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Old 09-08-2010, 04:53 PM   #1
Swampy OP
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WTF?.......Not Again!: 2010

Okay.....
who went over the cliff THIS time?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's set the stage...



Single lane country roads....



Apalachian Mountain beauty.....



Coolness of the mountains....



Tipples full of coal....



Hang on for the Ride.....
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:13 PM   #2
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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WTF: Prolouge

As with all great adventures, we must begin somewhere. Let us begin on the travel to our jump-off point.

We travel up I-77 and over Fancy Gap...


Only to meet resistance with a standstill of traffic on I-77 outside of Wytheville, VA.

About this time I noticed an exit not to far up. John was looking at his GPS and said we could do a loop and come back to 77 farther up... so of course, you know what way we headed....



We drive along slowly moving rivers...



...along scenic country roads...



...we cross 7 single lane bridges over 7 babbling creeks...



...the locals only stop and stare at the strangers driving through....






...the asphalt continues to narrow as the road rises and falls, twisting and turning through the valley....


... the serene sights and smells of rural Virginia... Western North Carolina wishes it was this perfect....



...family homesteads that have been here since before the Civil War... where one once held their head up and proudly proclaimed: "Yes, sir. I AM a Virginian."



...life is slower in these parts... but that is good...



...the road bends back upon itself over and over as we climb and then decend...



... the day is growing long as we continue our bypass to adventure...



We return to I-77 and continue our way. Traffic is sparse and moving steadily...


..engineering marvels are always waiting to be happened upon...


...we realize that this is tunnel number 2, and that our bypass brought us back to I-75 between two tunnels...





...and yes, as seen here there is photographic evidence that there is indeed, light at the end of the tunnel...



...the sun begins to dip in the sky casting shadows, and in turn, creating mountain scenes so unique, that no two are alike...


...we arrive at the Country Inn and Suites and meet up with Rick and Mike... unload and lock up...


For now it's off to dinner, reaquainting with old friends, welcoming in a new one, and anticipating the events of the days to come.

We retire for the night. The anticipation makes for restless sleep. For tomorrow we begin our next journey...
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:42 PM   #4
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WTF....Not Again 2010!

Before we begin, let me explain to you about the ride.

"WTF...Not Again".... well... how do I explain this... seems that somehow, someway, whenever we all get together for a riding vacation... someone decides to ride straight off the mountain... which leads to someone exclaiming: "WTF.... Not Again!"


Before we begin the report, let me explain to you about what we were doing this week...

My preference is in point-to-point rides. Touring. Carrying what you need on your back (or your bike) and riding from one point to another. Staying different places each night, many miles from your truck and/or support.

Reason being, I feel it's more sporting. More challenging. You must be prepared for anything. Be self-sufficient. Be able to adapt and adjust on the fly. Be able to have the where-with-all to know that tomorrow is another day, the truck is a long way away, so I need to plan on a style of riding to survive the trip as a whole.

It's just my preference.

It also helps create a challenge. Something to accomplish. Hang your hat on. Say "I did it".

And that's what we have.

I researched on our plan. To ride all 6 trail systems in one loop. Riding through each one to another destination only to begin again the next morning. No trailering or trucking to each trail head and system. RIDING to them. One after another.

Putting the "dual" into dual sport. Road and trail. And secondary, dirt, and mining roads at that!

Nowhere did I find any record of anyone doing this. No websites, no forums, no magazine articles.

There were articles and threads about dual sporting the trails. One or two systems here and there. But nothing of this scope. All six, in one ride, different destinations.

This was confirmed at each trail head, the trail headquarters at Little Coal River, and the Administrative offices. Each time, the question was: "You're doing what?" with the explanation... followed by, "You must be riding the green trails", followed by our recounting of exploits on the blue and black trails, which was followed by, "Wow."

The plan was simple. Sample all six trails systems in the shortest amount of time possible. Two days. Six systems. One day left over as a "relief" day to use if adjustments are necessary, but three days max to ride all six.

