Garth and Rich do some TET riding...
First, a huge thank you goes out to intothenew and the other inmates who helped route and test the TET. We would not have tried this trip without your tracks!
This is Garth:
He likes to climb Mt Washington. He's done it many times. Several climbs were done in the winter, with snow shoes, crampons and an ice climbing axe. Oh yeah, he's done the winter climb SOLO a few times too.
Garth has been riding for about a year.
This is Rich, your narrator:
I like to climb Mt BBQ.
I've been riding for about 100 years but still rely on luck more than skill.
Garth has a mighty KLX250s that is nearly stock.
My bike is a KLR250 which is also nearly stock.
Both bikes have been majorly upgraded with the WalMart seat pad.
In addition to that Garth stuffed some extra foam underneath the pad and I sprung for the Dick's Sporting Goods stadium seat pad upgrade. The KLR650 riders seem to be characterized as cheap on this board. I'm just trying to live up to that (at the 250 level).
Starting in Duncannon PA, we planned to head southwest tracking TET sections 9, 8 and 7 ending in Atkins VA. That's about 200 miles a day totaling 600 miles down and another 600 back. We were hoping for 50% or more on dirt. We brought enough camping gear for the trip to avoid hotels.
Can you guess which one of us came from backpacking and which came from car camping? If the gear on the bikes doesn't help you, here's another hint:
My tent is green and Garth's tent is orange.
We trailered our bikes from CT to the Riverfront Campground in Duncannon PA. I'd like to say that the above picture, with its lush pastoral setting, was taken there but that would be a lie. The TET notes clearly state that the Riverfront Campground is "not a manicured park".
It's pretty rough and if you like trains you'll love this place! They come through all night. These weren't wimpy AMTRACK four car jobs mind you, they were engine in one state, caboose in another, huge freight snakes.
But where else can you camp for $10 a night and then park your car and trailer safely for $1 a day??? I asked Jack Daniels (didnt get his name so we gave him one) if he would appreciate an ADV mention and he said "send them on down!"
The most flattering picture I could muster of our tent site at Riverfront:
Pictures vs words...
I understand many of you inmates are more accustomed to looking at pictures rather than reading words. It comes from the early days of reading your dad's glossy magazines from the back of his closet. I may disappoint you somewhat in that we really didn't take that many pics.
You see, the trouble is that all those generous inmates who post epic pics of epic rides take time away from their rides to provide other inmates with entertainment. They have spoiled us all.
I realized a few things early in our ride:
1) If I'm going to keep stopping to snap pics, I'll never get there.
2) If I'm always busy framing the shot, it seems too much like work to me and I'm retired now.
3) I can't get my friggin' iPhone to operate wearing a glove so that's an extra step every time I want to capture a memory.
So if this report is light on pics, I apologize and respectfully suggest that you go ride your own ride and take your own pics. Just remember to bring something you can operate with a gloved hand!
Gratuitous pic to keep the numbers up:
He wanted to hitchhike but in spite of his obvious Kawasaki greeness, Garth and I agreed not to pick up any more strays when we go riding.
We left Duncannon Sunday am and very quickly discovered that my GPS wasn't going to give me turn by turn directions. When asked to follow the road to the beginning of the route it complained about having over 50 waypoints. So I told it to go directly to the route. It gave me a purple line that was comforting until we reached a fork in the road. The purple line said go straight, bisecting the fork. Well we couldn't do that because there was a house in the way so we went here instead:
Jacked up on caffeine, we continued through the rolling hills and farm land of PA.
I soon noticed a green track on the GPS that mostly followed the roads so we followed that. I have the auto zoom turned off on my GPS and have to manually look ahead for up coming turns. Constantly pushing the buttons while bouncing down the road is a minor challenge that initially worked well as an excuse to miss turns. Garth soon caught on though and I had to step up. So I had to invent creative reasons why we had to stop and turn around. "did you see that____?"
(fill in the critter). "That road looks better..."
It only took me about 800 miles or so to get the flick on the green line. I'm a pro now.
We managed to find this place though! Oh yeah!
That really wasn't the first Michaux sign we saw but it is the only one for which there is a picture. If you locals were wondering how we got there from the north remember that some of our time was spent looking for the tribe gone missing. You know, the fuckowies...
