Back Roads of Appalachia/ Kentucky Adventure Tour

First off, this is my 101st post of the blog🙌 🥳 🙌 I wouldn’t have ever thought that back in 2016 I’d have this life or this much to show and say. THANK YOU to all that follow me!

Since leaving Ohio more than a week ago, I was hoping to explore Kentucky’s backroads, well I wasn’t disappointed. 😁🙌 Using more “Bunk A Biker“ stays outside Marrowbone Ky., Alpine Tn. and Lynch Ky. I was able to see quite a bit, meet up with old friends and make new ones! Thanks David Memmler, David Hunley and Erik Hubbard for hosting me!🙏🙌

Click on the pic to see my actual map

This was my route through Appalachia, it started with a Harvest Host stay at the 12 Mile winery in California, Kentucky after crossing the Ohio River by ferry. What a cool experience.

I had been telling myself to do the “bourbon trail” when in Kentucky so on my way south, I stopped at 3 different distilleries ( Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve and Makers Mark) before realizing that all sour mash smells the same… 3 was plenty!

I hung out with David #1 (Memmler) a disabled Vet and rider that just moved out to quiet Kentucky from the hustle and bustle of Sacramento. While there, I did a few nice loops around Marrowbone. Thank you David!

While at David’s, Aaron, a Super Tenere rider from north Texas, reached out to say he was heading out to Kentucky to tour some Civil War battlefields and wanted to know if we could meet up! Couldn’t pass that up! We had ridden together earlier this year from his ranch in Texas down to the Gulf coast beach and back.
Here is the blog post from that wild ride!

One stop was to see the grave of his great great great grandfather who was a Confederate Colonel that was one of the “Immortal 600” click on the link to find out more.

On the way back from riding with Aaron and his buddy David, I happened to pass through Corbin, the very first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and the original home of “Colonel” Harlen Sanders.

After leaving David’s outside of Marrowbone, I headed down into northern Tennessee to the small town of Alpine. David (#2)Hunley and his son Fred showed me around some of their favorite backroads not far from their house. David and Fred are relatively new to adventure riding but are planning to ride the TAT across the USA in a couple years on their F-800 GS’s.

On that evening ride Fred blew out a rear bearing on his F-800 so the next day it would be just Dad and I on most of the Tennessee section of the Kentucky Adventure Tour We did a bonus section in the Big South Fork National River area along an old railroad grade to a bridge over the river.

We started out early which would be beneficial because it would be a 200 mile day when all was said and done. And what a day it was! Twisty pavement, dirt roads, water crossings and deep gravel.

After that full day of riding with David, the next morning I loaded up and headed for another section of the KAT. Thanks David and Fred for y’all’s hospitality🙏🙌 Good luck on the TAT!

Lynch, Kentucky is a sleepy little place with a history of a once great coal mining town. It’s also the start of the “Dragon Slayer 160” a 20 mile scenic route with 226 significant curves that winds its way into the town of Appalachia Virginia. The Dragon Slayer welcome Center is run by Erik Hubbard as a 501C-3 non profit called Backroads of Appalachia. Its purpose is economic and work force development through motorsports. It creates jobs for 2nd chance employees. Its support helps give women with a history of drug charges and rehab a high paying job, giving them pride and respect. That is it’s mission. What a great thing to support! Thanks Erik and his crew for making me feel so welcome!

That morning, It seemed like I was the first one on the road that morning with all the falling leaves across the pavement. The sun was also just peaking up above the ridge as I crossed the state line. Another glorious day of riding🙏

The rest of my day was filled with curves, old barns, fresh fried chicken, and even some gravel roads. I highly recommend you plan a week or more to ride the area weather on or off-road. It’s all beautiful!

I hit another milestone! The Tenere 700 is almost 6 month old now since getting it out of the crate back in June and I’ve already put 7000 miles on it.🙌🙏🙌

Ohio? Who would have thought ???

In my past travels, I didn’t give too much attention to Ohio. Ok, some but not much.  Last year I stayed with Mr. Wark at the Warkshop, rode with Mark on parts of the “Triple nickel” ( Ohio 555) and thoroughly enjoyed it, then there is always the National museum of the US Air Force in Dayton and my  great friends Stephanie and Mike in Columbus who are all my “must see people” when passing through. 

This time, however was a bit different. Months ago, Major Carla Cavanagh reached out to ask about my travels and the ADV life. We’ve stayed in touch and I wanted to make it a point to meet up on my way east. We had plans to do some of the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail together but our schedules didn’t match up. Since first chatting, Carla picked up a BMW G-650 GS fully farkled and took lessons from Pat Jacques in Colorado at ADVWoman. Carla has done most of a 48 state ride on her two other bikes ( Vulcan cruiser and FJR sport tourer) so she is a seasond rider. It’s also great to see others exploring different styles of riding!  She agreed to host me for a few days and show me around.  🙌🙏🙌 One of her favorite spots is the Ohio Veteran memorial in Clinton. She showed me a few of her friends who are recognized there. 

Similarly, I found Kane Wagner on Instagram who runs Appalachian ADV  He really is the geaux-to guy when needing ADV tracks for Ohio, West Virginia, with parts of Pennsylvania and Kentucky thrown in. He has mild to wild routes so be sure to look him up if you want to ride any of those areas. Kane is also retired US Air Force and a Tenere 700 owner so we have a bit in common.😉 Carla and I spent a few hours chatting with Kane one afternoon about his history and what he wants to do with his website. Kane sets up ADV/ Dual sport tracks and then invites riders to join him for a weekend for an informal type rally. I told him to be careful what he wishes for because with the growing popularity of ADV riding, it won’t take long for him to have an unmanageable gaggle of riders in the woods. That’s from my experience with the PNW Tenere crew over the last several years. It’s great to see the excitement and enthusiasm of riders that want to share their passion with others! 

Kane loaded up my GPS with a great set of ADV tracks in Eastern Ohio for Carla and me to explore using Jefferson Lake State Park as a launching pad from the Yamahauler. It’s a quiet little out of the way state park. The leaves were in full fall colors for our day ride. Enjoy the pics! 

All of this adds up to Ohio being worth way more then I initially gave it credit for. It’s the people like Bob, Mark, Stephanie, Mike, Carla and Kane. It’s also the beautiful roads like the Ohio route 3(“3C’s” that connects Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland) I guess it didn’t hurt to be here right as the leaves were in full fall colors too🙌 So don’t underestimate the beauty in YOUR state. Get out, make friends and explore! 

Oh and I almost forgot Dan, a PNW Tenere owner from outside Portland who was in Columbus on business the day I passed through…. how fortuitous 😁