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Old 06-23-2009, 08:23 PM   #31
HighFive OP
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HF - Gear Update

A keen eye might notice I'm sporting some near gear this trip. The Wolfman Enduro Saddle Bags, and an Airhawk seat cushion. I've actually had the Airhawk awhile. Used it on my KLR for long trips. This is first time I've brought it along with R²

I'm spending 8 - 10 hours per day in the saddle. I like the stock seat. But anyone will get saddle soar on nearly any seat after a couple of days of that kind of action. The Airhawk completely solves this problem. It really is one amazing piece of butt cushion. You can micro adjust for the perfect setting just for you. I don't care if you think it looks hokie. Its darn sure better looking than a Sheepskin cover. Just saying... And worth every penny of the $125 purchase price I paid. Plus, its portable between different bikes!

I just love Wolfman stuff. These bags look small, but they are somehow cleverly designed to actually hold quite a bit of stuff. They worked perfectly on the WRR with the stock pipe & heatshield. But not so good with an aftermarket pipe (like mine). I've spent a good month of R&D to configure the best setup (for me). I refuse to throw them over the seat and "sit" on the straps. Go ahead....try that for 8 hours, and let me know how it goes.

The WRR seat comes off real easily. Just 2 bolts under the fender. I cut notches in my plastic side covers (under the seat) to let the straps basically rest on the frame tubes. Then, built me a simple little "standoff bracket" using some Home Depot Aluminun bar stock....for the pipe side. Voila! Works like a charm. My legs never even touched these bags during this whole trip! I put my heavier items in them, and left lighter stuff up top in my tailbag. Wow....did it sure give me more space with so little congestion.

This trip is the first Big Field Test of my new bag setup. So far, so good.

Okay, enough commercials, its time to play dirty...

HF
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:04 PM   #32
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Day 2:

Saturday morning arrives. I'm anxious to get busy hunting down some real trails in these hills. Some earlier research with a local bike shop, generated some good leads on the recommended direction. That's about all I seem to get from these folks (whenever I actually find someone). They're real friendly, but just point a lot and say up there....over there....out yonder a good bit. Good thing I have an Engineering degree.

The PLAN is to find "Brush Mountain" and then "go get lost". I've strategically located my campsite within the general vicinity (I hope). I pass Virginia Tech and climb the mountain....which is actually pretty steep. Almost as steep as Malibu Dan's driveway (which I observed while retrieving his famous "SPARE" key).

I try a few turnoffs to no avail. Dead-ends into neighborhoods. Then, the jackpot:








I seem to crest the top, and be dropping down into the valley on the other side...of I don't know where. There's everything you'd want here. Really terrific stuff.








I'm having a blast. But something starts to bother me. Where are the people? I've ridden over 20 miles in these woods. Its Saturday morning! The weather is perfect! And, I'm all by myself. I planned to find some locals who could show me around. But none. Nada. Zippo.

But no problem. I finally have a plan that actually panned out. So, I'll just keep riding. Now then, on the back side it really starts getting steep. Very Rocky and Steep! Steep as ..... ...... ......








Just beyond that corner was a series of nasty undercut ledges (at least 2 ft. high) with water running down the loose incline. Had I not had my many years of Trials skills, plus had my speed up, I'd never had made it. HF might have gone down. But I didn't.

This is when it dawns on me for the 2nd time this trip. I could have gone down. I'm by myself. Nobody knows where I am. And apparently, nobody else is coming onto this mountain today. Dang....sure wish I had my favorite Wingman.

Since I've got to retrieve College Boy after high noon, I figure I better find my way out. I get a "feeling" that one particular trail is sort of, maybe heading in the right direction. Sometimes my feelings pan out. Sometimes they don't. I have no gps tracks for this area. I'm making my own on this ride. But I can see a road on my screen a few miles away. I've been known to Bushwack before...to get to a road. Let's take it...

Pretty soon, this trail begins to washout (a little):




Ok....a LOT:





But, let's not quibble over the details.





A short hike through the woods and my bushwhacking plans (to go around) are terminated. There is a big rock face about 5 ft. vertical that runs for a mile both ways. If my Wingman had been with me, I'd have jumped off of it. But Solo....out here...no way! The best line was down into the gulley for a greasy ride to the bottom. It actually dumped out onto a road.

