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I'm Still A New Guy....Kick Me!
Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #1 
For the last few years, I have been working on putting together a few long distance Dual Sport routes. I had 3 that I had not ridden yet & I needed to verify. I had not ridden the far western section of my Florida Panhandle route. It goes all the way across Northern Florida. I also had one that went from the end of it in Jay, FL that goes up the west side of Alabama. It ties into the Trans America Trail in Walnut MS. My last one goes up Southwest Georgia but then jumps over to the Alabama side & go up the eastern part of the state to Fort Payne, AL. I thought I would run it all in a big loop. I talked my buddy HTSRocker into going with me but he had something come up at the last minute & had to cancel. So I had to run it solo & like a true friend, I called him several times per day just to let him know what he was missing...LOL

Between work & getting all my last minutes things ready for my trip I got a late start. I almost waited until Friday morning to leave. To be able to fit my adventure into my time frame I needed to hit the road. I hated the thought of riding west into the sun but I knew it would be dark for much of my ride to Hurricane Lake. I have been on most of this before so I was not worried.

I made it to South Hurricane Lake campground about 11:00pm Thursday night.
I woke up early looking forward to the days ride. All of it would be new territory for me.

I had to work my way around my first bridge outage of the trip

which did not take too long

I stopped in Jay, FL to get gas then headed north into Alabama

Peterman, AL was a neat little railroad town

This abandoned trail tunnel is not far off the route

I wanted to see the the Haynes Island Ferry which is the area but time did not allow for it this time.

Closed for cars but no problem on a dualsport

Back to open road

Recent Alabama tornado damage

I had planned on camping at Payne Lake Rec Area south of Tuscaloosa because it was the closest to my route but their campground was closed. I had to ride a little further north to Moundville Park.

The campground was full of Americorp youth there to help with the tornado relief around Tuscaloosa.
Arnold was there for the same reason. He is from Destin, FL

He was trying to find a home for this homeless dog. I didn't have room...LOL

I hung out there Saturday morning long enough to do some bike maintenance. I had been hearing some ticking noises that I trying to diagnose the day before. I shimmed my cush drive, tightened & lubed my chain.

Back on the road

More tornado damage

I had some good home cooking

Another photo opp

More dirt

A little warning

More open dirt

Cool old Chevy & a gas stop.

I met a couple of Goldwing riders here too. They had a ton of questions & seemed jealous....:wink:

Along the track in Sulligent, AL

Back to dirt

To be honest, I was disappointed in Northeast Mississippi. The roads were all pavement except maybe 3 or 4 miles. I missed the beautiful dirt roads that I left to go west. Don't get me wrong. Most of the MS section were really nice bike roads. They just had too much black stuff on them for me.
I finally made it to Walnut, MS. The only campground I had for there was further to the southwest. It was way after dark so I did what I had to do, I hoped on 72 & slabbed it back to Alabama. I passed a few state parks & other places to camp along the way but knew that they were in the middle of nowhere which is not a problem but I did not have any thing to cook for supper. I caught my second wind in there some where & just kept riding. I stopped at a Burger King at around 10:00pm for a late supper. As I was getting back on the bike & looking at my GPS, I noticed that I was only about 30 miles from Decatur, AL. I have a friend in that area that I have not seen in awhile. I am riding on his 6-man team that he put together for the Perry Mountain 24hr Challenge coming up in a few weeks. I ended up at Motel 6 that night.

He returned my call the next morning telling me that he was up in Murphy NC at Tour de Tellico DS Rally. I had forgotten that it was this weekend. Oh well, I'll see him at the race. I need to roll.....

I felt that I was running behind schedule but in reality, I just had underestimated the total miles of my planned ride. Another reason I rode so late the night before was it was putting closer to my desired southern route & home. I was still being haunted by excessive drive train noise & had not figured out the problem yet. I just knew that I was now leaking oil around the front sprocket.

Being tired of getting to camp so late in the day. I decided to skip going all the way to
Fort Payne to start my way south. I wanted to be to Pine Mountain before dark. I head toward Piedmont, AL. I knew most of the good riding would be south of there anyway. I grabbed some lunch before hitting the trail.

Randolph County Alabama had my favorite roads & cool things to see of my trip.

Chambers County was almost as good. Both counties had endless amounts of dirt intersections. I could have easily spent several days there exploring the two.

I finally figured out the source of the noise. My counter shaft nut was loose. Real loose! I tightened it by hand at least a full turn or two then snugged it up using a screwdriver & a rock. I know it was not torqued to spec but it would have to do. It was enough to stop the oil leak too.

I crossed over into Georgia & headed towards Pine Mountain via several miles of slab.
This is a store along the way.

I planned on camping at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. It was 7:30PM CST & I was tired from being on the bike all day. I rode back & forth across Pine Mountain twice but for the life of me, I could not find the campground. I called a privately owned campground back across the mountain but did not but just got an answering machine. I did not feel like risking going back. I just sucked it up & kept riding south. I knew that I was coming up on a series of small towns & should be able to find something fairly soon. I had plenty of gas but my biggest concern was my camelbak was almost empty.

