View Single Post
Old 04-24-2011, 10:06 PM   #155
error cooled OP
anything but asphalt
error cooled's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Arlington, Virginia
Oddometer: 1,187
Originally Posted by ClutchCargo55 View Post
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.

ClutchCargo -

First thank you very much for the photos and the scouting report. I copied in the photos for all to see. The ride on 720 over the mountains is a fun one... I was out scouting that area a few weeks ago.

As to the private road sign - this one I believe is bogus. This is seen all the time all over the forest - scary signs to try and persuade the public from using a road that a local property owner would rather not see used. Often times this includes such signs or tresspassing signs posted on either side of the road to imply that it is no go..

For any one that needs reassurance here are snippets from both the USFS MVUM Road map and the VDOT county map. The USFS map makes it very clear that 865 is public till USFS maintenance takes over.


VDOT - you can see the bridges here:


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.
Looks like a great ride overall. With things warming up I imagine the roads will be cleared of trees shortly. Most likely not by the USFS but probably Jeep drivers as they are always in this area. One question - did you use the GPS or printed maps to navigate the route - and if GPS how did the track files work out for you?
Honda XR600R
The Blue Ridge Trail - Virginia via gravel, dirt, two track and backroads.
USFS Motorized Access in Virginia - Protect your dual sporting access in the commonwealth.

error cooled screwed with this post 04-24-2011 at 11:16 PM
error cooled is offline   Reply With Quote