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UF Engineering Slave
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370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've realized that this is my last summer of freedom. I'll be getting my engineering BS next fall and probably wont get an entire summer off again until I'm in my 60's. So I've gotta make this one count! I've got tons of time, a pickup truck, and not much cash, so the plan is to do a mixture of sleeping in the truck, camping, and crashing at friends places while I sample the best mountain biking in the south east. I've got to keep costs low, which means not spending too much on gas or lodging (otherwise I'd be headed to CO and crashing at 5 star hotels :thumbsup: )

Anyways, here's the list so far. Let me know if you think there is anything I should add/remove.

Conyers Atlanta, GA
Stanley Gap/Flat Creek Blue Ridge, GA
Bear Creek & Pinhotti Ellijay, GA
Bull MTN Dahlonega, GA
Issaqueena Clemson, SC
Tsali Bryson City, NC
Bent Creek Asheville, NC
Black mountain Asheville, NC
Laurel Mountain Asheville, NC
DuPont Asheville, NC
Raccoon MTN Chattanooga, TN
Monte Sano Huntsville, AL
Oak MTN Birmingham, AL
Cheaha MTN Anniston, AL
 

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Its got what plants crave
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For your days up in Pisgah you can camp in the unimproved camping sites up near the horse stables for free. Otherwise you have to pay 15-20 dollars if you camp in Bent Creek or Davidson. Also you might stop by Windrock in TN, especially if you're into any DH/FR stuff.


I am envious of your trip.
 

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I did something similar after I finished school. Took off and spent 3 months doing a big loop around the US, going to some of the best National Parks. It was a great experience to have all that freedom and time. Blew all my savings, but you are absolutely right - do it while you can.

Anyway - there is Fort Yargo SP in Winder, it's just outside of Atlanta, and not too far from Conyers. You can camp or cabin, swim, ride - then shower. It's a really fun 13+ mile roller coaster. I really love that place. $3 parking pass, and I don't know how much they charge to camp. It's a pretty nice set up.

If you made Yargo your home base for a couple of days - you could hit up Conyers, Chicoppee in Gainesville, and Heritage outside of Athens. All about 30 min. away (in different directions), and more technically difficult trails. All 4 are SORBA race courses though. I live in Athens, so hit me up - if you want a tour guide.

There is also FATS over outside of Augusta - it's a great system, with camping close by, but might be a little out of your way. It's an IMBA epic, I believe. lots of fun miles.


You got a solid list.... Ahhhh, to have no responsibilities again....man, I'm jealous.
 

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When you finish your NC trails and are heading towards Chattanooga to ride Raccoon Mountain, via Highway 64, you will pass these two trail systems as you go through the Cherokee National Forest. They are worth the stop and comparable to the other trials you have listed.

Tanasi (32 miles) - http://www.sorbachattanooga.org/trails/trail_guide.php?state=TN&trail=8
This trail system is located just behind the Whitewater Center, on Highway 64.

Chilhowee (25 miles) - http://www.sorbachattanooga.org/trails/trail_guide.php?state=TN&trail=2
This trail system are located about 15 miles down the gorge from the Tanasi trial, seven miles up Chilhowee Mountain.
 

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Training for vacation
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306 Posts
Getting out of school isn’t a death sentence. You’ll finally get paid for your work and they do let you leave from time to time.

I will double schaarschmidt's recommendation of the Cherokee area.
 

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yeah, uh............bikes
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first, yes, getting out of school is a death sentence, go and get your master's and maybe a PhD.

second, +1 for Tanasai and Chilowee, they're close together and Tanasai has great facilities and is a cool area.

third, if you're going north, why not take it all the way to Snowshoe??

edit: what about Olympics Trail in Ga? I've heard good reviews.
 

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UF Engineering Slave
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370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the advice

I added Tanasi, Chilhowee, Chicoppee and Fort Yargo.

Swayback, Lake Lurleen and FATS are a bit out of the way from my current route, But I'll keep them in mind if I manage to do everything else and still have time to kill ;)

FloridaFish: Snowshoe is out of the way and I'm guessing expensive. I believe the Olympic trail your referring to is Conyers, which is already on the list

Here is it all mapped out.

Raccoon MTN, Monte Sano, Oak MTN and Cheaha MTN would be easy to cut out if I run out of time or money.
 

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HandyMan, that is a smart move. I'm assuming some middle-aged dude like me gave you a heads up on the whole "last summer of freedom" thing. I think it is a great move to go spend a summer traveling and riding.

However, I do suggest you reconsider whether to go out west. The gas isn't going to be too much money. I dream of some day getting to do a summer trip like that--I've got the cash, but not the time. It will be another 7 years at least before my youngest heads for college and I'm a working stiff for at least that amount of time.

