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Old 10-10-2009, 03:10 PM   #16
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We made it back home so it's time to work on this RR.

After Buzzards Roost we continued on for a couple of miles of easy gravel road and then turned on to another technical section. It was similar to Hurricane Creek except more muddy. I thought it was tougher than Hurricane Creek, Steve didn't. I prefer rocks to mud. Sorry I didn't get any pics of this section but Steve took at least one. Once I get the pics from his camera, I'll post the good ones.

We then did a few miles of gravel roads and eventually end up on this:



This is one of many curves on TN 32. This road is similar to the Deals Gap except that there are fewer straights and the curves are tighter. It's a great road but today it had too many wet leaves. Our route took us down about 2 miles of TN 32 and then back to gravel. Normally we ride all seven miles of curves and turn around but passed due to the wet leaves and the fact that it was after two and we were getting hungry.

A little later we saw this:


I'm guessing that due to the FEDS closing all the riding areas, at least one local has resorted to riding his ATV on his roof.

We then rode in to Hartford, TN. knybanjo had recommended the BBQ place in Hartford so that's where we ate.


Good food and motorcycle only parking right out front.

Here's my lunch
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:31 PM   #17
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By the time we finished lunch it was about three. I had a burned out low beam so we wanted to get back before dark. We ended up riding with almost no breaks. Actually, Steve had plenty of breaks. He's much faster than I am off road so he he took plenty of breaks waiting for me. This was especially true true when we got into the Martha Sundquist State Forest.



The roads had been graded and graveled since last year but still had plenty of whoops and a few puddles. Steve really got into the groove on this section and lit the afterburners on his DRZ.

After Martha Sundquist, we made our way back past Buzzards Roost and into Smoky Mountain National Park. I really love these roads. Hard pack dirt and rocks and endless curves. I got into the groove on this section and even kept up with Steve for awhile.

It was getting late so we bypassed going into Cataloochee Valley so no Elk pics today. We then rode down one of my favorite sections, Cove Creek Rd. A bunch of downhill curves and hairpins.



After Cove Creek road it was back to the Motel and the end of Day 2.

We've done this route several times before and we'll probably do it again. It has virtually no boring "transit" sections. Most of time is spent off the pavement and the paved sections are mostly twisty and scenic roads with little traffic.

Total Miles: 123 for Steve and 135 for me.
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:25 PM   #18
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Steve took almost as many pics as I did however the memory card in his camera went bad so we lost most of them. Here's a few from day 2:

Hurricane Creek was pretty rocky. It's hard to capture on film. Here I am going down hill



Here's me crossing Hurricane Creek



This next one was not in Hurricane Creek but was probably the most challenging of the day. It had a fairly steep and rocky approach and was probably the deepest water crossing of the day.



Actually, nothing we have ridden is really challenging for an experienced off road rider. I have a lot of experience riding on the pavement but didn't really get into off road until the young age of 43. I think that to become a really good off road rider you have learn when you're still young, indestructable and fearless. For me, this was fun on my lightweight 350, but would be a real challenge on a larger bike. Steve on the other hand, has much more off road experience and has done this ride on his 650. He still prefers doing it on his lighter bike.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:00 PM   #19
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Day 3, Tuesday October 6th

The weather for today looked much better than it did yesterday.



The Motel we were staying at in Maggie Valley was the Aholiday Motel. It's pretty old, but the rates were lower than most of the other motels, it was clean, and the owners were friendly. They welcomed motorcyclists and encouraged us to park our bikes under the roof in front of the rooms. During the three days we were there the only other guests were on motorcycles. The bikes in the pic above were Harleys from Michigan.

After two days of mostly dirt, the plan for today was mostly pavement so we put on our street helmets, street gear and mounted up the six fifties.

Climbing out of Maggie Valley, going south on 19, this is one of the sights:



I don't know if this is really the most photographed view in the Smokies but I doubt it. I think they're just trying to get people to pay the 50 cents charge to climb up the tower. I took a picture from the platform right of my bike. You be the judge, is this really the best picture spot in the Smokies?



After taking this dramatic pic, it's up to the BRP and north on the BRP. Within a few miles we were in the fog.



The fog ruined the view but was not so thick that we couldn't see where we were going.



We exited the BRP on to 215, one of my favorite roads, and headed north. Here's a few pics along 215.










From 215 we took 276 south back to the BRP and the north to the Pisgah Inn for lunch. The restaurant there has large picture windows with a great view of the .....FOG. The place was full but Steve and I were probably the youngest people in there. I decided to get something light and healthy for lunch.



