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Old 09-30-2010, 06:46 PM   #61
BlueLghtning
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A group of us are heading out Oct 8th to run the tetS from GA north. We'll see how far we can make it on a long weekend. Mostly all big bikes. 2 DL650's, GS1200, F650GS, KLR650, and Ascott.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:51 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLghtning
A group of us are heading out Oct 8th to run the tetS from GA north. We'll see how far we can make it on a long weekend. Mostly all big bikes. 2 DL650's, GS1200, F650GS, KLR650, and Ascott.
Gas, food, and lodging way points would be most welcome. Ride safe, and enjoy.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:23 PM   #63
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Got the .doc
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:34 PM   #64
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I got the Doc
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Old 10-04-2010, 07:35 PM   #65
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Tets

Chip, Received the doc email. Thanks. Rode the TWVT this past summer. Great ride, appreciate all your work.
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Old 10-07-2010, 04:44 AM   #66
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I got your email, thanks for doing this!
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:17 AM   #67
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Chip,

Got the .doc. Thanks for your work.

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Old 10-11-2010, 08:39 AM   #68
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Just got back from a ride on the TetS... or a portion of it anyway.

We (4 of us) rode from Highland Park (Near Cedartown, GA) to east of the Ellijay GA area. Then slabbed it to Clayton, GA. Picked up another 2 riders and then went from there to North of Cherokee, NC and camped at Balsam Mountain.

The distances are deceiving... we rode 7 hours from Cedartown to Ellijay and I was still 40 miles from my hours in Acworth! Good mix of back roads and dirt roads (Dirt's hard to find in that area). We've all done the North/Central GA roads, so we skipped them to make up time to our meeting place in Clayton, but for those not local, they are a good ride, and I'll probably go back and do the route through there.

What we did in NC was great. Lots of dirt and one long abandoned pave FS road that is almost half overgrown with weeds coming through the pavement and lots of holes and broken pavement to avoid. I'd like to find out the story on that road as it doesn't really go anywhere. Cherokee, NC, was a traffic Jam and we found some nice dirt/gravel roads and some back roads to get around Cherokee for those that don't want to go there... lots of unpaved stuff that parallels the BRP that we did too. BlueLghtning or I will probably pass along our tracks for what we called the "Chreokee By-Pass".

We need to plan more time to travel the rest of the route. Look for my upcoming trip report "8lbs of Bananas and 5lbs of Beef".
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Old 10-11-2010, 12:32 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryceB
Just got back from a ride on the TetS... or a portion of it anyway.

We (4 of us) rode from Highland Park (Near Cedartown, GA) to east of the Ellijay GA area. Then slabbed it to Clayton, GA. Picked up another 2 riders and then went from there to North of Cherokee, NC and camped at Balsam Mountain.

The distances are deceiving... we rode 7 hours from Cedartown to Ellijay and I was still 40 miles from my hours in Acworth! Good mix of back roads and dirt roads (Dirt's hard to find in that area). We've all done the North/Central GA roads, so we skipped them to make up time to our meeting place in Clayton, but for those not local, they are a good ride, and I'll probably go back and do the route through there.

What we did in NC was great. Lots of dirt and one long abandoned pave FS road that is almost half overgrown with weeds coming through the pavement and lots of holes and broken pavement to avoid. I'd like to find out the story on that road as it doesn't really go anywhere. Cherokee, NC, was a traffic Jam and we found some nice dirt/gravel roads and some back roads to get around Cherokee for those that don't want to go there... lots of unpaved stuff that parallels the BRP that we did too. BlueLghtning or I will probably pass along our tracks for what we called the "Chreokee By-Pass".

We need to plan more time to travel the rest of the route. Look for my upcoming trip report "8lbs of Bananas and 5lbs of Beef".
Yep, it was a good ride. Here's my small mini blurb on the ride, but Bryce and I should have a much better ride report with pics. I took lots of pics and video's along the way too.

A group of us 6 of us did a very small portion of the tetS ride from the West Side of GA to just past Cherokee, NC. I was hoping we'd make it a lot further, but we still had a blast. The mileage is definitely deceiving for sure.

I know Northern Traveler probably worked countless hours on the TetS scouting and putting the routes & tracks together and I'm definitely thankful for sure for what he has come up with, but I hope you don't mind some suggestions too that might be able to be incorporated into the route. That is one great thing about doing this with GPS is its very easy to be adjusted and updated as people discover some other great things that may have been missed or better routes around common problem areas and tourist traps. As Bryce said, we came up with a Cherokee By-Pass that is so much fun. As most people that ride that area know, Cherokee, NC is a crazy on a good weekend and being fall with the leaf lookers, this weekend was absolutely nuts. I bet it would have taken us 1.5+ hrs to make it through Cherokee and down the BRP had we followed the route. It was just that crazy and traffic was at a stand still. I know the BRP is quite scenic, but there are so many gravel/dirt roads that intersect it, I think its a shame to skip them and some of them have some not so often seen views too.

