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Old 10-16-2009, 03:54 PM   #61
klaviator OP
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We ride on. The leaves are just starting to change.



At the bottom of the Skyway we take 143 to more paved roads I don't remember the name of and get to our last road; Tatham Gap.



There are some great views on this road but it would be easier to capture with some sunshine. Besides, Steve is in a hurry, we've got a storm chasing us. Here's a feeble attempt at capturing the view.



The top of Tatum Gap is in the fog but I have to take a pic of the sign.



Make me feel very lucky that I can enjoy this beautiful road, unlike some of the earlier users.

Tatham Gap is the very first Forest service road I can recall riding. Back around 95 or 96 I was down in the area on my R1100GS. I was living in the DC area at the time. I was exploring the roads behind Robbinsville when I saw a sign "to Andrews" Great, a shortcut to Andrews. So I took it. I believe the road was routed differently back then but my memory may be off. The road became a two track which did not look like many people travelled it. I had very little off road experience, but this is one of the reasons I bought the GS, so I continued. I felt like I was going deep into the wilderness. I came to a fork in the road, right where I took a pic of the sign. I was expecting to hear banjo music and didn't know which fork to take. There were no road signs. I went straight. It seemed like I rode forever. I was really going slow because I had little off road experience and didn't want to fall out here where I figured nobody would probably find me for weeks. I was relieved when I finally spotted signs of civilization through the trees.

It's no longer the adventure it used to be but still a fun ride.

Back at the motel, I take a pic back the way we came, We're glad to be back at the motel.

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Old 10-16-2009, 08:31 PM   #62
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Ride reports like this make me wanna trade the trusty trumpet for a dualie.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:39 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZ OUT
Ride reports like this make me wanna trade the trusty trumpet for a dualie.
Why trade? Just add a small, inexpensive, used dual sport to your collection.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:09 AM   #64
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On Saturday we load up and are back home by noon. It was a great trip. After we get back, Steve tries to download his pics but his memory card went bad and he only gets about a dozen. Here's a few more pics, some from Steve's camera and some from mine that I didn't post earlier.

GSMNP Scenery:



More of Hurricane Creek:











Another view from Buzzard's Roost:



Typical scenery for this trip:



"Bowling Pin" mushroom:

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Old 10-18-2009, 09:30 AM   #65
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Great RR. I started out off road almost 40 years ago and bought my first street bike in '79. I've had my Harley for the past 11 years and did one coast to coast and one over 5k round trip from Va to Yellowstone two up slabbing of course. Your report and pictures (along with others here) has me begging the wife to go bike shopping. The gravel you guys were on looks like so much fun and no traffic. Again, thanks Klaviator!
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Old 10-18-2009, 10:02 AM   #66
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Thanks for the RR. Awesome scenery.
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:05 AM   #67
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You can fool some of the people all of the time and you can fool all of the people some of the time. I never expected to fool very many people with this pic.



I took this pic near the top of Sandia Peak in New Mexico back in 2005. Over 800 views since I posted it and no one challenged it. The actual weather on the skyway that day was dense fog. All I could see were the dim tail lights of the cage I was following.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:05 AM   #68
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NIce. Every time I been down the BRP I thought it would be a great place to have a dual sport. Now I know.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:48 AM   #69
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NIce. Every time I been down the BRP I thought it would be a great place to have a dual sport. Now I know.
I rode all over the Southern Smokies for over 10 years before I got my first dual sport and really started exploring. I had no idea what I was missing. I also had no idea that a dual sport would be as much, if not more fun than a sport bike on many of the paved roads in the area.
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Old 10-21-2009, 11:29 AM   #70
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Some final thoughts:

The Ride Every time I have done an extended ride in this area, it was a blast! This was no exception. The last few months I have been reading a lot of great ride reports and dreaming of going back out west. Actually, I had decided I would do a trip out west next year even if it meant using all 2 weeks of my annual vacation at one time. Half way through this ride I started to have second thoughts. As much as I love riding out west, I hate having to burn so much time just getting there and back.

One good thing about riding the southern Smokies is that I have figured out how to piece together a lot of great riding while almost eliminating boring transit time. I guess I'll have a lot of thinking to do the next few months. If I do decide to ride this area, I may try to organize a group event and open it up to others who would like would like to do the type of riding we did in this report. Anyone interested?

People have different ideas as to what is "dual sport riding". Some prefer the "dirt bikes with lights" approach and try to avoid pavement as much as possible. I prefer to enjoy both the pavement as well as the dirt. To each his own. I have always loved to ride curvy roads. Dual sport riding has allowed me to ride curves on and off the pavement. Maybe the title of the RR should have been "Six days of riding the ultimate twisties in the southern Smokies".

One of the great things about this area is that no matter how long you have been riding here, there is always someplace new to explore. I don't think you could ever ride it all.

Ride Report As I stated at the beginning, this was my first ride report. Several months ago, I read a pretty good report of riding part of the TAT. It was interesting so I looked at other reports. I happened across Kaneman's "Quit my job and went for a "little" ride" What a fantastic story . I was hooked. I have since read many more great stories, but it was Kaneman's that inspired me to learn how to use a digital camera and learn how to post pictures and use this great forum.

Trying to do a ride report has an impact on the ride. Instead of just riding for fun, I was stopping for pictures or thinking about the next picture. The actual posting of the report took far longer than I expected because I was having problems with my computer.

Finally, a big thanks to all who contributed. To those who posted words of encouragement, Thanks! I did read all your posts. Thank you to all who offered advice in this report or in my planning thread in the southeast forum. I didn't have time to ride all the stuff I wanted to ride, let alone everything that was suggested. I wish I had 12 days instead of 6. Maybe I'll be able to use some of the advice in the future.

Finally, one last pic. This is for knybanjo, some of whose advice we were able to use. The ultimate dual sport bike:

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Old 12-30-2009, 07:31 AM   #71
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I may try to organize a group event and open it up to others who would like would like to do the type of riding we did in this report. Anyone interested?

Yep.

I know most of the paved roads like the back of my hand and just purchased a 2005 KLR to go explore some forest roads.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:25 PM   #72
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I would be interested in group ride as well.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:55 PM   #73
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Nice report thanks for posting...
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:49 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaviator
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.
keyword "almost"

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Old 02-03-2010, 02:33 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britman
I may try to organize a group event and open it up to others who would like would like to do the type of riding we did in this report. Anyone interested?

Yep.

I know most of the paved roads like the back of my hand and just purchased a 2005 KLR to go explore some forest roads.
I just noticed There were some more replies to my report. I didn't expect anything this long after I did the RR. I haven't decided yet between one trip out west or going back to the Smokies this year.
About 9 years ago I was in your shoes, knew the paved roads like the back of my hand and got a dual sport. I quickly discovered I really didn't know many of the good paved roads. There's a lot of good paved twisties that most street riders stay off of because it turns to gravel after a few miles.

if you're from the Atlanta area we can still get together for some weekend riding in N. Ga.
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