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Old 05-27-2014, 08:32 AM   #1
07jkx OP
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Oddometer: 23
Memorial Day Solo Ride Through North Georgia

New inmate here guys... finally got out on my bike to do a loaded run around Georgia. I am in the planning stage of a June 2015 Trans-American Trail run so as I slowly gather my gear I will by doing "mini-TAT training runs" or MTTR's for short! This past weekend I was able to slide away from the duties at home for a one-nighter in North Georgia. While I will be taking my 2013 DR650 on the TAT, I figured I may as well take the 1990 DR350 on this run so she doesn't get too jealous and leave me stranded somewhere.

The general theme was "Nowhere to go and all day to get there." I knew I wanted to go North, because that is the direction to go to get away from people. So that's what I did. I left and went north on back roads and found what I found. This is a first for me. I am a major "planner" and I dont typically like things to get off schedule or not know where I am going and what I am doing. Unexpected things do arise and while I am very good at overcoming obstacles and such, I do get rather irritated when I have to. Time to rid myself of that characteristic in anticipation of enjoying the TAT and future rides more.

Here we go...

Having packed the bike up the night before, I awoke and left my home in Kennesaw, Georgia at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Here is my 1990 DR350S awaiting departure.


Sunday morning was beautiful. Upper 60's allowed me to leave with my Icon mesh jacket, light riding pants and my trusty (and worn out) boots. Plenty warm enough at 55 mph.

After about an hour of riding, I figured I will stop for a quick butt rest and to put in some water to help edge off the lack of judgment the night before. It was here in Dawsonville that I ran into another Dual Sport rider that I had never met from a facebook group. I had posted a picture of my bike packed up and he recognized it.



As I waved and walked past him at the gas station, he says "Hey Jarrod!"...

Errr... Hi there! Quick introductions and he told me he and his riding partner were heading up to ride the twisties around Suches, Georgia.

Sounds good. We parted ways and I decided to head in that general direction as well.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:39 AM   #2
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I rode for another hour or so taking my time on winding backroads in the general direction of Suches while enjoying the cloudless, sunny sky and cool temperatures. I remembered a small off-road (atv/motorcycle only) place near Suches, so I pull over to consult my GPS. Whissenhunt OHV off Camp Wasega Road. Looks challenging, especially for a top heavy loaded DR350S. Okay, lets go...


I get here shortly thereafter and pull into the parking area. It was comprised of massive loose gravel, which tried its best to grab my aired up front Shinko 244 and send me flying... all I could think was, "please don't let me dump my bike... in a parking lot... in front of all these kids"

Anyways, I somehow manage to skillfully bring her to stop, whilst remaining up right and with my pride somewhat in check. All eyes were on me... sorry to let y'all down. lol


Jump off and take a look at the map for reference.

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Old 05-27-2014, 08:53 AM   #3
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PICTURE-LESS SUB-STORY

The map was not very helpful. Lots of colors and squiggly lines but no indicator of difficulty level aside from the website saying this place was on the higher end of the scale difficultly wise.

I let the rest of the folks clear out so I can slink through the parking lot towards the trail head without the pressure of an audience silently longing for my humiliation. The main trail in was nice... no too muddy, plenty wide enough with some banked corners semi-steep hill climbs. I shot down a side trail (again, not marked with difficulty) I get about a 1/4 mile in and stop dead in my tracks as I bounce over some large tree roots. Super steep hill... zig zag ruts all the way up and coated with think sticky Georgia Red Clay.

If you haven't tried to drive/ride on Georgia red clay, consider yourself lucky. Its hard enough to navigate on flat land, much more difficult on a hill of any magnitude.

Not a day to try this alone and all loaded up. I pop down into first to turn around and let out on the clutch. Spinning... lots of spinning. Apparently mother nature had designed these tree roots precisely the size of my front and rear tires. I am stuck... I jump off the bike and it just stands there balanced.

Remember when I said I get irritated when things come up? Unfortunately, this was a an example. I didn't get any pics of this fiasco, because I will pissed. Long story, short... I spent the next half hour pulling the front tire out and then the back tire out... then sliding the back around to face down hill. The damn thing go snagged on everything. Roots galore! Trees in awful places, branches fighting me off of every effort.

Its off... I'm done... lets get the hell out of here.

As I am now thoroughly tired, drenched in sweat and in a foul mood, I blast in the parking lot and back onto that damned gravel. This time I seriously almost lose it and who else would be sitting in the parking lot? A bunch of kids on dirt bikes and their dads... watching.. waiting. Suckers... I win again.

