain was that the police were not patrolling the tail as I went through. However, as I left I spotted two on there way up the hill to fill a quota for the day.
The dragons tail done I rode up 129 to Maryville, filled up the bike and headed back East on 321. At the foot hills I cut North onto the mountain roads. I had fun cutting up and down the foothills to Sevierville. It was about 1:00 at this point and I decided home wasn’t getting any closer. So I took off West on I-40 towards Knoxville and saw that 441 paralleled I-75 and was marked scenic. I almost gave up as I rolled through the never ending traffic of Highland Park. But when I got to Norris Dam SP I was rewarded with some great photos and nice roads.

My success on 441 drove me to also try 25W. WOW, finally dry roads, sweeping corners, no police or traffic and some astounding scenery. I was really disappointed to get back onto I-75 to start making up time as I headed home. But at 8:30 I pulled in the drive, unloaded the bike and read the odometer. GPS said 1650 miles, 700 of that completed today.

So what is it about Deals Gap that I liked? I guess the condition of the road is what I admired most. They must sweep those roads every night to keep them that clean and free of gravel in the corners. The scenery is also breathtaking in spots, but my ride across the reservations on 19 was very disheartening. Would I go again? Yeah, if I had time to do it right and explore the entire area. Deals Gap is just a crumb on a platter that begs to be ridden. Maybe next time it will be a bit drier?


I'll try to add some short video later.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:31 AM   #2
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Sounds fun, it's on my long list of places to go. Looking forward to the video.
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:39 AM   #3
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Looks like fun. The rain is by far the best time to ride the gap as it generally keeps the hords of cops and squids away and you can run a more spirited pace
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:47 AM   #4
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Looks like fun Luke.....

Next time, PM me first....I have a stellar backroad/state highway route all the way from your neck of the woods to the Smokies.....
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Old 08-29-2008, 06:55 AM   #5
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nice! Actually looked like a decent day to ride the gap, without all the extra traffic. Nice picts but there is one problem with them though....I can't seem to make out the ADV in OH stickers on your bike or luggage
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buildit
So what is it about Deals Gap that I liked? I guess the condition of the road is what I admired most. They must sweep those roads every night to keep them that clean and free of gravel in the corners.
Thank Killboy, his crew, and a number of the locals. I've seen more than one person riding while holding a broom and in the event of oil/gas/slippery crap on the road they'll write a message out in huge letters on the road in chalk.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katoom119
Thank Killboy, his crew, and a number of the locals. I've seen more than one person riding while holding a broom and in the event of oil/gas/slippery crap on the road they'll write a message out in huge letters on the road in chalk.
Nice, I applaud their efforts.

Video is slowly being processed even as I write this so that Hopefully by Monday if not sooner I should have something online.

Thanks for the kind words everyone.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ride-n-the world
I can't seem to make out the ADV in OH stickers on your bike or luggage
Issue is being resolved thanks to Meff
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:59 PM   #9
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Okay so after goofin around processing video today here is the best that crappy my crappy dial up and photobucket could handle. Sorry if it looks a little grainy. I'll try to upload some better stuff when I get to a wifi spot.
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Old 08-30-2008, 05:22 AM   #10
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Nice ride! A bit of rain separates the men from the boys and the gap is deserted
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:09 PM   #11
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What kind of 70s porn music are you setting your video to?
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Old 08-31-2008, 10:12 AM   #12
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What kind of 70s porn music are you setting your video to?
70'S porn music? Actually I made that on the Apple.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:59 PM   #13
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[/QUOTE]
It worked out well as several of the other riders staying there and I had time to hang out and chat about our individual rides and the bikes we had.
One guy had a classic Nighthawk that he had ridden all the way back from California.

Well I just got back. I will have to get some pict's up soon. But, I wore the NH tires down to square slicke's by the them I got home! And I do have to say there there are some good Killboy picts of you and me too waring the banana suit. In the rain!
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Old 09-03-2008, 03:08 PM   #14
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It worked out well as several of the other riders staying there and I had time to hang out and chat about our individual rides and the bikes we had.
One guy had a classic Nighthawk that he had ridden all the way back from California.

Well I just got back. I will have to get some pict's up soon. But, I wore the NH tires down to square slicke's by the them I got home! And I do have to say there there are some good Killboy picts of you and me too waring the banana suit. In the rain! [/QUOTE]

Glad you made it home safe, sorry about the tires. I never saw anyone doing photos! He must of been well hid.

Edit: Checked out Killboy, photos started at 11am. I was out and gone by then.
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buildit screwed with this post 09-03-2008 at 03:40 PM
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Old 09-07-2008, 09:25 PM   #15
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Another trip

Well, no V-strom this time, but me, the GF and the ADV puppies loaded up the van and went touring the Smokies again this weekend. It was nice to see them without the rain and have a bit more time to explore. In doing so we also had some time to play.


We really loved the views on 441 from Gatlinburg to Cherokee and did some short hikes along the way before heading towards Fontana Lake.

Nice area but they wanted a $150 nonrefundable deposite per dog for the night! F-that!!!!
So we headed across 143 to Tellico planes in the dark. Holy crap, I got to go back sometime to run that on the bike!! Up to 5300 ft crossing the hills. Then we decided to just head home towards Dayton since it was an 9 hr drive and it was already 1am. Good trip in the ADV Dodge Caravan.
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