Let me define "riding all six". By riding all six I mean we arrive at a trail head and ride the system. Not just show up take a picture and move on.

Ride the trails.

For every hour of transfer sections (between systems) we'd spend twice that time on the next trail system itself.

Not just on the green "easy" trails ( some don't qualify as green!), but also include the blue (more challenging) and black (most challenging). The only ones we did not ride were the single track and the extreme orange.


Now that you know the scope and the reasoning and the warped mind behind it.... let's get to it!

So ladies and gents, let's get on with the:

Conquering of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails 2010


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Old 09-09-2010, 03:00 PM   #5
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WTF......... Not Again!

Part 1

The first mission was to recruit some buddies who were up to the challenge and were compatible riding partners!

Some had to drop out for various reasons, and we were down to 4: Rick (stubbjr) aka Stubb; Mike (srenduro) aka Manimal; John (jwciv) aka Junior a name coined by Mike; and of course me.

So off to West Virginia we came!

Let me tell you about the Hatfield McCoy Trails:

From Wikipedia:


Quote:
The Hatfield–McCoy Trails, located in West Virginia, is a nationally known trail system most popular for its off-highway vehicle trails. The trail system is a multi-county project, including West Virginia counties Logan, Kanawha, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Wayne, Lincoln, Mingo, and Boone. The trails are managed by the Hatfield–McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, a legislatively created quasi-state agency and its paid staff, which is governed by a multi-county board of directors.
The name of the trail system is derived from the names of two families, the Hatfields and McCoys, who famously feuded near the West Virginia and Kentucky border after the Civil War.

The trail system opened in October 2000 with 300 miles (480 km) of trail operations. In 2002, the trail system added an additional 100 miles (160 km) of trails in Boone County, West Virginia. In 2004, the trail system again added 100 miles (160 km) of trail, to bring the trail system to 500 miles (800 km), making it the second largest off-highway vehicle trail in the world, second only to the Paiute ATV Trail.
Current trail system names (trailhead facility names in parentheses) include Browning Fork (Rockhouse), Dingess-Rum (Bearwallow), Pinnacle Creek (Castlerock), Little Coal River (Water Ways), and Buffalo Mountain (Delbarton).
The trail system caters to ATV, UTV, and motorbikes (dirt bikes), but hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders can also use the trails.
The trail system staff not only markets the trail system globally (the trails now receive visitors from all 50 states and nine countries), but also builds, maps, and maintains the trail system. Law enforcement officers patrol the trail to assure compliance with safety regulations. Motorized users of the trail system must wear a DOT-approved helmet and are prohibited from "doubling" (having a passenger), unless their vehicle is designed for two people. These rules, and a host of others, have allowed the trail system to enjoy a quality safety record, despite an increase in ATV-related injuries around the country.



We begin our ride in Princeton, WV.

Why Princeton? It's the closest place we could drive to, stay in a hotel, and leave our vehicle without getting onto the winding mountain roads late at night after driving 13 hours!

Plus, the roads in this area are just plain awesome! (Right Stubb?)

So we start on Sunday morning....

Here's a quick shot of the amigos and the motorcycles. Please notice how fresh and clean they look. Yes the guys too!



John not knowing what in store for him the next three days!



...and Stubb.... has one of those Ogio flight vests on... personally.... kinda looks like he's got that whole "Taliban suicide bomber" thing going on...






... and Mike's KLR.... not any KLR... and not any rider. Do not attempt this ride on a KLR if you can not: repair it yourself, change tires, haul it up a mountain, or win your class for a year-end trophy in any enduro or hare scrambles series... seriously... I also remember when this bike was shiney and new in salt lake City last year.... hehehehehe..



So we motor on out and through Princeton... didn't take long to see we weren't in Florida anymore. Empty stores fronts, old buildings. Shops closed. This was the beginning of a 3 day lesson in real economic distress...



This is the land where people proudly cling to their guns and their religion.


We thread our way out of town and onto the side roads less travelled... after all. What fun would it be if we hung on Harley-Approved styles of pavement!



