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Old 08-05-2013, 03:28 PM   #976
Zahnarzt
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3 and 4 Aug Ride

Here are few pics from this weekend that RAVE and I did. We had ridden a couple hours of the twisty stuff before entering the trail at Damascus.

RAVE will post a complete R/R when he gets it all sorted.

Just a short break
 photo image4_zps330a5ad8.jpeg

Yes, that IS a fully loaded R1200GS, Why do you ask?
 photo DSCF2993_zps3e71c0c5.jpg


Camp
 photo IMAG0260_zpsb7222841.jpg


 photo IMAG0261_zpsbe099b76.jpg

It was great the first day, then it rained for 4 hours Sat night. Made the trails "fun".

I will let RAVE tell the story. He knows words and stuff.

Thanks to all who have posted, made for one hell of a weekend.
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Old 08-05-2013, 04:44 PM   #977
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Am.E View Post
Short version: Yes-ish.

Long version: We did the trail from south to north (started in Damascus), and so went up Big Walker Mtn mountain from 601/little creek hwy (that’s what google earth labels that road). The trail goes back west for a bit there to go into Burke’s garden, so we road the ridge from east to west, and then down into Ceres before going into Burkes garden.
Great intel - thank you for the detail. Did you end up putting on knobbies before tackling this section????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zahnarzt
Here are few pics from this weekend that RAVE and I did. We had ridden a couple hours of the twisty stuff before entering the trail at Damascus.

RAVE will post a complete R/R when he gets it all sorted.
Awesome! Looking forward to the details. Taking a GSA on the single track is ballsy
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:34 PM   #978
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Originally Posted by error cooled View Post
Taking a GSA on the single track is ballsy

ok, wow , I can't even imagine. That is a lot of bike for that trail. I struggled even with my little 230 (of course, I'm a complete noob, so....), but still.....I would have been terrified of those sections up against the hill on your left, and the steep drop off to the right, with only one narrow track to ride (one line choice). It didn't seem like there was room for a bike that wide.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:29 AM   #979
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Am.E View Post
ok, wow , I can't even imagine. That is a lot of bike for that trail. I struggled even with my little 230 (of course, I'm a complete noob, so....), but still.....I would have been terrified of those sections up against the hill on your left, and the steep drop off to the right, with only one narrow track to ride (one line choice). It didn't seem like there was room for a bike that wide.

He wouldn't let me take a picture of his rear wheel resting precariously off the trail after being deflected by a rock.

And yes those drop-off has me puckered for an hour, and my DRZ was a good food thinner and 200 lbs lighter than the BMW.

He rode that Starbucks Machine -
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #980
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Originally Posted by Zahnarzt View Post
He wouldn't let me take a picture of his rear wheel resting precariously off the trail after being deflected by a rock.

And yes those drop-off has me puckered for an hour, and my DRZ was a good food thinner and 200 lbs lighter than the BMW.

He rode that Starbucks Machine -

LOLLike a boss is right, that trail is miles from the nearest Starbucks...

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Old 08-06-2013, 06:32 PM   #981
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Starbucks

Well, my ego is certainly on high. Never has a BMW rider on ADVrider enjoyed so much positive commentary. Let's keep the post around for another week and see what happens And for the record, I'm a die hard Starbucks nerd. I have the Starbucks app..... on my iPhone5..... that I charge while riding a BMW.

I'd planned to write a very lengthy RR on this, but that won't happen for another month (I'm still new to ADVrider's formatting and learning the advanced editing functions). So, here's the Reader's Digest version. Hopefully, it may help a few of you plan a future trip.

As noted by Zahnarzt, we hit up the lower section of the Blue Ridge Trail this past weekend. I'd been tracking this thread for months now, and we finally had a good weekend to get up and try it out for a bit. We came up from central North Carolina and hit Virginia by way of Galax. From Galax, we took a bunch of back roads over to Damascus. (For those interested in how we got there, click this.) It was based off Error Cooled's route and some stuff that I'd done in the past. That section was a good mix of back country asphalt, gravel, and tight twisties on 58.

Enroute to the BRT, we went through Fries.


And then we warmed up on some great VA backroads:









But that's just the appetizer, and I imagine most of you are here for the main course.

So, yes, we rode out of Damascus up the Iron Mountain trail starting sometime around 1500. As you climb up and out of Damascus, the trail isn't all that bad. It's a steady uphill climb on a mud/rocky base.



The tooth doc makin' it look it easy.




