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Old 06-02-2004, 12:36 PM   #1
Dranrab Luap OP
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Smokies Adventure for Newbie

I'm a new dual sport (XR650L) owner and am interested in doing a "light" adventure in the Smokies this summer. I'll probably just do 3-4 days since this will be my first one. I'm looking for information on Clingman's Dome, Mt. Mitchell, Southern Blue Ridge parkway, Barnardsville (with my last name how could I resist), the Scenic Skyway and the National Park. All these places from an adventure biker's perspective. No heavy off road stuff mainly rural highways and fire roads.

Will my carbureted XR650L complain at the elevations I will encounter. I just checked the weather in some of those areas. It looks like summer nights can be rather cool. Storage space will be at a premium, so I can't take a lot of heavy clothing.

Just fishing for ideas and information.

Also, is there a way to search this site for riders in my area? It would be nice to meet some fellow enthusiast for some weekend rides.

Thanks
Paul
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Old 06-02-2004, 07:27 PM   #2
chuckwagon
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Hey Paul,
Check out this link, on the left sidebar for dual sport rides. Make sure you ride the "Dragon" and Cheroholla Skyway while in the neighborhood. Paved roads but plenty of excitement.

http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
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Old 06-02-2004, 07:32 PM   #3
Dranrab Luap OP
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Chuckwagon, the paved roads are fine with me for this trip. Appreciate the info. I didn't know about the tail of the dragon, but I had circled the Scenic Highway on my road map as a place that I wanted to learn more about.

I just went over to that site for a quick look. Perfect Brother, I could not have been directed to a more perfect site.

Thanks,
Paul

Dranrab Luap screwed with this post 06-02-2004 at 07:44 PM
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Old 06-02-2004, 11:49 PM   #4
beefjerky
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Plenty of paved and gravel roads for you to enjoy. You may want to stay away from the dragons tail and the cherehola skyway on weekends. lots of traffic, cops, and accidents. I know your a little more road oriented, but if you get the urge for more dirt google for tellico orv trails and windrock atv club. plenty of good offroading there. If you have a garmin gps, most of those fire roads are shown. If you don't, the delorme red map books are great. I'm up there quite a bit, so if you want to get together & ride for a day let me know.
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:38 AM   #5
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Rdiing the Smokies

There is a neat little monthly newspaper, "Great Road Adventures & Off-Road Exploits" (published in Robbinsville, NC) that includes a map featuring the best roads of the area (paved and dirt). I found mine (free) in a store in Bryson City, NC. Their phone number is (828)479-3456. Ron Johnson, the owner of the tailofthedragon website, is one of the contributers. I ride in the area regularly, both n my touring bike and on my F650. I am coordinating rides for another forum in July and September. Feel free to join in with our activity. See the details at:

http://www.mctourer.com/smr2004/index.html

http://www.mctourer.com/members/andy...dirtindex.html
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Old 06-03-2004, 06:07 AM   #6
Dranrab Luap OP
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Wow! What a great welcome to a new forum. My family is going to have a reuinion somewhere between Collinsville AL and Etowah TN the third week in July. When they decide who will host it this year I will start nailing down my plans on when and where I'll go after the reunion. I'll probably take some of you up on your offers. Thanks again for all the information, keep it coming.

What can I expect for weather up there? Are afternoon thunderstorms prevalent like they are elsewhere in the southeast? Will the altitude affect my bikes performance. I'm at sea level where I live.
Paul
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Old 06-03-2004, 11:35 AM   #7
beefjerky
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Andy,

I always see you posting here and on f650.com. We should meet up & do some riding some time.
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Old 06-03-2004, 12:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckwagon
Cheroholla Skyway
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Old 06-03-2004, 01:04 PM   #9
deerslayR
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XR650L....what a beautiful chioce.

Paul,
First, welcome to the asylum. You'll love it here, and take grief from family and co-workers due to the time you'll be here.
The XR is a sweet ride. I have a 1999. Did away with the octopus and related
smog hardware, geared it down by INCREASING the rear sprocket 3 teeth and
put an IMS 4 gallon fuel tank on for 200 mile range. I tried an Acerbis 5 gallon
but found it a bit too unwieldy when full.
I have used mine for weekend rides, local errands, dual-sports(organized and
not), and even ran two East Coast Enduro Assoc. enduros on it.
If I could own ONLY one bike, It would be the XR since it does everything well
enough to be fun.
Currently on Dunlop D606's, but have used IRC M5B's and Pirelli MT21's too.
I found Baja Designs to have most of what I needed. XR's Only is a good resource, too.
The most important accessory however is one you can't buy.
That is to HAVE FUN...............................

regards,

deerslayR
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Old 06-09-2004, 12:43 PM   #10
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I second the web site www.tailofthedragon.com also look at www.dealsgap.com both based out of the same area, Tenn/NC border on the Western edge of the Smokies.