Navigating some of these roads can be tough in the daytime, even worse after dark.
I had to work my way around a gated road but found a cool, unmaintained county road that went the right direction. It started out as a regular looking dirt road but kept getting smaller & smaller. Down to not much more than a 4-wheeler trail. I could see on my GPS that it tied in to my original route. I just prayed there was not a gate up ahead. Finally it dumped me out to a full sized dirt road but I was still not completely sure that I was not on private land because I was not seeing a road name on my GPS. After a couple of miles, a county road number showed up.

When I got to the little town of Talbotton, I saw a police officer that was outside a convenient that was trying to close for the night. I ask him if there was a place that I could camp or get a room. He pointed me just down the road to the Talbotton Motel. To be honest, I was a little uneasy when I first pulled up. I was the only customer. When I knocked on the office door, I heard the owners dog start barking from the other side. The owner promptly came to the door. I must have looked even worse than I thought. He said that I looked tired & gave me a little break on the price. While I was getting my stuff off the bike, Mr. Williams came out of the office with a Coke & a cup of ice for me. He quickly told me that my bike & stuff would be fine, Nobody would mess with it. We ended up talking while I drank my Coke & got out of most of my ride gear. He told me he had owned this place for 20 years. We talked bikes & about my trip for a while before we both called it a night. If you are ever in the area & need a place to stay, stop by.

Misc Georgia shots

See, Georgia has sand too

In this area, Georgia has more dirt roads than their counties can maintain

Bethel Church Road is another

This type stuff is what I always enjoy finding. This is on the same road by the way

I'm not sure that I would trust this sign though...LOL

I found it rather funny that I encountered the deepest sand of my trip in Georgia & not Florida

Some of the Georgia guys farm right up to the edge of the road.

This is Howards Mill. A good friend of mine's family use to own this place and is where the name comes from.

There was plenty of “South Georgia Rain” hitting the ground as I neared home

I made it home around 3:30 pm on Monday. I rode approximately 1378 miles on my adventure not including several wrong turns & dead ends.

2004 KLR650
1985 KLR250
2001 KX250 #762B
AMA & FTR member

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Posts: 5,200
Reply with quote  #2 
Nice report TreeMan. I'd love to see where some of those roads are located and add them to my Alabama/Georgia map book.

Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon

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Posts: 1,398
Reply with quote  #3 

Nice ride report Treeman

KTM 300XC, KTM 1190R, 1988 KTM 350, Sherco 3.0 Trials, 79 Husky 390WR, Honda XR650R, Honda Grom, Apollo Pitbike,   Tony Shifter Kart .TEAM WANKER...Only Pussy's die of natural causes! Member of the Solo Mile High Club! Check out Team Wanker on Facebook!

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I know McPush, and you Sir, are no McPush!
Posts: 1,030
Reply with quote  #4 

Great report-- Keep 'em coming!

2007 KLR650, 2002 XT225, 2004 BMW R1200CL, 2007 Ural Tourist, 2009 Kawasaki EX 250, 2004 HD Road King

Hey! It's My Birthday!
Posts: 1,378
Reply with quote  #5 
   I gotta go ridin'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rick 13 KTM 500 XC-W 

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Posts: 1,896
Reply with quote  #6 

Great route selection and excellent write up. 

Was it scary riding alone? 


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Posts: 1,446
Reply with quote  #7 
 Great ride and report. I liked the notes about the people you met along the way.  It brings to light that good people are out there everywhere.  It's just up to us to find them and say hello.  


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I'm Still A New Guy....Kick Me!
Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #8 
Not really jakbrand.  Most of my rides & many of my favorites have been by myself. But this was the first multi-day of being solo. I will admit that I did get a little nervous a time or two when my bike was making strange noises & I did not have any cell signal at all. You mind starts thinking about all the little repairs that you have put off or the maintenance that you had not around to doing before the trip.

My biggest thing about being in the middle of no where is have enough food & water.
With that, you can hike out if you have to.

2004 KLR650
1985 KLR250
2001 KX250 #762B
AMA & FTR member

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Victoria Secret Model
Posts: 3,552
Reply with quote  #9 
EXCELLENT, I saw your post in ADVrider too. Now THAT is a great DS ride right there, I don't care who you are, to quote Larry.
Keep 'em comin'


1973 Husqvarna 250WR
1978 Husqvarna 390OR
2005 Triumph Tiger 955i
2012 KTM 500 EXC


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I Just Got A Letter From AARP....
Posts: 807
Reply with quote  #10 

Awesome story!!

TEAM DUMB-ASS [member#001]

A good rider has balance, judgment, and timing.......so does a good wife.

Randy and Robin West

Growing Bolder not Older

'03 GL 1800
'01 DRZ 400

I like slow walks on the beach & poking at dead things with a stick.

DDS Rocks!
Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #11 
Looks like a great ride, i have been try to find  a source for maps with unimproved roads. How did you find all these unimproved roads? Did you use software that came with you GPS, or what? 

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I'm Still A New Guy....Kick Me!
Posts: 25
Reply with quote  #12 
I use a combination of county maps, google earth & Garmin MapSource

Check your PMs

2004 KLR650
1985 KLR250
2001 KX250 #762B
AMA & FTR member

Hey! You're Blinker's On!
Posts: 16
Reply with quote  #13 
Do you have the route saved in your GPS or on paper that you could share. That looks like a great trip. Would love to do it..
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