It's just got some technical sections that make it very difficult in parts. There are copious amounts of 3-6" roots and bowling ball sized rocks protruding up in the track (we were too busy fighting these to take pics). In many places, you can just glide around them in high 1st or low 2nd gear speeds. Half of the difficulty of the Iron Mountain trail (IMO) is how narrow it gets in places. So, when you get to the top of the ridge and in other tight spots, you simply can't avoid hitting those roots, ruts, and other nasty things. It makes big bikes "hop" a little. As Zahnarzt mentioned, one of those rocks nearly threw me eastbound and down, but I was able to keep it hangin' on. I had white knuckle syndrome for a good hour or two:http://s790.photobucket.com/user/Zah...604b3.mp4.html

If you're wondering, yes, the big sauerkraut burner was too big for the trail, but certainly not unmanageable. It wasn't so much the weight & size of the bike that gave me the issues (I'm lying of course), but rather the tall first gear. On some of the more technical sections, I wasn't able to feather the clutch just right and inevitably couldn't hit sections as needed. If a man had any bike with a granny gear, I'm convinced this trail would be a cake walk if he took his time (and if it's dry). If it's recently rained, you better bring your A-game and some good treads. I'll note, ErrorCooled does mention when he sends the files out to be cautious about running the trail with stock tires. He's right. Listen to him. For those who are wondering, I was running Heidenau K70 Scouts that I had just spooned on before the trip, and Zahnarzt was running a 50/50 Shinko tire. Both performed well on street, gravel, and off road conditions. I know there have been many bitter grown-man hate wars on this site about tires, so I won't start another. I'll just say, the Heidenaus were a vast improvement off road from my stock Metzlers and held up rather well in the twisties.

This was one of the more technical downhill sections.


Of course, pictures never really show full context, but believe me this was not easy going. Most notable about these steep hill sections is that they often have drainage "shelves" built into them (manmade, roots, rocks, etc). They may be a few inches or well over a foot. By far, they were the worst part of the trail. Going down over them isn't such a big deal (except when wet), but trying to climb up those steep grades with a 550lb bike and climbing over those shelves was pretty tricky. Actually, it was down right stupid. And that's why the white beast got laid on her side 3 times the first day. I'd pick up the bike before Zahnarzt could get his camera out. (So does pride actually come before the fall or after it....) a pic of some of the easier shelves (sorry for how blurry it is).


Anyhow, we rode this trail until 1800 when we came across the Straight Branch shelter. Quite frankly, we were both beat down hard and ready to camp by this point. Also, we were tracking a massive storm approaching from Tennessee, and we knew it would inevitably hit us.



As seen in Zahnarzt's pics, we set up our own shelters. Apart from just getting out and having fun, we wanted to do a shakedown of our camping gear for some other trips coming up in the future. I tried to utilize the the rain fly from my tent as canopy for my hammock....yes, tried I said. At about 0100, that storm finally arrived. The heavens dumped a deluge on us. After trying to tough it out for 30 minutes, I bailed for the shelter. I had failed to fully set up the rain fly as I should have and was punished with drips of water in my face. Zahnarzt wasn't far behind either. It poured until the morning. We weren't really worried about getting ourselves or our equipment wet, but the thought of riding the muddy trail out in the morning didn't set well with either of us.

We broke camp around 0900 and headed out the last mile or so towards White Top Road. It was a wet mess when we woke.



As expected, that last mile was soupy, but we made it without any drama (except that I dropped my bike by locking up the front tire in the mud). I couldn't imagine trying to ride the entire trail after that much rain. I know I would've been done in early on.

Right before White Top Road


Once on the asphalt, we made our way down to the Appletree Kountry Kitchen restaurant in Marion. As our time was running short, we headed back up and over the ridge via some Forest Service roads and county roads back into Galax. We saw this gem at the corner store in Speedwell on the way. I'd offer commentary about the female who got out of the car, but the plate says it all.



Of note, we didn't see anyone else up there the entire time except a lone mountain biker. He was WAY the F out there on his own and looked perfectly content being that way (my kind of guy). We did see some recently laid tracks (probably Am.E's).

I wanted to make sure to throw credit towards Error Cooled and the rest of you for sharing your part of the world. This is truly a great project. I'll also add, I saw very little litter or damage along the trail from bikers- a great testament to the responsible riders of this community. If any of you have any specific questions about the ride, trail conditions, or anything else, shoot me a PM.

Rave

P.S. Of course, no ride would be complete for a GS rider such as myself without stopping at a Starbucks on the way home...with the bike in the back of the truck....holding an iPhone..... (take all the swings at me you want).


