Multi-Day Camp & Ride!
You are going to have to bear with me as this one might take me a year to tell it
I named it the Graded Roads Tour as to not mislead anyone into thinking this is a muddy mess of extreme obstacles.
Its a progression story into creating this loop and going out to explore it. I’ll be Tent Camping along the way and sharing what I discover.
In this Ride Report I’ve gotta start in the beginning! It is most definitely seasons of a ride and to omit that from this story is to not tell it at all.
This one (for me) is an adventure in the truest sense in my understanding of this Dual Sport experience.
All roads are already ridden but not by me!
I’ve driven through many states where I never saw the back roads. Never once imagining unpaved dirt roads still existed in America. Unaware that I was taking the journey in a most boring way.
I bought a KLR650 in 09 and this new freedom to smell, taste and feel the road was exhilarating! Hickman County, I was searching on ADVrider and found this map that connected dirt roads for a day ride.
However, these County roads become like any great movie.
You get to know them by every turn.
Never boring but the sense of discovery escapes somehow.
Armed with a crazy bright red Point & Shoot Kodak, I began filming the rides. The Adventure of imagination. I had suddenly become a movie producer, director, cameraman, editor and promoter of a sport. BOOM! Back to Hickman County, this time with a new discovery in exploration. It was a FUN season!
Thats how it goes isn’t it? Seasons it’s all about recognizing them and not missing the next one!
That KLR and my backside could only go so far. I began saving for a KTM990 and when I got ready to buy one, they stopped making them.
I got a 1090 instead! What a bike! To me it was a new KLR with amazing comfort and power! It took me three years to actually put it in Sport Mode and see what it had. Three years to turn off the Traction Control off road. Three years to discover it was not a KLR at all!
In those years I began riding to the other side of the state. Exploring forest service roads, camping, ride some more then jumping on the interstate for home. What A Bike!
I went to my first Rally (March Moto Madness in Tellico Plains TN). What a blast! Great Riding & Great People!
I went to Ribfest a few times. That was FUN!
PART 2 IN A DAY OR SO!
SEASON / 2
Found a pretty awesome family at the Tn DS Ride! I went solo like so many rides before. Thats how I rode. Solitude, getting away and taking a ride.
When I went there, I was not into crowds. Never have been. Always the loner! I had no idea how things were going to turn.
Riding is nice but riding with great friends is awesome.
From here, somewheres, I ran into the best people ever! We grouped up and began exploring our state. looking for those unknown dirt roads that we could stitch together into a day loop and get everybody back together for a group ride.
As the family grew, people began opening up on places they knew. Places they grew up riding and man we had some great weekends on that stuff!
That hunger becomes the next thing. It’s not when will I eat again but when are we going on the next ride!
Lets Take a Ride!
Becomes the Insatiable thing! I keep hearing it in my head over and over ...
Lets Take A Ride Already!
We gotta get another ride together guys!
FB ... I have avoided this as long as I could. We needed a place to organize and put the Next Ride together. So I set up a group with the sole intention of talking about the ride. Pictures, videos and bragging only. No politics & no religion. A place to laugh and have FUN.
Hummm ... What to name it? We keep saying Lets Take a Ride ... Keep it Simple, Well That Was Easy!
So, I’m filming every ride and posting up short videos so we can all watch ourselves having FUN. I’m dreaming BIG! I want to make a cable ready Mini-Series about Dual Sport Adventure Riding. I’ve got every major outline locked in. I know what I want! I just need money to make it happen!
I can’t call on investors as they will have the power to rush it and then ruin it. I gotta earn it!
Interesting how passion and excitement can lead you to believe (thru and thru) that you will make it happen overnight! That this thing has already happened, all you gotta do is forcefully push that door open.
To Ride! The Journey along the way is more important than the destination! Don’t forget to smell the roses! Take your time! You can only live it once! Those are sayings we’ve all heard and agree with but rarely focus on.
