The SaddleSore 1000: An Iron Butt Tour of Appalachia

2:30 AM: Eyes inexplicably snap open. Roll over, pray for last moments of sleep before the alarm goes off.
3:20 AM: Still awake, turn off pre-set alarm for 3:30. Go downstairs to get suited up for the day.
0410 SS1000 MotoADVR3:30 AM: Drink the first cup of caffeinated coffee I’ve had in two weeks. Sweet, delicious, caffeine…
3:35 AM: Load the tool kit on the bike, install the tank bag, and fill up my camelbak.
3:40 AM: look at outside temperature. Zip up all the vents on my gear; rip the zipper pull assembly completely off my favorite riding pants. Thinking, “This is not a good start to a really long day”.
3:45 AM: Skip checking tire pressure as I’m now running late. Crank up the bike, turn on Denali D4 LED Flamethrowers, head north to the meet point.
4:08 AM: Rosie isn’t fat enough to trigger the stop light at the end of the highway exit ramp; make a right turn followed by an immediate U-turn.
4:10 AM: Arrive at the Flying J truck stop in Vandalia, OH; check tire pressure as I’m now five minutes early.
4:17 AM: Buddy Rick pulls into the gas station. Get “Witness Paperwork” squared away. Talk strategies and get SENA communicators hooked up. Hit the john one last time.
0425 SS1000 MotoADVR4:38 AM: Top off the tank for the first time stamped receipt, gas pump says “See Cashier for Receipt”. Thinking, “Again… this isn’t a good start to a really long day”.
4:40 AM: Time stamped receipt in hand, head east on I-70 toward Columbus.
5:58 AM: 92 Miles down, filled up at truck stop in Millersport, OH (wherever that is). Had to pee already, vow to lay off the camelbak for a bit.
6:15 AM: Sunrise over Ohio farm country; the fog on the cornfields is gorgeous.DCIM129GOPRO

6:32 AM: Shattering my previous opinion of Interstate 70, it doesn’t suck once you get east of Zanesville, OH, it’s almost “pretty”.
6:54 AM: Didn’t lay off camel back, fortunately stopped to fill up at the first “corner” in Cambridge, OH. 148 Miles down; excited to get on I-77, as it definitely does not suck.
7:50 AM: Cross the state line into West, by God, Virginia. I love West Virginia, can’t wait to ride non-interstate roads in the mountaineer state again.

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8:31 AM: Another fuel stop, this time in Ripley, WV. 248 miles down, still comfortable and having a good time.
9:18 AM: Entering Charleston, WV; I’m really not a city guy, but Charleston is a beautiful city, the gold dome on the capitol building is impressive.

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9:33 AM: Toll booth attendants do not like it when motorcycles pull up double file. Sorry, here’s four dollars, you have yourself a nice day, thanks…
9:43 AM: I-77 is awesome, mountains and twisty pavement, I could do this all day.

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10:07 AM: More gas in Beckley, WV; 336 miles down.
11:04 AM: Enter East River Mountain Tunnel. Thinking, “Holy crap… this tunnel goes on forever…”.

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11:06 AM: Cross into Virginia, checked off another box, “Ride to a new state”.

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11:28 AM: Gas stop, Wytheville, VA; 411 miles down. Eat a Clif bar to avoid getting hangry. Rick shares a bag of beef jerky; really glad I brought this guy, obviously not his first rodeo. The Roads are wet and the clouds look heavy… really wish I wouldn’t have broken that zipper.
11:57 AM: Rosie uses her super power… it’s now raining.

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12:17 PM: Fortunately, rain didn’t last long; the low clouds in the Virginia Mountains are actually really beautiful.

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12:21 PM: Cross into North Carolina. I-77 starts to get a little “straighter”, ho hum…

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1:04 PM: Gas Stop in Statesville, NC. 504 miles, made it to the halfway point. Eat another Clif bar, fill out log sheet, and file receipts; same old spiel. Really getting into a rhythm at this point. Excited to get on I-40 headed west.
1:10 PM: Almost get on eastbound ramp… Rick reminds me we’re headed west. Fortunately someone is looking at the GPS.
2:45 PM: The Smoky Mountains are simply majestic, thinking, “I really need to move…”

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2:49 PM: Gas stop in Asheville, 598 miles down. Eat more beef jerky, despite still fighting a piece that has been stuck in my teeth since noon. Look at Radar… probably going to get wet again, hopefully not in the twisty section of I-40 along the Pigeon River.
3:30 PM: Stuck in traffic jam on I-40; which explains why Waze was telling me to take the exit 2 miles ago. Circumvent gridlock with a 6 mile detour on service streets. Waze is awesome.
4:04 PM: Found the rain again… in the twisty section… along the Pigeon River.

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4:05 PM: Probably should have closed all those jacket vents 2 miles ago, when it wasn’t raining.

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4:07 PM: Cars are terrified by curves combined with rain. Thinking, “Get out of my way! These Shinko 705’s are the bomb!”
4:10 PM: Out of the rain, green flag racing resumes. Set the day’s speed record.

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4:14 PM: Thinking, “is that the curvy tunnel that screws with you?”

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4:15 PM: Thinking, “look through the curve. LOOK THROUGH THE CURVE!”

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4:16 PM: Thinking, “I-40 is unquestionably the twistiest, most scenic highway I’ve ever been on”.

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4:18 PM: Cross the state line into Tennessee.

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4:33 PM: Pass a string of historical vehicles. Impressed with the quality of restoration on each of them. I should probably stick to motorcycles, I can’t afford that hobby either…

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5:00 PM: 718 miles down, gas stop in Knoxville, TN, the last “corner”. Realize receipt doesn’t list the business address. Buy a candy bar and a Gatorade inside, food receipt also has no address. Explain to attendant I need an address on a receipt, he looks at me like I have two heads. Step outside, the other attendant on break is laughing with my buddy Rick; she returns with new gas receipts with hand written address, names, and phone numbers as witnesses for our ride. Calamity averted; faith in southern hospitality restored.
5:59 PM: Soaking up more Smoky Mountain scenic views.

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6:00 PM: Monkey butt…
6:13 PM: Names of Appalachian road signs are hilarious (i.e. “Stinking Creek” and “Big Bone Lick”).

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6:24 PM: Riding over Jellico Mountain. Mini vans think they’re fast when they’re going downhill.

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6:28 PM: Cross into Kentucky, the end of gorgeous scenery nears.

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6:49 PM: Gas stop in Corbin, Kentucky, less than 200 miles to go. A little tired, but I see the end in sight; starting to get “pumped”.
7:26 PM: Say goodbye to the mountains as we pass Barea Kentucky.