Dirt roads in some parts of GA are hard to find and the gravel roads that were included were fun. There might be some others to pickup along the way though with some more scouting? I was glad we kept on the route in one spot that had us confused. There is one road in particular that has a "dead end sign" and then a "private drive' where the gravel starts, but it looks like its just the locals trying to keep people out. It was a very public gravel road.

I'll add to Bryce's ride report after he starts it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueLghtning
This weekend went great and the weather was perfect. That was some prime camping weather too! My mileage estimates were definitely grossly aggressive, but we had a blast none the less. There were 4 of us that met at HP Thurs night (Just south of Cedartown, GA). Myself & Sarah, Benny & Bryce, with an agreed spot to meet Friday night in Clayton to pick up the other 2 riders and spend the night in their cabin. We left HP about 7:40am and headed out east across the state. The 4 of us were all on big bikes (DL650, F650GS, GS1200, KLR650), which ended up being pretty good. Had I been on a true dirt bike, I think you might be bit disappointed at the amount of asphalt miles that were included in some GA sections. However, once you are on the gravel/dirt, the smaller bikes obviously shine through. For us on big bikes, it actually was a nice mix overall of gravel dirt. I know sometimes you just have to hit asphalt, but some of them were some pretty major highways that on dirt bike would be rough at best. On a trip like this, I would really prefer the very minor roads to state highways if you have to have asphalt to keep speeds lower and enjoy the scenery.

I'm not sure how open the original authors will be to suggestions, but I think I have a few suggestions, especially avoiding Cherokee, NC at all costs. This was obviously a prime leaf lookers weekend and the tetS takes you right through Cherokee and then onto the BRP for a good portion of it before hitting 19 north. That's about a good portion of asphalt with lots of traffic and no dirt. I don't understand that part although he did say sometimes scenery weighed heavily on his choice, but anyone that has spent any time riding around that area knows that Cherokee is crazy on a good weekend and it was a mad house on this weekend. We actually found a very nice bypass and some awesome gravel roads leading up and over the BRP. It ended up being some of the best gravel/dirt roads we found with lots of water breaks making some nice opportunities to get some nice air. Regardless, I just think the tetS would be better suited to maybe bypass Cherokee when there are many more options. I realize that you have find your way into towns etc to get food/gas, but there's a fine line of going into the smaller towns and avoiding the tourist traps like Cherokee.

GA over all was okay, and got better as things got further East as there's more gravel, but the West side of the tetS through GA might be able to be improved, but it would take some scouting to find some different roads. Like I said, on the big bikes, it was a nice compromise of gravel/pavement. There was one very challenging section that we almost skipped since there was a road sign that says dead end a few miles ahead and then private drive right as the gravel starts, but obviously this was the locals trying to keep people out of a public gravel road that clearly wasn't private at all. I'm glad we kept going there and the fact the GPS tracks went through pressed me to move on. At the first Big Bike bypass (Just north of Elijay), we decided to take the hard route and it was a tough section also that was doable since it was dry, but had it been wet, it would have been tough on the big bikes. It was a lot of fun though for sure and a nice challenge.

Our Friday started early, but its still slow going on big bikes on gravel with our overall avg speed on Fri was a mere 25mph including stops and lunch, etc. By the time we got to Elijay after doing that tough section, we realized we would never make Clayton by dark if we continued on the tetS. Plus all of us had ridden many of the FS roads between Elijay & Suches. The tetS was going to travel along FS42 into Suches, then Flatlands & Cooper Creek, then Helton Creek to 348, then more FS road along Alt-75. We jumped onto highways from Elijay and headed towards Dahlongea, then up 19 to 60 past the rock pile, up 129. We did pick it up again at Helton Creek. It actually follows the rest of Richard Russell and then ventures back into the woods at Alt-75. There we stayed on the pavement and traveled up to 76 and took it over to Clayton. We arrived at our destination just before dark which was a little bit down War Woman Rd. We had done right at 300 miles and that last 2hrs had been pretty much all on highways. I think Suches would have been a good stopping point if we had stayed on the tetS and not had to make our destination that night.

Friday started off with 6 of us heading north on 441/23 out of Clayton. We now had Bob on another DL650 and then a Super Sherpa 250 ridden by Cheryl. Little did we know that many of us would be having small bike envy and wishing we were on something a bit more dirt oriented to play on. Soon after getting into NC, we picked up the tetS again and it didnít take long getting into some good gravel. I have to say from this point, the tetS was now getting much more enjoyable with lots of gravel and way less pavement. We found a great lunch at the Landís End Restaurant right there on Nantahala Lake. That place is a gem! The good roads continued from there including FS77 which was once a paved road that is now abandoned. I guess it has an interesting history on how it was funded to be paved and then totally forgotten and is now in ruins.