The chef's salad was good, probably healthy, but not light. I think I was going to need a nap before long.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:17 AM   #20
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After lunch it was back south on the BRP. It was foggy or awhile then we broke out of the fog just in time to catch this view:



The leaves were starting to change but were still not at their peak. They were probably better at higher elevations but we couldn't tell because of the fog. We then took 215 south to Charleys Creek road. A few miles of Charleys Creek and then time for some dirt.

When Steve and I ride together, I usuelly lead on the pavement and then he leads off the pavement. When we first started riding together I was much faster on twisty pavement and he was much faster off road. Over the years his twisty road skills have improved dramatically, especially when he's on his DR650. During the same time, my off road skills have......well, I'm not as slow as I used to be. At least I'm having fun.

As soon as we turned off Charleys Creek, I waved Steve by. Ten seconds later I realized I should have told Steve about the great viewpoint coming up ahead. Too late now. No way was I going to be able to catch him on this road.



Nothing challenging, mostly hardpack with some rocks and mud puddles, lots of curves and hills. Luckily, Steve saw the view point and had stopped by the time I got there.



Besides a great view



This was also a great place for a nap.


I joined him in taking a nap. I woke up before him and started exploring. This was an adventure ride so I needed to find something new and noteworthy. It didn't take long. I'm sure many of you have heard of the famous crop circles which many believe were made by aliens in UFOs. Not so well known are the rock circles which may have been made by the same aliens.



Remember, you saw it here first.
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Old 10-11-2009, 01:45 PM   #21
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After our nap we continued on. The dirt road eventually turned to pavement and intersected tanastee rd. knybanjo, thanks for recommending this last road. I had been on it once before didn't remember how to get to it.

Right turn on Tanastee rd then right on 281. From Tanastee rd to Charleys Creek, 281 is nonstop perfect curves and great scenery. Both Steve and I agreed that this stretch was probably the high point of the day. All we needed was for Killboy to be there to take our pictures as we scrubbed some rubber from the edges of our tires. But he wasn't so the pic I took will have to do.



Then we continued down 281, right on 107 and right on Caney Fork Rd for another of knybanjo's suggestions. We were headed for the top of Big Bald. Following the directions he sent, we went up a nicely graded, curvy forest service road until we came to an unexpected fork. Since we were going to the top of a mountain, we chose the fork that went up. The road then became rougher with frequent mud puddles. Still, nothing particularly challenging. Then we came to this.



The gate looked like it was pretty new. I'm glad our tax dollars are being put to good use. There is probably some endangered species of grass or poison ivy up ahead that needs protecting. It's also possible that we took the wrong fork. We went back down a took a pic of the fork. We had taken the one on the right.



We were disappointed at not getting to the top, but we did get to ride some nice roads we hadn't been on before.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:34 PM   #22
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Great pics guys, I love that area. Thanks for posting them.
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Old 10-11-2009, 07:44 PM   #23
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Great ride report! Looks like you hit some of my favorite spots. Wish I could have hooked up with you on Friday. Fate would have it, I had to work at the cabins. I Can't wait to see your pics from the rest of the trip.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:29 PM   #24
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Great pics guys, I love that area. Thanks for posting them.
Thanks for the feedback. We love this area too. During one of our stops on the third day, Steve made the comment that there were just so many great curvy roads in this area and that the riding around here was much better than Alaska, more scenic too. Steve just came back from 3 months in Alaska. He also did an Alaska Riders tour a couple of years ago.

Personally, I love the majestic scenery out west, but for pure riding enjoyment, this area is hard to beat.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:31 PM   #25
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Great ride report! Looks like you hit some of my favorite spots. Wish I could have hooked up with you on Friday. Fate would have it, I had to work at the cabins. I Can't wait to see your pics from the rest of the trip.
I just hate it when work gets in the way of a good ride. Maybe we'll catch you next time through. More pics to follow as I get the time.
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Old 10-12-2009, 01:19 AM   #26
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We rode back down to Caney fork Rd. and decided to explore a little further down the road before starting back to our motel. There were some side roads that looked inviting but they would have to wait for our next visit. We did see this interesting sign.