07jkx screwed with this post 05-27-2014 at 10:08 AM
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:59 AM   #4
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I check the map, drink some water and then take the asphalt to a Forest Service Road (FSR) named Coopers Gap Road. As I approach and round the last bend, I am suddenly confronted by giant orange road blocks zig zagged through the road. Big sign saying "STOP, MILITARY CHECK POINT AHEAD"

I'm in the middle of the woods?



Seems I stumbled on an Army Ranger's training base. Very cool! I slink off the road and onto the FSR and continue on my way. Shortly down that road I ran across a HUMVEE and a handful of decked out, I presume Rangers, working on something. I slow down as I pass, give a wave and thank them for their service. This road goes on forever! I find an awesome camping spot that I will definitely be using in the future. Big layout with plenty of flat open space.





Seems that it backs up to the Appalachian Trail. I found some markers behind the camp site.
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:18 AM   #5
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I come out near 60 and ride Northeast into Suches. On the way I ran across a place known as TWOS (Two Wheels of Suches). It is a motorcycle camp ground and diner. With creekside amenities, this two (get it) will be on my list of places to come back to. Perhaps with a few friends for a weekend get away. Apparently there are some fun roads, both paved twisties and FSR, all around this area.





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Old 05-27-2014, 09:20 AM   #6
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A quick fuel up and off I go through the twisties towards Blairsville now. Not really sure why I pick this route, but all I knew is that it was 1:00 p.m., I needed to refuel and I am getting VERY hungry.

I learned a lesson here that will be used on the TAT... dont pack ALL of your food at the bottom of your luggage that can then only be accessed by removing everything from the bike.

Lesson learned. Thankfully after only another 45 minutes of riding I came across Pappy's!



Salvation! All I need is some good home cook'n food and an ice cold beer!

...but alas... its Sunday, in North, epically conservative Georgia. "We dont sell beer or any alcohol"

I asked if it was because it was Sunday... to which she replied, we never have and never will.

Okay then. I settled for a sweet tea and jack daniels burger. Both were fantastic!

I came outside and the storm clouds were gathering so it was time to high tail it through Blairsville and towards the Lake Conasauga area.

07jkx screwed with this post 05-27-2014 at 09:29 AM
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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The storms were behind me the whole way and eventually dissipated into nothing.

Being about an two hours from the time I wanted to set up camp, I figured I would pick up a six pack of beer and make my way back into the National Forest to find a nice spot to camp.

After travelling through Ellijay and a handful of small towns, I came up empty handed and getting frustrated. The counties I visited were either dry counties altogether or they did not "opt in" to permit alcohol sales like the metro-Atlanta area did (where I live).

Oh well. I was tired and would probably be cashing out early anyways.

On my ascent to the Lake Conasauga area I was ultimately trying to find a place to jut off into the woods and camp. Unfortunately, this area was one big hill climb, which meant aside from the road, there was no place to set up camp that I could access with the bike as well and have a flat, secluded spot to set up. The hour-long FSR ride was very nice.





A tired me...


I finally arrived, grudgingly paid the $10 camping fee and found the most isolated spot I could. After camp was set up, I got a fire going and threw in a can of baked beans to heat up while I snacked on some MRE appetizers.


I tried a new "brush bundle" coupled with a magnesium fire starter. Worked like a charm for a base and then I just tee-peed sticks around it. Never fails. It was comical watching the other 'campers' struggling to get a fire started with gasoline... only to smother it by piling too many and too large of sticks/fire wood on it.


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Old 05-27-2014, 09:51 AM   #8
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Cashed out early and only awoke a couple times. The first time was to the drunkards a couple spots down that clearly had no interest in abiding by the 10:00 p.m. quiet time curfew. The second time was to a handful of coyotes barking off WAAAAAYYYY too close for comfort. They could not have been more than 40-50 yards from me.

I woke up early, broke camp and then exacted my revenge by kicking over the DR350S precisely at 6:00 a.m. and then blasting through camp towards home.

On the way down I got the "money shot" from the trip in the early morning light




Off I go via back roads to Lake Allatoona, where I will spend the rest of my day on the dock enjoying the sun and FINALLY... drinking my ice cold beer with my wife and friends!

The map of my course. If someone would tell me how to embed it, that would be much appreciated!

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Kenn...03!2m1!1b1!3e0
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:44 PM   #9
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We saw you paying your $5 at Whissenhunt and I was looking for you to ask if you wanted to tag along but you had taken off.

Nice ride!

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Old 05-27-2014, 04:09 PM   #10
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Lol! I prefer to dump the bike by myself!

I would love to ride with y'all some time. I can always use off-road tips since I am a total newb to motorcycles and 2 wheel off-roading.
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