As prep for a possible TAT trip later in the summer, I decided to try this thing called the Blue Ridge Trail. Due to time limitation ( I had to ride to and from Raleigh, NC) I only did the southern portion, getting on the trail at Buchanan and going down to the single track portion near Damascus.
For navigation I used a 60csx. I recently found this software called GPX2IMG which is like a gift from god. I made one big track of the trail on Mapsource and converted it to an image map. After that all I did was try to keep the black arrow on the image. Never used a map or my brain the whole trip. Actually, most of the time I never knew where I was at.
A big thanks to error cooled for creating this trail. I look forward to doing the northern part sometime soon.
Packed and ready to go.
On the way out.
First sign of dirt
Pines CG. Only $5! Would have been $4 if I had some ones.
A few miles from from the CG, I followed my little black arrow from a smooth dirt road to a rougher, wetter jeep trail.
This was the first puddle big enough to ponder. For some background, I recently had my hip replaced (re-surfaced). That and the fact that I was alone and heavily loaded was in the back of my mind. I knew I absolutely could not fall or get stuck. Therefore I carefully examined all the options.
Option 1: Go to the left. Not possible due to fence.
Option 2: Go through, but can't tell how deep or muddy it was.
Option 3: Do the bypass shown in the picture below. The mud in the middle was tacky and thick. This should be easy. But if I screwed up and ended in the rut I might be stuck.
Option 4: Go around to the right of Option 3. Too dangerous. There were many ruts, holes, logs etc. hidden in the grass.
I thought I was going to do Option 3, but decided to check out the main puddle at several places with a long stick. I discovered that under the water the surface was actually hard with very little mud.
I did option 2 and it was a piece of cake.
This was the biggest puddle of them all.
Here I am on the other side. I wish someone was there to film me wheelie-ing through this thing.
Oh, and there were sharks in there too.
View from high ground.
Hogback Ridge Road? These were the biggest power lines I ever saw and I work for a power company.
More Hogback views.
Ok, this is steeper than it looks. Maybe 70 degrees as I remember it.
The gate is halfway up the hill so I ride up to read the sign.
Holy crap! When I stop, the bike starts sliding downhill backwards with the wheels locked up!
The WR is so tall I can't touch the ground. All I can do is ride it out until I crash. And going backwards it doesn't take long. Thanks goodness my surgically repaired hip took the brunt of the crash.
I try to lift this up but it won't budge.
I drag the front end around and try again. Still no luck.
I strip off all the luggage but still have little belief that I can lift it.
Lucky for me, a 12yr old girl came by and lifted it for me. Thanks!.
Re-packed and ready to continue.
Cripple Creek mall. You wouldn't believe the stuff they had in there. They should have their own episode on Hoarders.
Raven Cliff CG. Only $5.
Ancient Mayan ruin. From the Jurassic period I think.
Raven Cliff CG.
Favorite part of camping. The fine dining.
Lookout near Corners Rock CG. The trail runs right through this CG.
Lookout view. Unfortunately I never have a camera that is up to my fine photographic skills.
Lookout view. Why am I not smiling? I am having a great time! Maybe I was thinking about the long slab back to Raleigh.
Working my way back to the BR Parkway. New River, Fries, VA.
I was lucky with great weather the whole time. A really dark sky and a little rain caught me as I pulled off the BRP to head home. I managed to out run it while pissing off some people with my aggressive driving. The slab back was tiresome.
The riding was great. Except for Hogback Ridge I think I enjoyed the paved parts the most because I could see more. The portion from the end of the trail (start of the single track) to the connection with the BRP was very nice too. Lots of curvy one lane roads both paved and unpaved. I would like to try the singletrack when I am not alone and so burdened.
There was an amazing amount of deer. I encountered deer in the road about 10 times. Now I had a good excuse to ride slow other than my lack of skills.
Here I am back to the motorcycle hell that is Raleigh wishing I was on the BRT.
Thanks to all for reading this. And for those who didn't read, then thanks for not reading.