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ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 06:57 PM

ArmyJoe's Perpetual Picture Thread
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
- The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
I've always had a bit of wanderlust. Even as a kid, I remember jumping on my bicycle and just exploring. To me, a bike meant freedom and I was lucky to live in an era when nobody had to worry about their kids. Every dirt path became an "Indian trail." Scraps of wood were misappropriated to become clubhouses. But you have to eventually grow up. Right?

I joined the Army right out of High School. My mode of transportation changed, but I still had the wanderlust. I traveled a lot by myself, often taking pictures of my foot in famous places to document my journeys. The best thing about the Army was that it gave me the opportunity to meet a beautiul woman. We got married, settled down, and had children. Damn, kids really put a damper on freedom. But you have to eventually grow up. Right?

Well, it took a long time (20+ years), but we're finally at a point in our lives where we have the time and resources to have some fun again. I re-joined the Army Reserve after an 18-year break in service. The wife bought a motorcycle; I bought two. You know what I discovered? Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

The Yamaha WR250R is the perfect bike for me. It's like an oversized mountain bike, but will allow me to go anywhere I want to go. I've only been riding on two wheels about 18 months, but I lost 13 months to a deployment in Southwest Asia. In the remaining 5 months, I've managed to put 2600 miles on my little bike. In that time, I've joined other ADVriders on three occasions and had a blast.

Stealing the idea from others, I thought it would be interesting to start a thread so I can track my adventures. Hopefully, I can look back in a few years and see how bad I was or how far I've progressed. If I'm really lucky, my kids will find this thread some day and say, "Damn, dad was cool back in the day." :lol3

September 3, 2011 - The adventure begins

ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 07:02 PM

October 9, 2011

First group ride. First time on the Interstate. First time on gravel.

Meeting at Iron Pony. (Photo by Solace)

Slabbin' it. (Photo by Solace, edited by me).

Bagging covered bridges. (Photo by buildit)

Waiting on the big bikes

Invisible Monster's 2011 Garage Day. (Photo by buildit)

ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 07:02 PM

November 11, 2011

First solo gravel ride. First bent lever. First time running out of gas.

I had a nice (and eventful) ride down to Zaleski State Forest. The temps were in the 40s, so I wore my snowboarding pants. They worked great. I was pressed for time, so I didn't take a lot of pictures. Unbeknownst to me, the route I planned took me on some nice gravel roads.

The first stop was Hope Furnace to get tag photo location. As you can see from the picture, I bent my clutch lever. Coming down SR 278, I saw a red fox on the side of the road. As I was turning around to get a picture, I dropped it. :cry

From there, I hit the gravel roads and headed over to Moonville tunnel. The new construction tells me they're finally putting in the rail trail to Athens. The water was high, so I couldn't walk across the rocks to the tunnel, so I had to settle for a long distance photo.

Back on the road, I headed past Lookout Rock towards the Mineral tunnel. The route I mapped took me down a closed road. I rode to the end anyway, saw the bridge was blocked with boulders, and backtracked the way I came. Coming at the tunnel from the other direction, I found a short bit of muddy singletrack that took me to the former rail bed. It was pretty cool riding through the old tunnel.

Looking east:

Showing some sticker love:

I was running late, so I hauled ass for home. On the way, I discovered if I'm doing 70-80 MPH, I can get 27 miles from the time the low fuel indicator comes on until I run out of gas. Luckily, the bike is light and I was a mile from a gas station.

Got home just in time to take the wife to Applebees for our Veterans Day meals.

ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 07:03 PM

October 23, 2011

I had my first get-off today while exploring a trail along some rail road tracks. As the saying goes, everything was going along just fine until I ran out of talent. I hit a spot along a slope and one of my tires wandered off the trail or the gravel broke loose. The bike toppled downhill and me with on it. Luckily (and I mean that sarcastically), I didn't fall far because my right leg was pinned between the bike and a log.

After extracting myself and taking pictures, I got the bike upright. It was a struggle since I had to start from below horizontal and I'm glad I didn't have a bigger bike. After getting it up, I walked it back up to the trail while feathering the clutch and then rode out.

Nothing is broke, but there's a little swelling on the left side of my shin (still riding in jeans since I can't afford gear). The timing sucks because I have to drive to Quantico, Virginia next Sunday to run a 3K. I'll spend the rest of the day on the couch with a bag of frozen corn, some boo-boo candy (ibuprofen), and some shit my wife uses after Army Combatives, called dit da jow.

Since I was alone, I took my own pics:

Glad that's finally out of the way. :D

UPDATE: When I originally posted that, I wasn't aware of the damage I had caused to my leg. As it turned out, I had a bit of nerve damage that caused a 2" by 4" numb spot on the inside of my right calf. It's slowly coming back, but even now (May 2013) it's still not 100%.

ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 07:14 PM

March 23, 2013 - Back from Deployment!

First time on unmaintained roads. First failed creek crossing. First successful creek crossing. Fun all around.

Morning meet up. (Photo by Sion)

Failed Creek Crossing. Proved that Garmin Zumo 660's are waterproof. (Photo by Gonzo_Matt)

Learning how to pick my lines. (Photo by Gonzo_Matt)

A short hill climb. (Photo by Gonzo_Matt)

The longest covered bridge in Ohio. (Photo by Sion)

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ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 08:30 PM

April 18, 2013

Second solo gravel ride. 167 miles down to Tar Hollow State Forest and back. I found a few gravel roads and a bunch of renegade / unmarked trails. I explored as much as time allowed. Some photos:

That's always a good sign:

Power line trails:

Wildflowers in bloom:

Tall pines in Tar Hollow:

If anyone is interested, here's the route. The black roads are asphalt and the green roads are gravel.


May 10, 2013

First stop at Peggy Sue's. First attempt at a log crossing. First thunderstorm.

Failed log crossing. The log crossed the road at an angle and I didn't have enough speed to cary me over.

Somewhere on US-62 in Knox County with the storm clouds rolling in.

Batten down the hatches!

ArmyJoe 05-20-2013 09:01 PM

May 15, 2013 - Perry State Forest

I went offroad for the first time. Perry State Forest is the site of a reclaimed strip mine. In addition to the marked trails. there's a lot of renegade trails that transition between rugged woodland and barren terrain. I did not realize how tiring poor form can be. I have a lot of work to do.

In terms of chronology, the second video should be spliced in at the 11 minute mark of the first one, but it was so epic, I thought it deserved it's own video.

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steveb126 05-21-2013 05:25 PM

Well done sir !
Keep it coming.

alcanrider 05-21-2013 07:45 PM

Friendly advice
Hey Joe, couldn't help but notice you sliding backwards down that steep hill. Here is my two cent advice to help you out. If you lean the bike to the right just a little and use the back brake, it will stop you from sliding back wards. Once you take off if you still leave a little pressure on the back brake (not a lot) it will give you more traction in going up a slick hill. Only do this when accelerating from a stop though. I discovered this works after getting in a really rough spot in the Rockies. If I hadn't done what I told you I probably wouldn't be here today. I can't even remember if somebody told me that little trick or I just learned it under severe duress, but I have done that back brake trick many times.

TheAdmiral 05-22-2013 12:29 AM


Originally Posted by ArmyJoe (Post 21453192)

You know what I discovered? Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

September 3, 2011 - The adventure begins

Appropriate beginning!

Enjoying the thread. I'll keep readin' if you keep postin'

ArmyJoe 05-23-2013 10:21 AM

Changed my first tire this morning. It only took about 90 minutes. In reality, it wasn't much harder than doing bicycle tires. The tools and techniques are the same.

I got 3300 miles out of the stock rear tire. The replacement is a Dunlop D606. The front still has some life, so I'm going to leave it for now. I'm kinda frugal.

Before and after:

Using the other tire as a work surface made it easy:

A floor jack helped to hold the tire and get it back into place:

ArmyJoe 05-23-2013 02:28 PM

After months of waffling, I finally made a decision in regards to saddle bags. I had really wanted aluminum cases, but could not find them (or make them) for a reasonable price. Instead, I went with the new Monarch Pass Saddle Bags. They have the same capacity as the Expedition Dry Saddle Bags, but at 75% of the cost. The lack of waterproofing is no concern. None of my backpacks are waterproof and I've managed to get by for years with the help of zip-lock bags.

I also mounted a new "top box." It looks like ass, but will let me pack the bulkier items (ie, sleeping bag, tent, etc) without concern.

If everything stays on track, I leave for Deals Gap on Sunday.

Solace 05-24-2013 05:09 AM

Hey Joe, it's pretty cool I was along on your first ever ride!

Enjoy the Gap but watch out - that place gets pretty hairy on a holiday weekend. I had bikes coming at me over the centerline my last two trips through there.


ArmyJoe 05-24-2013 08:32 AM

Thanks for the picture. If memory serves, that's downtown Granville. You can see that my head is on a swivel whenever I go through these small towns.

My failure to account for the holiday weekend is making me rethink my plans. The trip down was always going to be two days (not enough stamina for 300+ mile riding days), but I really don't want to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Monday. Instead, I'm going to do my route counter-clockwise and save Virginia and West Virginia for Thursday and Friday.

Honkey Cat 05-24-2013 12:32 PM

thanks for pics and videos.

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