My sister and her husband have a sweet VW bus they're restoring into a full blown family camper. I cant wait to steal this thing when they're done with it.
So fast forward a bit and I'm packed up and off on the bike. It takes me a little while to get out of Atlanta. Everywhere I look I see people sucking down coffee and frantically putting on makeup at intersections. I can't help but laugh to myself as I twist the throttle passed them. I'm finally going to get into Tennessee hill country and ride this bike as hard as I possibly can in some of the best motorcycling roads in the country.
I chose route 3 because it takes you along all back roads and passes thru Tellico TN. Tellico is the official start of the Trans American Trail (TAT). The TAT is an offroad trail that was mapped out by some dude that goes across the whole of the US and dumps you off in Oregon. I wanted to scope out the shop every forum I read about on the subject raves about. I've read soo much about this trail and it's challenges that I'm already looking for people to tackle it with me next summer. Any idiot can drive across the country but it takes a rider to do it off road. :) More on the TAT hopefully next summer.
I made amazing time into Tellico. The roads were amazing and there was hardly ant traffic at all. For the first time in days I wasn't getting rained on or in sweltering heat. I was finally able to real hammer down on the throttle and warm up the entire surface of the tires. I was fully loaded with gear and fuel but the 1200cc engine hardly seemed to mind at all.
(Im working on uploading video.. my internet is slow here)
The shopkeep at Tellico Mototcycle outfitters was stoked to see my bike all sticker'ed up and we chatted a bit about where I came from and where I was going. He must see people on these kinds of trips all the time. He asked me if I was up for slight detour. I asked him what type of detour and he said one word. "offroad" Well, that was that, I simply said hell yes and he started to draw me a makeshift map. The trial he detoured me added about 40 miles to my rally point with Capt Keith Schultz but I didn't care at all. What's forty miles when you've got 11,000 to go.
(video coming soon)
The dragon is arguably on of the top 5 motorcycling roads in America. 311 turns in 11 miles. It takes a lot of concentration, bike control and its actually pretty physically demanding when you're doing it well. At no point during the ride are there any true straight aways or breaks. It'd be nice to have a week up there playing on a few different types of bikes. My little cafe racer and I will be back here very soon. I might need to bring extra brakes and tires after day two.
The traffic going up was awful but I could still get a sense of why 2-3 people a week total their bikes on this road. Fatalities are a common thing up here but no one seems to want to talk about it or build a guard rail.
The way down was exiting. We took off like bats out of hell and I launched a wheelie pulling out of the parking lot. The Beemer was the only one of it's kind in this crowd so I had to show them what it was made of. I literally saw some old dudes jaw drop when he saw my fully loaded pirate ship on one wheel.
After the last go around I still needed to get some miles done. I was hardly in the mood for it but that nagging voice in my head has been asking me for a while now to get out of the South East. We took off North towards Nashville. Capt. Keith was awesome enough to ride a hundred or so miles with me away from his house just to keep me company. He was happy to be riding and I was happy as hell to have someone to chat with. Our bluetooth headsets were fantastic to about 75 yards.
I tried like hell to make it to Nashville but the sun was dropping fast and my body was begging me to get off of the bike. I randomly took an exit and by chance stumbled upon Edgar Evin State Park. It was a nice place but all the normal campsites were taken. I begged the ranger to give me wooden deck they use for RV campers. Within an hour of getting there I had my tent set up, dinner cooked and I was off to sleep. This was a fantastic but exhausting day.