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Old 07-29-2012, 12:10 PM   #16
jdrocks OP
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Originally Posted by DefconZero View Post
Love reading ride reports. Can't wait to hear the rest. This is one thing that makes me want to get a DS bike...
get the DS, puts lots of travel options on your plate.
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
jdrocks OP
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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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Old 07-29-2012, 12:41 PM   #18
DefconZero
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get the DS, puts lots of travel options on your plate.
Easier said then done; especially when I'm still in school :P. Maybe next year.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:12 PM   #19
siyeh
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were you riding with your son again this trip? what bike?
.
was solo
on this cruiser






cant wait to read of your travels
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:47 PM   #20
jdrocks OP
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Easier said then done; especially when I'm still in school :P. Maybe next year.
i had bikes while in school...survived, barely.

now you have time to do a little research.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:50 PM   #21
jdrocks OP
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...cant wait to read of your travels
thanks, more on the way. where's your report?
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Old 07-30-2012, 07:47 AM   #22
jdrocks OP
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I was temporarily off the Blue Ridge Trail roads as my route took me generally north on pavement instead of southeast on gravel. I had been on those BRT gravel roads before, so this time I had something else in mind. Sweedlin Valley runs northwest to Ft.Seybert where I turned north on Siple Mountain Road, a lane and a half to start through woodland as you climb the mountain. This road is a connector between 220 and 33, so I knew enough to stay on my toes, sure enough, I nearly get run off the road by a Corolla, damn char-pei at the wheel. Ok, might have been a disguise, who knows, but that doggy lookin’ thing sure got my attention.

The road runs almost due north as it transitions to Kiser Gap, then northwest on Schmucker, woodland gave way to hay and cattle, small farms in a pastoral setting. You’re allowed to wear a cowboy hat in West Virginia, some of those places might have been ranches.




This was a good bike road, heck, if ya played with matches and ran around with scissors back when you were knee high to a short frog, you’d love it. Roller coaster grades free of charge, doesn’t mean I’m implying reckless abandon, but doesn’t mean I’m saying that you should sample life with one of those little measuring spoons in the kitchen drawer either.




Stopped for a photo and drew a curious crowd of one…say cheese. I swear I got that cow to smile.




Pastures in good shape after a dry winter and spring, should be cutting hay soon.




I was finally up to 220, cut a short distance over to Smoke Hole, then north along the river. Water was very low, a couple determined fishermen still working the remaining pools and swifts.








I stopped at rock formations along the road, couldn’t resist. I don’t know when this road was pushed through or improved, many were WPA projects from way back. I sat on the bike looking at them rocks, subtle, existential, subliminal, thought vapors drifting…how do you say that in French.












I was getting nowhere stopped on the side playing with the camera, and I was a long way from where I wanted to camp, gotta get going. Tucked the camera away so I wouldn’t be tempted, and half a mile up the road I found a deer standing in a glassy smooth pool on the edge of the river…picture postcard, no camera, I’m reminded of my inauspicious motophoto career. Any interesting results I manage to get are mostly the result of pure accident.


A quick run up to 28, and I stopped one last time for a shot at the river.




The road wouldn’t be that much fun with a lot of traffic, but today I only saw two vehicles between 220 and 28, not bad at all, could be one of them there anomalies, just guessin’.


(to be continued…)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:39 AM
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:24 AM   #23
fredgreen
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I should have been on this ride with you, instead my time off will be spent suffering on a trip to Newfoundland to take Stacey to University in St. Johns. I will be watching though! Good Luck.
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Old 07-30-2012, 01:32 PM   #24
jdrocks OP
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I should have been on this ride with you, instead my time off will be spent suffering on a trip to Newfoundland to take Stacey to University in St. Johns. I will be watching though! Good Luck.
hey mr. fredgreen, good to hear from you. you would have been welcome on this trip, but i had a bigger one in mind for you. i might need CAF SAR yet.

baby girl off to school...i bet it seems like she had a one candle birthday party just yesterday.

safe travels, stay in touch.
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:30 PM   #25
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Jordan Run was just a few miles southwest after reaching 28, and then I had the bike pointed north again, it was getting late in the day. Threatening skies off and on, no more rain yet. I would have stopped at the Best station on 28, but they had never opened for the season. I knew another Best station was up Jordan run, and boy, I needed something to drink, several somethings to drink. Fuel, can’t forget an ice cream bar, maybe two of those 99 cent pies, gotta have a balanced diet.





