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Old 08-27-2013, 07:27 PM   #1
NitroRoo OP
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Eh? Shredding the BRT! (with video!)

Or maybe it would shred us?? Only time would tell. 4 of us cut out of work early last Thursday to tackle the South West section of the BRT on a nice, long weekend.

But first! Let's dispense with the introductions and many many thanks to Error Cooled for putting this route together and making the gps files available for all to enjoy. If you aren't already aware, the Blue Ridge Trail project was started by Error Cooled in 2010, and covers hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails and back roads. If you want more info, check out his thread here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=632804



This is my friend Andy and his DRZ400, which he has owned for just over 2 weeks at the time of this trip. It's his first dual sport bike, and he really only has one other short Saturday ride under his belt so far...


And the rest of us: That's me, Matt, and Trevor


But enough with the people, what about the BIKES? I'd be taking my 1984 Honda XL350R. She's kick start only, and has a severe distaste for turn signals. But, she was a good girl and allowed me to install these shiny new ones before we left:


Also on the list: Oil and filter change, new rear tire, new chain & sprockets, and new clutch and throttle cables.


Look at those nice shiny Hondas! Matt and Trevor both ride XR650L's (Trevors has the oversize tank). We had enough camping and riding gear to setup a small village - yet we all managed to forget something...


Andy drove himself to camp, since he was going to have to head back Saturday night. As luck would have it, we actually ended up leaving around the same time, and he caught and passed us on the interstate.


Virginia!


So... our plan was to camp at a spot called River Views Campground... we had a reservation, and it looked like it was nice and close to the southernmost (green) portion of the Blue Ridge Trail in Galax, VA. The roads to get there twisted and turned - good thing for gps navigation and cell phones - this place isn't easy to find!


but... after taking twists and turns through some beautiful countryside... we were greeted with a rather disappointing site (pun intended). We had done our research. They had a reasonably attractive website, with decent pictures of the grounds... but those pictures did this site no justice. We were told to setup down behind the tractor... in the mud, with piles of overflowing trash bags.


Not only that, but our neighbors who were flying the stars and bars were eying us with none-too friendly stares, while the camp host really didn't seem to think we should be staying 'round those parts.


Despite having already planned our routes from this spot, and the sun hanging dangerously low on the horizon, we decided to drive another hour North to another campsite we had considered: Stony Fork Campground just North of Wytheville.

On the way there, permanent residents:



Camp all setup and JUST before dark, ahhh this is MUCH better, and only 12 bucks a night! - GOOD CALL!


After scrambling to setup our tents and unpack before dark, we needed to make a quick run into town for some necessary provisions. Can you tell this was a guys trip?


The bikes were all unstrapped and ready to hit the road first thing in the morning! The next day would prove to be QUITE interesting, and challenging in many ways...

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Old 08-27-2013, 07:42 PM   #2
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:34 AM   #3
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Day 1...

And as with many of our adventures, this one began with mechanical problems. First, Trevor's bike wouldn't fire up at camp. Cranking slow, we chalked it up to the cool mountain weather and the fact that it had sat for over a month - a little push start and we were off!

Unfortunately we only made it about 10 miles down the road, to our first gas stop, when more problems showed up. His bike started randomly leaking fuel out of the float bowl drain. I've never seen anything like it. It would dump out... then stop occasionally, then start dumping fuel out again. We checked to make sure the drain screw was in all the way - it was...

Andy and I ran over to the local Napa and picked up some hose clamps and vacuum caps to seal off the drain. Problem solved? Curious if anyone here has had this problem - even after taking the carb apart - we can't figure out how it was leaking - and it was definitely coming out of the drain, not running down the side of the carb.

The bike was still cranking slower than any of us liked, so we decided to run over to walmart to install a new battery while we were still close to civilization. By the time Trevor and I had paid for the new one, Matt and Andy had yanked the old one. They made quick work of installing the new battery in the Walmart parking lot.







The skies were looking dark as we rolled out of town, and soon after we were getting rained on. Not a heavy rain, just a steady, soaking rain. We found ourselves on the highway to hell - turns out it's gravel.


...and that is where Trevor's bike decided to act up, again. Are we noticing a theme here yet? I think Trevor was more mad about it than any of us, but we had also plotted a fairly ambitious route for the day. Since we swapped camp sites, we were going to be riding an extra 50 miles or so. And when a lot of that is singletrack - well, that can take a while.

This time, instead of leaking out of the drain (which we had plugged), his float was now sticking (or something was clogging the valve), and his bike was flooding out and leaking gas out of the carb vent tube. Unfortunately we didn't have a good stubby screwdriver to drop the float bowl, so we drained it, blew threw the vent, tapped on the carb, and got the leak stopped (for now...)


Wet gravel roads, and more rain were in our future.


