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Old 04-24-2011, 08:06 PM   #153
ClutchCargo55's Avatar
Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Front Royal, VA
Oddometer: 75
Trees down

Had a great ride on the northern portion of the BRT today. Started at Front Royal and headed south through Fort Valley. Took FR 374 from Edinburg Gap - good gravel conditions. Crossed Massanutten Mtn via 730 to Rt 11 then west on 720 which turned out to be a really sweet gravel road through farm land. Encountered a totally unexpected covered bridge just east of the I-81 overpass. The gravel turned into tarmac periodically and esp. in the area of Bryce Resort then back to gravel as 720 zig-zagged up and over Great North Mountain to Mathias. Along 720 there was a bit of soft gravel and some erosion problems from our recent rains, but nothing that a noob on a KLR couldn't handle.

Heading west from Mathias to 820 was straightforward with tarmac along Crab Run to German River and Criders. I missed the left turn on to German River Rd (across a small bridge) and ended up riding up another nice gravel road (826) to the top of Shenandoah Mtn at the WV-VA line - although I turned back, I definitely will head back there some day to see where that goes. Once back on 865 = German River Rd., the tarmac turned to gravel and I encountered the following Private Road sign indicating that there was no thru traffic or Forest Service road access.

Not sure what that's all about, but I pushed on expecting a local with a shotgun and a bad attitude to ruin my day, but in a few hundred yards, there is a wooden bridge over the German River and definite indications that the road is indeed a Forest Service road. German River Rd. is an absolutely beautiful, but rough double track through awesome forests with nice vistas along the way. After a mile or so, there was very little sign that many vehicles had passed thru recently. Several water crossings - none deeper than 8-10" even despite the heavy rains we've had here recently. Some sections could be tough on big bore bikes due to softball size rocks buried under wet leaves.

Slightly less than a mile from where German River Rd meets FR 87 and 85 near Sand Spring I encountered several trees down across the trail. A few were small enough to ride over, but then I ran into this double tree down.

I was able to bypass them by riding down the bank and around towards the river side without much difficulty, but it would be a challenge to ride the opposite way (south to north) due to the initial steep, rocky bank at the north end. Just beyond that problem I tried to bash through a tangle of downed limbs and dropped the bike - should have stopped and taken the time to move things (oh well).

Nearing the above intersection the road opens up and smooths out quite a bit - nice riding and again many great views. That's all I had time for so I headed back home up 259.

Absolutely can't wait to ride further south.
Thanks Error-cooled for your hard work.
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