Original plan was to load up the camping gear on the Super Enduro and head up to the BWDR gathering in Elkton. Then head over to Madison Sunday for the wardens family renuion. Well, after being gone the previous weekend to the S500 the warden was not exactly loving my plan. We were able to come to a compromise which was, take the 450 and ride either Saturday afternoon or early Sunday. Power was out at the house Saturday morning so we got a late start. It was awesome loading the bike, and the rest of the circus that is traveling with a 15 month old, in the pouring ass rain.
Since we have to travel like Patton invading Germany when traveling with baby boy, I had to figure out a way to keep all the baby stuff dry and get the bike up there. My truck is a crew cab but his "infant" child seat is anything but. So what does a rider do, scour ADV for some ideas. My choices were, trash bags and duct tape or............ Ended up picking up one of there Friday afternoon for $109.
Which allowed me to leave my bed cover on and keep clothes, gear, and the Mountain of baby stuff dry. I was surprised at how well it worked. It moved around a little in my hitch but other than that, no worries. Much easier to load and unload by myself.
So got up to Madison County about noon on Saturday. Still Raining...
But was still planning on hitting the mountain. About the time I got truck unloaded and was thinking about gearing up and going. Some old friends that I haven't seen in a long time showed up and we ended up doing a lot of this
, so riding was taken off the menu, but some burgers on the grill were put on.
Got up at 0600 on Sunday and was greeted by even more rain.....
But I was not going to be denied a ride on my old stomping grounds. Plan was to head up Ruth Hollow Fire Trail over to Hoovers camp, then back down through Graves Mountain and Banco. This is the general area that I rode.
Arrow is where I checked in with the boss with my Spot. Coordinates: 38.48210,-78.39767. (Was going to download tracks from my GPS but due to power outage my laptop at home decided it was not going to boot......
The fire trail was in pretty bad shape in spots. A lot of wash outs and everything was covered in leaves. Will do a shameless plug for the Pirelli XCMH's here, because they performed excellent on the slippery stuff. Due to the wet conditions I aired down to about 17 psi and it just worked. With the amount of wash outs a lot of the down hills were 1st gear, picking my way through the mud, roots and rocks, stuff. The uphills were just as bad, just had to pick a line and go for it. My time riding with the crew from here at the S500 was definitely a good warm up for this......
Up on this trail you need to be mindful that some of the fire trail runs through private property, and in the past, land owners have put unmarked cables across the trail. Luckily there were none this time but some douche nozzle dropped a couple of good sized tree's across the trail. These were not blow downs and had obviously been cut. No worries going up and over on the 450, if I had been by myself on the SE it might of meant turning around.
Finally made my way over into Shenandoah Park on Rapidan road and blasted up to Hoovers camp. Stopped for a redbull break and got some shitty cell phone pics.
I have a pic somewhere of my old XR-R in the same spot from back in 2004.
Hey Daaang! There's a trail on the other side of the river.......let's do it!
If the pool at the bottom of the pic wasn't 5 to 6 feet deep I might of tried it....
Rode back down to Banco and hit the free "Madison County Bike Wash"
Stopped after crossing to snap this pic, and to empty my f'ing boots, and to check my drawers. It does not look like it but the water is at least three feet deep and the current snapped me sidewise twice. Thought I was going swimming.
Wish I would of had more time to ride up there but had a blast anyway. Gear worked great, for the most part.
1. Klim Overland jacket lived up to the Klim rep.
2. Started with a pair of Fox Anti Freeze gloves, great gloves, but way to hot.
3. Switched over to some MSR Mud-Pros and I was impressed.
4. Newly seem sealed Giant Loops kept everything dry-ish. The side bags were dry but the small tool roll bag did not fare as well.
5. Big surprise were the ARC Back Country pants I picked up at RMMC on the cheap. They stayed dry until the river crossing. Didn't expect them to function as a dry suit. Have a pair of Overland pants but did not want to dick around with taking the armor out of the knees. I prefer to use MX knee/shin guards in the rocks.
6. MSR boots. Well they are not waterproof and river crossing filled them up. Have yet to find waterproof off road boots in my size.
The 450 continues to impress me with it's abilities, which are far greater than mine. I was actually considering a DRZ or possibly a 2 Stroke before pulling the trigger on this bike. I talked to some friends with more offroad experience and pretty much all thought the 450 EXC was the way to go. I could not agree more. This bike just flat out works off road. Still do not have the suspension fully sorted, but I wil.
All in all, a great soggy weekend. And got to show the baby boy off while chowing down on some of the best southern cooking in Madison county on Sunday afternoon.