Just so you will know about the Asheville area, you could spend weeks there. Go stay in the Davidson/White Pines area as your home base as suggested. You can drive to Greenville in a little more than an hour. DuPont is 15 minutes away. Kitsuma (Black Mountain) is about a 40 minute drive. And you could ride in Pisgah for weeks and not hit all the trails. Get a topo map (Pisgah Ranger District) and just go ride. Shoot me an e-mail when you are leaving and maybe I'll be up there. My wife's family has a place in the North Mills River area and I get to ride Pisgah several times a year.
 

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UF Engineering Slave
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370 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gatorback, don't tempt me with these suggestions of going west! :D Its definitely been in the back of my mind... A whole summer is plenty of time to be spontaneous, I figure that I'll start with this somewhat planned trip around the south east, and if after a couple of weeks I decide I want to go west, I will ;)

I will likely be doing this alone and the SE is definitely my 'comfort zone'... I want to make sure I can handle it before I venture too far from home.

Speaking of being alone, what should I do about safety? Now that I think about it, I should probably take a wilderness first aid course between now and then.
 

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Training for vacation
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Come now you can’t be spontaneous and worry about safety at the same time!

Seriously though:
When camping let the ranger/host know how long you plan on staying and what you will be doing.
Try not to ride alone in a new place. Let some locals show you the best spots. Check out the LBS to get trail info or hook up a day or two with a group ride.
Let your family/friends know where and how long you expect to be at each location. Check in with them from time to time.

If you do breakdown or get hurt in the middle of nowhere this reduces the risk of being with out help for too long.

Make sure you chronicle your trip for the rest of us working saps.
 

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yeah, uh............bikes
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all good info about riding alone. First Aid is good to know, but doing it on yourself is sometimes much different. I've done a few of these solo trips and here are my comfort rules.

inform someone about your riding "schedule" if anything changes give someone an update. I usually gave a call to someone after every ride. If I don't call sometime everynight, then something is wrong.

There is a product out now similar to marine EPIRB systems that will activate a satellite tracking system if turned on. good idea, but hella expensive.

ride within your boundaries, on your own in the wilderness is no time to try something outside your skills. If you think you need armor, wear armor.
 

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n3rd
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253 Posts
Going West

I'm planning a mini trip out west this summer hopefully between the summer mini semesters.. the gas wasn't really looking that expensive and overall not much more mileage than your current route. Although less trailheads.. but there's a lot of longer trail out west. BIKEPACKING!! :thumbsup: :D
 

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CrgCrkRyder
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2,373 Posts
Have Fun

Handyman. I am so jealous. Ride and enjoy, I'm sure you will find lots of adventure out there. If you get up as far as Virginia, lots of good riding off of the I-81 corridor from Blacksburg to Harrisonburg. Carvins Cove and Douthat State Park are two of my favorite trail systems. Lots of other more remote stuff in the National Forests.

New link for stuffa around Roanoke

http://www.mountainjunkies.net/Trails.htm

:)
 

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Man, you guys need to watch more Survivorman episodes or something. If you are going to be out there alone much, and won't have anyone staying with you at night who will know your itinerary each day, get yourself one of these:

http://www.thewaytogps.com/spwofisame1.html

Also, I'd highly recommend reading Between A Rock And A Hard Place, by Aron Ralston, not because it will teach you too much about survival but because it is a great book. I think he now is also one of the spokespeople for the Spot personal beacon (or maybe another brand of the same thing).

If you like that book, I'd move on to John Krakauer's books--but beware because you may decide you want to follow his path and you'll never end up as a regular working stiff. You'll be an overqualified, part-time roofer who picks up and goes biking or hiking or climbing for months every year. With luck, and a mentor like David Roberts, maybe you'd also become a famous writer. Did I suggest you read David Roberts' books as well? You should do so.

When I ride in Pisgah, I ride alone most of the time just by necessity. I just make it a practice to write down my planned ride (or at least the planned area) so that my wife knows where to tell people to go look for me if I don't come back. I'm also in the habit of saying "If I'm not back by such and such time then I'm probably dead you should worry."

Dude, I am really jealous. My young law partner went and worked in Vail for a year between undergrad and law school. I wish I had been that smart.

If I were you, I'd be hitting the Southeast for a few weeks then work my way to Colorado, into Utah, and on up to Oregon. I'd try to climb Mt. Hood in Oregon and Whitney in California if I would come up with the funds to find a guide for those climbs. Do yourself a favor and go hike the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park in late July or August.

For now, Santos and several trips a year to Pisgah will have to hold me over.
 

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yeah, uh............bikes
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2,712 Posts
Gatorback said:
Man, you guys need to watch more Survivorman episodes or something. If you are going to be out there alone much, and won't have anyone staying with you at night who will know your itinerary each day, get yourself one of these:

http://www.thewaytogps.com/spwofisame1.html
yeah, that's what I was talking about. I saw one at Gander Mtn. last week. Kinda expensive and I believe you have to be conscious to activate it. Still a great idea.
 
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