Around Cherokee as I was saying earlier is where IMOP things need some work. The route hits 19 and then makes a left right there in Cherokee to head towards the beginning of the BRP. The traffic in this area was nuts and you could see the miles of backup heading towards the BRP. We dashed around traffic and worked our way back out of Cherokee where I found some back roads leading up to the BRP. This ended up being some great gravel roads with lots of action and fun. We ended up killing a bunch of time around this area as we explored around and decided we werenít making it much further anyways and since we had to head home the next day, we might as well enjoy it. We checked out a few campgrounds including the ďmile high campgroundĒ and even maybe doing some primitive camping right off these great gravel roads, but decided to call it a night at Balsam Mountain CG where it ended up only being $7 a tent between all of us. This campground was also about a mile high, but that ended up being a blessing as it stayed warmer at higher elevations that night as the cloud cover was below us. We ended up with only a measly 135 miles on Saturday with our overall avg of only 15mph. We did do a lot of stopping and talking too, but it was enjoyable, so that was fine.

The next morning, we headed out Balsam Mtn Rd which is ironically a one way rd headed south. It was nice not having to worry about oncoming traffic, although we did come up on a big group of joggers enjoying the road too. We had some beautiful views that morning as we were above the cloud cover.. We doubled back on some of our gravel roads from the day before and worked our way around Cherokee again. Once back south of Cherokee, we aired our tires back up as we planned on pavement from here on out. We headed over 19 (The Great Smokey Mtn Express Way) onto 74 and down towards the Nantahala. Since we were so close, we caught Wayah Rd and had lunch at the same great lunch spot where 2 of the guys decided to attempt the 2.5lbs burger challenge. From there we caught a few more gravel roads as we headed south towards 69 and eventually over to 515 where we slabbed it home the rest of the way. We rolled in about 7pm Sunday evening.

It was a great ride though with no major incidents and only 2 bike drops. Sarah washed out the front on her F650GS on slow corner on some deep gravel. No harm, just needed some help from Bryce to pick it up. I rode off into a ditch by accident trying to make a u-turn. No biggie and I kept it up. Bob also went off into a ditch on his DL650 and dropped it trying to get it out, but again nothing to worry about. No flat tires and no bike issues which is always good. Cheryl on the Sherpa was having a blast and other then Benny and I being in the lead most of the trip, she hung up there with us while Sarah, Bob, & Bryce tended to hang towards the rear.
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Old 10-11-2010, 04:20 PM   #70
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Cherokee

I went through Cherokee for several reasons...

- I was working with Rob23's Appalachian Trail rough route to start with
- I like the idea of riding the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway
- I actually was amused at how much of a tourist trap it is! (such a contrast!)
- Originally intended to go a few miles up BRP then turn north through the corner of the reservation then up into the park.... except it is one way southbound. Oops!
- If you start at the Florida coast, it takes a week or so to get here... most traffic that you've seen since you started!

And I am very much open to suggestions as to alternatives in this area.

I do kinda like going over the ski area.... so lets try to keep that in. When I went through in mid April there was still 2 feet of snow up there!

Lands End restaurant.... really nice folks. I hope people stop there as they are out of the way and probably could use the business.

North Georgia paved roads... I had found some more gravel - at least according to the county maps - but they have since paved them. Bummer.

In northern Alabama I found some neat dirt roads along a ridge running east west... would have been great.... except for the meth labs. In the interests of safety I elected to move the route. That's partly why the first section of GA is up a highway.... I went through that area 3 times trying to work things out!

There were more gravel roads in north GA that I could have used, except that many of them were seasonal, and I would have been zig zagging back and forth to little avail. There was some nice long gravel sections there in NW GA... and I liked the ridge I went over east of the Pocket NF campground - great view! The maps showed some gravel east of there crossing the valley, unfortunately they are now fenced off.

I have opted to try to use only year round roads south of Virginia as us Yankees might well try coming south in the winter to ride..... the locals might think they are bad conditions, but believe me, they are much better than the conditions up north! The NF might get too ticked off with people riding seasonal roads when they are closed.... any time you use FS roads now, you have to consult MVUM maps for the area to make sure they are open.

And I feel on a long ride - Canada to the Gulf coast - you don't want to zig zag back and forth too much. You have too long of a distance to go to be doing that.

I'm glad you enjoyed what you rode, NC might well be the best part of the ride. Most of AL is quite good too... but you are right, the mileages are deceiving!

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Old 10-11-2010, 08:17 PM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernTraveler
I went through Cherokee for several reasons...

