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Old 09-04-2013, 02:47 PM   #121
TheAdmiral
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Been keeping an eye on your thread. Good stuff. Cool to see that Currahee Mtn in the Band of Brothers was an actual place.

I've always loved these signs


...and when I'm not doing this


I'll occasionally go out with my father-in-law and do this


Which is similar to what you came across.

Lov'in the thread
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:51 PM   #122
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GTFO 2013 - Part Deux (Day 3 - Sep 1)

I woke to heavy rain around 6 AM. Checking the weather radar, it looked like it was going to rain for a while, so I set my alarm for 9 and went back to sleep. When I woke up the second time, the rain had stopped, so I went to see if there was anything to eat. While Mo provides dinner, breakfast is usually cooked by the guests. In this case, breakfast was in progress and I had some delicious banana pancakes and ham slices. Checking the sky, there was intermittent patches of blue, but the radar showed incoming rain.



When I'm traveling with the family, this is what we'd call a "museum day." With that, I decided to go to Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley.



I'll be the first to admit I'm not a Harley fan. If I wanted to be part of a culture based on marketing, I would have joined the Marine Corps. Nevertheless, I knew they had some WWII-era bikes and that's what I really wanted to see. Walking in the front door, you're treated to a hill climber and the belly tanker discovered by the guys at American Pickers.





I paid my $10 (yay, military discount!) and headed inside. Even though I had no idea what I was looking at, I was impressed my the size of the collection and the time (and money) it must have taken to accumulate it. One of the really cool things about this place is many bikes are not restored and can even start.







Of course, bikes that were ADV-worthy caught my eye.





And the 1915 bike from the Dayton. Go, Bucks!



And the pin-up girl.



And what kid raised in the 70's wouldn't be impressed by Evel Knievel's bike.



I really loved the OD Green on the old Harleys.



But that only reminded me why I was here. Bring on the military hardware!



The 1942 Indian 841



The 1942 Harley Davidson XA.



Harley Davidson TA Trike, serial number 1 (of 17).



And my dream bike, the 1942 Harley Davidson WLA.



By now it was about 1:30 PM, so I went up the block to Maggie Valley Restaurant for lunch. I asked the waitress to recommend something. I've never had trout before, so that made my choice easy. It was delicious and not at all "fishy."





By now it was getting to be mid-afternoon. I tried checking the weather radar, but my app wasn't loading the graphics. With a little time to kill, I decided to take the long way back to camp by going a 120 mile route over Clingman's Dome, through Cades Cove, down Parson Branch Road, and down the Dragon to NC-28. Big mistake!

After heading west through Maggie Valley, I jumped on the Blue Ridge Parkway to bypass Cherokee.



On the north side of Cherokee, I stopped for gas and waited out a small rainstorm. I tried to check my weather radar app, but it still wasn't working. I headed north to Clingman's Dome and only got 2 miles before the skies opened up. I was just passing the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, so I rode across the grass on the right median, parked in their lot, and ran for cover. I got there first, but other riders quickly joined me.



After waiting for the rain to stop, I jumped back on the bike and headed up. The ride to Clingman's Dome wasn't too bad and I made pretty good time. By now it was after 5 PM and pretty cloudy, so I didn't bother making the walk up the hill to the observation tower. I only hung out long enough to take a few pictures.





The road heading back down US-441 towards Gatlinburg was really cool, but the traffic was slow. I would have loved to take the 405-degree turn at a decent speed, but the continuous line of cars were only doing about 20 MPH. When I finally turned onto Little River Road, it was after 6 PM. With 60 miles to go, I was starting to get worried.

With most of the traffic heading out, I hauled ass on the 25-mile entrance to the park. However, once I got to Cades Cove, I found out why people say to avoid it. The area is a geologic curiosity, being a 2-mile by 7-mile isolated valley in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains. And to the horror of those trapped inside it, it has a 11-mile one-way loop running around the perimeter.

Things were going great for the first 2.5 miles, but then I hit traffic. And we didn't move. For 10 minutes. I got pissed and started to pass people on the left. That went well for all of 10 cars until someone started screaming at me. Not wanting to get into a road rage incident, I got off and walked the bike. I even took off my helmet to emphasize the "not riding" part. On flats and uphill, I put it in gear and let the idle speed and 47-tooth rear do its thing. Downhill I cut the engine, put it in neutral, and coasted down standing on one peg. As opposed to my first interaction with the public, all my subsequent comments were of the "Good idea!" and "You lucky bastard" variety.

After a mile of walking, I finally got to reason for the jam. There was a bear in a tree on the side of the road and drivers had stopped their cars on the road to get out and take pictures. As I passed the first car, I said in a very loud voice, "You caused a one-mile backup for a damn bear in a tree?" Nobody bothered to reply or head back to their cars.