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7:47 PM: Bored. Right on cue…
8:32 PM: Last gas stop in Sadieville, KY; 120 miles to go. Appreciative of so many people wishing us a safe ride at the gas station. Butt hurts, but ready to crush the “home stretch”.
2039 SS1000 MotoADVR8:54 PM: Watch the sunset over the Bluegrass state. Thinking, “it’s gonna get sporty through Cincinnati after dark on a Saturday night…”

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9:27 PM: Florence Y’all!

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9:39 PM: Cross into Ohio; 63 miles to go. The Cincy skyline is awesome at night.

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10:12 PM: The Ohio State Patrol is absolutely everywhere; we pass more cops in the last 30 miles than we’ve passed in lass 900.
2230 SS1000 MotoADVR10:25 PM: It’s official, Dayton drivers are the WORST! (Note: Keep right, except to pass)
10:31 PM: Receipt printed and tucked into my wallet. Rosie has done it, 1,033 miles in 17 hours and 52 minutes. “Complete and Iron Butt Ride” checked off the Moto Bucket List, now to go home, get some real food, and finally sleep. Thinking, “Who wants Waffle House?!?”

 
10:32 PM: Start planning 1,500 mile trip to Key West

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Pardon My Tardiness…

That last few weeks have been pretty jam packed; work is obviously more of the same, but between family events over Memorial Day weekend and a charity event last weekend, I’ve struggled to sit down and put words on “paper”. I have a couple big things in the hopper right now and I want to make sure I do them justice; hopefully things will work out over the next few days and I can get some substantive content posted.
In the meantime, I’m going to drop this carrot on a string in front of you and hopefully you’ll linger around a while longer…

Posted in Random Blurbs | 2 Comments

Tried and True Dual Sport Tires: Shoe Shopping with Rosie the Scrambler

Triumph Scrambler stack of tires MotoADVRLast week I spooned on the first actual “set” of new front and rear tires since I bought the Speedmaster new back in 2013. I’m a little… frugal, to say the least, so I typically run tires as long as they ride properly or reach the wear marks, whichever comes first. I have some big plans for the upcoming months, most of which involves long stretches of pavement, so I decided to pull the aggressive knobbies early and throw on some more roadworthy skins.

Muscling on new tires got me thinking, I’ve now purchased eight new tires since bringing Rosie home last July. I’ve run a little of everything from 95/5 street oriented tires to aggressive 50/50 (or better) off-road rubber. I figured now is as good a time as any to share some of the conclusions I’ve come to with these tires.

Bridgestone Trail Wing

Anyone familiar with Triumph’s modern classics line will probably recognize the stock Trail Wings mounted on the Scrambler. Bridgestone Trail Wing stock Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRThese are the same tires that are also stock on the new Yamaha SCR950, V-Strom 650, DR650SE, and others. I have heard people refer to these tires as “Death Wings” among other less than flattering nicknames, but I admit, while they were unremarkable, I didn’t have any issues out of the stock tires. I unfortunately did not do any off-road riding in the time I had the Trail Wings mounted, but like many other 80/20ish tires, I suspect they’re decent on hard packed gravel and helpless in mud and lose dirt. On the road however, the Trail Wing held the line well, didn’t get squirrelly in the rain (at least on the Scrambler), and the “turn-in” was agreeable. I mention the turn-in because the steering behavior of the Scrambler seems to differ depending on your choice of front tire.

The rear (TW42) tire wore out in about 4,200 miles or so and was overall consistent despite the poor mileage.Bridgestone Trail Wing vs Shinko 705 MotoADVR The front (TW101) however, scalloped pretty bad after pushing the tire hard on the Tail of the Dragon. The vibrations from the imbalanced tire got so unnerving I decided to replace it at 7,500ish miles; I was worried the tire just wouldn’t get me home. Based on quality, I won’t say that I wouldn’t buy the another Trail Wing; the tires were fine, but considering what you pay for them, I feel there are simply better tires on the market.

  • TW101, 100/90-19 Front: 7,736 miles/$104 = 74.3 Miles/Dollar
  • TW42, 130/80-17 Rear:    4,241 miles/$138 = 30.7 Miles/Dollar

 

Continental Trail Attack 2

Continental Trail Attack 2 rear MotoADVRWhile I actually replaced the rear Trail Wing with a Shinko 705 I’m going cover that tire more in a moment as I just mounted a full set. Just prior to The Dragon Raid last year I decided to pull the rear tire and replace it with a fresh Trail Attack 2 (TA2) considering I had a 2,000 mile trip ahead of me. The TA2 seemed to be comparable to both the Shinko 705 and Trail Wing, if not perhaps a bit more road oriented. When I mounted the TA2, I was still waiting to mount any off-road “crash” protection so I didn’t expect to wander down many dirt roads, so again, road behavior was the deciding factor. Riding down “The Hellbender”, North Carolina highway 28, at speed in the rain, the TA2 never faltered. During my week at the Dragon Raid,Continental Trail Attack 2 vs 705 MotoDVR I flogged the Scrambler for all she had, and the TA2 delivered again and again. Similar to the Trail Wing, I assume the TA2 is all but helpless in any aggressive off-road conditions, but I can say that I had no issues navigating gravel trails.

In all weather conditions on-road, the TA2 is a great value tire. Weeks after the rally I finally pulled the TA2 after about 5,500 miles of abuse. If the situation ever arises again, I will have a tough time not choosing another TA2 for on-road only duty considering how well it gripped the road, rain or shine. Continental also ships these tires “pre-scrubbed” for lack of a better term, so they’re considerably “sticky” right out of the gate.

  • Trail Attack 2, 130/80-17 Rear: 5,574 miles/$103 = 54 Miles/Dollar

 

Michelin Anakee 3

Per my previous comments about the Trail Wing front tire, in a pinch, I had to replace the tire last minute during the Dragon Raid with an Anakee 3. I’d already heard some pretty good things about the Anakee 3 on ADV Rider, so while untimely (and expensive), I planned on giving the Anakee a shot anyway.

Michelin Anakee 3 Front new MotoADVRIn various forums and groups I have described the Anakee 3 as a “flawless on-road tire”. I stand behind that label, if you’re not going off-road, I can’t recommend a better “Adventure” tire for your bike. I “scrubbed in” a new front over about 50 miles from Wheeler’s Performance to Franklin, North Carolina, at which point it was pretty much full hooligan mode for the rest of the week, including the before mentioned trip down the Hellbender in the rain. Like the Trail Attack 2, the Anakee 3 holds the line steadfast in the lean, doesn’t bat an eyelash at wet conditions, and has some pretty impressive wear life. Now, that said, as far as the Scrambler is concerned, the Anakee 3 “turn-in” behavior is diametrically different than the Trail Wing. Overall, the Scrambler takes a little “coaxing” to lean into the curves. That coaxing requires a bit of extra effort with the Anakee 3 mounted, but it behaved just fine otherwise. I will go as far as to say, that stubborn turn-in actually made the bike more stable in high-speed curves like the Blue Ridge Parkway and The Skyway.

