Joined: Jul 2007
The Post Office was on the main drag, dljocky snuck by at 10MPH, no good Monsieur, we had to stop for fuel anyway. Fueled, and I didn’t catch dljocky until 3 miles south on WV9, I guess he wanted to get away from Paw Paw, and was runnin’ that muddy DR for all it was worth. From WV9 where we had turned east, I had a nice little gravel section planned to run over the mountain and connect back up with WV29, but no, after riding in there, the first leg of the road route just flat out disappeared, no matter the map, while we were stopped on the alternate road by a gate.
That’s right, someone had thrown a locked gate across a county road. Back around the corner to WV29 and south, we’ll have to try the next section, four blocked or phantom roads so far.
West on WV9, WV29 south, and I saw what appeared to be the exit for our missing road, but it seemed impossible that the two sections could connect. Distracted by this thought, I ran right by Cabin Run which angled southeast, a circular wave to dljocky, and he knew to turn around. I swear, walking speed is enough to outrun the refresh rate on the GPS.
Cabin Run was gravel, rocky surface in places, but fine for motos, and with the road well used it sure looked like this one had to go somewhere. By 2012, 87% of the land in the Mid-Atlantic had been reforested to the extent found hundreds of years earlier, another reason old farm houses are found in present day woodlots.
Cabin Run transitioned to macadam on the ridge, great views west, skies clearing again, maybe for good.
No hooligan stoppie this time, dljocky was steady enough to get a mirror shot…
Owl Hollow put us back on gravel, and we were soon down to WV127.
Of all the miles on the gravel so far, we had found only a small handful of vehicles, no motos.
West on WV127 pavement back towards the WV29 intersection, then south on North River Road, another important connecting road to points south, and followed along the edge of the river bottom, in good shape and seemingly well used.
These back roads are full of hazards, and I had to get Monsieur Nix to hold off a big rock slide until I was able to get past.
When we got to the North River, I was expecting a low water bridge, or anything other than what we found. You might be able to cross with a tricked out jeep or even a smaller bike, but we weren’t going to try it, too far from home, too far back in the woods.
The channel was on the south side, and the road landing visible, but we estimated at least 24” of water over there with a strong flow, no good.
The adjacent property owner had cleared a nice camping compound, then built a small rock dam which backed up the river water into a pool to the west.
Nice place, but not for us, we had to backtrack, the fifth blocked road.
You could say we knew the way back out, and we were in full flight when I saw headlights coming our way, didn’t notice the low profile light bar until the truck was much closer. Oh, oh, no camping for dljocky, he was going to be a guest at the Hardy County Hotel, might even get free flip flops.
Luckily, he was satisfied with talking to me, an obviously upstanding citizen. He wasn’t on a manhunt, but prowling for poachers, meth cookers, dope farmers, moonshiners, and any other miscreants he happened upon…hmmmm, that ruled us out, but everyone else we had seen out here recently could have been somewhere on that list. I did find out that the low water bridge that was supposed to be there was washed out 15 years ago, never replaced. We talked about his job some, and he was well aware that the folks on his list would rather shoot than run these days. Be safe officer, and we were on our way. When I saw the churned up gravel his truck had made on the way in, I no longer thought his appearance was as random as he made it sound. Someone, somehow, and for some reason, had dropped a dime.
West on Haines, and we were back out to WV29, then south, we needed another way through, and with the turn southeast on CR45, well, let’s just say it was a turn for the worse. Everyone’s heard of those corn mazes that farmers have in the fall, and that kinda explains our situation in terms that are easy to visualize. It was October, we were stuck in the backroad equivalent of a freakin’ corn maze.
We were way off the route, I could see the waypoints on the screen, and turned southwest on CR4, lets try this one, it was heading the direction we wanted to go. The road started out fine, then got progressively narrow the farther south we rode, never good, and when it got down to two track, I saw headlights in the distance, way too far off the ground to be our Officer friend. In fact, it was a tractor trailer rig, I couldn’t believe it, and it was blocking the entire road.
The driver saw us, but something was being unloaded with a farm tractor from the trailer, so we sat there…impatiently. Done, and the driver edged the cab over enough for dljocky to drop into the ditch and squeeze by, sorry, not me. The driver jogged around a little more, ran slam into a tree, and I got by on the left, good. The guy with the farm tractor said he had unloaded a sewing machine, I wonder, the box was as big as a damn refrigerator, might have been lab equipment. Anyway, when I asked him about the road ahead, he said it was all overgrown, nothing could get through anymore. WTF?, the guy watched us struggle past the big rig, then tells us the road ahead is blocked. He did mention that the road angling south that we had just passed had a deep water crossing, and we wouldn’t be able to go through there either. Another backtrack, we needed no urging, I did say it was a maze.
Now west on CR4, and we crossed some high pasture, great views, no stops, we were anxious to get south. CR4 eventually turned south, and we connected to CR45, running southeast. The road was getting smaller again, so when we made another turn south on a CR4 series road that abruptly stopped behind someone’s shack, we shouldn’t have been surprised. The road definitely had been there at one time, showed on the maps as running through to the south, but had done disappeared. No, we weren’t lost, the GPS track icon was lying square on this phantom road. Another backtrack, short this time, and we were on CR4, running southeast, not a good decision, I should have looked a little closer at the GPS.
We were flying on this muddy gravel road, every indication was that there had to be a big problem ahead of us, we should have turned around but didn’t, and then we found kinda what we expected.
Didn’t take too much scouting…
before Monsieur Nix waved off any attempt, the water way too deep for us.
When I wiped the road dust off the GPS screen and saw the track from earlier this afternoon and many miles back, oh boy, if we had crossed the water here, we could have helped that guy unpack his 600 pound sewing machine, or whatever the heck was in that mystery box. We had engaged in a running battle with the North River in an effort to get south, all the low water bridges, and sometimes the roads themselves, were gone. The biggest mistake was missing a promising turn about four roads back, so I picked a waypoint over on WV29 clear of the river, hit the “GOTO” button, and we negotiated our way back out, goodbye maze. Let’s go camping, and we were riding south again.
(to be continued…)