We prefer the supermoto style roads! Narrow and tight, Best ridden on a lightweight dual sport with sticky tires! Our 606's hooked up sweetly!


... can't help but say it... "Take me Home, Country Roads...."


It's gettin' good now!
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:27 PM   #6
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:44 PM   #7
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Good Start!

Have fun...

Heading for Asheville tomorrow!!!!!



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Old 09-09-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
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Enjoy Ashville! Check back in.... there are 20 or so parts to this story!
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:30 PM   #9
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Part 2

Like I had said earlier, it's the small roads that really count!

Manimal didn't get his permit in the mail in time and made arrangement to pick one up in Ashland... which was where we were heading to pick up our first system Indian Ridge.

Let's continue the ride through the Flat Top - Pocahantas coal field to Ashland...




We rounded a corner, the were smacked with a steep downhill leading to this hard right... just beautiful country. As we were to find out in the hours and days to come, West Virginia is a contrast of the best, and worst, of man and nature...



Quote:
In 1742, John Peter Salley took an exploratory trip across the Allegheny Mountains and reported an outcropping of coal along a tributary of the Kanawha River. He and his companions named this tributary the Coal River, and his report became the first reference to coal in what is today West Virginia.






On another sharp turn then steep decent we run under this trestle while a coal train is rumbling overhead... check that one under interesting unique experiences never had! You can see the last of the coal cars passing below...



...Almost Heaven....the morning sun reflecting off the tree and few fields of coal country...



... an abandoned railway bridge from a long gone mine tipple... how many tons of coal have crossed this bridge and where did it go...


Quote:
West Virginia's southern coal fields were not opened until about 1870, though they were known to exist much earlier. One of the major southern coal fields was the Flat Top-Pocahontas Field, located primarily in Mercer and McDowell counties. The Flat Top Field first shipped coal in 1883 and grew quickly from that time. Operations were consolidated into large companies, and Pocahontas Fuel Company, organized in 1907, soon dominated the other companies in McDowell County.






The road wanders along ridges and through valleys, usually bordered by railroad track or a meandering creek...



The Presbyterian church in McComas WV. Long ago abandoned and neglected. Another ruin in a long string of ghost towns...



This photo from http://mccomaswv.com/




We climb the ridge and over the pass, continuing to thread our way over country roads to the Ashland community...


As these roads prove, mining towns were isolated, far from civilization, and difficult to get to in even the best of times before pavement....our paved travels total 35 miles to Ashland...yet they were 35 of the nicest paved roads I have ever been on.


Quote:
A coal company provided not only a job but a unique way of life for West Virginia miners and their families. Since most of the mines were located too far from established towns, the coal companies built their own towns and provided inexpensive homes, a company store, a church, and often recreation facilities for the miners and their families. Because of the need for daily supplies from the company store, a simplified method of bookkeeping was established, using coal scrip. The earliest coal scrip (tokens) dates back to about 1883. Miners could get advanced credit on their earned wages (in scrip) to pay for daily necessities at the company store. This use of coal company scrip eliminated the need for the coal company to keep a large amount of U. S. currency on hand. Each mine had its own scrip symbols on the tokens, and these tokens could only be used at the local company store.










--> ____________________ -->


Quotes on this page courtesy of WVGES
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:23 PM   #10
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Part 4

Let's look around a bit....




Since Manimal was inside getting his permit, Stubb and I decided to have a seat outside the store and talk about the day so far. We'd travelled 35 miles and entered a world we only read about when we were younger...



...some things just piq the curiosity, and it's also a testament to how far we have come in 100 years...



Having your life dictated by "the company"... indentured servitude more than free will... paid in script that could only be spent at their own store. Enslaving free men by creating dependency.



The history of the area is all about mines. The good and the bad, the prosperous and the troubled. Today it's about a new type of mine. While the mining companies still own the land, mining operations have been scaled back in many areas, jobs have been lost and never to return. Now tourism is the new mine. Not any kind of tourism, but motorized recreation! 500 miles of trails to explore.....



