OK, so I know it's been a long time since Doc, Elvis, Terrascout and I rode, but ya know I've been busy and besides, I'm a lazy layabout anyway, but here's a bit of a report on the debacle anyway.
March 4th dawned with sunny blue skies, even if there was a bit of a nip in the air. Twas a good day to ride and promised to get nice and warm. Little did we know that the warm temperature would be greatly appreciated.
Doc drove his jeep over to my house in F'ville with his "trusty", or is that rusty, XR on the trailer behind. Since Doc has been experimenting, trying to find the best setup for his bike, he decided to change out the front sprocket to a larger size to see if he could fine a good trail/highway compromise. Though the 16 tooth took some time to wiggle in to place, due to its large size and the small space available, it looked like it would work. Pushing the bike around the driveway resulted in an occasion squeal as the chain hit the case saver. Though we didn't suspect it at the time, in the end the wear which resulted would cause a catastrophic failure. More on that later.
The meeting place was at the Weddington gas station near Elvis' house and as we all showed up we were excited to hit the saddle and have some fun. Doc, Elvis and Terrascout ready to ride...
An uneventful ride took us to Prairie Grove and shortly outside of town we hit the gravel. The roads were dry, too dry, and the dust was soon billowing as Elvis led the way, blasting along with narry a care in the world. We were spread out pretty good, trying not to eat more than a mouthfull of each others dust at a time. Things were going pretty well, we were enjoying the ride and scenery, when suddenly Doc, who was right behind Elvis, pulled to the side of the road. Terrascout pulled over, then did a u-turn back up the road 75 yeards or so. Doc had thrown a chain, he had seen it and was going back to retrieve it.
Terrascout returned with the chain and after a short consult it was time to get to work...
Yep, that's the chain...
The chain's off, being repaired, lots of work going on and we hear what sounds like a bike in the distance. Who could that be? Oh yeah, Elvis.
Well, it's a good thing he came back, because as we all know, nothing gets done without some good supervision.
And you all know what happens with the right supervision too...
Uh, I think the chain is supposed to go through the tensioner.
No worries, Doc needed some practice taking off and putting back on that master link. We all swore after watching the procedure that we'd be sure to get a chain tool put into our tool pouches. To be fair to Elvis, he did save the day as he had a master link that actually fit Doc's chain...somewhat. The master link Doc had with him, hanging off his bars, wasn't even close.
After changing the front sprocket to a smaller size (that wouldn't make the chain rub on the case protector) and getting the chain on correctly, Doc decided he'd head back home to get his chain repaired more securely. We bade him a fond farewell and off we went again, once again with Elvis in the lead.
Before long we found ourselves heading down Pannel Road. At the top a bulldozer had been working so the riding was pretty easy, though still fun because of the topography and occasional ruts in the mud. Fun, blasting riding! Eventually we met up with the dozer, which was still working, and got into the "real" Pannel Road. Oh yeah! Now that was fun. Makes Warloop look like a walk in the park and much, much longer. There were plenty of ledges and drop offs and I have to say Elvis and Terrascout were weaving and dodging their bigger bikes around like they'd been down there on a regular basis. I wouldn't say none of did a "dab" every now and then but we did have a ball going down. At the bottom I was pretty sweated up and we all wondered what it would be like to go up the road instead of down. Definitely a "Want to do" for all of us.
Onward to a stop on ____ Creek for a bit of a rest. Terrascout figured this would be a good place to shed some clothes while Elvis tried to figure out where we were, so...
TS trying to be patient while Elvis figures out where we are...
As I was recording distinguished images for posterity, Elvis and Terrascout were conspiring as to how they could get me to walk out onto a log and get me to fall in. What I didn't know was that they already had a plan to get me wet within the next few hours. Bassy turd conspirators!
What's REALLY funny was that when Elvis started his bike it was in gear and just about went off the edge into the deep pool below. Now THAT would have been funny! As it was, quick thinking on his part saved him and off we went to our next stop for the obligatory photos at Natural Dam.
Onward we rode, partway back along the route we'd already taken, then off another way till we encountered Lee Creek. Unfortunately, I have few pictures, but...Terrascout stopped by the rushing waters for just a milisecond before plungin onward. The creek was running high and fast and I knew I was about to witness watery carnage any second as he bounced along over big, rounded and slippery rocks and the water got deeper. He kept going, keeping upright though before long he was wet to mid thigh. On the other side of the creek just before climbing out of the creek up an incline I saw bike and rider sink into a big hole. Terrascout emerged though and I was definitely impressed!
Crap! There was no way I was going to try that route!
In the mean time, Elvis had gone further down the creek and scouted out a shallower route. As I rode toward him I was hoping he'd say something like "No way JaiDee, TS is gonna have to come back this way." Yeah, right. Didn't happen.
Off goes Elvis, slowly and cautiously going across at this shallower crossing. What the crossing lacked in depth was more than made up for in mossy, slippery as snot on a rock rocks though. Good riding...
What's a person to do when the other guys are on the other side of the creek (rushing river filled with crocs is more like it!) motioning for you to come across. You've got to know that the last time I tried going across a similar "creek" I ended up taking a swim that I didn't care to repeat. Oh well, no guts, no glory.
I proceeded slowly and admit I paddled all the way across. Did I say it was GD slick! Though I got stopped a couple of times, I eventually made it across...but of course as the water was above boot level, AND COLD, the first thing I did was to take off the boots and wring out my wool (ya gotta love wool...still warm when it's wet) socks. The irony in all this is that as I was riding a small trail back to the road I almost highsided the bike in one of the easiest sections of the day. I blame the wet feet. Thanks Terrascout!
After our fun (yeah, in the end I have to admit it was fun) creek crossing the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We beat it back towards Fayetteville riding the gravel and dirt about as fast as is possible. I lagged far behind Elvis and TS, neither caring for the copious amouts of dust being kicked up, nor for the possibility of rounding a corner meeting a local on his/her way home from work. I was getting tired and know that my reaction time slows as a result. Elvis and TS are too young to realize such limitations.
All around it was a great day. Doc made it home safely. We had some good adventures and best of all, when I got home that hot shower felt SOOOO GOOD! Many thanks to Elvis, Terrascout and Doc for being good riding buddies and putting up with my moaning and groaning.