Michelin Anakee 3 Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRThis winter I pulled the Anakee 3 early with about 9k miles so I could mount some aggressive knobbies. That Anakee was just past 50% wear from what I could tell, and was unquestionably the most evenly worn front tire I’ve ever seen. Despite the amazing mileage I got out of the ME888 on the Speedmaster, I always scalloped the front tire. I obviously did the same with the stock Trail Wings on the Scrambler, but despite all of the abuse, the Anakee looked fantastic. That great performance comes at a cost, the sidewall is incredibly stiff. I would not want to try to break a bead on an Anakee and patch a tube on the side of the road with a set of irons. These tires are also pretty pricey, however I will say among road tires, it’s probably worth what you pay.

  • Anakee 3, 100/90-19 front: 9,305 miles/$138 = $67 Miles/Dollar
    • Note: I pulled this tire with 40% or more tread left, I suspect you could get 14k miles out of this tire (~100 Miles/Dollar).

 

Heidenau K60 Scout

After I finished off the Trail Attack 2, I remounted the rest of the Shinko 705, but again, I’ll review the Shinko 705 in a moment. Heidenau K60 Scout vs Shinko 705 rear MotoADVRAfter the 705 rear was done, I bit the bullet and invested in a true “50/50” dual sport tire in preparation for more off-road riding. I had a buddy that went to Alaska and back on a set of Heidenau K60 Scouts; up until this point, I felt that all of the Scrambler tires were getting pathetic mileage compared to the tires on the Speedmaster, so I figured it was time to give the German’s a shot. After some back and forth on ADV Rider, I decided to bump the rear tire up one size to get the “center strip” tread pattern on the K60 Scout. The stock 130 width rear K60 has the typical “chevron” tread pattern, whereas the 140 and 150 width tires each have unique tread patterns including a large center strip for increased mileage.

I admit, mounting a Heidenau in December was a little concerning at first. Heidenau K60 Scout 140 rear MotoADVRWe’ve had some relatively mild winters in the past few years, so I suspected I would get some opportunities to go ride gravel in Shawnee Forest during the winter months, but the bike would probably spend some time parked. In addition, I was also a bit spooked by the somewhat “plastic” reputation of the K60; known for its longevity, many have claimed that the K60 is a bit untrustworthy in cold or wet conditions. While it did bite me the very first time I left the driveway (I’ll take responsibility for being foolish on brand new tires), the Scrambler did a really good job of keeping the rear tire warm and the K60 continued to impress me with dependable grip in adverse conditions.

On the other hand I was never crazy about the effect the 140 width and otherwise square profile had on steering behavior. Heidenau K60 Scout wear profile MotoADVREarly on, I realized that while I can still lean hard in the curves, there’s a “tipping point” where the bike wants to fall significantly faster as it reached the edge of the tire profile. Coupled with that, the 140 width made the turn-in even more lazy than normal. I will admit, the Anakee 3 didn’t help that, but it was still noticeable when I swapped out the front tire. The overall effect on steering is worsened by the fact that I found the K60 to “square-off” significantly sharper than most other motorcycle tires. I will take credit for a portion of that as I did a lot commuting to work more so than “joy riding”, considering it was winter in Ohio, but from what I’ve read, the squaring-off isn’t abnormal.

While I was a bit unimpressed with how the K60 affected on-road handling, the off-road prowess was quite the reverse. Shinko 804 and Heidenau K60 Scout Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRI found the K60 to be impressively reliable on gravel roads, even where the “marbles” were piled inches deep. Considering I was riding between January and April, I didn’t have many opportunities to ride a whole lot of gnarly stuff, so I’m still curious how well the K60 will handle mud like what I found on the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway. That said, while burning down gravel roads in Shawnee State Forest, I was impressed how well the rear tire hooked up and “bit in” through the curves. I assume that the square profile that I found annoying on the street did a superb job of gripping the soil off-road; hence the sacrifice of running a 50/50 tire. In addition to corner grip, I found that the K60 had impressive “braking” power, even with the center-strip tread pattern. The Scrambler is quite the pig off-road (hence the tusks…), so burning down a hill, covered in gravel, is a frightening endeavor; fortunately I could press the rear brake with surprisingly significant force before the rear wheel would finally lock up.

Despite the excellent off-road prowess, the on-road manners degraded more and more as the center of the tire squared off. Heidenau K60 Scout vs Metzeler Karoo 3 MotoADVRAround 5,000 miles it got to the point that freeway on-ramps were a bit treacherous as I felt like I was riding on a car tire. With the rear virtually square, the Scrambler really wanted to resist leaning into the turns; worse still, you could feel the “knobs” get squishy as the bike leaned over and the rear end would bounce around and sway with imperfections in the pavement. It finally got so bad around 5,500 miles I decided it just wasn’t “fun” anymore and replaced the tire. From new, the K60 has some significant tread depth, however I feel that the initial wear rate is extremely fast, Heidenau K60 Scout vs 705 MotoADVRalthough it does slow as the tire begins to square off. Disappointed by the overall wear life, I actually measured the tread depth and did a little “back of the napkin” calculation on how long the tire would actually last considering I pulled the tire off before it reached the wear marks. If my crude science is remotely correct, I assume a Scrambler rider could potentially run a K60 rear tire for around 7,000 miles before the center strip reached the wear marks. I imagine that if someone spent more time riding off-road, didn’t hoon around on the highway, and saved the heavy throttle hand for the twisties, a given rider could get more miles. That said, I still don’t think the 140 width K60, mounted on a Scrambler, will ever achieve the 10,000 mile reports I’ve heard from big ADV bikes running the 150 width tire. At the same time, those guys also gripe about wet weather behavior, a problem I never experienced. In the end, I would potentially run the K60 again, but it would have to be under very specific circumstances, like a long trip that involved both dirt and heavy highway miles.