A little further down the road, I stopped long enough for one picture.



And a few minutes later, I was heading down a dirt road to Parson Branch Road.



Everyone raves about Parson Branch Road. It's 8 miles long! It's one-way! It's got 18 water crossings! Let me tell you, the road sucked and was not worth the price of admission. All the water crossings are paved and four were dry. Of the ones that had water, I didn't even get my feet wet.



I guess to someone on a big-bike, this is high adventure. But I have enough time in the saddle to know there's a lot better out there. The only thing I could say was a positive was the one-way traffic, so I could be reasonably sure I could haul ass without running head-on into someone else.

Reaching the Dragon, I turned south and headed for camp. By now it was after 8 PM and the road was deserted. No cars in sight and better yet, no cops. I rode as fast as my talent would allow and crossed into North Carolina just as my GPS switched to dim mode, indicating it was past sunset.

From the Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort, I had a 22-mile ride in dark, wet, and foggy conditions. I took it slow and only had to pull over for one car that obviously knew the road better than I did. I pulled into Kickstand Lodge around 9 PM, just as dinner was finishing up. I jumped off my bike and loaded up my plate. Several guests gave me shit for the timing, jealously mocking for riding all day and then arriving when dinner was on the table.

The GPS indicated 184 miles for the day and clearly showed the climb and descent of the tallest peak in the park.





Tomorrow I head home and take the road less traveled.
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:26 AM   #123
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Oh man, that Marine Corps comment was a low blow!! Come on ArmyJoe of One! Actually, I'm thinking you fell for the Be All That You Can Be marketing campaign!

Had fun riding with you while you braved the south. Great trip report. I need to find a 4 month school to go to. Yours sounds more like spring break!

Keep 'em coming!

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Old 09-06-2013, 03:41 AM   #124
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Ha! Deep down, you know I'm telling the truth. I forget the exact quote, but someone once said, "The Marine Corps has a PR campaign second only to the Soviet Union."
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Old 09-09-2013, 04:52 PM   #125
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I woke about around 8 AM and make a quick run into Robbinsville for cash. Heading back to camp, the Great Smoky Mountains were doing their thing.





After a quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and potatoes, I settled my tab and packed up to leave.





I wasn't in a rush to get back to Ft Gordon, but I didn't want to linger, either. I had to get back in time to eat dinner and do some laundry, so I was shooting for a 6 PM arrival time. With the WR250R being a dual sport, I didn't want to miss out on some of the better paved roads in the area, so I headed south on NC-28. This route is also known as Hellbender 28 or Moonshiner 28, depending on whose marketing you subscribe to. No matter what you call it, the route offers great twisties with higher speeds than the Dragon.

From Franklin, it was a straight shot down US-23 to Dillard, Georgia, and from there I headed east. I went south on Hale Ridge Road, going back the way I came, but half-way through, I decided to do some exploring. The Chattooga River District motor vehicle use map, says my route took me from Forest Road 7, to FR 86, to FR 86C. The last one was best of all. It was rocky, muddy, overgrown, and twisty.



It even had a log crossing.



At one intersection, I found an unmarked road and an abandoned road branching off from the main route. I followed the unmarked road for a short bit, but turned around when I found it was leading me away from my destination. I went back to the intersection and parked the bike to check out the abandoned road, which the GPS said was Totter Pole Road. Two large piles of dirt would keep out any 4-wheel vehicle, but there was a definite path for foot or 2-wheeled traffic. Once I was past the mounds, I could tell by the steep sides that this was once a well-used road. It reminded me of wagon roads that I would find along the ridgelines while backpacking the National Forests in Ohio.



The road was fairly overgrown with a few down trees. The larger ones could be bypassed or rode over. Not all of them successfully.



Towards the end, the road curved right on the GPS, but it really continued straight down. Just as I was about to break out onto Warwoman Road, I was stopped by a HUGE tree across the path.



I parked the bike and scouted for a bypass, but it was no use. There were two small creeks on either side of the road and their banks were too steep. Not wanting to backtrack, I laid the bike on its side and dragged it under by the front tire.


After five minutes of pulling and ten minutes of rest, I was back in business.



Like my previous trip, I'm glad the toughest part came at the end to serve as a finale and high point of the trip. Jumping back on NC-28, I headed south until I passed a sign for Low Water Bridge Road. I turned around I went to check it out and found a small camping area with what was probably a ford, which is now used as a put-in for light watercraft.



Coming down out of the mountains, the landscape was dotted with small meadows.