Usually life looks more like a cartoon of empty NOS bottles at our feet, a fresh bottle under one arm while frantically fumbling to opening another one.
This has got to be the best sport in the whole world!
It doesn’t matter what season you are in in your life. Taking an Adventure Ride with Great Friends Overrides Everything you’ve got going on! You can’t miss it! No matter how jumbled up things get, when you are on the ride everything but the the ride just disappears!
IT BECOMES PERFECT!
So an idea becomes a reality.
No, that can’t be, thats too rare!
Idea’s are little more than dreams with passion driving them. Wow, I cringe now to watch this knowing the journey to this point. I was niece convinced I knew how it would go!
Idea’s are little more than dreams with passion driving them. Wow, I cringe now to watch this video, knowing the journey to this point; I see now much I didn’t see then.
Thats the adventure tho! it’s never the way we expect. However, because its all done on an adventure motorcycle its PERFECT!
The unexpected was not what I found this discovery ride. That actually turned out to be the Absolutely Amazing People that I was about to meet!
Whats that saying: You meet the nicest people on a KLR ... (LOL)
So, I had set off to make a ongoing cable ready mini-series about Dual Sport Motorcycle Riding And It Was Going To Be Great!. I was off to capture exploration, discovery and the FUN of it all. That turned out to be the best anchor I could have chosen! Seasons right, in riding or anything we do, they come and go but that remained.
Buying a motorcycle and suddenly every ride you can pull off becomes the best thing going on in the entire world! This mini-series, nothings come of it and yet the ride trying to find it is an adventure inside many adventures. I’ve given up in fleeting thoughts but never spoke them aloud. I’ve tried numerous ideas to kick the doors open to no success.
Photo By: Isabel L.B.
Now, I’m making GPS tracks to share with the DS community. Seasons are cool if we recognize them and just ride those roads. Thats where this is heading. Not a mini-series in cinematography but simply a Ride Report. These pictures I’m throwing up like some those crazy painter that slings buckets at a canvas are my attempt at a fast forward button.
You know those videos out there titled "Why We Ride" are all good! They all try to share the ride as best they can. Never truly capturing it as you gotta take a ride for that. When you find it it's only in that moment you are living it tho. Once it passes all you can do is keep riding and try to get back into it. Difficult tho!
Most rides you only get into that perfect place once. You have to go back over and over, not to find that answered why but to go, to ride! That place is always unexpected when you enter it and its always perfect.
This Spring things have taken a different dirt road “so to speak”. As you know, I’ve been heading out all along to ride, film it and share it. The FUN in this crazy awesome idea of Dual Sport.
It became a chapter read. Back in 07 I began “lurking” here on ADV Rider and lamented the realization that I lived in the wrong part of the country! Amazing Rides and they were all West! I would search the net for places to ride around here to no avail! Yes, once a year the LBL200 opened up for a weekend trail ride but that was it!
Then somebody printed a map of county dirt roads about 30 minutes from me. Every single weekend BOOM I was off to go ride it (Solo). They were great roads but after 20 rides, I knew every turn, I wasn’t challenged and the discovery was gone!
I Needed an Infusion of Discovery! No more solo; group rides opened up the State of Tennessee up! I had no idea where these places were but I knew they were out there. Now, I refuse to ride solo, people make this sport 100% better! However, its happened again! The discovery is gone and I’ve gotta go find new places!
So I’ve taken a well ridden set of roads and turned them into a four day camp and ride. Its an event, sanctioned by AMA and insured. Oh My Gosh! I never saw that coming! But that first event is a few days out in front of me. Discovery now has become something in motion that I can’t set down. I mapped out a 2000 +/- loop thru TN, MS, AK, MO and KY.
That is what this Ride Report is all about! I am going to go explore it and take you guys along for the ride. Most of the time I have been 100% Action Camera; where I edit short video’s and pull pictures with Final Cut Pro editing software. Now of course, videos are best suited for Youtube. ADVrider’s Crowning Light is not video reports but rather written reports with accompanying digital camera specific photos.