  • Heidenau K60 Scout, 140/80-17 rear: 5,575 miles/$175 = 31.2 Miles/Dollar

**(If it lasted 7k miles, it would’ve been ~40 Miles/Dollar)

 

Shinko 804 Adventure Trail

As a treat to myself, I decided it was time to upgrade the front tire to match the more aggressive K60 rear. I’ve already covered  a few facets of the 804 in my Stage 2 Upgrades post, but it’s worth mentioning again. When shopping for a more aggressive front tire I admit that I shied away from the K60 Scout considering what so many had said about wet weather grip. While I can handle the fishtail (that actually never happened), I like to be sure that the front end “sticks” when the weather turns to crap. As I previously mentioned, the Continental TKC80 “Twinduro” was an early contender considering its street credit. I have seen several guys with Triumph Tigers running a TKC80 front and K60 rear. I will also admit that I was fascinated by the Karoo 3 tread pattern from the Tiger 800 XCx release videos with Bear Grylls, however I quickly discovered that the 19” Karoo 3 was almost double the cost of a TKC80. Along with the Karoo 3, I looked at similar tires like the Mitas E-07 and E-09, but most were still considerably pricey against the TKC and 804. I should also mention that in this case, I was much less concerned about overall mileage versus grip, both on and off road.Shinko 804 front Triumph Scrambler I wanted a knobby that I could trust taking to the office in the rain, just the same as crossing Spaas Creek Road. I figured if I could pin down a good front tire affordably, if I replace it the same time I replace the rear tire, no big deal. Considering my previous experience with the Shinko 705, I knew that Shinkos were pretty sticky out of the box, and the Shinko 804 knobby was just shade cheaper than the TKC; based on reviews, it seemed like the 804 was completely comparable to the TKC80 in reliability and overall grip.

With the help of some trusty zip ties, I spooned on the Shinko 804 in early March. At my earliest convenience I took the Scrambler down Anthony Road near Farmersville to get a feel for the bike in the dirt. Shinko 804 Twin Creek Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRGetting off-road, legally, in and around Dayton is difficult, Anthony Road is the last un-improved road I’m aware of in Montgomery County that doesn’t lead to a dead-end private drive. I was immediately impressed with how confidence inspiring the 804 was in the gravel. Mind you, I just removed a 99% road-only tire, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m scrambling a 500 pound (or more) street bike down a pot-hole ridden gravel county road… at speed. That early test obviously went well, and I further pushed the limits of the bike by taking it down an ATV trail, the adjacent creek bed, and then through the trails in Shawnee Forest later that day. In gravel the 804 is absolutely top notch for an ADV tire; but the true test was Spaas Creek road on the DBBB. Spaas Creek was absolutely terrifying with the Anakee 3 up front, sliding through the mud with the front forks going lock to lock was simply no fun at all. Spaas Creek Road Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRThe 804 on the other hand was again confidence inspiring. There were several times in the mud on Spaas Creek, Pumpkin Hollow, and even the sand on Chop Chesnut Road where the Scrambler pushed the front end and the front tire started to skid. In all cases, seconds after feeling the “push”, the 804 hooked up and Rosie stayed upright. I’ll admit, the knobs on the TKC80 look more aggressive in depth and pattern, but the 804 got the job done.

As one can imagine, for such an aggressive adventure tire, there are some on-road sacrifices,Shinko 804 vs 705 front MotoADVR but not as bad as it could have been. I’ll admit, I never pushed the 804 as hard as I have any other front tire, rain or shine, but at no point did the 804 ever fade or skid on dry pavement (there was that one time…). I railed the 804 pretty hard through Kentucky for several consecutive weekends, and the 804 still held the line. That said, there were a few minor incidents where I made contact with paint on the dry roadway where I felt the front end slip a hair, and I will say that I felt the “hint” of a similar fade in the rain on at least one occasion, but that was a small price to pay for a reliable off-road tire. I will also add, the aggressive riding through the twisties came at a price;Shinko 804 tread scallop MotoADVR as I mentioned previously, I tend to scallop tires, the 804 was no exception. I will say, this isn’t all that surprising, to coax the scrambler into the lean, I tend to get my butt off the seat, so the bike is more upright and I have no doubt that pushes the front end though the turn, scuffing the tire. I will also say that it’s obvious that the 804 contact patch is significantly smaller than on-road tires, and any aggressive breaking (someone cuts you off in traffic) is going to accelerate the wear on the center knobs. That excessive wear started to cause some significant road noise on the highway around 5,000 miles or so.

Triumph Scrambler Anthony Road Mud MotoADVRContrary to the Anakee 3’s effect on steering, the 804 sharpened up the turn-in quite a bit. I had actually forgotten how nimble the front end was prior Anakee, that took a minute to get used to. Overall I was very happy with the way the front end handled with the 804, in all conditions, considering the flexibility that tire gave the Scrambler. I commuted, toured, and rode some of the gnarliest off-road routes I’ve ever seen with that tire, it was well worth what I paid for it, and I again pulled that tire early in preparation for another trip. It’s virtually guaranteed you will see the 804 on the Scrambler again, and at some point, I may even pair it with an 805 rear.

  • Shinko 804, 100/90-19 Front: 6,884 miles/$74 = 93 Miles/Dollar

 

Metzeler Karoo 3

Speaking of the Shinko 805, as the K60 scout neared the end of its life, I was shopping for a more affordable replacement. Considering the K60 is viewed as a “50/50” tire, I figured I really needed something like a “60/40” tire, but from what I can tell, there are really only three varieties of “Adventure” tires: “Road Only”, “Gravel Sometimes”, and lastly, “Tires that are actually more suited for dirt than your heavy ADV bike really is” (guilty as charged).K60 Scout vs Karoo 3 rear MotoADVR I really liked the Shinko 705, but it was simply not aggressive enough to handle the more technical off-road riding I like, but there doesn’t seem to be any other tire between the 705 and tires like the K60 Scout, Karoo 3, and Shinko 805. Left with no other alternative and considering how much I liked the 804, the 805 was an obvious front runner. The 805 would set me back about $95, which is pretty cheap for an ADV rear tire. I was a bit concerned with “lateral” handling on the 805 considering its big paddles, along with how it would handle the rain with such a small contact patch (similar to the 804), so I continued the search. As it turns out, the Karoo 3 in the 130 width is actually priced at $96 delivered; which is an absolute steal on a Metzeler from my perspective. I’m hoping this is a marketing strategy and not a near “close-out” price, but ultimately that price turned this debate into a two-horse race. After consulting with the folks over at Revzilla, I concluded that the Karoo 3 was probably the better choice of the two tires, considering the type of riding I wanted to do and the overall comparison in longevity.