Now is the point I decide to take a "self-photo" for documentary & identification purposes should someone find me dead in this ditch, many years later. (you didn't see the middle section).





Fortunately for all of you (& me)....I made it. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a "Deals Gap" dragon hunt coming. So, I survived the nasty, long....long, narrow gulley! Which, of course, was much steeper than it looks. Here I am at the bottom.





It really was a hoot! It reminded me of that long launch shute in the Arnold Shwarzeneggar movie "Running Man". Except nobody is at the bottom trying to kill you, if you survive (unless you're trespassing). R wants to go do it again. I tell her we can't, because we might be trespassing to get back up there. They had a lot to say about what actually happens to trespassers in these woods:





The bottom (down in the weeds, of course) is like fine print....only in not so fine hand writing. It even gives the name of their attorney so you can call him to turn yourself in for prosecution, before you get "taken to the Range and shot". It really said all that. So, I tried to stay out of those kind of areas. Hard to do for a Stranger running Solo, in an unknown territory....but I do my honest best.


HF

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Old 06-23-2009, 10:09 PM   #33
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When you find the Dragon meander over to the Cherohala Skyway and go to the top towards Tellico Plains, TN. You'll start to see a lot of gravel roads that run off in every direction. Have fun!
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:42 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFive
A keen eye might notice I'm sporting some near gear this trip. The Wolfman Enduro Saddle Bags, and an Airhawk seat cushion. I've actually had the Airhawk awhile. Used it on my KLR for long trips. This is first time I've brought it along with R

I'm spending 8 - 10 hours per day in the saddle. I like the stock seat. But anyone will get saddle soar on nearly any seat after a couple of days of that kind of action. The Airhawk completely solves this problem. It really is one amazing piece of butt cushion. You can micro adjust for the perfect setting just for you. I don't care if you think it looks hokie. Its darn sure better looking than a Sheepskin cover. Just saying... And worth every penny of the $125 purchase price I paid. Plus, its portable between different bikes!

I just love Wolfman stuff. These bags look small, but they are somehow cleverly designed to actually hold quite a bit of stuff. They worked perfectly on the WRR with the stock pipe & heatshield. But not so good with an aftermarket pipe (like mine). I've spent a good month of R&D to configure the best setup (for me). I refuse to throw them over the seat and "sit" on the straps. Go ahead....try that for 8 hours, and let me know how it goes.

The WRR seat comes off real easily. Just 2 bolts under the fender. I cut notches in my plastic side covers (under the seat) to let the straps basically rest on the frame tubes. Then, built me a simple little "standoff bracket" using some Home Depot Aluminun bar stock....for the pipe side. Voila! Works like a charm. My legs never even touched these bags during this whole trip! I put my heavier items in them, and left lighter stuff up top in my tailbag. Wow....did it sure give me more space with so little congestion.

This trip is the first Big Field Test of my new bag setup. So far, so good.

Okay, enough commercials, its time to play dirty...

HF
How about some close up pictures of the bag stand off. I would like to see.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:06 AM   #35
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You came through Memphis and didn't call or stop by?

Jamie
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:12 AM   #36
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Quote:
Is there a slight incline on that? I can't really tell.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:55 AM   #37
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Very cool HF. I need to ask you about the Airhawk I bought one per your idea on it ages ago got it for Christmas but I can't seem to get it into the right position on the bike so I am curious how you are strapping it down and how much air you have in it. I feel like it raises me up a good couple inches and pushes my legs out wider which feels wierd since I like to hold the bike with my legs. Also since you are "floating" your weight shifts some on corners I think. I really want to make it work since I have it :)

I had just put the straps under the back of the seat and doubled it up going around the front so it was not the tightest mounting method
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:22 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaynen
Very cool HF. I need to ask you about the Airhawk I bought one per your idea on it ages ago got it for Christmas but I can't seem to get it into the right position on the bike so I am curious how you are strapping it down and how much air you have in it. I feel like it raises me up a good couple inches and pushes my legs out wider which feels wierd since I like to hold the bike with my legs. Also since you are "floating" your weight shifts some on corners I think. I really want to make it work since I have it :)

I had just put the straps under the back of the seat and doubled it up going around the front so it was not the tightest mounting method
You have way too much air in it. Sit on it and let the air out until you are about back on the seat. A very thin layer of air works wonders. An Airhawk is supposed to level out the hotspots, not be a inflatable kids toy.