Somehow, this new season has snowballed into an avalanche of discoveries waiting for me to get too.
I’ve pecked out on GPS Mapping the State of Mississippi. So much riding to do Oh My!
My launch date for all this riding and camping and riding then camping and riding is coming up in a few weeks.
I gotta go buy me a camera!
I'm already packing!
In about two weeks now this Journey starts rolling.
This is going to be the most EPIC ride of my life (to date)
Yes, this is testing my courage. I think that is one of the greatest things about this sport!
We are all warriors in one way or another. It's in us!
Life can get comfortable. Challenges keep us aware of living. Now, not any of that crazy stuff we see on the video tube; just personal challenges.
Challenges that are above our current comfort levels that fear tries to stop us from living.
11 DAYS AND COUNTING
Adventure, begins at birth. Along the way we play with our toys. Some of us just never leave well enough alone! Perfectly good Toyota engine and "we" swap it out with a Chevy 350 small block then take it into the swamps down on the Bayou.
Why? Because its FUN! The toys become a long list of memories through the years and if we're the lucky few, there's a Dual Sport Motorcycle sitting in our garage just waiting to be taken on a 4 day 4 night Camp & Ride!
I’ve skipped a lot of awesome times, good friends, camping and discovering new “dirt” adventures. Some of those roads could hardly be called roads at all & all on a 500 pound bike!
In 11 days the culmination of all these seasons till now (on adventure) have lead me to putting on my first event ride. Wow, I took the leap and became an AMA charter. A group of super cool people/riders are coming out to camp and ride for four days and four nights with me.
In West Tennessee we have what is called Chirt Roads. Thats what we will be riding on. It is a type of dirt like sand with clay. It packs hard like concrete yet holds no water. From satellite you can see the New Madrid Fault Line runs along this side of the state. (possibly an ancient seismic sand blow mixed in with our dirt = chirt).
Long stretches of county dirt roads all through here that can be linked together for thousands of miles. I began exploring them in 09 and have ridden countless hours; countless miles out here.
My dad was born on these roads and we still have quite a few kin living on them. He told me a few stories like when he joined the Air Force as a teenager. He had to drive on dirt all the way to downtown Nashville to catch a train for bootcamp. Like how the Duck River made way for what was called the Bread Basket of the United States (supplying the Trans Continental Rail Road Project). Like how before TVA dammed up the rivers, every Spring the Duck River would flood leaving behind about 2 to 4 inches of fresh rich dirt from the Cumberland Plateau. He once reminisced fondly of a man who worked on his farm. While pulling the horses, sitting on a wheat cutter, he held the reins in one hand and a bull whip in the other. With lightning speed and accuracy he would pop rabbits that jumped up as he passed. By the end of the day this man had a fresh mess of rabbit for dinner. I often think of his stories as I ride out here. It’s pretty cool, being able to connect to this land even tho I’ve lived in the suburbs my whole life.
So now its time to share it. I’m getting pumped, in 11 days this ride begins! 4 days in a tent, 4 days on these roads which I’ve linked together into one large loop. Next, I’m off to continue it on a much larger loop, 3000 miles maybe!
This loop is all dirt roads for the most part that skirt all the way around the New Madrid Fault Line. It’s mostly sand down in that basin. Oil pipelines coming out of the Gulf run thru here since the ground is easy to dig and few people wanted to build there. The great Mississippi River runs thru and back in the 1800’s a huge earthquake caused it to flow backwards. Realfoot Lake formed overnight and church bells rang in the State of Maine.
While skirting this basin, I’ll be taking you guys thru a huge stretch of the State of Mississippi. From the top to near bottom it’s mostly dirt, then into Louisiana going North (mostly dirt). We cross the line into Arkansas where the entire state is mostly dirt then over that line into Missouri which is possibly 3/4 dirt. Next I travel into the Southern portions of Kentucky where I will be entering the Land Between The Lakes. This (LBL) has over 460 miles of dirt roads running thru it! Next back into Tennessee and picking up the dirt where the festival of Tents began.