Before long, I was back in Toccoa. From here it was pretty much a straight shot back to Fort Gordon, but I had one more side trip to do. About 9 miles north of Elberton, Georgia, the self-proclaimed "Granite Capital of the World," is the Georgia Guidestones.



Nobody knows for sure who put them here or why. Their origin and purpose have been debated by everyone from New Age hippies, to conspiracy theorists, to bible thumpers. These huge granite slabs are known for their 10 guides written in eight languages. In English, the ten guides are:

1.Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2.Guide reproduction wisely improving fitness and diversity.
3.Unite humanity with a living new language.
4.Rule passion faith tradition and all things with tempered reason.
5.Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6.Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7.Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8.Balance personal rights with social duties.
9.Prize truth beauty love seeking harmony with the infinite.
10.Be not a cancer on the earth Leave room for nature Leave room for nature.



In addition to the Guidestones themselves, there's an explanatory tablet and what can be described as a historical marker.





It was 4:30 PM by now, so it was time to haul ass. I found the new gearing not to be much of a problem on the highway. I got back to Ft. Gordon around 6:15 PM with just under 811 miles for the weekend.





Great way to wrap up the summer. I still have one more 4-day weekend for Columbus Day. The weather will be cooler then, so maybe I should head south. For now, it's...

MISSION COMPLETE.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:34 PM   #126
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Joe, for future reference, there is a great campground in Tellico Plains:

http://www.huntslodge.com/

Run by Jack and Lori Hunt...who are just awesomely fabulous hosts. This is where I go every April for the SabMag get together. (SabMag = Sabres and Magnas). They'll treat you right...especially if you tell them a Maggot sent you.
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:43 PM   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sion View Post
Joe, for future reference, there is a great campground in Tellico Plains:

http://www.huntslodge.com/

Run by Jack and Lori Hunt...who are just awesomely fabulous hosts. This is where I go every April for the SabMag get together. (SabMag = Sabres and Magnas). They'll treat you right...especially if you tell them a Maggot sent you.
Thanks! It's always nice to know of campgrounds where no reservations are required.

ETA: Wow! "Active duty service members who present their military identification will receive unlimited free tent camping."
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Old 09-09-2013, 05:53 PM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyJoe View Post

ETA: Wow! "Active duty service members who present their military identification will receive unlimited free tent camping."

I didnt even know that part...but it doesn't surprise me...thats the kinda people the Hunts are.
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Old 09-10-2013, 07:25 AM   #129
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Nice report, and a grand finale.
Not even a giant tree could turn you around!

Those Georgian Guide Stones: wow
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:48 PM   #130
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Catching up on this a little late. Looks like you had a good weekend!
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Old 10-06-2013, 01:13 PM   #131
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This is my last free weekend at Ft. Gordon. I had hoped to head back to the mountains, but it looked like the weather wasn't going to cooperate. So instead, I stayed local and checked out the gravel across the border in South Carolina. I did my best to make a route based on an old screen shot I saw in the local ADV thread. My GPS tracks can be found here.



The weather was perfect for riding.





I found a few creek crossings, too.







I stopped to check out "Rock House," built in the early 1800s and said to be haunted.



I ran over this guy. He must be part honey badger, because he didn't care.





I arrived in Abbeville, South Carolina about 4:30 PM, thirty minutes before Rough House was about to re-open for dinner.



I took the time to wander around the town square.

The Courthouse.



The Opera House / Municipal Building.



The Belmont Hotel.



The interior of Rough House.



Their specialty is hot dogs, so I had three with chili and onions, with a side of conversation. In talking with the server, I learned that Abbeville used to be a stop-over point for train travel and the hotel and opera house were the lifeblood of the town. Like many other small towns, there's not much here and a few shuttered business stand testament to the difficulty in staying afloat.

There's a lot to explore in this old town, but I had to be heading back. Taking off about 5:15 PM, I didn't bother rushing because I knew I'd never make it back before dark.



Doing the last few miles of gravel in the dark was a new experience and added a bit of challenge to the ride. It's definitely something I'd like to do again.

I had just under 200 miles for the day. It was a great way to close this chapter and prepare for the journey home.

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Old 10-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #132
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Eastern Kingsnake:

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/lamget.htm
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Old 10-06-2013, 03:42 PM   #133
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Thanks for the assist. I was wondering what it was. It's the first snake I've seen in 9000 miles of riding and, by far, the biggest I've seen in the wild.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #134
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ArmyJoe - I have followed this thread from the beginning, and enjoyed it. I hope you'll keep posting when you get back to Ohio.
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:48 PM   #135
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ArmyJoe - I have followed this thread from the beginning, and enjoyed it. I hope you'll keep posting when you get back to Ohio.
For sure. When one chapter ends, another begins. Thanks for following along!
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