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Old 09-20-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
skierd OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Fairbanks, AK
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country roads, take me home...

I have a love/hate with the superslab. While they're great for putting down some miles in smallish amounts of time, they're god awful boring and monotonous, even in otherwise pretty areas. Western Maryland is no exception of course. I rode out to Morgantown, WV on I-68 expediency, but my girlfriend has class on Mondays and I don't, so I had the whole day to myself to get back to Baltimore. By the big roads, its only about 215 miles and +/-4 hours. A little prodding of Mapsource gave me a nice little way to get back that only took about 3x as long. Better get riding!

Left Morgantown on WV 7 and pretty quickly found myself on fairly rocky dirt country roads about 15 minutes and a few turns out of town. Coming down a long hill that had been riding along a fairly high cliff, the road takes a left turn and crosses the Cheat River for pleasant surprise #1 of the day:



Where I came from


The bridge is just one option of course. I could always go straight:


or turn right


but neither of those are headed in the right direction. Or are on the map. Or look like they've been traveled much recently. Or ever.

That's ok. The bridge way looks pretty too.










Looking back after crossing, the river already obscured by the forest...


Onward and upward!






And then, a road sign.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:38 PM   #2
skierd OP
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Almost stopped to get a pic of the damn sign, and should have considering the state. So instead, a stock photo.



wtf, I'm in West by God Virginia. Just how bad is this fucking road (if it is actually a road that is) if they're putting a rough road sign on it?

Well, its a road mostly. Really rocky in places, really narrow through most of it too. Reminded me a lot of the second day of the Durty Dabbers dual sport ride, but somewhat easier. Looking back up the hill I came down, the steps were small compared to what was further back and this is a tame section.



Looks wider than it was, this turn would be just wide enough for a jeep.



Ok, time to take a walk as I've seen this trick before.


Past the big deep puddles you can see, the road submerges a few more times but eventually starts going back up. Figuring if I can get across I can always get back, I kept going and I'm glad I did. The road through here was fantastic, one of my favorite roads ever! Rocks but not too rocky, lots of elevation change, a few quickie creek crossings, and lots of fun two track, it was a blast.

Of course, it ended at a locked gate.



So I'm unsure if I was supposed to be back there, or at least turning there. There were a few spur roads that weren't on my garmin maps that kept going, but there was an ATV trail around the gate so around the gate I went and continued on my merry way!

Looking back up the hill towards the fun:


Pretty soon afterwards I crossed into Maryland and hit the first of my real targets for the ride:



Maryland only has a handful of legal ORV trails in the state. I've been to Green Ridge State Forest numerous times, but never made it out to the western trails. Turns out this one is a snowmobile only trail, so i didn't ride it. Much.

The next ORV system I came across is the Margoff Plantation trails near Accident, MD. There are no signs on any sort of indication that there are trails here until you get there, after riding through a housing development. Trail markings are non existent and the roads are mostly there for Texas Eastern to inspect their wells, so they go no where. Some bad pics of the actual trails:





Those were easier sections, very tight (no wider than an ATV) and with few signs of maintenance or use. Not the place to be exploring alone. On a bike with luggage and 50/50 tires. So off I went...

I found the Negro Mountain ORV loop easy enough, but it was gated and signed as snowmobile only (pretty sure the DNR website says otherwise). I left it alone.

Meadow Mountain ORV was also gated. There were several side trails that were not however so I had some fun riding. Started to get hungry and a little tired, so I pulled off the trail hunting and headed north to Grantsville, MD for lunch.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:46 PM   #3
Dynamick
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Looked like a grand day
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Old 09-20-2010, 09:20 PM   #4
skierd OP
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Thanks! Got better too!

Next up on the ORV checklist:


This is not difficult riding by any stretch, except for the water crossings that come out of no where if you're running down the road at speed. The crossings are rocky but easy enough to navigate and aren't deep. The trail isn't difficult by any stretch, but the roads here are simply amazing. I almost stopped and set up camp right here and skipped class tomorrow. Might have skipped work wednesday too. Or just stayed period. Good shade, clear running water in the creek, fantastic twisties near at hand, and little side trails (of dubious legality no doubt) off in every direction.

For example:


once you access it by crossing over Savage River(? or one of its feeder creeks)


Savage River Road is a long flowing series of sweepers and switchbacks along the shores of the reservior, really really beautiful and fun.

Skidded to a stop when I caught this out of the corner of my eye from the road:


A swinging bridge just after the dam, the stream is stocked with trout apparently, though the fisherman say otherwise...



who cares though, if this is what you have to look at?











Crossed back in to WV for a little while to keep heading east away from the National Road and I-68, I've just ridden them too much. As seen in traffic:


Starting to get a little late now. Its taken me about 8 hours to get from Morgantown to Cumberland(!) so I had to unfortunately make for the freeway... but the wind was terrible. Yeah... thats it. Time to head into Green Ridge for the last and longest ORV system in Maryland. Entered at Upper Mertens and rode the loop around to the south. Afterwards:


Some of the trail




I passed this on Stafford Road (part of the ORV). Couldn't have been there for long? No one at either parking lot, it was about a mile from the lower parking lot.


More of the ORV loop




And the overlook!




From here it was a relatively quick ride out on Oldtown Orleans road, past Bill's Place, then some less traveled extremely back ways to Hancock. No pics, too much fun, guess you'll have to ride with me next time. After Hancock, I hopped on the old National Road (MD144) and mostly avoided the interstate home. Finally reached my apartment at 9pm, a little under 12 hours since I left morgantown.

Till next time...
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:35 AM   #5
rydnseek
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Nice looking ride, Skierd! ..lots of leaves starting to turn & fall on the ground.. getting to be that time, again. You got into some pretty rugged riding for solo.. glad you didn't have any issues.. crashes, mechanical problems, etc.

The pics are great. nice blend of colors, background & the trail. Thanks for posting.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:21 AM   #6
AZ_ADV_RIDER
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b-e-a-u-t-f-u-l!
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:57 PM   #7
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Looks like a great ride. I need to do more exploring around here.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:46 PM   #8
skierd OP
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I was really surprised to see all the color on my way home. It was after dark on the way out so I didn't see it until I left, nice little addition to the ride for sure.

Of course, that also means my window for rides like this is starting to close unfortunately, once the temps start dropping I typically stay closer to home. Maybe I will pony up for heated gloves and socks this winter...
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:52 PM   #9
White Tenere
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Great pics, looked like a fun ride..

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:57 PM   #10
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:29 PM   #11
fishkens
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That's pretty.

One note: I have a hate/hate relationship with super slab. Your backcounty route was much better.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:54 AM   #12
Bart Jones
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Almost Heaven...

That was a great report to start the day
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:03 AM   #13
AZ TOM
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Having just got back to AZ from NY & going through all those states in a car, I wished I had my bike along to do some exploring. Great pictures & beautiful riding country you have all around you.
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Old 09-23-2010, 08:10 AM   #14
Unstable Rider
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Great pics.

That route has "KLR" written all over it.
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