Let's get to mining the trails, boys!
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Old 09-11-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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Part 5




The Indian Ridge Trail System is the newest addition to the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and is located near Ashland, WV. Indian Ridge consists of approximately 63 miles of trail. The Indian Ridge Trail System has one trailhead with a two-acre parking area and restrooms. This trail offers a nice variety of trails for all difficulty levels.

The breakdown in trail percentage for this trail system is as follows:
18 miles or 30% are green trails (easiest),
25.5 miles 41% blue (more difficult),
12.7 miles or 20% black (most difficult),
.5 miles or 1% red/black (extremely difficult)
5.6 miles or 8% are orange trails (single track)
http://www.trailsheaven.com/planyour...irections.aspx

So we begin by attacking some trails that lead over to the campground where gas is available....


Regular unleaded is the only choice here. Bikes run fine on 87 octane every once in a while. No damage is caused. It's all we have so it's all we get!




The trail goes down the driveway and across the road...



Just a shot of the paved road we came in on. It's just soooooooooo sweet!



So anyway, we're minding our own business, motoring our way through the woods...



... and next thing you know, here's Stubb wallowing in th mud picking up his bike. Waa Waa Waa. "Oh the mud is slippery" Oh I had no traction" Whatta whiner.



I've ridden with Stubb before and I know he doesn't whine... so there must have been another explanation.... yes mus is slick.... yes a thin layer of mud on wet granite can eliminate traction.... but this was different... like something eerily familair... so we investigated....




...and wouldn't you know it, Stubb slipped on a banana peel! Now who goes around throwing a banana peel in the trail? That's dangerous! I've seen what a banana peel can do. It's not pretty.



...and how'd John's bike get turned around facing the way we came?


Coming out of the slippery banana section after a few miles and many mud hole we came upon the clearing and the scenic overlook as pointed out on the map.... no, no. Not Stubb and Mike... they clutter the scenery....



... but something more like this. Orange things always enhance the scenic experience, making everything around them look better!



Here's Stubb again muscling in on a picture just because he rides an orange bike....




...and we eventually exit the system just outside of Northfork to continue our journey...


Ranking the Indian Ridge system? Green is supposed to be easy trails, but about half of them are narrow and rocky. Mrs Swampy would not have fun on the green trails. It's also not that scenic, not too many overlooks or scenic areas. Just trails and trails.

So I rate this one as interesting, but let's see what the other 5 have to offer! We still have 2 more to do today!

We're burning daylight! Let's Ride!
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #12
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Part 6

A Transfer Stage

So the transfer stage is in effect....

We motor out to Hwy52 and head through Northfork towards Keystone looking for our R on CR6..... and find it just in town. Gas is available in Keystone...

CR 6 is over the tracks and hang a R go down and make a L at the church and follow it up hill to a big intersection on top...

This wasn't in the maps or the directions... so luckily there were a couple of cars and i went over for directions.... go that way then turn left on the dirt road.... ????

We're ON a dirt road... shoulda known at that point, huh?

So we go and we ride off the ridge and back down. This can't be right. So we turned around and went back to the only turn and took it... hummm... could work.... and we followed it straight down to a mine. Yup. we were in a mine! one of those mountain top removal mines... Asked directions there and a guy pointed us to a trail and said that goes to Ashland.... nope... we're going the other way...

The whole ride from trail head to trailhead thing is new to these folks. I'm thinking, like TODAY new!

So another guy gives us direction where we have to go BACK to that intersection and hang a right and follow it in....



Easy enough.... as John would say over and over on this trip.... folks here have no idea where they are or how to get anywhere...

But anyway... we motor down the road and we pass the mine again... but on the road and on the west side of the mine...

So we rode on down to the "T" where we once again thought we were in the wrong place... but guess not! There's real traffic! Okay, it was a jeep and they were out for a ride as well!


Old rails for the mancars....



The tracks haven't been used in some time but the stories these mines could tell...


