The Ultimate Adventure Report

I see. That's too bad.

I like them because it reminds me of when I used to live in SoCal.
I think I'm not a fan because of the hype I received for it, only to try it three times at three different locations and come away disappointed every time. A number of Californians have argued it's the best burger on the planet. I will fanatically argue that a Five Guys burger is a million times better.

While we're on the topic of great burgers, I was in Norwalk CT and asked around for a burger recommendation only to be directed to a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant. I felt odd going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering a burger and fries but it turned out to be one of the best burgers I've ever had.
 
Everyone's tastes are different, and I get how it can be over-hyped - which always leads to disappointment. Five Guys is a good burger, but I prefer In-N-Out fries. And, no milkshakes at Five Guys, either. :(

That being said, from a corporate point of view, In-N-Out is a great company. They treat their work force very well, like family. They are not the stereotypical corporation, and I like doing business with good companies.

So, good, bad or indifferent, I'm going to get my fix - it's been 2 long years!
 
That being said, from a corporate point of view, In-N-Out is a great company. They treat their work force very well, like family. They are not the stereotypical corporation, and I like doing business with good companies.
That's very good to know. That alone is enough that I may give them one more try... Someone has clued me in on a secret menu item that sounded good. I'm with you on Five Guys shakes, sawdust and almond milk I believe.

If you find yourself in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan hit up Brgr. The best milkshake I have ever had and darn good burgers too.
 
A month in Texas and all I have to show for it is a sunrise photo from a parking lot.

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Spent most of my free time looking at real estate in San Antonio, there might be a relocation in my future.

Came back to Georgia and put the Sequoia in the woods for the afternoon.

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Hoping to get a little camping in this weekend followed by a brake system overhaul on The Tree next week and getting the lift kit installed. Then it's back to Austin and San Antonio for a follow up interview.
 
Wow, no updates since February and since abandoning social media and my web hosting services the first several pages of this thread are beyond broken. Work and life have gotten in the way of any sort of outdoor adventures over the past year. Things are changing though.

A brief update. I've spent the last several months in and out of Texas, Florida and California. No hiking, no camping and minimal motorcycle time. Bought a house just outside Atlanta though. That means a bigger garage and a huge climate controlled shop. Lots of plans for both of these.

All of that working and moving brings me to this week. Sitting in California this morning I find myself at the beginning of a new adventure. I took a promotion late last week to manage all of my company's projects in the Western United States. This means tons of time west of the Colorado river. A little freer work schedule as well should mean more time to get out and explore. Very excited about this. With the amount of time I'll be spending out west I'm considering stashing a motorcycle or Jeep somewhere to have an adventure vehicle at my fingertips. We'll see how that pans out.

I'm going to work on fixing the images in the beginning of this thread. Looking forward to ARV in a few weeks to reconnect with friends.
 

kw247

Adventurist
Gallowbraid,

My dad and I camped next to you at ARV 2016. We missed ARV 2017 due to going on an Elk Hunt but heading back this year. Look forward to meeting up again. Congrats on the promotion and new adventures that will bring. I enjoy reading your reports.
 
Gallowbraid,

My dad and I camped next to you at ARV 2016. We missed ARV 2017 due to going on an Elk Hunt but heading back this year. Look forward to meeting up again. Congrats on the promotion and new adventures that will bring. I enjoy reading your reports.
It'll be great to see you guys again! Looking forward to hearing the awesome hunt stories!
 
Started re-uploading photos at the beginning of this thread and update a little more in the here and now as well.

October had us settled in our new house and me on my way to Kernersville NC for a project. Conveniently the Appalachian Rendevous was right down the road. I was able to break away from work for a bit to join in the fun, see old friends, meet new friends and do all the things that a Rendevous is good for. Kernersville and Asheboro had some nice sunsets too.

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Hauled the motorcycle up with me and got to take advantage of some well rained on FS roads.

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The Rendevous was quite wet and a little cold, but nothing the prepared couldn't handle. Enjoyed some hammock camping off the motorcycle and a great sunrise on the final morning.

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New Years Eve seemed like a great day for a hike so I called up a friend and we struck out for Pine Mountain Trail in Cartersville. There are several trails around GA named Pine Mountain Trail, and there's a Pine Mountain near Columbus GA as well...just to make things confusing.

This particular trail climbs to the top of a ridge and on a clear day you get a panoramic view of Lake Allatoona and even the Atlanta skyline. Today however it was rainy and overcast so when you got to the top you had visibility of about 15 feet. Just a panoramic view of grey. Still a great hike and I'd recommend it should you find yourself in the area.

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This apparently is the view from the top on a clear day (from the alltrails.com site):

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I'm going to wait for a cold clear winter day and head up again to take in the view.
 
So over the weekend @Scott B. , my buddy Jeremy and myself made an overnight trip to do a little exploring in NW Georgia and the Little River Canyon area of Alabama.

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We left Cabela's in Acworth a little after 10am on Saturday morning and headed up I75 to John's Mountain WMA just south of Dalton GA. The weather was not on our side as it rained all day on Saturday and into Saturday night. We knew it was going to be a wet weekend going into this, but had no idea how much water we'd get to see on this trip.