I was about to get a big surprise.


Fueled the bike, did my shopping, and when I went up to the counter to pay, the old gal at the register leaned way back in her chair, looked me over pretty good, and said "I know you". A little taken aback, I told her I had stopped for fuel a month ago, but she shook her head. "Nope, I didn't see you then, ya were here a couple years ago, that be when I saw ya". True, another woman was at the register a month ago, and it was getting real spooky about then.

"Ya were here with another motorcycle rider, a navy man he was, and you were getting ready to leave on a big trip to somewhere". Wow, now I'm floored, how could she have remembered me and all the rest in the midst of the thousands of people that come through the store. In fact, I was riding with Dave Hiller, a naval officer, when we stopped for fuel and a cold drink, and was in the final prep stage for an upcoming ride on the Trans Taiga and Trans Labrador,

Exactly two years earlier I had stayed in the store for a few extra minutes to drink a Pepsi and eat an ice cream bar, telling the old gal and the half dozen hangers-on locals at the front of the store about how my day was going so far. I had already fallen off the XChallenge three times and was so covered in dust you couldn't tell what color gear I had on. I didn't realize how dirty my face was until I looked in the truck mirror when I got back to camp. Everyone was laughing damn hard at the telling when I finally got out of there, and Dave and I continued on our way.

Remarkable memory on her part, and I told her so, it's a gift. So long, I’ll be seeing you…again.


It was only a short distance from the country store up to the T intersection at 75, where I turned southwest after waiting for two bikes to pass in the opposite direction on Jordan Run. Could have been Mardi Gras floats, but I’m pretty sure there were Harleys under there. They didn’t wave.


This road had me back on gravel down into Dolly Sods where I intended to camp. The road zigged and zagged on graded gravel until I was up on top of the plateau at about 4,000 feet. Windswept, with leaning stunted trees, the area in places has the look of the boreal forest found above 52N.






This road is the only one in the area that has the flavor of the big western and northern roads disappearing at the horizon. I had to sit there and soak it up for a minute, man, memories of the places I’ve been.






Trees along the roads through the black spruce boreal forests of the north take 100 years to grow to the same height as these, makes me wonder about the age of the Dolly Sods trees.




It had been a day of riding, time to find a spot and set up camp, fix a bite to eat, sip some spirits…relax, contemplate, dream a little.


The small Dolly Sods campground only had four sites occupied when I rode in around 6, but I knew from experience it could still fill up late. Found a reasonable site for my money, had everything set up right quick, I’d done it a million times. Ah, home sweet home, now where’s that bourbon.




I was using a MSR Hubba Hubba tent, my second. I’d about worn out my first one, and with a big trip coming up last year, I took the tent back to REI to see if I could get a replacement for one of the 16” pole sections which had developed a slightly flared end. The guy at REI said it was too much trouble to find me a new section, he didn’t care to get on the phone, couldn’t be bothered…but, he did take the time to check his inventory, and handed me a brand new tent instead, not what I asked for, I don’t remember complaining.




Dried out the gear, wrote some gibberish in my journal, had a simple three cheese tortellini dinner with seasoned olive oil, and by that time the sun was getting low. No bugs, the car camping couple next to me had the smokiest campfire I had ever seen, damn, I was expecting one of those tanker planes to drop a load of retardant on me at any minute. Deer were grazing on the small patches of grass at the campsite across the road, I was grazing on trailmix, drinking bourbon and water, can’t forget to hydrate. The temperature had dropped into the forties, all I felt was relief after a hot day of riding.




Stretched out in the tent, using a sleeping pad for the first time in about fifty nights, I mostly don’t bother, felt darn good. Pure peace and tranquility as I dozed off, almost like I was all alone. That sensation was to change a little later on, and I was to find that I could make fifteen different cuss words into a single sentence.


(to be continued…)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:43 AM
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Old 07-30-2012, 05:30 PM   #26
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Jdrocks, Great RR!
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:19 PM   #27
SimonZayne
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You've got a gift JD, thanks for letting us tag along.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #28
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You still know how to leave folks hanging.

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Old 07-30-2012, 06:46 PM   #29
jdrocks OP
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Jdrocks, Great RR!
thanks DL...i mean DR dude, bring that camera.
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Old 07-30-2012, 06:51 PM   #30
jdrocks OP
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You've got a gift JD, thanks for letting us tag along.
thanks, more report on the way.
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