Like the 804, another bag of zip ties and the Karoo 3 was on the Scrambler. Looking at the 130 width Karoo 3,Metzeler Karoo 3 rear Triumph Scrambler MotoADVR it’s an absolute tractor tire; I figured it would rumble like crazy, and was surprised by how smooth the ride actually was once above 10mph. After experiencing the “car tire effect” of the aging K60 scout, the Scrambler felt like a whole new bike again with a properly sized, round tire on the back. It turned out that I mounted the Karoo 3 just days before I left for a week in eastern Kentucky. I ended up putting around 1,200 miles on the bike that week, including a 5 hour day in the rain. I was immediately impressed with how well the bike tracked and cornered, especially in the rain, despite the overly aggressive tread pattern. Rosie The Scrambler MotoADVRA couple weeks later I embarked on my trip to the DBBB, where the Karoo 3 really shined. With the 804 up front to steer through the muck, the Karoo 3 was indeed a tractor tire. With the deep paddles in the back, the Scrambler could claw right out of the nasty stuff at low speeds. I will say, in contrast to the K60, I did find that the Karoo 3 does tend to “drift” a little more laterally in the gravel. I assume the rounded profile and large paddles simply “roll” over the big marbles, whereas the chevron blocks of the K60 dig in. That aside, the on-road manners are by far more agreeable, and the lateral slide off-road seemed to be less and less noticeable with increased wear.

Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I like the Karoo 3; it has one of the most aggressive tread patterns among 50/50 tires, yet it handles the pavement in an almost identical fashion to the Trail Attack II. DCIM125GOPROWhile I certainly didn’t push the Karoo 3 in the rain as hard as I did the Trail Attack, at no point was I worried that the rear end breaking loose at a stop or in a curve; and there were many opportunities for that to happen while wandering around Red River Gorge in the rain. I suspect that the Karoo 3 is probably way more aggressive than most Scrambler owners would ever need, myself included to some degree, but for the price of a rear tire, and the fact I pulled it a little early just after 4k miles, it strikes me as the best 50/50 compromise among ADV tires. Per my comments about swapping it out early, as 4k miles neared, I did begin to notice that the rear end was starting to vibrate a bit more at speed, similar to the “howl” of the scalloped 804 up front. From what I’ve read, that’s common among aggressive ADV tires as they wear unevenly when pushed hard on the pavement. I suspect I will eventually put both tires back on the Scrambler for “one last hurrah” before tossing them in the trash; I’m thinking that Karoo 3 probably has another thousand miles in it (and the 804 even more).

  • Metzeler Karoo 3, 130/80-17 Rear: 4,333 miles/$96 = 45 Miles/Dollar

 

Shinko 705 Trail Master

Bridgestone Trail Wing Front 705 rear Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRSaved the best for last? Maybe. As I mentioned, the first tire to replace the stock Trail Wing was actually the Shinko 705. As I am on the verge of some serious pavement riding, I decided to pull the aggressive 50/50 tires and put on a fresh set of “street” tires in preparation for the trip. Now that I have both front and rear tires mounted with over a thousand miles on them, I figured it’s better to review them as a set instead of just talking about the rear tire.

While I’ve seen the 705 marketed as an “80/20” dual sport tire, I will say that I feel that the 705 stands virtually alone between predominantly street oriented tires and the aggressive “50/50” shoes. Karoo 3 vs Shinko 705 MotoADVRWhat sets the 705 apart in my opinion is the tread pattern combined with the tread depth. I will say that there are tires like the Trail Wing that offer an aggressive pattern, but the tread depth is so shallow, there’s no hope of shedding any mud. The 705 is by no means in a class with the Karoo 3 or the K60, but I have already heard of a Scrambler shod with 705s traversing the Kentucky Adventure Trail, so needless to say the tire has enough wherewithal to tackle more aggressive terrain than most of the “80/20” ADV rubber. I took the 705 (rear) through the trails at Shawnee Forest last November; while that ride wasn’t particularly eventful, I will say that despite the extreme wear, I still felt like the rear tire hooked up drastically better than the Anakee up front.

Coming off the Trail Wing, the Shinko delivered the same ride quality I was familiar with from the stock tire. Shinko 705 Scrambler rear MotoADVRThe 705 maintained comparable (if not better) grip in adverse weather and aggressive riding in dry conditions. Considering I pulled the 705 early for a trip to the Dragon Raid, and then remounted that tire to finish it off later, I will also say that the soft Shinkos are very compliant when using irons. Unlike some of the harder sidewalls I’ve dealt with (Anakee 3, Karoo 3, and the K60), I was able to break the bead with just body weight and a long tire iron. I recognize that’s good and bad, but it’s noteworthy in the event you’re trying to patch a tube on the side of the road.

Having just mounted a whole new set of 705s on the Scrambler, I can say that the machine has been transformed all over again.Shinko 705 front Triumph Scrambler MotoADVR While the Karoo 3 is a jack of all trades tire, I was still a shade reluctant to push the bike to “maximum” in the curves for fear of a knob letting loose. With the 705 back on the bike, the proverbial “gloves are off” yet again. The 705 sticks like glue to dry pavement, virtually from “go”. I will mention that I upsized the front to a 110/80-19 as the 100/90 is not available in the 705 model, which has had a similar effect on the steering as the Anakee 3. I admit, the turn-in is a little sluggish again, however overall I feel that the bike is “planted” much better at speed with the larger front tire width. This setup is actually working out so well, I may consider sticking with that front tire size if it is available in other models when I replace the 705 later this year.

Shinko 705 Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRThe set of 705s are on the Scrambler as I’m writing this, so I cannot comment on overall mileage for the front tire, or behavior in the rain. That said, last year I found the 705 rear to be a faultless street tire. I will say that it’s important to note that I was initially disappointed in the 4,000 miles of life I received out of the first Shinko I ran. However, after replacing that tire with several other models, I’ve come to the conclusion that the 705 is absolutely the best bang-for-buck dual sport tire you can buy.

  • Shinko 705, 130/80-17 rear: 4202 miles/$65 = 64.6 Miles/Dollar
  • Shinko 705, 110/80-19 front: $49, Mileage TBD
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Scrambling to the Top of Half Moon Rock: The Best View in Red River Gorge

Triumph Scrambler Simon Kenton Bridge Maysville KY MotoADVRFamily schedules for Mother’s Day weekend played out in a way that it was easier to have the local Mother’s Day gathering on Saturday evening in lieu of the typical Sunday morning brunch. That actually left me with a wide open Sunday afternoon schedule as “The Boss” had to work to make up for taking off Saturday. As soon as she mentioned that to me, I took one glance at the forecast and the route planning gears went in motion.

