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Topic: Tornado dodging tour of the South  (Read 13831 times)

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« on: April 20, 2011, 11:06:39 PM »

I've never been to the Southern States (or much East of Denver for that matter), so I decided to ship my MTS1200 out to Atlanta a few weeks back.

Well, I'm here in Atlanta now and picking up the bike tomorrow (hopefully undamaged).  The loose plan is to spend the coming weekend up in Topton, NC with some fellow moto-enthusiasts from MotorcyclistCafe. I'll be the newb for this long-standing April weekend event. Then the following week, hoping to ride out to the Ozarks and back. This is very much weather dependant at this point, I will be running in the opposite direction if more Thunderstorm/Tornados are developing next week.

Anyway, just a couple photos so far, the back patio view at the Holiday Inn Express Atlanta, maybe 5 miles from the world's busiest airport. Not too shabby...  Wink






For any West-Coast riders with limited vacation daze like me, thinking about doing something like this, I'm here to tell you it's totally worth it. The buy-in for me was apx 1,500 bucks to ship my bike to Atlanta ride 10 days in the Appalachians and ship it back, including RT airfare for myself. I think this was my best moto-vacation ever!

Scroll down a bit to hit the meat of the photos...









« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 12:18:49 AM by GTS_Rider » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 03:34:22 AM »

 Thumbsup   :popcorn:
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 01:04:25 PM »

looking forward to this one!!!  

Get going!!!!
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 04:13:27 PM »

Dang Rick, you picked some crappy weather!   Lol Crazy  I sure hope things clear up soon...Its been downright NASTY here in MS.
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 11:29:59 PM »

 Damn, dude that's pretty cool!  Thumbsup

 Have a good trip, keep us updated, and hopefully the SV will be done by the time you get back.

 PS try to behave yourself. The LEOs are a little different in them parts of the country I hear. Looks like this trip is costing you enough already.....  Bigsmile
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 11:53:28 PM »

Looks like a nice little ride in the forest there... can't wait for the update!

 :popcorn:
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 08:59:23 AM »

I would also like to add:  :popcorn:
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2011, 01:37:07 AM »


Dang Rick, you picked some crappy weather!   Lol Crazy  I sure hope things clear up soon...Its been downright NASTY here in MS.


Hehe, wrong...the weather has been fooking fantastic where I have been.  Razz

Ok, got about 15 minutes of a thunderstorm coming into my cabin near Topton, NC Thursday Eve, and rode through about 2 hours of rain on Friday morning to get to the start of the road to Hot Springs, but it stopped raining right about when we got off the highway and on to the amazingly good back-roads for that days route. Saturday, OMFG!, great weather, Cheryhola Skyway was outstanding , I was shocked it was so empty. Passed maybe 4-5 bikes and maybe 2-3 cars the entire length (60 miles?).

Anyway, no cell/internet service where I was staying the last few days. I'm in Sweetwater TN tonight. Looking at the weather I've decided to abandon my plans to go for the Ozarks. Will do a little loop nearby in TN tomorrow and then head back to NC for the best chance of the best roads and least rain for the rest of my moto-vacation. Woe is me  Sad  ...  rofl
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2011, 11:22:15 AM »

Well, I'm glad to hear the weather has cooperated for you.  

Its too bad you won't get to taste a little bit more of the south east, but considering the roads over in the smokies, you'll be fine.  
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2011, 01:31:48 PM »

Well, I've been following your progress while at work and there's a few things I'd like to say:
1. I hate you.
2. I hate you because I envy you.
3. I envy you because I wish I was you right now.
4. I wish I was you right now because I love the area you are riding in and I'm not gonna be able to get down there this year.
5. I'm not gonna be able to get down..... ahhh, nevermind.
6. Stay safe and can't wait to see the pics.

 :popcorn:

p.s. I love this Spot tracker thingy. I may have to get me one next year when I start touring again.
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 06:58:14 PM »

Enjoy.  Try to swing through B'ham, AL for the Barber Museum if you can.
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 07:03:18 PM »

Rick, you do get around !  Bigok  Looking forward to your pics.  Thumbsup
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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2011, 08:35:25 PM »


p.s. I love this Spot tracker thingy. I may have to get me one next year when I start touring again.


