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Sticky thread area for all those great rides you go on. Reports of the great time you had and any issues you encountered. Recommendations for places to stay or things to see. :smile2: Safe riding to all of you.
 
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Weekend Ride in the Smoky Mountains

Went for a ride last weekend (Nov 3 - Nov 4)from North Atlanta to the Smoky Mountains to see and photograph the leaves changing color for fall.

My bike is a 2018 Street Twin (White) with SW-Motech crash guards, Givi tail rack and Cortech saddlebags. I had my camera bag and tripod strapped to the rack with Rok straps (amazing at keeping things packed down and immobile). Expecting low temperatures, I dressed in layers - tee shirt, sweatshirt with a hoodie which went under my helmet, perforated leather jacket and a wind/waterproof rain jacket on top with ski pants for the legs and generic waterproof work boots. This was usually enough to keep me warm enough to be functional till down to about 2-3 degrees Celsius while riding. But my fingers were painfully cold under the leather gloves.

The Trip

  1. Left home in North Atlanta and headed to Tellico Plains, TN via Jasper, Ellijay and Blue Ridge.
  2. Turned east onto Cherohala Highway and took the right onto River Road (about 4.5 miles from Tellico Plains). I came across this road on Moto Adventurer's Youtube channel a while back and was waiting for an opportunity to drive through that. The wait was completely worth it! It's an undivided road with no lane markings or barriers and very light traffic going in both directions. With the trees turning yellow and a river snaking along the road this was a dreamlike ride. Stayed on this road for about 6 miles and then turned back and took the right onto Turkey Creek Rd to get back to the Cherohala Skyway.
  3. Followed the Skyway east to crash for the night at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge. I had booked a bed in the bunkhouse for the night and it was a very smooth process over e-mail and phone. I had planned on having dinner before reaching the lodge, but multiple stops to shoot photographs, a temperamental phone, dropping temperatures and a quickly darkening sky ensured that I reached the lodge without eating dinner and not ordering ahead for dinner at the lodge either. The wonderful lady at the reception and the cooks were very nice and offered me a baked sweet potato and salad which was pretty much all that was left. Grateful for the opportunity to not go to bed on an empty stomach, I paid for the food and ate it. Croutons and ranch dressing never tasted this good! To avoid this same situation the next morning, I made sure that I ordered breakfast before turning in for the night. The bunkhouse was nice and toasty and the bed was firm which was better than perfect me after a cold ride! Met a lot of nice people at the lodge and watched the LSU vs Alabama game in the dining hall till I fell asleep on the chair (I still don't know who won that game). I highly recommend this place.
  4. Woke up the next morning and left Iron Horse after a breakfast of pancakes and rode west on 28 towards the Tail of the Dragon. The Tail was literally empty westbound at around 10.30 am that Sunday morning. I came across exactly one Fiat 500 which went past me while I was stopped at a viewpoint. Significantly more traffic eastbound though. If someone knows the reason for this discrepancy, please do let me know. One disadvantage with no traffic in your direction in fall is that a lot of the fallen leaves get blown into your lane. I had a couple of butt clenching moments on curves with wet leaves, but since I was riding leisurely and not rushing through the Tail, I just rode them out without any drama.
  5. Turned North onto the Foothills Parkway at Chilhowee and followed that till it turned east on 321. This was another beautiful and relaxing ride but next time, I would probably take the Happy Valley Road for the first section and then merge onto the Foothills Parkway later. Traveled east on 321 for about 4 miles and then turned south onto Old Tukaleechee Rd and then onto Old Cade's Cove Rd towards Rich Mountain Gap. Despite multiple signs telling me that the road was closed for traffic, I decided to follow it as it looked pretty good on the map and I was not disappointed. A few switchbacks and wet leaves made it an interesting ride and I got to drag race a squirrel as a bonus (The squirrel won).
  6. Turned around at the trail-head and continued east on E Lamar Alexander Pkwy and headed towards Cade's Cove. Due to the traffic on the Cade's Cove Loop (digital signs saying 2-3 hours to complete the loop), I turned around at the start of the loop and headed back towards Gatlinburg for a late lunch and fuel via Little River Gorge Road and Fighting Creek Gap Rd. But due to the exceptionally heavy traffic (the last 1.2 miles on Fighting Creek Gap Rd. took over 1.5 hours), I skipped lunch and only topped up the fuel.
  7. From Gatlinburg, it was a pretty straightforward route south to Atlanta. The 441 out of Gatlinburg was probably the most beautiful stretch of road I have driven on so far. With tall, yellowing trees on both sides completely enveloping you it felt like I was riding in some dream! And to top it all off, there was even a sizable herd of elk grazing on this route.
  8. Whether it was a highway-speed slog or slow, mountain switchbacks with we leaves, the Street Twin handled all 492 miles of this trip without breaking a sweat. The only limit on what this bike can do is me.

Lessons Learnt

  • Get a new phone which won't die on me randomly with 90% charge still left in the battery
  • Find a way to keep the fingers warm
  • Wet leaves are as slippery as people say they are
  • Drag racing squirrels is kinda fun
  • At almost every stop, someone had something nice to say about the bike
  • You truly meet the nicest people on bikes
 

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Wow, that's some beautiful country! Nice bike too :).

I also get lots of compliments on my bike from all different types of people... Just another thing I love about my Triumph. Have done a couple long 2-300 mile day trips around the LA and surrounding area but have yet to do an overnighter/weekend trip.
 