- I was working with Rob23's Appalachian Trail rough route to start with
- I like the idea of riding the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway
- I actually was amused at how much of a tourist trap it is! (such a contrast!)
- Originally intended to go a few miles up BRP then turn north through the corner of the reservation then up into the park.... except it is one way southbound. Oops!

And I am very much open to suggestions as to alternatives in this area.

I do kinda like going over the ski area.... so lets try to keep that in. When I went through in mid April there was still 2 feet of snow up there!

Lands End restaurant.... really nice folks. I hope people stop there as they are out of the way and probably could use the business.

North Georgia paved roads... I had found some more gravel - at least according to the county maps - but they have since paved them. Bummer.

In northern Alabama I found some neat dirt roads along a ridge running east west... would have been great.... except for the meth labs. In the interests of safety I elected to move the route. That's partly why the first section of GA is up a highway.... I went through that area 3 times trying to work things out!

There were more gravel roads in north GA that I could have used, except that many of them were seasonal, and I would have been zig zagging back and forth to little avail. There was some nice long gravel sections there in NW GA... and I liked the ridge I went over east of the Pocket NF campground - great view! The maps showed some gravel east of there crossing the valley, unfortunately they are now fenced off.

I have opted to try to use only year round roads south of Virginia as us Yankees might well try coming south in the winter to ride..... the locals might think they are bad conditions, but believe me, they are much better than the conditions up north! The NF might get too ticked off with people riding seasonal roads when they are closed.... any time you use FS roads now, you have to consult MVUM maps for the area to make sure they are open.

And I feel on a long ride - Canada to the Gulf coast - you don't want to zig zag back and forth too much. You have too long of a distance to go to be doing that.

I'm glad you enjoyed what you rode, NC might well be the best part of the ride. Most of AL is quite good too... but you are right, the mileages are deceiving!
Thanks for the tidbits. I know you put in countless hours on this.

I could see staying with what Rob started and seeing the very start of the BRP is definitely interesting, but itís also one of those things you've seen once and probably wouldn't mind skipping again. IMOP, the only reason to start at the beginning of the BRP is just for the signage for your first time through there or if you plan on running it from start to end which I have done. Having done that though, I guess I lean a bit more at skipping that portion and subsequent traffic.

Maybe it could just be added to the route as a Cherokee Bypass and the included word document could inform riders itís their option to skip a heavily tourist ridden area. Some people may want to actually see the beginning while hard core dirt riders may be more inclined to enjoy the gravel roads and miss the countless stop lights and traffic.

We did find that the Indian reservation was a one way south only. You come into the North end of it just past the Balsam Campground. Itís called Heintooga Ridge Rd and is actually quite fun. We actually took that on our way home. Itís a fun road, but yeah is only southbound which doesnít work when you are trying to set it up for both ways :(

Ski area? Iím not sure where this is? Is it right off the BRP? Here is a picture of the proposed bypass
Itís the lines in Red & Purple.


Here is the same area marked up a bit better. The area in dark green is paved, then the red is gravel that big bike friendly and the purple would be a little bit extra for the more aggressive bikes although still very accessible by big bikes. Both routes have access to the BRP and the BRP could easily be a faster detour if needed.


I do agree with you that Lakes End was great and it would be a shame to have the route go any further from that point. Heck, we stopped there 2 days in a row for lunch.




My wife posing on the motorcycle out front!


Here is their tale. Click for full res so you can read it.


And they of course have the 2.5lbs Bigfoot burger challenge.


Two of our riders attempted it. You'll have to read the ride report to see if either one finished it!
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:30 PM   #72
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Some more various pics from our ride.

This was a GA section that was very dusty. Actually most of GA was dusty since we've hardly had any rain lately


This is that corner of that road that says dead end, but I can't remember exactly where this is. It was some loose gravel, but fun


Same area, but a bit further down the road


You come across this gorgeous house somewhere along the GA route


My wife having a blast on one of the NF's roads


This was part of the tough part right before Elijay I think




Even though it had been dry, there was still mud. This would be a mess if it was much wetter


Thankfully the mud hole wasn't that deep


On our Cherokee Bypass on the tougher section, you come up to this ridge where the power line drops straight over, but the road winds down about 5-6 levels below. If you sit at the top, you can watch someone ride down the entire road for about 20 mins! This pic is towards the bottom of that huge hill!


One of the cool roads you hit in NC is NF77 which was one paved but now abandoned and in ruins.


Fun road


This is a lookout on NF77 also


Somewhere in the NF of NC




And don't forget about Heintooga Ridge Rd


This was one of our amazing views Sunday morning from Heintooga Rd as we camped over a mile high and came up on this overlook where you could see the clouds below in the valley.


Yours truly
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:20 AM   #73
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Got the Doc. Thanks

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Old 10-12-2010, 03:23 AM   #74
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I got the document.
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:24 AM   #75
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Got the docs. Thanks.
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