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Old 07-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
jdrocks OP
Gravel Runner
Joined: Jul 2007
Oddometer: 4,586
The roads are generally shot rock and rotten shale type material, not bad, but a heavy rain will wash out the fines on anything with a grade. You never know what you’ll find, small bike only to big bike friendly.

Now I’ve come around the mountain to the southeast, whew, hot but no rain, and the last of the uphill Vepco section. The upper Vepco is found at a “Y” junction with Gauley Ridge, the less pain option on the BRT route takes you on the right branch and down the mountain. The left branch is the more pain “see the world” option, up and around the mountain to connect with other roads…be ready to rumble. If you have come to ride some gravel miles, and you’re a huntin’ adventure, jog left.

Time for a break at the junction of three roads, still in one piece, some rough road behind me. Tackling the roads in this sequence must almost double the miles into the SweedlinValley to the west.

It would be nice to have mesh gear in this hot weather, ain’t got none, I was wearing whatever’s in the closet. Hot, Lordy, you bet, and I was almost all the way through my water, no resupply until up the road a ways. Pools had accumulated at my elbows, and the jacket was hanging to dry, sweat dripping off in a steady stream, and I was thinkin’ I was just now seeing a piss poor waste of whiskey. Me, I’m in the shade leaning against a tree, can’t sit down, might not be able to get back up. I was trying to conjure up a gallon of some kind of ice cold drink, my magic wasn’t working.

Ahead of me was Long Run, and this road would carry me across the top of the mountain, west, then generally north to connect back up with a BRT road.

There is an old hunt camp along this road and it seems to be used year round, but the members come in by 4x4 from the other side of the mountain, easier and shorter, with fewer miles of road to keep clear. With little use, the road reverted to two track in sections. Trees form an interlocking canopy above many of these roads in the summer, when they get wet, it takes a long time to dry out. No rain does not translate to no mud.

According to a hunt club member I spoke with last year, there’s not much hunting done anymore, coyotes and poachers have taken the deer, although they do chase some bears occasionally. He was also the guy who said he had a buddy “could shoot the balls off a tick at 500 yards”. Hmmmm, best not go around poaching their deer.

Once past the club, I was at the intersection with Hall Spring where I turned east to see if the gate near the intersection with Shenandoah had been unlocked. I had ridden Hall Spring down to VA33 previously, and it used to be a convenient connection to the BRT roads at SwitzerLake. Damn, still locked, somebody doesn’t want easy access from VA33. I poked my nose a short way into Shenandoah out of curiosity, oops, too rough for me and I was going the wrong direction anyway. Backtracked Hall Spring to Little Dry River, then onto Rough Run, both BRT roads.

Rough Run isn’t all that rough, except for all the water crossings, and they can be a little tricky sometimes. Earlier, I flopped the bike mid stream, and sat in the water a long time while I tried to extract my trapped leg from under the bike. All I got out of the experience was a good Rough Run story, I sure haven’t learned to keep the bike right side up.

Rough Run is well used below the last water crossing, and I rode out to CR3 at a good clip, down off the mountain, back to pavement. That’s one of the things I like about stringing these roads together into a loop route, by the time you’re thinking about a break from a long stretch of rough road, bingo, you’ve put yourself back on hard surface.

It can’t be described as a delicate scene in there, ride to survive, I didn’t see a soul from 259 to 3, nuthin’. Damn, I shoulda turned around and done it again, but heck, my bones were already rattlin’ around like dice in a cup.
One more thing, if ya can’t find a church steeple in a freakin’ bean field, don’t go in there, next thing ya know people will be stapling up “MISSING” posters with your photo on all the power poles.

Just then my thoughts were interrupted by the smell of fried chicken, it must be stuck on my riding gear like clear coat…man, nobody can survive on just one order of extra crispy, ya get weak, fall over and die. I think I read that one time in the AARP magazine.

Sign of the cross to amp up my run of good luck, kick it in gear, and I was gone over the next mountain west.

(to be continued…)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:31 AM
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