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Ural-ing US 421 "The Snake"


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#1 csbdr

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:17 PM

We're visiting my inlaws in Bristol TN for the week and got to head out for some riding (of course, brought the rig) We were taking the kiddo out to the "Tweetsie Railroad" (no...really) yesterday and my father in law said we would be going over this one route that's "kinda curvy". Well, now... Turns out this "kinda curvy" road is a pretty popular route, called "The Snake". Not as famous as "The Dragon" I guess, but I don't think I've jumped from side-to-side more than on that road! I felt like a darned bullfrog on coke! 439 curves, or something like that... We had almost perfect weather for it as well. Sunny, mid-70's...and stopped at the Shady Valley Country Store. Kind of the equivalent of the place at the Dragon, without the bunkhouse. Situated half way through, when you've gone over one ridge flanking Shady Valley and have driven down to the valley, floor. On a Sunday afternoon, there must have been 150-200 bikes there, everyone hangin out, enjoying the ride and the sunshine! Had a terrific BBQ sanwich with coleslaw (on it, of course) and a Cheerwine soda and we were off to do the ridge on the other side of the valley.

Well, they didn't name this "The Snake" for nothing! The other side was even more intense. You leave and head up the opposite side of the valley. There were sections where you could look down the road and see 5-6-7 joined curves in a row, no straights in-between at all, which had you dancing from one side of the rig to the other to keep all 3 wheels down at once! There were several 180 degree switchbacks with severe drops on the inside lane, and tight , TIGHT, 180's if you were in the outside heading downhill. Despite my best efforts, a couple caused the rear-end to break loose and skid going around. Didn't think too much of it once through (and when I went back today I took 'em a little slower.) We ended up around Boone NC and went to the theme park which was ostensibly the destination! Great kids spot. Wild West theme, with rides, "gem" mining and a real historic steam loco which apparently did run a local route through the mountains at one point. The kiddo was riding with grandparents and loved every minute of that place.

Remember those turns breaking loose? well, I went back to the same area today and did some more riding. Went down rt 91 throught the Cherokee Nat Forest WMA (which also had some sweet twisties...) and had a blowout! Thank God for the Ural spare! Had 'er fixed in a jiffy, but found a quarter sized hole abraded straight through the tire, cords and all! Posted Image I was shocked that it would get that damaged, in a focal area, but it had to have happened the day before and wore through while I was out today. There was still good tread left on that tire too! Posted Image I've been trying to think what I was doing wrong to cause this. Speed in the corners was a factor, but wearing through a FOCAL spot has me stumped. The tire had to be locked, but I don't think I locked up the rear brakes. Guess I coulda, but I don't think so....hmmmm. Anyway, time to get some shuteye. Cheers!
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2002 Ural Tourist "Pikop Andropov" 17,537 km 8/30/07
2003 Yamaha Roadstar (hardly ridden anymore)
2002 Ural Tourist - "Pikop Andropov" 29,500
2003 Yamaha RoadStar
2009 Royal Enfield C5

#2 Duckyde

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:48 PM

Hello,
Being a ex-upstate New Yorker/Knoxville resident I am unfamiliar with the "snake" however I've had my own hack on the "Dragon" and speaking from experience, all those short turns becomes a tedious workout in short order.  However, the "Cherhola Skyway" (spelling) is a very pleasent ride with long sweeping curves.  I'm not sure how limited your schedule is, but if you ventured south towards Knoxville and wanted some local riding company I'd be happy to play sort of a tour-guide or  something of the like.   :thumbsup!:

You definately picked a great time of year to come to Tennessee in my opinion for as October weather is the most comfortably pleasent all year!
Todd
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#3 Paul St. John

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:19 AM

"Had 'er fixed in a jiffy, but found a quarter sized hole abraded straight through the tire, cords and all! Posted Image I was shocked that it would get that damaged, in a focal area, but it had to have happened the day before and wore through while I was out today. There was still good tread left on that tire too! Posted Image I've been trying to think what I was doing wrong to cause this. Speed in the corners was a factor, but wearing through a FOCAL spot has me stumped. The tire had to be locked, but I don't think I locked up the rear brakes. Guess I coulda, but I don't think so....hmmmm. Anyway, time to get some shuteye. Cheers"
I think if you look at your brake drum you would find it's probably not round,  and the brakes are grabbing at one spot in particular.
Paul
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#4 robbie moore

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:17 AM

Here a link with info on the dragon and other great roads on the area

http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
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#5 csbdr

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:28 AM

View PostDuckyde, on Oct 16 2007, 10:48 PM, said:

Hello,
Being a ex-upstate New Yorker/Knoxville resident I am unfamiliar with the "snake" however I've had my own hack on the "Dragon" and speaking from experience, all those short turns becomes a tedious workout in short order. However, the "Cherhola Skyway" (spelling) is a very pleasent ride with long sweeping curves. I'm not sure how limited your schedule is, but if you ventured south towards Knoxville and wanted some local riding company I'd be happy to play sort of a tour-guide or something of the like. :thumbsup!:

You definately picked a great time of year to come to Tennessee in my opinion for as October weather is the most comfortably pleasent all year!
Todd

I'll have to take you up on that!  We get down that way at least once a year. We're back in NYS now, having come home the 18th, but next time we're planning to go down I'll give the board a holler and see if we can hook up!  Chris
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#6 csbdr

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:36 AM

View PostPaul St. John, on Oct 18 2007, 07:19 AM, said:

I think if you look at your brake drum you would find it's probably not round, and the brakes are grabbing at one spot in particular.

Good thought, but I don't think that's it.  I don't have any grabbiness any other time.  I think I was overusing the front brake.  I had problems specificallly on tight, 180 degree turns going downhill on lefthanders only.  I noticed the next day the combination of too much speed and too much front brake (although I routinely use both at once) would lighten up the rear end to the point it would break loose, even if I was hanging off the left side.  I think suddenly sliding sideways caused the rear wheel to stop rotating and led to abrading through (I would have been off the throttle at that point).  Just a theory, but I think that's it.  I came close to doing it the next day I was out but was paying more attention and experimented with it a little.  Chris
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#7 Wooden Nickel

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:13 PM

Hi Chris,
I don't know if your tire was anything like mine.  My front tire had almost a 1/16" of tread on one side and was through two cords a half turn around.  The cords were way off center.  I noticed the cords showing but didn't get to change the tires for another 200 - 300 km.  It went through those 2 cords fast.  If yours was as off center as mine, it could have worn out in one spot very quickly.  
Glad you survived the blowout without harm to you or the rig.
Nick




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