There were three photographers along the Tail of the Dragon on Saturday. Found three photos I liked and they have arrived at the inbox today.
Riding the Dragon is not about speed for me. Speed limit is 30mph; so, that is it in the straight sections of road. The curves are time to get my lean on! Except for the weekend runs when there are lots of riders and cars.
Still, riding the Dragon and other roads in the area is a good way to spend some time.
Took my time to getting on the road this morning due to low clouds that could be a fog problem and the morning temperature in the upper 60’s. The temp and clouds rose and shortly after 9am, I’m headed down the road on KLiX.
It took about a quarter mile for the GPS to start complaining about my direction. 😆 Ok Garmin, I’ll pull over and see what’s happening. It was a GPS thing and I continued along the road. The Garmin was satisfied a few miles later.
At the Little River Gorge Road intersection, I turn left. Yesterday’s route went to the right.
In several miles I arrive at The Sinks waterfall.
From the Sinks, the route continues for several miles before making a right turn on Elkmont Road.
This bend in the Little River is a nice spot for a photo and short video.
Another location that has come up in recommended places to see are these cabins near the Elkmont Campground. They are maintained by the Smokey Mountain Park service. Visitors can walk through most of these cabins.
Backtracking out to Little River Gorge Road for a few more miles before turning right on Newfoundland Gap Road (US-441) towards Cherokee, NC.
There’s a ton of vehicles on the road! Still, when I see a sign that depicts a pigtail in the road, I stop with a purpose. Picture time!
The cross over/under is actually a tunnel. After I pass through, I see a spot to stop for a photo.
With the wind chill, it was on the cold side for riding with a mesh jacket while riding up and through Newfoundland Gap as the elevation is over 5,000 feet.
Several miles on the other side of the gap, I refuel KLiX and take a break in Cherokee, NC.
After a chat with a local, I head west out of Cherokee on NC-19. Just past the town of Ela, I spot this good-looking iron railroad bridge. It takes a bit of maneuvering to get the framing I want for the picture. Space is limited, but still make for a picture.
Now for the weather. Given the forecasts, who invited this cloud‽
A quick check of AccuWeather radar, and it’s clear there are storms building nearby. One is too close to my route and Tail of the Dragon. 😶
I can beat it though! Wanted to make a few passes through the Dragon, but I’ll settle for one dry run.
Just east of Bryson City is this bridge. See if you can see the floating ducks at the far side as they go through the rapids.
Being the weekend, there is quite a bit of traffic on the Tail of the Dragon. I didn’t stop for any pictures or video. The possibility of encountering rain, kept me moving.
As mentioned yesterday, a part of my route today is impacted by a closure. Instead of taking the Foothills Parkway, I take Happy Valley Road north away from known storms. The GPS does not like this idea even after deleting the waypoint on the Foothills Parkway. It’s a good road and eventually has some switchbacks to enjoy riding. So me can be seen in the GPS screen.
Nearing the end of the planned riding today, it’s close enough to dinner time and I stop at Apple Valley for a smashburger. That’s what it is called according to nearby billboards. I ordered a double! 🍔
Clouds just to the south look like they could bring rain, and since I didn’t bring rain gear, I head back to the base camp.
That’s it. Thanks for following this little adventure. Tomorrow morning, KLiX will be loaded on the hitch carrier for the ride back to the house.
After nearly four hours of driving and and a loss of one hour due to a time zone change, I arrived at my reserved base camp near the Smokey Mountain National Park. In this area, it’s referred to as the quiet side of the Smokey Mountains.
Checked-in early, unloaded KLiX, jumped into the riding gear, and went riding.
Short ride planned for half a day today, and a longer ride for tomorrow. Plenty of time for stopping.
After riding today’s planned route, I discovered a closed section of Foothills Parkway that effects tomorrow’s route. So, that reroute could add some miles for tomorrow.
First destination for today is Cases Cove. This location has come up twice in recommended destinations. Even had previously nugged-out a route for the GPS.
It’s more a a scenic nature drive. All the cars were doing 5-10mph because of the lead vehicle search for wildlife. We’ll, that car was two ahead of me and their effort paid off when a black bear walked across the single-lane road in front of them. Yeah, pretty cool, but because they stopped, it was an opportunity for me to pass both cars. I came to ride!
A mile or two later, I bypass a waypoint that would keep me in this mess for another hour and took the one-way exit road. This road is why KLiX has the 19″ front wheel with a knobby(ish) tire. It was good to have with the loose gravel.
Plenty of switchbacks here! In the picture below, you can see the road below through the trees.
Had to wonder what it would be like if I stopped for a picture and a bear 🐻 was there too! 🤔
After about eight miles of one-way, single-lane gravel, the road widened a bit and became bi-directional. This is because there are home built on both sides of the road.