After spending several of the previous weekends “At The Red”,DCIM128GOPRO I decided this wide open afternoon that I was overdue to see Half Moon Rock up close. Per usual, just after first light I burned down US-68 to Maysville where I could finally find myself in the comforting curves of the Bluegrass State as I worked my way down toward the gorge. Once in Flemingsburg, I circumvented most of the major towns by picking up Kentucky Highway 111. Rolling and bending through Kentucky Amish country, 111 embodies what was once the quaint two-lane KY-11, which has since been “straightened” for convenience. From 111 it was a small handful of other numbered roads as I finally picked up KY-211 and KY-36 as the Appalachian foot hills began to appear in the distance. Triumph Scrambler KY77 Tarr Ridge Road MotoADVRFrom Frenchburg I had to decide if I wanted to head west through town and use the rural backroads to get into the Gorge or if I wanted to twist down KY-77. The thought of backcountry solitude was quite alluring, but I couldn’t resist the urge to rail the Scrambler down 77, hoping the traffic would be light on the holiday weekend. 77 was a good choice, I found myself completely alone for the 9 miles from US-460 to KY-715.

Once inside the gorge, the story was completely different, I was shocked at how much traffic there was on 715. DCIM128GOPROApparently Mother’s Day is the day you take mom on a trip to see the gorgeous Kentucky cliffs, more power to you, but it was unquestionably the worst congestion I’ve dealt with inside the gorge. Fortunately, once on the Chimney Rock access road, it was 4 miles of gravel where many travelers won’t venture. Just short of the Chimney Rock trail turnaround, the adventure really began.

I caught a video a while back of a guy climbing up Half Moon Rock. I admit that I hadn’t made the venture before now having seen how difficult the assent would be; fortunately, aside from being solo, the weather was nice and time was on my side so it was time to have a go at it. Half Moon Rock Narrows MotoADVRThe walk toward “the point” is not all that different from the trail down to Chimney Top Rock. As you near the backside of the Half Moon Rock, all of that changes. Stepping down several yards of tree roots, you arrive at a section of exposed sandstone. You actually have to “shimmy” along a narrow rock, using both hands to get to the base of Half Moon Rock. From there, you need to use a series of hand and foot holds to climb up a 5 foot section of the rock, and then another series of shorter “obstacles” to get to the top. Half Moon Rock Climb MotoADVRThis journey is unquestionably not for the faint of heart, and obviously not for anyone who remotely has a fear of heights. The edge of the cliff is never far away, and looking down is not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach. However, once above the trees, you have an unobstructed, 360 degree view of the gorge. Chimney Top Rock has officially been dethroned as Half Moon Rock is now my favorite view in Red River Gorge.

Half Moon Rock Pano MotoADVR

 

While it looked especially precarious, getting down was actually easier than up. There are several locations where you can actually see where a number of people have deliberately “slid” down the sandstone on their backside. Once back on the bike, I headed over to Grandma’s for a surprise mother’s day visit. It was an absolutely glorious day in Appalachian Kentucky, clear skies, coffee on the porch, and a chit chat with Grandma; I couldn’t ask for anything else.

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Riding Your Motorcycle Everyday: Reflections on 90 Days in the Saddle

Triumph Scrambler Snow Falling MotoADVRWhile not the absolute warmest I can remember, it goes without saying that this year’s winter in southwest Ohio was unseasonably mild. I slipped in a handful of rides in January, and even a few more on the front end of February, but for whatever reason, the week of February 13th was impressively warm, so I took full advantage. That entire week was “warm and sunny” (for February…), so I rode the bike to work each day. That trend rapidly became two weeks straight as the following week also had relatively dry days. The last weekend in February had some minor threats of “winter weather”, so I decided to sneak in a 10 mile ride before it snowed to string together a few more days of non-stop riding. Before I knew it, this streak became the entire month of March, then April, and as of last weekend, 90 days and counting.

 

DCIM123GOPROIt’s kind of Forest Gump, (“Everywhere I went… I was riding….”) and it’s kind of following up on a self-imposed challenge. I said way back when that I wanted to ride a motorcycle for 365 days straight. I have no idea how to answer “why now”, nor do I believe that with my current, and only, machine, that I can keep this streak going for an entire calendar year; but that’s not going to stop me from going until I can no longer bear it, or “life happens” and I have to tackle more important things.

 

Needless to say, riding the bike every day for 10 miles or more since February, I’ve made a few observations:

Daylight comes at a premium…

DCIM121GOPRO

You and your bike are going to get snowed on… which is actually not as bad as you thought.

 

Snow should obviously not to be taken lightly… but assuming you’re comfortable, a few flurries aren’t as terrifying as I thought they’d be. I do however recommend you not be in a hurry…

 

After you decide to ride “Rain or shine”… You get rained on… a lot…

 

Gear is everything… but I’ve mentioned that a few times… but nothing prepares you for debilitating fog…

Triumph Scrambler Fog MotoADVR

 

If weather alone isn’t bad enough, Mother Nature can be unkind in other ways.

Triumph Scrambler Bird Guts MotoADVROn the way to work a couple weeks ago, a bird struck both me and the bike. The “hit” was bad enough it flung my right foot of the peg. I felt like I was hit by a “Wild pitch”; I was surprised there wasn’t a welt the next day. While Rosie didn’t seem to care, it was messy. A Few days later, I also witnessed my buddy hit a deer. He was unharmed, but I can’t say the same for the deer unfortunately.

 

You’re doing maintenance… all… the… time…

While I can’t pin down the exact numbers, I’ve covered around 6,500 miles since this madness began. I’ve now switched both tires, performed the 18k service, and replaced a chain. The chain really snuck up on me; in the event I truly decide to start a 365 day riding streak, a maintenance plan will be key.

 

“There’s no time like the present” to check a few items off the “Moto-Bucket-List

 

You may see some of the most majestic views.

Halfmoon Rock MotoADVRWhile I set a “10 mile minimum” standard for myself (I stole that rule from Blaine Paulus Jr.), this “winter” still offered up some of the best rides and best views I’ve ever seen. Watching the sunrise over the frost and fog each morning was fantastic, but I also took a long solo ride down to Red River Gorge in early March when the leaves were still down. That ride included a little dirt excursion up to Chimney Top Rock, a view I’ve wanted to see for some time; I just didn’t have the right bike to get there. That same wanderlust gave birth to the ad hoc DDDB trip a few weeks later, where the views were equally majestic, just in different ways.

 

With spring finally unfolding and summer on the horizon, I’ve been more thankful for the little things.

