Yesterday the weather was fantastic so Nitrospazz and I put down 11.5-12.5 miles in the kayaks along the river off of 129 (Deal's Gap). Great day, worked out the arms, had a blast, watched the Buggattis and Ferrari zip by. No sweat. (see Killboy.com for the Bugs) Today the weather was even better. What did I do? 298 miles (should have gone around the block to make it an even 300) on the DRZ400s on virtually every kind of terrain in the area. Short run on the interstate to get to the highway to get to the back roads to get to things that might even sorta count as a road... Trails? Check. Things that were trails 20 years ago? Check. Tree hopping? Check. Clearing out sixty-two point five zillion spider webs? Check, complete with lightly glistening jacket. Toward the end of the adventure I came back up by way of Deal's Gap and stopped for a break at the overlook (butt on a DRZ seat for 250+ miles sort of demanded it). Trip was up there on his sweet GS so we chatted for a bit as the sun sank behind the mountains. I followed him out toward home with his nice bright GS leading the way..and drawing every stupid bug in the planet into his wake! The upside, natures pest control was in full swing. You guessed it, bats. Lots of bats. Everywhere there were bats. We watched them at the overlook and then along the lake. I saw one large juicy bug in my headlight just as the bat snatched it from in front of my face. The seocnd bat, however, got a nice thump off of my shoulder. I hope the little guy is okay. Not two minutes later I had a possum (?) become a speed bump right in front of the Harley place on the lake. It must have seen the prices of gas and put itself to sleep??? I will get into the pics in a few minutes. Trying to see if there is something soft enough to sit down on! Here we go: Started off early and figured I'd be out for about 100-120 miles or so. The weather was fantastic to say the least! Today's ride would have a few purposes; delete whatever remained of the old knobbies, relax and enjoy a solo run with no solid destination or time frame, and to see if there were a few good camp sites and kayak put-in's. I think I accomplished all the above. Grabbed the back pack, some trail mix and gatorade and fired up the trusty DR. Hopped south on the interstate to 129 and started meandering some back roads down to Vonore where I topped off with gas. From Vonore I turned onto 360 and started exploring, literally, everything on the left side. If it had a road, I took it. A trail that didn't look like private property it was fair game. Found a few bleah spots, a few interesting ones, but nothing to come back to yet. After a few false-leads I ended up on several roads that paralleled the lake. One of the sections had a nice little knoll so it was my first photo stop. (I learned an easier way to mount/access the camera later). It was clear with a few random clouds and a feint breeze that kept the bugs down and it may be the ridiculous price of gas but there were hardly any boats out yesterday. The steed of choice, '07 Suzuki DR-400s. A perfect bike to hit virtually ever kind of terrain, road, trail, etc. Farther up the road it branched off with a parking area for a nature hike so I took a short walk. The scenery was great, the bugs a bit more active, and the cat tails growing by the thousands! I can only imagine that at night the sound of the frogs would be bordering on deafening. Back out onto another kind of road, looks like someone used a bit of tar and pressed gravel. Anyone got a WRC car? Rabbits were hopping back and forth pretty regularly between the woods and water. Hung a left to explore what looked to be a peninsula on the GPS and was rewarded with another largish swamp area. The trail kept going and so did I. A few grassy trails and then it looked like someone tried to drive this area when it was wet. Not a problem with it dry though a pair of snakes went from the field toward the bushes as I was putting the camera away. They actually went right under the bike. Not sure what they were, but likely just black snakes. I'd see a few more before the day was done. And that grassy trail actually T'd off, so it was time to explore the other side. I'd sit around and talk turkey with the toms that were hanging out there, but that would be a bit too punny. (yes, pair of big turkeys were munching things alongside the grasses). The trail, albeit short, had a good rhythm to it, enough so that I whipped around a downhill left blinded by a fallen tree and then "BRAKES!" Looks like a recent victim of the tornadoes. Individually the trees would have been easy (single, then an easily taken pair). They just fell in such a way to make it awkward. I figured I'd walk the trail a bit and see if it was worth it but it dead-ended about 100 yards farther up. I'd save the energy for more interesting things. Looks like a recent victim of the tornadoes. Individually the trees would have been easy (single, then an easily taken pair). They just fell in such a way to make it awkward. I figured I'd walk the trail a bit and see if it was worth it but it dead-ended about 100 yards farther up. I'd save the energy for more interesting things. And a brief cameo while walking back to the bike. There had been two butterflies on the edge of the helmet visor right up until I got the camera out. Go figure?