We rode for nearly 2 hours through the rain. Only Andy and myself had any kind of semi-waterproof gear. Poor Trevor and Matt were as soaked as you can possibly get. With temps in the 60's, we were all a bit chilly.


Trevor dumped about 1/2 a gallon out of each boot.


After quite an eventful morning - we finally rolled into Damascus around 2pm - a few hours later than we were originally hoping. We gassed up quick and ran across the street for a quick bite at Subway. Not our first choice but we knew that with potentially more bike problems and plenty of off-road ahead, we better get a move on.


From here we were in a constant state of struggle. Either with the trail, or with, you guessed it, Trevor's bike. Poor Trevor wanted to kick the pig down the side of the mountain. We just kept nursing it along.


I don't think any of us quite knew what to expect with the Iron Mountain trail. We had heard plenty of people say it was tough, but we has also heard about this Rave guy who did it on a GS - so it can't be THAT bad, right?

Wish I had gotten more pictures of the obstacles - but pretty much right off the bat you are bounced off some rocks, across a stream, and up some very tight, rough singletrack. Eventually the trail broke out into this little meadow, and we were all happy that we had made it this far - especially Andy.


Apparently I couldn't believe what we had gotten ourselves into





After riding through tight woods for a while, it was nice to break out into a little clearing. Not really sure how little clearings like this form - but it was a nice spot full of butterflies.


Unfortunately we were so rushed trying to survive the trail, keep Trevor's bike going, and get back before dark - we really didn't get a ton of pictures of the obstacles on day 1. We just rode over them as fast as we possibly could.

When we were finally out of the singletrack, we passed this overlook and decided we should finally stop and take a look at something. After a full day of riding, hiking up these stairs was fun.


and the view from the top was WELL worth the hike. 360 degree views like this? Yes please!


We disturbed some buzzards who were roosting at the overlook, and they circled around us for a while. I guess we were invading their space.


What I want to know is - who hauled up all the rocks and the concrete?!


Trevor finally got to relax a little. His bike had made it this far - we were going to make it back to camp.


The shadows were getting long and the temps were dipping again. We snapped a few more pics and hopped back on the bikes.


Once we got back into Wytheville, we gassed up the bikes, and headed straight back for camp. Final stats for the day:


We made it back around 8:30 with just about no light left in the sky. Just so happens Matt is a chef when he isn't riding, and he cooked up some AMAZING steaks, mashed potatoes, and collards over the fire that evening. No pics of the food - but MAN was it delicious!
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:32 AM   #4
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Thumb

Get your ready - this is loooooooonggg (but oh so entertaining)

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Old 08-28-2013, 09:25 AM   #5
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Awesome....

Having owned several RFVC kick start Hondas (XL600R, XR350R, XR600R) I gotta give you props - especially on a dual carbed 84 on Iron Mtn

Looking forward to more...
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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Awesome....

Having owned several RFVC kick start Hondas (XL600R, XR350R, XR600R) I gotta give you props - especially on a dual carbed 84 on Iron Mtn

Looking forward to more...
Thanks for following along and thanks again for putting together the route - we had a freaking blast out there!
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Old 08-28-2013, 02:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by NitroRoo View Post
Get your ready - this is loooooooonggg (but oh so entertaining)

Good vid.Ya'll just left Andy in the dust er mud.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Great ride report man and great video as well. I did watch most of it. I appreciate the comments about the "GS rider". We had it a little better when we rode through, as the last rain was a day before, and it had dried up a little. You guys were riding through some soupy mud the whole way. I like how you thought you were out of the Iron Mountain Trail when you hit the gravel road. We thought the same thing, and then we hit that second section just like you guys.... and that's when it goes from fun to work.

I'm really interested in seeing what day 2 was like. My friend and I had to stop about where you guys did, but I definitely want to ride out the rest.

Happy Trails.

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Old 08-29-2013, 04:25 AM   #9
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Good vid.Ya'll just left Andy in the dust er mud.
Man, that's cold! I figure for the first time doing something like that one tip over wasn't that bad. By day two, I was figuring things out and kept up much better.
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:48 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by NitroRoo View Post
Get your ready - this is loooooooonggg (but oh so entertaining)




Nice video and commentary! What mic did you use? Crystal clear.

I didn't have the chance to watch the whole thing, but I spent more time watching than I should have! I am looking to do the Iron Mtn part soon...looks rough!

Thanks for the report.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:14 AM   #11
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Thanks! It's just a basic, run of the mill lavalier mic.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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Ps. Watch that Matt guy. He's been know to be a bad influence!
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #13
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Wow I had an XL350R exactly like that that I sold to a guy in PA. I can't imagine taking that thing through the BRT.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:55 AM   #14
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Oof running through creeks that time of year has to be rough!
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:19 AM   #15
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Orange overload.
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