Triumph Scrambler Sunset MotoADVRAfter my bird strike incident, I kind of felt like I “upset the balance” with nature or something. On some of my long journeys in the recent days, in appreciation for all of Mother Nature’s gifts that I have been enjoying so thoroughly, I stopped to rescue a few turtles crossing the road. In a similar fashion to Motobservations (Vlogger), I stopped and gave a stranded off-roader a short ride home. I figured it’s merely a matter of time before Rosie and I are stuck in the mud and I need a hand, so I wanted to pay it forward. Lastly, I’ve managed to get down to see my Grandma more this spring than I probably have in years (via motorcycle to boot!). Sharing coffee on the porch, stories of old times, and the breeze running through the Appalachian creek valley; I can’t ask for anything else.

 

 

 

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Red River Scramble: Adventure Meetup in Red River Gorge

Early this year I was struck by the bug to do a significant amount of exploring in Red River Gorge this season. Hatton Ridge Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRObviously some of that has already come to fruition, and as a result I’ve received a lot of inquiries on Instagram about riding in Kentucky. Waiting for my calendar to free up a bit, I had originally planned on putting together a “Meetup” down that way next summer; however interest has been pretty remarkable among the Scrambler/ADV community. Thus, I’ve decided to bite the bullet and throw a date on the calendar.

Miguels Pizza MotoADVRSo… the weekend of July 22nd and 23rd I will be headed down to Red River Gorge to meet whoever shows up to “Scramble” their motorbikes. I will be at Miguel’s Pizza for “brunch” on Saturday morning, with plans to head out around noon to ride wherever folks want to ride. This is a completely grassroots event, so I have no idea how many people will show up, what bike’s they’ll have, or where they will want to ride. I figure folks can break off into various groups based on riding “taste” and “have at” whatever flavor of adventure suits their fancy.

Estill Furnace Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRIf you have a Scrambler, Adventure bike, or just a general interest in the “genre”, come on down to “The Gorge”. All makes and models of bikes are welcome, “Scrambler” is simply the theme. Red River Gorge has some of the best roads I know of (paved and unpaved), so I’m looking to share the experience with other riders that share my passion for the backroads.

RedRiverScrambleFlyerI have set up an event on Facebook (Red River Scramble Event) so folks can discuss plans for the weekend, lodging, and riding plans. I have also started a group on Rever (Red River Scramble Group) so folks can get access to local routes, both on and off road. Please head over to those links to mark your calendar and explore what options are available.

“Roll what you got”, we’ll see y’all in July.

Chimney Top Rock Pano MotoADVR

 

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The Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway: Triumph Scrambler Adventures

DCIM126GOPRO

While I originally had intentions of returning to the Indy Mad Max Run this year, I also had a long standing invite from a buddy of mine to get down to Kentucky to go ride some “adventure roads”. The weather wasn’t looking particularly good in Ohio and Indiana last weekend, so I decided I’d rather return to “The Mother Land”, especially after getting all the new goodies bolted on the Scrambler.

Triumph Scrambler Trailer MotoADVRWay back when, I borrowed a saying from a buddy of mine, “If you see my bike on trailer, call the police… because it’s stolen!” While I wish I could always live by that mantra… there are advantages to having a trailer. In this case, literally moments after I loaded Rosie onto my buddy’s trailer, the heavens opened up. Again, I’d prefer a scenic backroad to the Bluegrass State, but moments after driving onto the freeway, it looked like it was on the verge of hail, so the extra 2 hours of riding time would be a fair exchange for a trailer ride.
Once in Kentucky the skies started to clear and we even got a little sunlight before we set out. DCIM126GOPROAfter grabbing a quick sandwich, we decided to tackle as much of the Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB) possible before it got dark. Leaving from Slade and running counter-clockwise as the DBBB flier suggested, that put my arch nemesis, Spaas Creek Road, at the front of the line.

Spaas Creek Road

Considering all of the rain that the tri-state area had received in the previous weeks, I was significantly intimidated by the potentially deep ruts through the mud I expected to find on Spaas Creek. It was extremely dry last November, yet Spaas Creek road was still loaded with ruts and mud pits because of the shaded creek valley; DCIM126GOPROI expected much worse with the wet spring. Passing the last signs of civilization for the next few hours, it was merely a few mud puddles and a creek crossing before I found myself standing at the edge of the muddy, rut filled, quagmire that stopped me in my tracks back in November. Considering all of the new trinkets on the Scrambler, I hoped I would fare better than before, but after watching my buddy Tom, on his MZ 660 Baghira (a much more dirt worthy machine) slide up a rut sideways, I was debating an alternate route. After looking over the soupy mud bed, envisioning my scrambler laying half buried in the sludge, I decided it best to “bushwhack” my way past the muck and “live to fight another day”.
Spaas Creek Mud Field Triumph Scrambler MotoADVRPast the mud-hole-minefield, new obstacles continued in succession; while I didn’t keep count, I would say there are over a half dozen creek crossings down that road. In fact, I actually found that crossing the creek was easy, it was the mud pits dug by the four-by-fours that proved the most difficult. I watched Tom sink up to his knees several times as a rut hidden under the water got significantly deeper at the far end of the “puddle”. He kept saying “creek crossings… I can’t tell when it’s the creek and when it’s just a mud puddle” as most of the “puddles” were larger than the creek in most places.

Over the winter I caught a video including extended sections of the road that were actually in the creek, perhaps as long as 300 yards. Spaas Creek Road Triumph Scrambler MZ Baghira MotoADVRThe videos also showed some significantly high water, fortunately for us, the water level was quite low, despite all the recent rain, much to my relief. After a long stretch of riding up the creek bed, we passed a short waterfall and finally the turn that led to the final ascent out of the valley. At that point I was starting to feel a sense of relief and accomplishment, assuming it was a dry gravel road to the end, that feeling was short-lived.DCIM126GOPRO Halfway up the climb, I arrived at a “shelf” with another ominous, water filled, jeep rut, adjacent to a steep drop-off into the ravine on the right. I watched Tom take another deep “dunk” into the puddle which left me to “thread the needle” through the opposing rut while not falling to my death. Like a champ, Rosie delivered again and moments later, exhausted, were standing at the top of Spaas creek at Hatton Ridge road, a “mini” bucket list item completed.