After exiting I75 and working our way into the WMA we followed 2 lane county roads that wound through old farm land and a mixture of homes. Some were barely standing with vines and nature set upon them to return them to the dirt. Others were new enough and plopped right in the middle of would have once been endless cow pastures in the past. Overall not bad scenery and some pretty rural area. One purpose of this trip for me was to scope out some of the trail heads in the area for future hiking. One in particular was the trail head and the John's Mountain Overlook. Unfortunately we ran into a locked gate at the bottom of the road due to the government shutdown. I'm planning on making a trip back up here this spring to hike the Pinhotti Trail / John's Mountain Loop.

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The view from the overlook at the trail head parking lot is supposed to be pretty good and the trail has plenty of good vantage points as it winds along the top of the ridge.

After heading further into the WMA we came across our first re-route. A road I had marked on the track as being a dirt track that would cut across the WMA toward Alabama turned out to now be someone's drive way. It may still be an county road with all the proper easements, but we didn't want to find ourselves facing down angry land owners. We opted to stick to the paved county roads and headed further west toward Alabama.

We stopped for lunch at Los Maguey Mexican Restaurant in Summerville GA. If you find yourself passing through it was pretty good. We then crossed into Alabama and headed south on 15/273 toward the southern end of the Little River Canyon National Preserve. We turned into the preserve and picked up 275 that winds around the rim of the canyon. There are signs at either end of this road warning drivers of it's conditions:

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They're not kidding. Even as a paved road, with the rainfall some of the grades and corners had LSD and traction control kicking in. There's no switchbacks here, the road goes straight up and straight down over the elevation changes. As we climbed the world outside turned grey marking our ascent into the cloud bank. The fog broke as we began to work out way through the bends around the canyon's edge and we stopped at a few overlooks to take in the view and get rained on. Rock ledges gave views down into water run off cutting it's way toward the Little River. What normally would be only seasonal creeks or even dry drainage beds were today roaring streams of water.

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The river thundered through the canyon below as it snaked its way south.

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A seasonal waterfall was full of run off today as it fell over 100' from it's peak to the rocks below.

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We continued north on the western rim of the canyon, taking in most of the remaining views from the comfort of our vehicles as the rain and the temperatures were turning colder. We made note of several trail heads here that we'd need to come back and explore at a later date. Continuing our way north we passed next to Mushroom Rock (image credit: wikipedia):

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Continuing north along the western rim of the canyon we popped out on highway 35 and then off onto 295 looking for a forest service road that would take us north toward DeSoto State Park. Turning onto this FS road we were greeted not by a road, but what looked like a flowing stream. Huge amounts of rain and run off were flooding the road as we made our way through. A water crossing at the beginning of the road appeared to probably be only a few feet wide and a foot deep on a normal day...hardly worth even noting. Today however it was 7 or 8 feet across and several feet deep...lots of fun.

The road itself wasn't difficult, I had switched into AWD just for some sure-footedness, but didn't lock the center dif or drop into 4lo at any point. We continued down the road enjoying the rain, the mud and the puddles. There were a couple of gateless roads that split off our main track, but without knowing what sort of trailer turn around options were available on them we bypassed these options to return another time.

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Eventually our track brought us to another water crossing. On a normal day I suspect this one is probably doable in anything with 4wd and a small amount of ground clearance...maybe in small cross overs. Today however it was a raging torrent of angry water.

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After some debate, throwing a rock that made a deep sounding ke-plunk and some poking with a stick we opted to turn around and go back the way we came. No point in risking the vehicles or the tear drop as this water was moving quite fast and was of an unknown depth. After getting back to pavement we put ourselves at the mercy of Google maps navigation and headed for DeSoto State Park for the night.

Once at the park our plan was to utilize the primitive campground as it has a large stone pavilion with a fireplace in one end. Perfect for campfire time out of the rain. (Picture from a 2012 motorcycle trip:)

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Unfortunately when checking in the State Park employee insisted on listing the teardrop as a RV, meaning we were required to camp in the improved campground. So we picked a site and wedged ourselves in between campers and class A motorhomes sporting satellite TV and wifi. We got some interesting looks as we set up camp. It's not every day you see a tiny RV, a green teepee and an idiot in a hammock.

The rain eventually broke late in the evening and we got a fire started on a bed of pine boughs in the fire ring. As the clouds broke we were greeted by an incredibly bright moon and the wind picked up as the temperature dropped. Scott retired to his toasty tear drop, Jeremy to his tent and I to my hammock. I woke up a little after midnight to the sound of sleet and after making a night time stroll to the watering tree I tucked myself back into the hammock as snow began to fall.

We woke up to what would barely be considered a dusting of snow in most of the country. I sure in the population centers of the south east this caused absolute bedlam.

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We hit up the lodge for their breakfast buffet and then parted ways and Scott headed to Huntsville and Jeremy and I set off for Cathedral Caverns State Park. It was 30 degrees as we entered the caverns, but the temperatures quickly rose once we were underground. The cave system stays a comfortable 60 - 65 degrees year round. (Photos from an earlier visit with my daughter:)





After leaving the caverns we headed for Georgia, crossing several ridges that gave amazing views of the Tennessee River.

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All in all a good overnight trip...
 
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