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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went on a fun ride today, almost all the way to the top of what is called "Cowee Bald". The road is densely packed dirt with moderate fine to medium gravel. It was a relatively smooth and very quiet ride. The goal was to reach the Cowee Mountain Fire Tower.

This is where it began:

Plant Plant community Natural landscape Motor vehicle Tree



Here is a 2D aerial image. I've placed a generic yellow marker line near the route to the top. That yellow dot represents the rough location of the sign in the image above, my starting point for today's fun little journey.

Map Slope Mountain Terrestrial plant Screenshot


This next image in 3D gives a better idea of the route, and how it progresses uphill.

Mountain Ecoregion Nature Natural environment Slope



Unfortunately, I have no pictures from the very top, which was the entire reason I went up there today! I was nearly to the fire station when I came across a downed tree that evidently hasn't been there more than a day or two. I imagine it will be cleared off by the timer I go up again. Now, this road sees a lot more traffic than you'd think. It has many branches off of it which lead in all kinds of directions, and one of them would take me to Whittier, which is just a few miles down the road from Cherokee. I've heard from other locals that many of these old roads were used for moonshine transport back in the day, and it's probably true. If you've ever heard of "Popcorn" Sutton, he was from Maggie Valley, but had connections all throughout this area. He was a regular visitor to the Cherokee casino back in the day, and if you've never had his original white lightning, well, come by and visit sometime. I still have a few dozen gallons left, and I enjoy it sparingly. The new stuff they make in his name just isn't the same.

I'm gonna try again maybe next week. Today was the first day in over a week where rain wasn't in the forecast. I'll do my best to get some good pics from as high up as I can get. I don't know if I can actually get right up to the fire tower though. It might be fenced off.

Yep, I coasted all the way from where I was to the very bottom. It's about 8 miles, I think? It was surreal. All I could hear was the wind and gravel and the brakes. I did notice that when I got to the bottom it was a little hesitant to start. Gonna chalk it up to the difference in air pressure.
 

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Sweet. Some of the fire watch towers still standing can be rented for overnight stays.

Back in high school, when my group was riding triples and RD's, we would coast race down from Paradise at Mt. Rainier as far as we could. Good times.

Thanks for sharing, ride safe on those FS roads!
 

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About 9 miles.
Sounds like a trip up to Spruce Knob, highest point in WV. 12 miles uphill all the way, used to be gravel and the tourist traffic pounded it into moon dust. They finally paved it in the early 21st century, been wanting to take a bike ride up and check it out.

In the Fall it can be 50 degrees at the bottom and a full blizzard on top. Got a crazy video of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sounds like a trip up to Spruce Knob, highest point in WV. 12 miles uphill all the way, used to be gravel and the tourist traffic pounded it into moon dust. They finally paved it in the early 21st century, been wanting to take a bike ride up and check it out.

In the Fall it can be 50 degrees at the bottom and a full blizzard on top. Got a crazy video of that.
Yeah man, let us know if you do, would love to see pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sweet. Some of the fire watch towers still standing can be rented for overnight stays.

Back in high school, when my group was riding triples and RD's, we would coast race down from Paradise at Mt. Rainier as far as we could. Good times.

Thanks for sharing, ride safe on those FS roads!
I must be dumb, what's "FS"?
 

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There a few roads in the US that have 9-11 miles of constant downhill grades. There’s one in Hawaii that’s like 23 miles.
Way back when, I went down a highway in New Hampshire that went across a pass in the White Mountains and went down for about 10 miles. Folks would take their bicycles up just to ride down it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
There a few roads in the US that have 9-11 miles of constant downhill grades. There’s one in Hawaii that’s like 23 miles.
Way back when, I went down a highway in New Hampshire that went across a pass in the White Mountains and went down for about 10 miles. Folks would take their bicycles up just to ride down it.
I zeroed my trip odometer at the very bottom of the hill today and from there to the very top, right up to the tower (see my pics in my most recent post) the trip was actually only about 7 miles.

I've coasted almost all the way from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. That's a long one. I don't consider it a true powered-off coast, though. Because of variations in traffic, and the occasional uphill portion, I kept the engine running but the bike was in neutral. That was on a brand new 2012 HD Sportster.
 

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I've coasted almost all the way from Gatlinburg, Tennessee to Cherokee, North Carolina. That's a long one. I don't consider it a true powered-off coast, though. Because of variations in traffic, and the occasional uphill portion, I kept the engine running but the bike was in neutral. That was on a brand new 2012 HD Sportster.
On my trip to TN, we did the same thing, engine off coasting. Occasionally we held up traffic...but not for very long.

How I long for the mountains...
 