+1 Spot tracker thingy is pretty awesome - although with Rick it always looks like he's not on a road coz he's so fast....  Razz
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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 09:14:19 PM »




+1 Spot tracker thingy is pretty awesome - although with Rick it always looks like he's not on a road coz he's so fast....  Razz


Haha, not *that* fast. Definitely looks like some pings missing in the mountain pass areas. I wish there were more successful pings so you could see exactly what roads I took. Though if you zoom in enough to see the secondary roads you can just pick the twistiest looking roads between the missing pings and that's probably what I took.

I love it when the weather channel is wrong. Well, maybe they weren't wrong...they called for 80 percent chance of thunderstorms in my area, so I guess we just beat the odds.

Another great day of riding here in NC. Did a 250 mile loop out of Waynesville. Repeated a lot of roads I did last Friday that were wet at first and then when the roads dried out the ride leader was slow for my personal taste. Added bonus route up and over a couple mountain passes up to Blue Ridge Parkway. The downside of one, and upside of the other twisty switchback mountain roads were gravel. Hey, the Multistrada really *can* do gravel roads! First time for a real test of 'Enduro mode', which cuts the HP down to 100 and really loosens up traction control and abs. Though, I was white knuckling it around each turn, with the front tire feeling like its going across ball bearings on the gravel road surface. You've never seen me crawl through turns so slowly... lol

Rolling the dice again tomorrow, forecast says 50% chance of thunderstorms, some severe. Riding about 75 miles SouthWest to Hayesville to meet up with a 65 year old retired guy, Loyd, who was wicked fast on his 1200GS leading a Saturday afternoon ride and has real local road knowledge. This should be fun... Smile

Sorry haven't put up any pictures, have a few decent ones but not that many from actual riding. Since I met up with a couple of new friends in TN a couple days ago have been going to dinner and bs'ing with them in the eve and then it's time for bed. Keep thinking I'm gonna have a rain-day to post up more stuff, but luckily so far I've been wrong...  Bigok
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2011, 08:26:53 AM »




+1 Spot tracker thingy is pretty awesome - although with Rick it always looks like he's not on a road coz he's so fast....  Razz


More like a dog chasin' his tail  Lol
Yep, still jealous  Thumbsup
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 02:01:53 PM »

If you're still fartin' around the Maggie Valley area tomoorow you might wanna swing into http://www.wheelsthroughtime.com/  
It's a really neat place but not open Mondays or Tuesdays
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 03:46:09 PM »

Picking up JB at Atlanta warehouse...




This for West Coast people, gas about 35 cents a gallon cheaper in Atlanta..




First great road of the trip. I just picked hwy 60 off the state map because it was a squiggly line. This is a lookout maybe 1/3 through the road.




Here's the cabin I stayed at the first few days. Nice inside and really reasonable. I paid $153 for four days split with two other riders. I'd recommend it as a great unique place to stay for anyone planning a trip and spending a few days in the area.




This is Arby's pad near Topton (the guy that hosted April 21st-25th Tour of The Southern Appalachians), happy hour before Friday dinner.




Here's MotorcyclistCafe's DirtyDougs house we stopped at for a while on Saturday afternoon. It's up above Hwy. 60 near Morganton Georgia




The view from the second story deck




This is George of MC-Cafe. He was a happy camper after I gave him a tow over Cherahola Skyway on the way to Dirty Dougs. He said previously he had never touched a peg down.  By the time we finished the Skyway he had burned off about 50% of his peg-feelers. Sorry, no pics from the Skyway, we were having to much fun.




This guy Lyod 65 retired local lead us over to NC Hillbilly's for dinner on hwy 60 and Wolf Pen Gap. It was a *very* lively pace. I chased Loyd and also Dean (former BMW dealership owner) who's in the second pic. Fooking Fast Old Guys...