Rave screwed with this post 08-10-2013 at 03:47 PM
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:02 AM   #982
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No swings-very impressive for you to ride your big BMW on Iron Trail. 7 of us rode that section in early June, and sections are very challenging!

Thanks for the RR.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:18 AM   #983
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Awesome report Rave . Love the photos and glad you guys took advantage of the Shelter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rave View Post
It wasn't so much the weight & size of the bike that gave me the issues (I'm lying of course)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rave View Post
I'll note, ErrorCooled does mention when he sends the files out to be cautious about running the trail with stock tires. He's right. Listen to him
My most recent distro email reads:

"Put simply - I take no responsibility if you head out on your GSA1200 with slicks and get stuck on a ridge line overnight with out provisions :) Seriously – light is right for this ride – leave the beasts at home."

Job well done!
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #984
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Fun report Rave! The P.S. cracks me up

Quote:
It's just got some technical sections that make it very difficult in parts. There are copious amounts of 3-6" roots and bowling ball sized rocks protruding up in the track (we were too busy fighting these to take pics). In many places, you can just glide around them in high 1st or low 2nd gear speeds. Half of the difficulty of the Iron Mountain trail (IMO) is how narrow it gets in places. So, when you get to the top of the ridge and in other tight spots, you simply can't avoid hitting those roots, ruts, and other nasty things. It makes big bikes "hop" a little. As Zahnarzt mentioned, one of those rocks nearly threw me eastbound and down, but I was able to keep it hangin' on. I had white knuckle syndrome for a good hour or two.

If you're wondering, yes, the big sauerkraut burner was too big for the trail, but certainly not unmanageable. It wasn't so much the weight & size of the bike that gave me the issues (I'm lying of course), but rather the tall first gear. On some of the more technical sections, I wasn't able to feather the clutch just right and inevitably couldn't hit sections as needed. If a man had any bike with a granny gear, I'm convinced this trail would be a cake walk if he took his time (and if it's dry). If it's recently rained, you better bring your A-game and some good treads.
+1. This exactly. Well said.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #985
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3 days motocamping the southern BRT

Ok, here are a few pics, and my attempt at a write-up starts here:

http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2013...-to-460-day-1/

(Sorry for the links to a personal blog, but that's where I post stuff for family and friends (and whoever else on the internet wants to read it), and I'm not sure its worth the effort to re-post as a report on ADV....)














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Old 08-07-2013, 06:05 PM   #986
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[QUOTE=Am.E;22049662]Ok, here are a few pics, and my attempt at a write-up starts here:

http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2013...-to-460-day-1/
Am.E,

Read your ride report on your blog. Looks like you had a good time. I really like the pics you guys took. You captured many of the spots we missed. I'm showing them to my wife and daughter as I write this.

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Old 08-07-2013, 06:25 PM   #987
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Ok, here are a few pics, and my attempt at a write-up starts here:

http://amytracker.wordpress.com/2013...-to-460-day-1/
Read all three days - great stuff . Glad you guys got back to the lookout tower!

Pearisburg is a depressing place for sure. I will say that La Barranca (http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-barranca-...ill-pearisburg) had decent food and cold beer.

I like Dismal Creek too. Nice road - but It is alluring to pick up a bit too much speed like my buddy did -



I may grab a few photos for the front page if thats ok?
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:34 PM   #988
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Yikes! He must have been haulin'. I was in a pretty chill mood on dismal creek, so I was in no danger of going too fast.

Of course, use whatever photos you like.

Also FYI on gas stations near the new river:

Wilburn Valley Grocery sells "pure gas" (there's a story there). Meaning its ethanol free, but they only have 87 octane.

Tickles grocery is long closed. No gas there. We've gone down 460 a few miles twice now to get gas at the super val-u grocery.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:52 AM   #989
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PYG RYDR View Post
No swings-very impressive for you to ride your big BMW on Iron Trail. 7 of us rode that section in early June, and sections are very challenging!

Thanks for the RR.
Yes, thanks for the excellent RR. Here's a bit of Iron Mtn Trail video made by one of our crew the day PYG RYDR references.PYG RYDR is on the blue WR250. I'm the "Jim" in the video on the DR350. We're about half way thru IMT when this video starts. I would not have wanted to do this with a bigger bike!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGnCk8f_3BU

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Old 08-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #990
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excellent report Ame! I've got to get up there and try the trail out! Just need to get the DRZ up and going and get a proper rear wheel/tire, already got the front for it.
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