15 July 2011

Ride Report: New Roads

10 Jul 11:  A Full Day in the Saddle

I don't remember how long we planned to ride this weekend but I know it was more than a week's notice.  At first I thought we were going to have to ride in the northwestern part of the state so Cruzman would be closer to home but after sending him a preliminary route and having it rejected (strong word), I decided to plot up some roads I've wanted to ride but hadn't yet.

I've been itching to ride since I got back from the rally but getting TheMomma well has been my top priority.  I've discovered that when I can't ride I end up buying stuff for the bike.  This time it was camera stuff as my last few posts have revealed.  I was concentrating so much on that, I hadn't even considered where Cruzman and I would go when he told me that Sunday was the better day for us to ride.

So after a few conversations and emails, we'd nailed down a route.  We would visit the northeastern corner of the state and cross the borders into South Carolina then North Carolina.  South Carolina was virgin territory for us.  I rode though there last year when I left Auntie's going to the FJR Camping Meet and that night ride through the twisty bits was stuck in my mind.

At the Rally, I talked to RocknFZRoll about that road and he confirmed that it was indeed HWY 178 with some suggestions for other roads in the area.  eflyguy and I rode on some of them during the rain shortened route on the last full day but I wanted to explore a little more.  So I conjured up a route that was Cruzman approved!

Before I even plugged in the house, the route was right at 298 miles!  I knew to do it all we'd have to leave good and early and get home nice and late.  I told TheMomma I'd be gone all day long and prepared to meet Cruzman at the Buttcrack of Dawn at the Buford Waffle House.  

With my cams charged and the shock mounts in place, I left the house at a quarter to six in barely light skies and got to Waffle House at 6:15 a.m. surprising myself by being so early!  Cruzman wasn't there so I went inside to get a wake up cup of coffee and the requisite hash browns.  By the time my food arrived, so did Cruzman.

We took the highway all the way to Clayton as the skies lightened to reveal gray skies.  Cruzman mentioned how much more humid it was on this side of town and the absence of sun compared to the western part of town that he came from.  I hadn't noticed the humidity because we'd been getting showers every evening all week and that usually meant more humidity than normal.  I did notice the lack of sunshine though and worried that I hadn't checked the weather.  Beyond knowing there were scattered showers expected, I had no clue as to what the forecast was.

Our ride was built around the 178/276 loop I first emailed.  I reluctantly included Hwy 64 hoping that getting there early in the morning would mean less traffic.  It was less traffic but still more than I hoped.

The new roads.
Hwy 28 South -- It's a nice cruise that's not nearly as twisty as when you go north (or left) where Warwoman RD ends.  Going south (or right) takes you toward's Walhalla SC and the beginning of what is known as the Hellbender when you take 28 all the way to Fontana and Deals Gap.  I've ridden most of the other part but not this part so I put it on the route.  I can see that part of 28 kind of winds you up for the twists north of Warwoman Rd.  We didn't take it all the way to Walhalla, instead we took 107.

HWY 107 -- I think that's north, when you turn left off of HWY 28 going towards Walhalla.  That road is typical of what I think of when I think of SC roads.  Pure crap pavement that makes me wonder why the folk of SC even bother to pay taxes!  The best part of the road is the up and down changes in elevation.  It's done while the road is straight which is most of it, it seems.  This is a good cruiser road but not so much for a sport bike.

HWY 178 -- I still can't say what this road is like.  Last time it was because it was dark, this time it was because the rain started as soon as we got on the road.  It's tree lined and there are tons of camping retreats along it but that's about all I can say.  It seemed like it'd be fun if it were dry.

HWY 276 -- I've been on this road farther north but not this part that I can remember.  It was really nice.  Better paved than 107 and definitely more twisty.  Parts of it reminded me a little of Blood Mountain, but only a little.  It was probably the part where the passing lane ends just before the road bends hard right.  We saw a Subaru nearly lose it when he passed us just before the hard bender.  I swear his right tires lifted off of the ground and wished I was running video.  I wasn't because of the aforementioned showers.

E Fork RD -- Is this little cut through that takes you back to 178 from 276 without having to go to 64.  Lightly traveled, the road is fairly narrow and the pavement kind of bumpy but I think they are making repairs or have made them.  It's all right and maybe one to include more often.

Joe House RD/Tanasee Gap -- I think I made a mistake here.  There was a "local road" that goes from 215 to 281 and I thought this was the one but there is another one a little more north of Balsam Grove called Explorer RD that may have been a better choice.  Either way, I liked this road.  I don't know what mountain we were on but there was no one on this road but us.  It was a little rough but nothing that Baby didn't handle without a second thought.  Next time I'm in the area, I'll ride Explorer RD to see which is better.  The pavement could have been better but it was passable despite the GPS saying the road wasn't paved.  Now that I know it is, riding it next time will be a lot better without looking for a sudden end to pavement.

HWY 281 -- A wrong turn led us to ride this one North rather than South as I'd planned.  I like this road and look forward to riding it again.  We picked it up later and road south from HWY 64 and again it's a nice road.  There are state parks and waterfalls on this road so I can see it being crowded at the right (or wrong depending on your perspective) time of day/year.

HWY 107 -- I'm listing it again because it's like a different road than the South Carolina one we road earlier.  This one has great views and nice curves/sweepers that filled the afternoon with smiles.  A definite for the ride again list.

Whitewater Falls RD -- This is 281 after you cross into SC and becomes SC 130.  It's a nice road too and I know why SCDOT doesn't give any love to 107.

Chatooga Ridge RD -- I can't be certain we were on this road!

Anyway that's really it.  Our day was thankfully uneventful other than we ran into the eFn's while at the Waterfall area off of 281.  Because of the rain and the frozen water in my tank bag, I wasn't thinking about taking pics but I did get a couple in.  I didn't even realize we'd left the showers behind us until we were on 281 and by then there was no use in taking pics.  Here a the few I did remember to take.

Cruzman Checking the weather

He didn't need to, my eyes told me all we needed to know.  Now is a good time for lunch!

Lunch here wasn't that bad but it wasn't that good either.
And then there's video!  A mix of most of the roads we were on.  I gotta get Cruzman to bring his cam on these rides so I can mix his footage with mine.  I've got a lot of angles now but still wished I had a view of my whole bike.  What's the point of having a moto hubby if he ain't gonna get as much video of you as you get of him?

My new memory cards didn't arrive in time for the ride so I didn't get as much footage as I wanted.  See my lessons learned because I wasted the space I did have.  Next time I'll remember what I learned from efly and this ride and try to do better!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer


  1. Oh I love your route!!! I hiked the FH around Lake Jocassee in a former life and loved your video! Seeing those mountains again just made my day. Thanks!!!


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