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So, took the TTR on a 2000km ride over the Vic/NSW high country over the Melbourne Cup weekend. Apart from getting absolutely saturated on Tuesday over Hotham, conditions were sensational and the bike performed flawlessly. The riding group consisted of an R1, 1199 Panigale, 3 x KTM 1290 super dukes, a Super Duke GT, 2 x S1000R's, an S1000RR, an MT09 and an R6. All ridden by very competent riders. The Thruxton held its own in all conditions. Things I took away from the trip.
-The TTR is pretty comfy compared to sports bikes, I didn't get a sore arse or knees at all on repetitive 500km plus days, and I hang off.
-Bridgestone s21's are fantastic in the wet and the dry. Loved em and will get em again.
-My Meerkat exhausts were admired by everyone on the ride. Universal praise for their sound and everyone wanted to follow me to listen to it, even the Panigale rider. I even rode another bike and got to hear it for myself off the bike for the first time. ****en awesome!
-I left the traction control on for one spirited run, just to see what it was like, it was activating on corner exits even in 5th gear! It would sometimes retard the throttle for one to two seconds once active and you sit there waiting for it to catch up. Will be staying off in the future. S21's didn't slide once anyway and I wasn't sparing the throttle on corner exits. .
-Only missed the extra power a litre sportsbike has once you were out of the corner and they were hard on the throttle towards the next corner. Otherwise, no problems keeping up or getting ahead.
-It still draws more attention than the other bikes in the group everytime you stop at a servo.
-Cleaning tar spots off the exhaust the following day is easy when there are no fairings to remove....... In fact, the cleaning process in general is pretty easy on this bike, even after riding in heavy rain and 10km's of dirt down the Bonang Hwy.
-Covering the front of the bike in 3M clear wrap is a godsend when travelling in a group.

I'm more in love with this bike now than I was before........and that's saying something! Bring on Phillip Island!


Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your on the wrong side of the road!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:nerd::wink2:

Thanks for sharing your ride pictures. Looked like a great ride!
 
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What a day!!
My last long trip was to Pagaosa Springs in Southern Colorado. Perfect timing for weather and company. Hrs in the saddle and then natural Hot Springs to relax in!!
Snow has moved in now. Way too treacherous on two wheels! Come on Spring!
 

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I did a quick 200 mile half day ride on San Diego County S-2 and up to Julian. Super nice day and probably the last time to Julian for 2018 as it will get cold and icy sometime soon. But today was nothing but sunshine and freshly washed desert and roads from the rain of the last week.
 

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2022 Triumph Bonneville Street Twin
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Last ride, other than errands, was to top of Lee Canyon, near Las Vegas. The helicopter landing is 8,668 feet elevation.

Death Valley tomorrow, through Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level.
Forecast is for only 98F at Furnace Creek, but 48F in the morning over Mountain Pass (5,490 feet elevation).

Most folks think of Nevada as one big desert, but it is one of the most mountainous states in the union.

Route planned for Red Rock Canyon, Mountain Pass, Pahrump, Shoshone (breakfast at Crowbar), over Jubilee Pass (tar snakes get slippery when hot) to Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek, then lunch in Beatty at Death Valley Nut & Candy (Subway and homemade ice cream). Should be 327 miles round trip.

Photos to follow

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For those who have not been to Death Valley, below are few photos from previous trips.
Dante's View looks down on Badwater Basin.
Artists Loop is a one way excursion which sidelines the Badwater Basin to Furnace Creek road.

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Left about 5:45 AM
Cold going through Mountain Springs pass.
Breakfast at Crowbar Cafe in Shoshone.
Jubilee Pass to Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek, then Daylight Pass to Beatty.
Lunch at Death Valley Nut & Candy, including homemade ice cream.

No need to refuel in California. The Street Twin went from Pahrump to Beatty, with 42 miles to empty (2 fuel gauge bars remaining)

First fill up in Pahrump was the lowest MPG yet, but strong headwinds in Mountain Springs Pass: 81.6 miles / 1.461 gallons = 55.85 MPHG

Fill up in Beatty: 144.9 miles / 2.264 gallons = 64.00 MPG

Fill up in Las Vegas, after running some errands: 116 miles / 1.982 gallons = 58.52 (high speed south on highway 95)

342 miles today.
1060 miles on the clock in 17 days.
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Rode from Las Vegas to Kolob Canyon, at the northwest corner of Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks (10,350 feet elevation) and Duck Creek Village. 285 miles today, 1,375 miles on the clock in less than 3 weeks. A bit hazy from the Pahrump fire.

About 90° F leaving Las Vegas at 5:20 AM. Only about 100 F now in Kanab Utah.

Plan to head home early in the morning to avoid the forecast highs in Mesquite (117 F) and Las Vegas (116 F).

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Just a short ride today, only about 100 miles. Attached photo is of Corn Creek Springs, about 20 miles north of North Central Las Vegas valley. When I lose the shade sitting by the stream, then I'll head up Lee Canyon to Lee Meadows and hope to see wild horses and or burros. Then South on Deer Creek Road to Kyle Canyon and up the canyon to the end of the road for breakfast at Mount Charleston Lodge.
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Overcast and cool above the 7000 ft level. With the Dart Marlin fly screen and a long sleeve T, only my shoulders were cold.

Half hour wait for table at Mount Charleston Lodge, so heading back down the hill in a bit.

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