Are you going to camp? Do you want to dirt bike it some?

Using Chattanooga as a reference point, I would head thru Cleveland, TN on Hwy 64 and skirt the Ocoee River Basin into Ducktown/Copper Hill Tn. Hwy 68 North into Tellico Plains, TN. Do a web search if you want to get off road and play here, there is a big OHV (off highway vehicle) park near here.

From Tellico Plains head East on the Cherohala Scenic Skyway into Robbinsville, NC. Some killer campgrounds all around that area (one inside Keller???? Forest called Horse Pen Campground or something like that, backs up to a great trout stream!). I have a friend that owns a new motorcycle based campground outside of Robbinsville called the Iron Horse, his name is John Powell and his site is www.ironhorsenc.com tell him Buck sent you from the WHORES and I think he'll cut you a deal!

From Robbinsville go north on 129 into Deals Gap and THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON!!! A must do! 318 turns in 11 miles! Worst beating I took on my Harley Dresser was from a Honda 650 dirt bike with street tires!!! From there you can take the Foothills Parkway into Sevierville and Pigeon Forge then south into Gatlinburg and the Smokies again. As you head towards Cherokee, NC Clingmans Dome is on your right when you reach the summit. IN Cherokee head back west on 19 towards Franklin, NC and through the Nantahala River Gorge! And once through Murphy Norh Carolina you are headed back to the Ocoee River Basin and Chattanooga!

Can you tell this is my back yard??? Let me know is I can help.
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:37 PM   #11
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Gaelic Dog:

Thanks for the info. I have been fortunate enough to have found most of the websites you mentioned. Tail of the Dragon was great. I found Iron Horse Campground and in fact have decided to make it my base camp. It seems like it is right in the middle of everything I am interested in up there. I do want to find out more about the OHV area. I'll not be doing any hardcore offroading, but I would like to do some fire roads.

When I tell John Powell that Buck sent me from the WHORES, I want to know what I'm talking about. Care to divulge?!
Paul
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Old 06-10-2004, 05:51 AM   #12
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I run a Group based out of Marietta, GA (burb of Atlanta) Westside Harley Owners and Riding Enthusiasts, hense the WHORES. Just a fun mix of folks that ride just about anything. We started meeting on Thursday nights to grab a beer and wings, lie about riding and plan trips. The group has grown to the point of having about 185 members! No membership fees, no dues, no colors. John and his wife joined us a couple of years ago. They are really nice folks!!!! And they have built this campground this year,,, new, clean, by bikers for bikers!
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:19 PM   #13
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Foothills Parkway Closed...

The South end of the Foothills Parkway is still closed. They do have a desolate detour through Top-of-the-World if you must. If you go through Ocoee turn onto 315 and follow to Tellico Plains. It's the curviest road I know of. There's also a new Motorcycle Campground just before you get to Tellico Plains. I forgot the website. It's about 5 miles from the Cherohala Skyway. Lots of good gravel routes to the "Dragon" from there. I don't think you'll have much problem with jetting. The top of the Cherohala is about 5,700 ft. It'll rich up and slow down a bit but that's about it. If it starts coughing too much just pull over if it heats up and take a break. Most areas it gets that high for a few miles then drops back down around 2,500 to 3,000 ft. If you are in Etowah you need to take Mecca Pike to Tellico Plains. It's a very fun road. Have a great trip.

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Old 05-31-2014, 09:38 AM   #14
SR56
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Rides and elevation

I would highly recommend the Cherohala Scenic Skyway. If you have never done the Tail of the Dragon it is a must do but I found it very curvy and actually got a little motion sickness from all of the left right left right. The Cherohala is less curvy, just as scenic, less crowded and a more relaxed ride.

As far as your bike and elevation...I ride a CRF230L which is about the most underpowered street legal bike known to man and I went to the parking lot at Clingman's dome with no issues. Your 650 should be good for anywhere you want to go east of the Mississippi river.

When you get tired of all that scenic beauty and all those hills come ride with us in NW Florida. Nothing but flat terrain, pine trees, and more enough sand to fill the largest sand box in the world.
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dranrab Luap View Post

What can I expect for weather up there? Are afternoon thunderstorms prevalent like they are elsewhere in the southeast? Will the altitude affect my bikes performance. I'm at sea level where I live.
Paul
The Appalachian mountains are considered a temperate rain forest... Hence it always raining somewhere. The forecast from June through September is hot, humid, and a 40% chance of thunderstorms.

Altitude? Nah. Some folks complain about a loss of power... I think thats mostly due to not grasping just how steep and long some of the hills are.
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