Switchback! 😃 The speed limit here is 20 mph. At 20-25, this is a fun road to ride!
At the bottom the ridge, the road flattens a bit and I pass this shed. Think there was something interesting about, I went back to see it. Turned out to be pretty cool.
A couple of miles from here I arrive at US-321. To the right is the town of Townsend, but I want to go left to pick up a leg of the Foothills Parkway. This leg seems to have been completed recently.
There’s are several look out areas on the south side along this parkway segment. After this picture and with light traffic, the vacant look out areas became chicanes for brisk riding!
It was a good fun until I spotted an oncoming LEO. KLiX finally believed it was time so slow the pace. “Ya think KLiX!” 😆
At the eastern end of this segment, I’m back at US-321. The remaining part of the route is about ten miles. Cancel that and it’s time to snoop around some. About half a mile up the road is this interesting general store. I stop and go in to see if there is something I can’t live without. There isn’t. It’s stuff! Stuff I don’t need or want. Back to riding.
It’s getting close enough to dinner time. So, I zip on down to a burger place near the base camp. There’s a line.
Up the road is a BBQ place that is fine. Not specifically looking for bbq, but it’s fine.
While at the table and looking out the window, there are a few of these hanging wood blocks with a glass jar attached at the bottom. They are to attract destructive wood/carpenter bees.
After dinner, I go do some local exploring as it’s too early to return to the base camp.
On Cameron Road, I stop for this picture of the road under a tree canopy.
Not sure where I’m going or where this road leads to, eventually I end up on the north bank of the Little River. So, I follow the road to the west for quite a while. It’s nice. People have elevated shanties right on the river bank. I’m following this road out of curiosity and I will need to find a bridge to get back on the other side of the river. Several minutes later, I cross the bridge and am back at US-321.
Time to head back to the base camp because I have a task to complete yet tonight.
But wait! First I need to turn around and go see this!
A quick refuel stop and I’m back at the base camp.
Time to swap the front wheel. Tomorrow’s ride is all pavement. Familiar pavement! 😃
That’s all for today. If you read to the end of this post, thank you. 😁
Weather looked good for a ride today, so off we went. Typical weather pattern could still bring pop-up storms. The sky is blue indicting low humidity–and, it felt that way too. 🌞
Rode over to check out some progress on the new house and I have been taking pictures. It’s a short ride and after a few minutes, we’re heading east out of Franklin, KY.
After several miles on a state highway, we are back on smooth, single-lane farm roads. These are perfect for small bikes at a quick pace.
A couple of curves and a descending hill reminiscent of a famous California race track. We approach a low bridge with flowing muddy, run-off, water from the shower that passed about an hour earlier.
Continued eastward to see what was happening in Westmoreland, TN. The historic downtown area is nice, but there’s nothing going on these days.
So, its close enough for lunch and I’m about eight miles east of a favorite general store in Oak Grove, TN. KLiX only needs 0.7 gallons of fuel for a top-off. ⛽
I’m hungry for a pulled pork sammich, so I go inside and order one. I need to eat it quickly and get back to the house. Weather radar is clear.
A few miles closer to the house, the clouds are looking darker.
Now on the east side of town, we roll around a blind curve and get ambushed 🌧️ by a really dark cloud. 😆 Close enough to the house I forego the rain gear. Besides, I can skip the Saturday night bath. 😆
The storm split and eased up for the last few miles. And, it missed the subdivision!
First ride out in quite a while, it seems, due mostly to weather. The KLX has a fresh oil and filter change, but also a new K&N air filter to complement the larger snorkle previously installed.
Before I know it, I’m riding through where the corn rows grow and the experience feels like a corn maze for vehicles! 🌽
First planned destination is this octagon shaped building. It’s a few miles north of Franklin, KY along highway 31W.
The trees are impressive and there’s a carriage building too. The large limestone blocks were used to help board a carriage.
So, I hop back on the bike and head north a bit before turning east.
The road climbs about a dozen feet to a railroad crossing. No traffic, so I stop for a look-see.
Looking way down the track to the north, I can see a tunnel formed by trees. My imagination turns that circle of light into a portal for which trains that pass never return. 😆
Enjoying the narrow county roads that are plotted between farm fields, and many with 90-degree turns, when I encounter this grouping of signs warning of danger. Given the recent rain, I’m not sure what to expect.
After making the curve to the right, I quickly rode upon the bridge.
As you can see, it’s more a series of culverts. A common technique for water crossings. When water is flowing over this type of bridge, it’s moving fast. There is a gate up the road on this side of the waterway.
Continuing on my route, the road is a nice climb to higher ground. At the top, I stop for a picture to capture this.