Then it was back to 107 and North. I remembered that there was a way to cut over to Dillsboro so I took a chance and took the first left that looked familiar. It worked. Except it wasn't just a shortcut, it turned out to be another steep extremely twisty and fun road. I don't remember the name of the road but it seems like you can't go wrong with the roads around here. Then through Dillsboro, left on 74 and right on Dick's Creek. This led us to another of my favorite Hardpacked dirt and gravel roads. After several miles of fun I took a hard left to an interesting 6 way intersection. As usual, Steve had gone ahead but I expected him to be waiting here. He wasn't. I wish I had a REALLY WIDE angle lens to capture all six forks of this intersection but here's what I got.



The trail we came up on is down and just to the right of my bike. If Steve had missed the turn, it wouldn't be the first time. On the other hand he might be at the end of the road wondering why I was so slow, so I continued on to the end. When I got there, no Steve. I took a pic of this sign to show the Cherokee writing below the English that appears on all the road signs in the area.



So I turned around and headed back. After a few miles. along came Steve. He had missed the turn and continued along until he got to a gate. From here. we headed back to 19 and north back to Maggie Valley.

Total for taday: 194 miles and 3.5 gallons of gas. Then it was time for a little chain Maintenance.

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Old 10-12-2009, 01:36 AM   #27
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Day four, Wednesday October 8th.

Time to load up the bikes and our stuff and head to Andrews. The weather was great and we were psyched for some great riding. Being that we were very important people, Maggie herself came by to wave us goodbye.



We arrived in Andrews, checked into the Valley Town motel, and offloaded our stuff. I decided to ride the XT350 today so I headed off to get some gas as Steve finished getting ready. When I returned, he still wasn't ready, he couldn't find his keys!. We searched everywhere but couldn't find them. Finally he said, go ahead and ride without me. I offered my KLR but he declined. In retrospect, probably a wise decision, his mind would have been on his keys, not the ride. Well this definitely put a damper on things. It was a gorgeous day so I headed off by myself.
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Old 10-12-2009, 07:25 AM   #28
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My original plan was find tusquiti rd and then work our way over to Fires Creek WMA. I didn't have a good map of the area but figured it wouldn't be too difficult to find. Besides, is it really an adventure if you don't get lost once in awhile?

Now that I was by myself, and bummed by the key situation, I changed plans. I took Junaluska rd out of Andrews to Old River Rd. Old River Rd is interesting in that it has water flowing on both sides.



There is a large pipeline on one side and, although you can't see it in this pic, a large creek on the other.

At the end of Old River, left on Wayah Rd, Right on 19, and right on to Winding Stair. Winding Stair is a dirt rd which climbs up the steep side of the Nantahalla Gorge. It starts with this bridge over the Nantahalla River.



Usually, when I have crossed this bridge in the past, there were rafts and kayaks floating down the river. There were none today. My wife and I rafted this river back in June. The water was COOOOLD! Our guide said that the water came from the bottom of Nantahalla lake and was always cold. Here was the view today.



Continuing up the road, I thought it would be nice to get a pic of my bike from above. I stopped, hiked around this hairpin.



and took this.



Winding Stair is carved into the side of a steep hillside with a cliff on one side and a steep drop off on the other.



At the top is a small, scenic lake.

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Old 10-12-2009, 08:55 AM   #29
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Great RR! I've ridden the same area for the past 8 years (mostly sport bikes), ended up with a KLR 650 in 2007. By far one of my most memorable motorcycle trips was the first time I took it up. I've never done Winding Stairs Rd., but plan to next time I'm up that way. BTW, I'm not too far from you. I live in the big city of Gray GA.
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Old 10-12-2009, 09:14 AM   #30
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Great RR! I've ridden the same area for the past 8 years (mostly sport bikes), ended up with a KLR 650 in 2007. By far one of my most memorable motorcycle trips was the first time I took it up. I've never done Winding Stairs Rd., but plan to next time I'm up that way. BTW, I'm not too far from you. I live in the big city of Gray GA.
I started riding this area back in 1990 when I rode up from Pensacola on my EX500. I fell in love with the area and took trips to the area as often as I could. From Pensacola I moved to Michigan, then Maryland, Maine and Alabama. I would make at least one trip to the area every year. Until 2001 almost all of my riding was on the pavement. Then I got my XT350. It allowed me to really start exploring the area. I had always wanted a dual sport but was reluctant to give up the sport riding on these great twisty roads. It was one of the best motorcycle decisions I have made. A dual sport bike, even with knobbies, performs as well, if not better than a sport bike on many of these roads. It also allows you to put together a more enjoyable route with a minimum of boring "transit" sections since you have a much larger choice of roads. There are many great paved roads on which you will almost never find a sport, or any street bike, because they turn to gravel. These are some of the best roads in the area.
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