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This reminds me of the one and only time I ran out of gas on a motorcycle. 1970- something, there was a long (perhaps a mile) hill that ended at a major intersection....that had a gas station on each corner. (Shell, Sunoco, Mobile, and one I can’t remember)
The bike started chugging as I got near crest of the hill, and died as soon as I hit the top. I flicked it into neutral and coasted all the way down, making the light at the intersection, right into the Sunoco station, stopping right at one of the pumps.
A guy was filling up his car and waited until I got off the bike to tell me “That’s the quietest motorcycle I’ve ever seen.”
Rather than explain, I just said, “Yep. And it gets 78 miles per gallon”
(Which was somewhat true, it was a 185cc Suzuki TS185, and if you tried hard, it could get that mileage. But I rarely tried.....😉 )
 

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This reminds me of the one and only time I ran out of gas on a motorcycle. 1970- something, there was a long (perhaps a mile) hill that ended at a major intersection....that had a gas station on each corner. (Shell, Sunoco, Mobile, and one I can’t remember)
The bike started chugging as I got near crest of the hill, and died as soon as I hit the top. I flicked it into neutral and coasted all the way down, making the light at the intersection, right into the Sunoco station, stopping right at one of the pumps.
A guy was filling up his car and waited until I got off the bike to tell me “That’s the quietest motorcycle I’ve ever seen.”
Rather than explain, I just said, “Yep. And it gets 78 miles per gallon”
(Which was somewhat true, it was a 185cc Suzuki TS185, and if you tried hard, it could get that mileage. But I rarely tried.....😉 )
I loved those old Suzis, the TS and the TC (topcat) with high/low range in the trans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This reminds me of the one and only time I ran out of gas on a motorcycle. 1970- something, there was a long (perhaps a mile) hill that ended at a major intersection....that had a gas station on each corner. (Shell, Sunoco, Mobile, and one I can’t remember)
The bike started chugging as I got near crest of the hill, and died as soon as I hit the top. I flicked it into neutral and coasted all the way down, making the light at the intersection, right into the Sunoco station, stopping right at one of the pumps.
A guy was filling up his car and waited until I got off the bike to tell me “That’s the quietest motorcycle I’ve ever seen.”
Rather than explain, I just said, “Yep. And it gets 78 miles per gallon”
(Which was somewhat true, it was a 185cc Suzuki TS185, and if you tried hard, it could get that mileage. But I rarely tried.....😉 )
I actually took a video of me coasting down the road, but the phone kept moving. I wedged the phone between the speedo and tach, and it fit perfectly. But the movement and vibration kept making it pop out. I'll try to upload that one, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hypermiling! A lot of the roads here are great for that, easy to be coasting 70mph for miles sometimes. Kinda wish I had a manual transmission now with the gas prices. It's fun to see 80 mpg on the computer.
You're in WV, right? So, since my road trip isn't going to happen this year, it will be next year. I'll be visiting Kentucky and then Ohio, and returning to NC will take me near (or through?) WV. Maybe we could meet up and cruise around!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On my trip to TN, we did the same thing, engine off coasting. Occasionally we held up traffic...but not for very long.

How I long for the mountains...
That's awesome. Where'd you go in TN? And the mountains miss you as well, my friend. Come on down and see us!

Or, as us locals like to say...

Y'all come on back now, y'hear!
 

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You're in WV, right? So, since my road trip isn't going to happen this year, it will be next year. I'll be visiting Kentucky and then Ohio, and returning to NC will take me near (or through?) WV. Maybe we could meet up and cruise around!
Yep, maybe I can be back in the saddle by then. Actually had Christine out of the garage yesterday, didn't fire her up but the 10 year old AGM battery is still kicking 13.1 volts.

Christine is getting a bubble bath soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yep, maybe I can be back in the saddle by then. Actually had Christine out of the garage yesterday, didn't fire her up but the 10 year old AGM battery is still kicking 13.1 volts.

Christine is getting a bubble bath soon.
Oh, wow! Christine!!! That was the name of the first book I read by Stephen King! Coincidentally, he was in the news recently, testifying on the government's behalf in opposition to two massive publishers joining forces in a merger.

I don't recall seeing pics of Christine? Is there some posted here of her?
 

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Oh, wow! Christine!!! That was the name of the first book I read by Stephen King! Coincidentally, he was in the news recently, testifying on the government's behalf in opposition to two massive publishers joining forces in a merger.

I don't recall seeing pics of Christine? Is there some posted here of her?
[/QUOTE
Should be some pics around, but I wouldn't know where to find them, I never have set up my album or gallery whatever they call it. I'll put some pics up after her bath, want to show off my back tire. Wait till you see my gremlin bell!

Her full name is... :)

Christine... Resurrected from a wreck
Pandora... Open her up and she'll get you, also her stage name at the strip club
Cheri... 2003 tank color, and a girl that loved me

Except now the tank is black and silver... 2005 colors.

Here's a pic...

I love this post!

Tire Wheel Plant Fuel tank Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Should be some pics around, but I wouldn't know where to find them, I never have set up my album or gallery whatever they call it. I'll put some pics up after her bath, want to show off my back tire. Wait till you see my gremlin bell!

Her full name is... :)

Christine... Resurrected from a wreck
Pandora... Open her up and she'll get you, also her stage name at the strip club
Cheri... 2003 tank color, and a girl that loved me

Except now the tank is black and silver... 2005 colors.

Here's a pic...

I love this post!

View attachment 54945
What a sexy gal! Chrome side covers, or a trick of the light? Gorgeous bike, Spockster!!!
 
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