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Old 08-13-2011, 07:36 PM   #1
The Lazy Destroyer OP
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Woodstock, GA
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August 13, 2011 - Helton Creek and Tellico Rd

Made it out to the hills today. Decided to try my hand at a few roads I haven't been on. Found some real twisty bits on Google Maps that I haven't been to before. I hate to admit I often use Google Streetview nowadays to get a quick idea of the road and its condition. It's just so easy to "cheat" and get a sneak peek at it.

Well... I found one in StreetView that was not paved



Surely if some soy-burning camera-equipped corporate Prius car could handle some terrain... I could, right?



Plan to hit up the usual North Georgia roads, from 129 hit up Richard Russell and 197. From there head up 441 to North Carolina and find Tellico Road, and see what's in store for me there.

A good morning always starts here:





Well I headed up to RR, but thought... it sure would be nice to get a quick test run in before going ALLLL the way to North Carolina.

So made a detour to Helton Creek. I've only done this once before, but this was the first solo shot at it.

Moment of truth, no turning back now:



It was pretty nasty early on, don't remember it having so much loose gravel. Thought I screwed the pooch and made a mistake trying this but it got a bit more hard packed after a few turns:



Kind of a long way down, in the middle of nowhere:



It wasn't near as muddy as it was when I was here the first time (tires sliding all over the place) so for that I was very glad. I did not want to be picking up a GSXR out here.

I brought my Gorilla Pod, mounted it up to the crash bars:



A little jittery but not bad for my point-n-shooter. I may have to work up a more solid mount and get a dedicated GoPro one of these days...

Here's another:



So I didn't think about setting the focus to manual until just now, so I apologize for the video that makes it think I rode through a blurry earthquake. At least the video proves it was more than just a "little bumpy"

Helton Creek Falls is just behind the trees in this shot:





Just further was a pull off with a creek so I took a couple minutes for a bit of a break:







Of course it was inevitable, the (first of two) Helton Creek water crossing:



I didn't bother to scope it out, knew it was up ahead, just hit the record button and hoped for the best. I paused before entering for the required "don't drop my street bike in this water" moment of silence and went. Fortunately the water was pretty low so it was not too bad.

I clipped my camera off the mount and it was wet?! Oops. It still worked so... disaster averted.

I think around now I realized I forgot to drop my tire pressure down, so I'm still running the Pirelli Angels at 38/38. Eh, by now I might as well not worry about it, as long as they stay inflated I'll deal with it.

Coming up to crossing #2:



The exit looks a little rough:



Helton Creek:



I suppose if I was really adventurous, I could ride the actual Helton Creek and not just Helton Creek Rd, but I know my limitations.

And here we go, I included a bit of the uphill climb after the water:



Last part, had to fix the sad droopy camera:



Back onto the pavement:





Not a bad trial run, eh?

From here I rode the Richard Russell Raceway. Stopped at the top to enjoy the quiet for a few minutes:



From here, gonna head to North Carolina.



To be continued....
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:47 AM   #2
ClearwaterBMW
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very cool thread
love those pictures and videos.....
an ADVENTURE BIKE can be any model you choose... you've just proven THAT again
thanks for sharing
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Old 08-14-2011, 09:07 AM   #3
The Lazy Destroyer OP
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I hung out at the top of Richard Russell for a bit. The bike felt a little off once I got back on pavement, so I wanted to check the tire pressure to make sure everything was okay.

From here I headed towards Helen and then hit 197 which is always a run road. I came up to a couple cars and they let me pass almost immediately, so I was able to get pretty much the whole road to myself. It still amazes me to see the tornado damage in the area up there. Those families have been working hard the whole time getting everything back to normal, so hats off to them!

From Clayton I hit up 441 into North Carolina. The road I'm trying to get to is right off of Wayah Road which is a pretty fun little road itself. Some gravel in a few of the turns but nothing too bad. I was keeping a watchful eye on the clouds as there was some pretty dark ones ahead, and I don't think I could pass a dirt road when it's wet. The pavement on Wayah was dry so I don't think it had rained here... yet.

Finally, I find my destination. This is Tellico Rd but is called Otter Creek on the west side of the pass:



This is always a good sign:



There was one family hanging out in their front porch just after this video, and we kinda watched each other as I passed by. I'm sure they were wondering if I was lost and when I'd be turning around.

The dirt started and it was pretty similar to what I saw at Helton Creek. Some spots were thick with gravel but staying in the tire tracks was bearable.

I came up on a good set of switchbacks:



A few of them were pretty tight... well... very tight. One I had to baby the bike up as it was just a little too much incline and turn mixed together to really feel confident trying to ride up. The rear scooted around but just enough to make it a little exciting. I was glad that there were no cars or trucks so far as the turns were a little blind.

Finally made it up to the top, meeting up with the power lines:



Good views:



Looking back down from where I came, looks like I made a nice little incline:



Google Maps shows I started at about 2600' and ended up almost at 4000'.

Keep going and start the descent down the mountain:



This guy was keeping a close eye on me:





Took a break on this bridge, it was getting pretty hot by this point:



The descent was getting pretty tough, there were a few more of the tight switchbacks and doing this downhill was a little tricky. I thought the road was a little wider looking at the StreetView but I guess it's deceiving, it was actually pretty tight in most of the switchbacks.



Once I got in some lower elevations, without the tricky switchbacks (read as: less likely to fall and crush the camera!), I put the camera back on the bike and got some more video:





These parts were pretty nice as the shade was keeping me a bit cooler. Up at the top there was not much tree coverage and it was HOT!

Back to pavement yet again:



The ride towards 28 on this road was pretty nice, pretty curvy and obviously not many people probably ride on it because unless you want to get in the dirt, it's a dead end.

The bridge at Tellico Rd and Hwy 28 intersection:



From here I joined up with Hwy 28 and headed east. The road was getting progressively more wet and there were obvious clouds ahead of me, so I was catching up to some bad weather. I had planned finding some other roads just north of here, but with the rain in the area I figured I'll head back towards home as it was pretty dry south of here.

I call Tiff and find out that one of my friends is having a get together before he has surgery on his hip next week. I ask when, and she says "this afternoon".

It was 2:30 already

So instead of taking the scenic route, I figure I'll just head straight down 441. I've already had a good ride and don't mind stopping it a bit short, I'll visit the other roads another time.

Unfortunately my luck with the weather got cut short too, and I met up with a pretty crazy thunderstorm just south of Tallula Gorge. I had my rain gear but still got wet. I didn't mind a little rain to wash the bike off, but this was crazy!

Eventually I made it out and by the time I got home, was relatively dry

All in all a good day
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