So, Karen and I have been discussing (a.k.a. me bugging her) getting a dual sport bike. The CX needs work, obviously, and I've not been riding it, at least partially due to the fact that I can't get above 50mph on it. Yesterday (Saturday) Karen told me that we could consider getting a bike that I want. I've been reading up on several bikes that I thought I wanted, and I had sort of convinced myself that the Suzuki DR650 was the bike for me. After a last bit of looking around, test fitting a Honda XR650L, and then strictly on Karen's insistence, I sat on a Yamaha XT250. It's a smaller dual sport that is really light weight, got a decent suspension and gets 73mpg. A few hours later, I road one home! Today was my first chance to ride it, and I've already got more than 1/4 of the miles that I've put on the CX500 in 3 months. I went on a 153.3 mile ride today. Google Maps doesn't acknowledge that the ferry near Big Sandy is running again, so I've had to break the trip into two parts.
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The first part is self explanatory, but at point B I decided to follow a gravel road that I saw. This road was really quite sandy, and the bike felt funny on it. This was literally the first non-paved road I've ridden on. It wasn't two long of a road, I didn't want to head North again, and so I turned around at the split as the road in became a private drive. On the way out I resolved to take the MSF DirtBike School course ASAP.
I continued on down to the Cumberland City Ferry. Near the ferry are a few bottom fields that hold water and I saw a duck swimming in one of the marshes. I wish I had a camera on me besides my phone, and at the ready, it would have made a great shot. The duck was swimming through a spot with a lot of algae on the surface, sort of like an ice breaker busting through green ice.
When I arrived at the ferry, I was the first vehicle there, so I rolled up, shut the bike off and took my gear off to cool down some. The ferry had just arrived at the far bank, so I knew I had a few moments. As I was waiting, a younger guy rolled up in an older Ford Ranger blaring, at first, really bad numetal and then country. As the ferry rolled up, he turned the music down. Two SUVs rolled off of the ferry, and then we rolled on. As I got on, one of the two SUVs that had just exited turned around and got right back on. Local counties pay $0.75 for an all-day pass, so I guess it only cost them 75 cents to ride both ways, but I found it amusing. I actually understand the desire to ride back and forth for no reason. I enjoy riding ferries.
Once I got off of the ferry, I stopped just outside of Cumberland City to get some water to drink, and then set off toward Erin. I was planning on riding TN-149 to TN -49 and then taking TN-147 to the river where it ends. I was then going to take TN-232 back to Dover and eventually head home. When I arrived at the end of TN-147, I discovered that the ferry service was in place again. I had to ride it across, I think it's one's civic duty, or something.
I found this river crossing a bit funny. the old bridge is out, but just south of the last span that still stands is this weird building in the middle of the water. not sure what it is, but it's obviously not in use any longer. Satellite view photographs seem to show a dock on the building. The other thing I found funny is that the there are houses built right along the former train tracks that lead to the bridge. It was sort of weird, but neat.
One the fairy I spoke with a nice gentleman that was headed home after a weekend of trailing riding. He was towing a large trailer with 2 or 3 ATVs, a buggy and a Lifan G20Y dual sport. He got out and asked me if it was hot and offered me a drink. I was still hydrated from the huge water I drank in Cumberland City, so I declined, but we discussed some trails in the area. He said that anywhere on the west side of the river that there was a gravel road or a trail that was not posted as private property I would have no problems riding. He also pointed out that I could catch the old railroad bed just past the ferry exit and ride it into Big Sandy. The ferry operator also clued my into several roads south of Erin that were gravel, basically saying that following TN-232 South of TN-147 for 4 miles and then taking any gravel road would lead either to Erin or Waverly eventually. He also told me that there was a 160 bike gathering happening on September 12th of light trail riders. I'm going to look into it, but that is our Wedding Anniversary.
I got off of the fairy, thanked both guys and took the first gravel hill immediately on the left. This lead to a short gravel loop with a few small hills. Nothing major, but not nearly as sandy as the last spot I was in and I felt much more under control. I actually rode down a fairly steep hill (for me) and felt great doing it.
I turned back to the road and rode into Big Sandy. I passed the turn off the first guy tipped me on to, but I wasn't 100% sure if it was the one. I should have taken it. Oh well, in the future.
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I found another short gravel road, Lindsey Cemetery Road and rode up to the cemetery and back. I felt more confident and was able to ride a little faster and in more control on this road. I think a class and some more seat time will get me to were I want to be.
After this, I basically cruised home, stopping in Dover to get something to drink. I ran out of gas on TN-79 just before BJs gas station. I had a hard time finding the fuel valve, and even though I was doing 50 in a 45, through a construction zone, I had a car riding my butt and two cars immediately behind them, so I pulled over, flipped the valve and rode to the gas station. Filled up (1.9 gallons, the tank was not completely full when I left the dealership) and then headed home. It was a great day!
My ODO shows slightly more than Google Maps does, i might have missed a side trip, and I turned around a few times to go back to other roads.