Mining life... must have been terrible!






From those holes, cars would carry coal down into the tipples just down the road a piece...


We continue down the road on our way to the Pinnacle System....


The tipples that process the coal from the mines where we came through... a West Virginia contrast. Beautiful country, history, and destruction.


Let's get to the Pinnacle Trail System!
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Old 09-13-2010, 07:57 AM   #13
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How about a lttle feedback on the report?

Part 7




The Pinnacle Creek Trail System located near the town of Pineville consists of approximately 71.6 total miles of trail. The Pinnacle Creek Trail system has one Trailhead with a two-acre parking area and restrooms. This trail system is known for its breathtaking scenic views and is located less than one hour from world class whitewater rafting and a snow skiing resort.

The breakdown in trail percentages for the Pinnacle Creek Trail System is as follows:

29 miles or 41% are green trails (easiest),
30.2 miles or 42% blue trails (more difficult),
7.3 miles or 10% black trails (most difficult),
5.1 or 7% black/red trails (extreme difficult).
http://www.trailsheaven.com/trailsys...innacle,3.aspx

Ah, Pinnacle Creek. The one I was looking for, the one I had heard somuch about, the one I was looking forward to hitting twice!



But alas.... there was logging going on on the back side, plus they're building a connector to Indian Ridge (Whoo-Hoo!) so the entire back side was closed.... the parts with the really scenic stuff that I was told about... bummer... but No Worries! We were in West Virginia on our motorcycles at our second trail system today! Let's get riding!




Here in Pinnacle.... we had decided to take as many blue trails as possible... it's already midday and let's get rockin'!


John...


What you can't really tell from these pictures is how rocky the sections really are. Some are like sadistic cobblestone, some have sharp edges, some have those flat edges that cause pinch-flats. There's rises and lip[s, and place to grab air or fall off!


Manimal...



Up on the ridge a beautiful field... underneath... mines! It's just an awesome place above and below ground! At this spot, high upon the ridge, Stubb pulled out his I-phone and called home... then John did.... then Manimal did... as this was the only spot since we left Princeton where there was a signal!



So while Stubb and I parked in the shade... manimal and Junior left their bikes in the midday sun... and ya'll know how comfy THAT makes a seat!




As I said before, it's hard to tell from pictures... but this is a sharp drop off just after a sweeping highspeed right hander... awesome... it's got that instant "whoo-hoo" factor! Here you see Stubb coming down and Manimal cresting the top...



Junior gettin on the gas on an uphill... he had his feet down all day! That's one habit we'd be breaking him of this week! Manimal was a great riding coach and his skills increased every mile!



You can kinda see the rocks here as Stubb waits.... we turn to Stubb's left and go steeply downhill into a rock wash.... then across the ridge in a rock wash... then stop and look at a black trail that goes almost straight up in a rock wash... you get the picture....



So we climb another ridge.. and another.. and go down another and so on and so forth...

Here were on a ridge and there's only one way to go..... down! This is actually so steep if your rear wheel deflected or you rebounded to fast, it the backend would be around in front of you as you tumbled the rest of the way down. This went on for about 1/2 mile....




Our time was up in Pinnacle... and we had to move on. Sure woulda liked to have gon on the back side and played in the creek... but... trailwork must happen to keep the HM a world class ride!

Daylight was burning and we had more trails to get to... so far... the timing has been really close! Let's ride on out to our next adventure... the trail exiting Pinnacle...



We bear right to the stop sign, then left... here's Pinnacle Creek.....


...and here's fuel. John's getting a little hungry. He's not used to trailside dining on granola bars and fruit!


Daylight's burning..... Let's Ride!
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:13 AM   #14
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Everything I see looks like 2track trails are there many single track trails where no 4wheelers have turned them into rural roads? And also, is it ok to ride dirt only bikes down there or does everything need to be DOT?
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Old 09-13-2010, 11:08 AM   #15
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Do some research here at

www.trailsheaven.com

You'll find answers to all your questions...
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