 

Pumpkin Hollow Road

Having survived Spaas Creek in one piece, I was pumped to attack the next section. Until now, I’ve been unable to pin down precise pictures of Pumpkin Hollow Road, so I was unsure of the conditions.DCIM126GOPRO From what little I could see on satellite photos, I was under the impression it was at least mostly dry… or so I thought. Coming off the pavement of KY-713, we made a left on a double track gravel road that, if not for the large DBBB sign posted at the intersection, looked like an inconspicuous private driveway. “Out of the skillet and into the frying pan” as they say, I traded the creek and otherwise wet muck for loose dirt, stones, and steep inclines. The assent back over the ridge and into the gorge was of equal magnitude of the tail of Spaas Creek, but it was heavily rutted from the four-wheel-drive traffic.Pumpkin Hollow Rd Triumph Scrambler Stuck MotoADVR I goosed the Scrambler a bit to get through some of the loose gravel, trying to keep momentum as to not slip into a deep rocky rut, yet I rapidly found myself with one wheel stuck in each rut and the skid plate resting on the “hump”. Rosie sat there, “stuck”… mocking me… I naturally stepped off the saddle and took the obligatory photo. I slipped the clutch, wrestled, man handled, and bulldozed my way down and back up a ten yard section of the hill (and both ruts…) and finally made it to the summit where Tom sat waiting. One the far side of the ridge Pumpkin Hollow also takes a creek excursion through the woods as it approaches KY-599 where we returned to the tarmac.

 

Chop Chestnut Road

I’ll have to hand it to the “planners”, the DBBB just keeps throwing unique challenges at you, as no two roads are the same. DCIM126GOPROI assumed the rock quarry was going to be a dusty mess, but that mess was brief as we found the nearly abandoned north section of Chop Chestnut road. Once up on the ridge, the gravel roads faded away to “forest floor” double track. Meandering thought the woods I got the sudden feeling like my front tire was going flat, a new challenge I was not looking forward to tackling, but as it turns out, it was actually an inch thick layer of sand that was creeping up in various turns and gullies. I’ve heard a lot of riders say it, and I agree, sand sucks… However, the unique view of the ridgeline and the sandstone boulders made up for the goofy front end “feel”. DCIM126GOPROIt did however make some of the incline obstacles incredibly challenging; attempting to get up the face of a steep “hill” (essentially part of the sandstone mountain), I needed to carry some momentum to keep from sliding down the sandy slope; on top of that slope was obviously another thick patch of sand so I “nerfed” the turn a bit to keep from washing out the front end. That whole “look where you want to go” thing played its hand and I had an impromptu meeting with tree stump. Fortunately, the Scrambler’s 19” front wheel just coasted up the embankment without catastrophe; I backed down the slope and headed on my way. The sand beds began to disperse as were neared the intersection with KY-3354; but not before revealing a series of “steps” in the sandstone boulders. My buddy Tom took the left fork down the “steps” and immediately told me over the headset to take a look at the right fork before taking the Scrambler down a significant drop-off; fortunately, the right fork was mostly a downhill sandstone washboard.

 

Mountain Springs Road (Under Dispute)

After tackling the sand and boulders it was a short trek down the “hardball” toward Mountain Springs and Furnace-Pilot Road. In preparation to tackle this Moto-Bucket List ride, I have been keeping up with the DBBB on Facebook along with the Kentucky Adventure Tour (KAT) thread on ADV Rider as the two overlap in the north section. From what I’ve seen on both forums, there appears to be a dispute regarding public travel across Mountain Springs Road. Apparently a local land owner has a differing opinion on whether or not the road is public; a situation that is being debated in court… although the case has dubiously been delayed several times for whatever reason.

Mountain Springs Rd Closed Sign MotoADVRKnowing this, I full well expected to roll up on the before mentioned property to find a closed gate and a “dead end”. As it turns out the gate was open, but the land owner was just then “walking up” on horseback and informed us it was “private property”. We had a short, friendly, exchange; in a non-Appalachian accent, she also informed me that I would likely tear up my motorcycle if I went down that hill… Tom and I subsequently decided to roll back up the road and go around rather than escalate the existing tensions about the roadway.

As of this writing, last night the Estill County Court ruled that at least one section of the Mountain Springs road will remain open to public travel, however there is an additional court case regarding another section of the road.

Fixer Lecco Road – Fixer Road – Cave Fork Road

After the long detour around Patsey, we were finally back on the designated DBBB route and headed down Fixer Lecco Road.DCIM126GOPRO Needless to say I’ve been searching for off-road opportunities in the Red River Gorge area for some time now. During that research I discovered “The Narrows Road”, and learned about the former oil business west of the Natural Bridge area. The Narrows Road is unfortunately closed to motorized vehicles now, but Fixer Lecco Road runs through a very similar area (although not on top of a cliff). Fixer-Lecco Road and subsequently Fixer Road are again another flavor of Appalachian primitive roads, reminiscent of Shawnee State Forest in some ways. DCIM126GOPROFixer road included a large number of creek runs and creek crossings, perhaps not as numerous as Spaas Creek, but the water levels were indeed higher. Aside from the country view, the remnants of the oil industry also added to the experience in this area. It was also obvious there were many adjacent trails to the DBBB as we encountered a series of off-road “Side-by-sides” as we neared the junction with Kentucky Highway 11.


As we rolled back onto pavement around 6 PM, Tom and I decided to head back toward Slade as we didn’t have time to complete the last off-road section along Devil Creek. Chimney Top Rock Storms MotoADVRHowever, with a bit of daylight remaining, I suggested we take a detour up to Chimney Top Rock to get a good sunset view of the gorge before hanging it up for the day. I have obviously talked about riding up to Sky Bridge in the past, but after my recent off-road interests, I have begun exploring the gravel trail-access roads throughout the gorge. Off KY-715 (Sky Bridge Road), there’s a three mile gravel spur that takes you up to arguably one of the best views of Red River Gorge. Red River Gorge Halfmoonn Rock MotoADVRFollowing a short (1,000 yards) walk from the parking area, Chimney Top Rock offers a 270-degree view of Red River Gorge including Halfmoon Rock, Hanson’s Point, Pinch-Em Tight Gap, and the Red River. No sooner than Tom and I stepped off the bikes, we heard the ominous clap of thunder. I wasn’t going to ride all that way and miss the view, so we hustled out to the point for some obligatory photos (including some storm clouds) before getting back to the trailer.

 

In the end, I can’t consider this Moto-Bucket List item complete, with a name like “Devil Creek”, there’s undoubtedly more challenges in my path. That said, I was impressed time and time again by the Scrambler’s capability in some of the most adverse conditions. Undoubtedly, I owe a lot to a good set of knobby tires and suspension upgrades; but that aside, there’s no denying that Triumph has built a sturdy tractor. No sooner than I had cinched down the last ratchet strap, rain drops falling, I was already day dreaming about my next venture down unimproved Kentucky backroads.

Rever GPS Track

Spaas Creek Road Triumph Scrambler MotoADVR

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