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Old 06-24-2009, 02:10 PM   #39
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I've tried to air it down as much as possible usually until I can feel the seat through it then just put a tiny bit back in. My main issue which is why I want HF's input is the small cruiser pad is still way wide for a dirtbike seat
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Old 06-24-2009, 02:57 PM   #40
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Later....on the personal apparatus questions. I'm too busy riding right now. Got to get out of these woods and pick up College Boy real soon....


So, I obviously decide to go in the opposite direction. Soon, I'm going to be spending time with the Son.

The two-track becomes dirt road then blacktop. Another gloriously meandering country mountain road with some heavenly name. I've literally shot hundreds of photos already. But, I just can't pass this one up. Maybe the most important photo to me (personally) during all my time in VA.





There I am....standing in the middle of the road....about to swing my leg over the bike, when my Red Alert sounds off! Something is up over there...to the right...in that pretty mowed grass. I quietly approach in reverence, as I realize this is holy ground.








I don't recall ever seeing a more worthy and beautiful monument honoring the brave. There's not a sound here. Not another person present. No cars going by. I'm proud to be an American. I take a knee and give thanks to those who gave their lives for my freedom.

There's something more here. I'm drawn further up the hill.





This is dedicated to all the Coal Miners from this very community who've passed on. There were hundreds of names on all sides. Then, further up I find this monument on the highest ground.








I sit down right here...in this field of grace & mercy, and let time stand still.





The air is so sweet, the sound so silent. Nearly an hour passes by. Its soothing to my spirit and soul. Finally, I'm awaken to the present by the sound of a passing car. Its time to leave Virginia. I must find my way back to the College and retrieve my son. He's been waiting an hour (ok....more like two).

HF

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Old 06-24-2009, 03:13 PM   #41
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I lost count of how many of those war and local workers memorials I passed on my trip home from Ohio on the National Road a few weeks back. It seems that they're in every little town but unfortunately tucked away into a forgotten little corner in most of them, mainly because of re-routing, de-routing, bypass highways, and other "improvements". Definitely one of those "proud to be an American" moments ... and yet kinda felt sad for this country at the same time.

Now go get the kid, get home, and post more pics!
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:25 PM   #42
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I'm quite low on fuel...expecting my reserve light at any moment. Actually use my gps for one of the first times in 2 days: Find - Fuel - Closest - Goto. Its 12 miles away. Sure hope they're Open. Should be, its noon on a Saturday.

About halfway to the station, suddenly with no warning, the console lights up and R goes on Red Alert. But not the 'fuel kind'. Her weapons go "hot"! She's armed and dangerous. Then there...out of nowhere...I can't believe my eyes: I'm speechles!





We're Dragon Hunting again!

But we don't get very far. Its a hiking (only) trail. Takes 3 hours to round trip (+/-) according to this:







Oh Man....I want to go see this so bad, I can't stand it. But I'm already a little late (ok...a lot). No spin the bottle, no flip of the coin. I do the right thing. I head for College and retrieve my son (who was in no hurry to leave).

Well, that's it for Virginia. It was really just an after-thought. Something to do for a couple of days while my son was in Freshman Orientation, enrolling in his classes. I've never heard ANYTHING about riding in Virginia before.

I now take back what I said earlier. This IS A DESTINATION. With Tuggles Gap, the Blueridge Parkway, Brush Mountain & its sacred ground, and now this Dragon's Tooth, that's a complete handful of worthy points of interest with unbelievably good twisties in between. And all the dirt you care to swallow. I'll be back here....much sooner than later. Maybe in a Moving Van. But, I'm bringing some mighty big pliers....gonna pull a tooth from that Dragon!

Dropped the boy at the airport, and headed for Deals Gap in Tennessee. That was my original Plan (remember?). But now, you know how that went. Sure hope TN can measure up to the hype.

Tomorrow we'll see if a little 'ol Two-Fiddy with knobbies can catch a real Dragon...

HF

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Old 06-24-2009, 03:33 PM   #43
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HF, If you can make the time, run up to Bedford and check out the D-Day Memorial.

Bedford is only about 20mins NE of Roanoke, about 45mins from VATech...

IMO its worth the detour!
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #44
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I've got to say that your post about the memorials was very moving. Good work.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:00 PM   #45
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I've got to say that your post about the memorials was very moving. Good work.
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