ADVENTURE! I’m Ready ... I started packing two weeks ago!
10 DAYS AND COUNTING
IT BEGINS, I'LL BE THERE THIS AFTERNOON ... SEE YOU GUYS THERE / TONIGHT OR IN THE MORNING! ... You guys are paid up beginning tonight through Sunday. I'll see you tonight or in the morning for kickstands up. (I'll be needing some time with each person to sign waivers) Fall Hollow Campgrounds are abuzz (near full) with seasonal campers. Tonight (Wednesday) we will be setting up tents near the pavilion. The next three campgrounds are more open to tent placement. Matter of fact, two have closed; giving us the whole place to ourselves.
WOW, thank you one and all!
I keep telling myself “One Tree at a Time”. I have so much homework right now for AMA, taxes, follow ups, videos, pictures, a promo vid for next year, reworking the tracks for the next ride as I made a huge mistake in giving everyone the wrong set of tracks for the weekend. I grabbed a set that was close but not complete. In all the corrections I think I deleted the finished master file and confused this one with that.
In that, you guys are the BEST! Sawing down trees, flying over the handlebars because of hidden trees in grass, on and on and on! ADVENTURE, you fit that bill! Taking whats thrown at you and making it work with laughter and a lot of FUN! Thank you very much!
I am sitting here thinking about each person and how cool you guys are! No Joke! What a great sport this is! I really hope to get to ride with everyone for years to come! I need to figure out a way to get out of the Support Truck tho and hear all the great conversations out on the trail, those that only who were there will ever know about!
Now to the Support Truck! Wow, that turned out to be a good choice. Day one in the first hour I found my first lost rider (no gps, small gas tank, being from another State - Totally Lost) and was able to link him back up with the group. He followed me to your next stop, which was the Fish Camp Restaurant. That by the way was the best Catfish I think I've ever had!
After Lunch I got my first call to a flat tire. They could have worked it but were short a tool or two. I pulled that long trailer down those dirt roads with some steep drop offs (road was collapsing in places) and of course sharp "trailer making" turns. I was on my own little adventure with some adrenaline peaking thru LOL. After, it took me two hours to get off those dirt roads and arrive at the next camp ADV!
All in all, I had craned two bikes into the back of the truck and transported them to an extraction point. We had 1 bruised toe, 3 cracked ribs, 4 tweaked backs, 1 swollen ankle, 1 thumb half severed off, a Marine went flying over his handlebars, 1 poor little deer was terrified as he had to jump over a front fender as a rider going about 40 mph came by.
Campgrounds, they all worked out perfectly! Fall Hallow took care of us as they always do! Along the way we were provided with a 4 hole outhouse at one point and not a sole complained ... Wow! ... Me ... I waited until I got to the next camp. “HA!”
The Buffalo River Camp was beautiful! The steam coming off the river in the morning made me stop in my tracks and just stare in awe!
The Private Campgrounds that raided their chicken coup and with grandmas cast iron skillet cooked us up 14 eggs in bacon grease for breakfast. Wow, that place was a treat indeed!
The last campgrounds was an adventure for me personally! Google Maps showed it incorrectly... What I drove up to looked like a Walking Dead Movie Set with 10 dogs in the front yard all wanting to get danger close to me. After talking with the lady there, I was so relieved to find out that she was not our campgrounds!
Oddly, that was one of the best nights for me as I was acclimated to the cold, caught up on sleep and at ease after seeing everyone handling themselves like a pro in all the challenges through the days leading up. It was relaxing sitting around that last campfire! I enjoyed it very much! (I enjoyed the whole weekend).
I’m sure I speak for Jon Buffington in this. You guys were GREAT! Thank you for making this a success, a great weekend and a memorable ride with creeks, mud, dirt, cold, perfect riding temperatures, good food, unexpected adventure and FUN,