Somehow, through no fault of my own, we found ourselves off route and missed some prime dirt. No big deal, we would get another shot at it in a few days on the way back up.
After 205 blissful, sunny, problem free miles it was time to find a campsite. The TET founding fathers did a great job of including waypoints for camping, hotels and gas along the route. We had planned for the first night's stay to be at "The Battle of Cedar Creek Campground" and arrived to find it unattended. We called their number (a cell I guess) and were instructed to find a spot and stuff the $20 in the slot.
Our site was right next to the creek:
When you stay at a place called The Battle of Cedar Creek, your inner paranoia gives you two concerns:
Will the friggin' creek rise and drown us?
Did soldiers die here and thus, are there ghosts?
Well at least they had a nice pool (sorry, no pics) and only one distant train was heard.
But about the ghosts...can there be any other explanation for what we found the next morning?
On a trip of this magnitude and importance, not unlike that of Lewis and Clark, proper nutrition must play a key roll. Well the rolls betwixt my chest and my belt were callin' so it was off to Lardee's for breakfast.
Ok, so it's not quite a riding picture but there is a GPS on the table and I warned you earlier.
The scenery, paved or not, was gorgeous. We had left PA and MD and were now traversing along the VA/WV border. There were literally tall white mansions and little shacks (sorry Neil). The log homes were made from un-milled logs with chinking equal in volume. The farm buildings with their colapsed roofs and general disrepair illustrated a vibrant rural past and the economic plight suffered by small farms today.
We also saw plenty of critters...
Often one of us would see an animal and the other would not. The flocks of wild turkeys hogging the road were pretty hard to miss. It was all hens but for one Tom. He was solo though...prolly fed up with the hens.
So the list goes:
Deer, many and big. One jumped out in front of me about 20 feet ahead. I was on a dirt road going 40. I went 38 after that.
Snakes, three. We had this guy who I named Martin Luther:
Then this guy, for whom we had no fear!
He had bees flying in and out of his mouth so we figured he was dead.
There was another, different type of encounter with a king snake later in the trip but you'll have to wait for that.
Oh yeah, bees too...
To finish the critter list...
We saw hawks and maybe an eagle. There was a quail or grouse and a turtle who could have qualified for the Olympics. He had just started to cross the forest road when we locked 'em up and were going to go pay him a visit. He was across and gone before we could put a foot down.
There were dogs. A Weiner dog chased us behind his fence. A JRT chased us in the street. New rule: All dogs must start barking as soon as they see the bike. They may NOT wait untill they are at ankle nipping range as this scares the crap out of the rider!
Horses and cows were at the farms as expected and there was one horse being ridden in the forest. We finally came upon it after tracking manure piles for miles.
Here's a nice pin up for you sick FF's:
There was a kid, maybe 12 years old who loaded the goat into a van. What does one do with a goat anyway? Meat? Milk? Never mind, I don't want to know.:eek1
Now there's plenty to tell and some pics to go with it. The trouble is that I may have the trip a little out of sequence, time and route wise. I can assure you we did it all but I'm just a little too retired to be constrained by the notes I didn't take. Here's the speed round:
We saw this:
Which led to this:
Garth took a swim. I didn't.
And in this:
We had a great time riding dirt switchbacks with the cliff of death on one side, blind corners and the remnants of the wind storms that hit the area in June. The clean up crews had done a thorough job of clearing these dirt roads to nowhere located in the midde of nowhere. You could see the cut off trees along the sides and the wood chips in the middle of the roads.
Some tree damage here:
We were starting to gain some confidence, riding faster as the days went on. The blind corner thing had me spooked. Truth be told, we encountered only one or two vehicles coming at us and they were positioned to be seen early. It was the unseen vehicles that had me concerned. Zipping around an inside corner where you could see way ahead was great. The outside corners scared me. I imagined coming face to face with, well, ANYTHING and the choice would be to hit it or go off the cliff. I had decided that going off the cliff was not for me so becoming a hood ornament was a possibility. I just slowed down on the outside corners.
Garth was running a GoPro and hopefully we'll have some video for you. He did have some fogging issues and it was sometimes reluctant to start recording.
Too many words, here's a pic:
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