NC Hillbilly or probably Mrs Hillbilly mostly, hosted dinner for 15-20 people at their wonderful house on a lake Saturday night...

The House


The view from the deck


Sunday morning had me moving West in search of new tires and still thinking about making a run to Ozarks. Exiting on the now familiar to me Wayah Road



New Pilot Road 3 tire mounting in process at Wheeler's 10 miles or so South from Deal's Gap.




After running the Dragon I set my gps for 'shortest route' to the next town. Shortest route is always fun and had me running through Tennessee neighborhoods instead of the main highways. Here's the TN neighborhood shot I took..




Lucky stroke of my solo tour was to see this odd touring pair pull into the same motel I was at with no clue where I was going from there. One guy with a with a V-Strom with a wonderful touring bug-spattered patina, the other with an immaculately clean BMW K1200RS...and he was doing more cleaning as I approached them.  

They were intending to go to the Ozarks initially as was I, but they made the right choice to run away from the coming storms. I met up again with them later the next day by chance and spent rest of my tour riding with them.

Here's Kith's 220k mile V-Stom  (the odo stops counting at 199,999), with modified gas tank. I think he said he's got 7.5 gallon capacity. And yes it was modeled along the line of that IronButt dude with the towering tank on his FJR.








Kith and Paul together a couple days later. They've been doing rides together for years and were a hoot to hang out with.




This road, hwy 215 between 64  and BRP was one of my favorite in the area. Such clean and pristine blacktop and almost nobody on it. Was a race-track going up a mountain in my mind...  

Starts with multiple sets of twisties like this near the bottom



Gets more towards high speed sweeps near the top



Here's the view from 215 right before you go under the Parkway



Going down the other side the road surface changes to wavy bumpy sketchy, but here's a nice waterfall view from that side...




« Last Edit: May 02, 2011, 10:24:20 PM by GTS_Rider » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2011, 03:46:58 PM »

We stayed a couple days in Waynesville NC waiting out the coming storms in relative dryness. Did a great loop, I think this was on Tuesday. Up to Hotsprings which is a very fun road, but my favorite of the day was this 197, more crispy black-top goodness, and then up and over mountain pass which included about 5 miles of gravel road down the backside. Switched MTS into enduro mode and managed not to crash. No pics of the dirt sections (there was another 5 miles or so gravel switch backs we climbed up to blueridge parkway).












Wednesday we did a a short 150 mile loop or so and got a good 15 minutes of full downpour. Thursday heading out North to Virgina after the storm had passed, ending up at Wytheville.


Here's the view from Roan Mountain just after crossing into Tennessee.




Here's a snapshot of an abandoned house somewhere in TN  I found interesting enough to snap a pic.




A couple shots here of where a tornado rolled through just outside of Mountain City, TN maybe 12 hours our so before we got there.







Didn't know when I mapped the route North that Hwy. 421 was a sort of famous moto-road up there. The section climbing over the the mountain just past the tornado damage was the best...






Tried to get some gas here, and really needed it at that point, but they had no power due the tornado...




Went over the next mountain and coasted most of the way down the backside twisties to fill my 5.2 gallon tank with 5.1 gallons of gas when I arrived.




Couple shots from the backbone tunnel, worlds shortest train tunnel, or at least it 'was' a train tunnel when they initially blasted through that rock wall...







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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2011, 03:48:12 PM »

Friday Morn we left Wytheville climbed over the mountain range to the North and then rode SW down this Virgina valley for about 100 miles. This was very cool riding these little backroads down the valley. First shot is the overlook as we topped the the mountain, then a slew of other photos riding down the valley...























Ended up in Robbinsville end of day Friday. Here's a few shots of Cherohala Skyway on the the way out back to Atlanta on Saturday. 3 shots of turns and one overlook shot looking from NC into TN,














Trip ending shot, JB strapped back to a pallet Saturday afternoon for her truck-ride back home...

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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2011, 10:38:05 PM »

Nooo!!!! I can't see the pics  OMGOMGOMG
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