Continuing on, I’m riding through some really nicely kept large parcels of land when I encounter a fork in the road! 😲
At the fork, I went left. No coin flipping this time. More, Garmin told me to go left. 😆
About a dozen miles or more after leaving the fork, I’m getting more to the east and towards Gold City, KY. It’s a dot on the map and more of a waypoint. Still, there might be sumptin of interest there, so I’m looking around as I approach. Doesn’t appear to be more than typical crossroads and a couple of houses.
Making good use of KLiX’s strong front brake, I pull up to the store. Helmet and gloves off, and I go inside to get a cool drink.
After I finish my drink, hearing protection, helmet, and gloves are dawned, and I head down the road. Now going towards the south and Tennessee.
Along New Roe Road just a couple of miles from Tennessee, I spot this cool barn mural. Turn around and get a picture.
The dogs were barking and moments later a lady and her small child walked to the gate. The little girl waving and kept saying “hi, hello….” So, I walked up and said hello. I explained to the lady I like the mural and was going to take a picture. She started to open the gate for me, but I quickly let her know that wasn’t necessary as I wanted the bike in the picture. She acknowledged and as I stepped back onto the road for the shot, she was walking over to the mural to remove a five-gallon bucket out of the view. Super nice lady all around! After the picture I walked back up to them and let her know what I was doing with the picture. She thought that was neat, and asked if I wanted a bottle of water.
A fuel stop was ahead of me and then I would be about 10 miles from the house if I stretched it.
Yeah, low humidity and temperature in the 80’s! Can’t let this opportunity get away. So, I headed west on some familiar roads.
Still not sure of the range for the two gallons of fuel the KLX300SM tank. The only fill up I did at a gas station was at about 85 miles. The calculation was 69 mpg. It’s what I expected. So, at 100 miles I need to be thinking of a refuel stop. At 120 miles, I should be short final for a gas station! 😆
I did pick up a one-liter fuel bottle to carry for use in a pinch.
Since I was near a known good place for pulled pork, I headed up TN-12 towards Clarksville. Within minutes of arriving at the Excell Market Bar-B-Q, I’m standing in so me shade created by the old building and enjoying an awesome pulled pork sandwich.
Guzzle a bottle of Gatorade. (because it’s easy in the heat) 😃
Recalling another Gatorade comment posted about several years ago while out on the former Concours 14.
After the Gatorade, I suit up, hop on the KLX300SM.
Right after starting the bike engine, I realized I forgot the ear plugs. 😐 Before I remove the gloves and helmet, I want out of the sun.
First, I head south on TN-12 for about a mile to the next turn. I know this shady place to stop so I can insert the ear plugs. 😃
Right on the side of the Big McAdoo Creek!
Then, it was about an hour to the house.
Rode about 160 miles today which is the longest day yet on the KLX. Now over 500 miles, and the oil and filter are going to get changed.
Plotted a route through the back roads of Sumner and Macon Counties, Tennessee this morning. It was also a little excursion into Kentucky.
The pace was brisk and really enjoyable. Learning to keep speed through curves so the little 300cc engine doesn’t have to work so hard to get back to the pace. Seldom over 55mph; but, on typical single lane roads, it’s quick.
Encountered several sections of gravel road. No problem with a bike that has dual-sport DNA! 😀
Despite the street tires, the KLX performed nice on low-gription surfaces. 😆
Then, GPS guidance has me on some pristine pavement where the super-moto behavior becomes prevalent. Yeah, let’s learn to back into curves! 💪
The KLX is light and the monster front brake scrubs off speed effortlessly. Even on gravel–but beware, this bike does not have ABS! 🤙
Moments later, we are back on a gravel road. This one was recently graded and was like riding on marbles with some occasional pool balls. 🎱 To ride this, I would have to get off the seat.
A couple miles into this section and there’s a creek to cross. Woo-hoo! Maybe clean off some dust from the wheels. 🤔 Wait! Then, even more will stick. 😆 Oh well, there’s a garden hose at the house.
Ever try and out-run your shadow? 😆 I know, silly, right? But, why is it that I cannot out-run dust? You’d suspect it is possible; but everytime I check the mirrors, dust is right on my tail! 😆 …and, wheels.
Not much in Barefoot, TN. That barn and field across the road.
On this side of the road is this water source. If it were 100 degrees🌡️ today, I’da been under that pipe! 🤪
Rode some back roads to get here and had some cool(ish) temperature to start the ride.
This bridge was not built here. Rather is was placed here in the last year or so. Curious to where it came from and I’m sure TDOT condemned it a long time ago. Still, it’s interesting and worth a stop for a picture. It’s located along Rock Springs Road in Sumner County.