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Old 07-28-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
jdrocks OP
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Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge 2012

JUNE 2012...ON THE BORDER



Day 1, Thursday, 389 miles

Man, go to turn the key, I’m an hour late, should be sucking on that frightful Richmond air already. A final wave, blow a kiss to my wife, aaaah, damn jailbreak, ‘bout time. Thunk the rat into gear, roost the driveway for luck, slam bam, and I’m on the road. I don’t care where I’m going, I never start a trip of any length without charging the first stop sign half a mile away, second gear at around 9,000 before I let go and the throttle bodies snap closed on the downshift. The high note shriek of that exhaust overrun is enough to wake the dead, sound makes my brain vibrate right through the earplugs, muffler innards shoot out like a freakin’ bottle rocket. Woooeeee, let’s go someplace.


This is the V649HP rat…




and all I have with me for this trip is the Expedition bags with my standard bike kit and a drybag for the tent and sleeping bag. Change of socks and the clothes on my back, that’s all. Well, can’t be lying, might be half a bottle of cheap bourbon tucked in somewhere back there.


Another half mile and I get a good look due east across the Chesapeake Bay towards the Delmarva, red sun through ground fog, a raging forest fire through smoke. Ain’t nothing quite like it, but I put my back to it, I was west bound to the border…the West Virginia border.


Been out in that area before, pretty much from Maryland to North Carolina, so I knew my fuel stops, and the first one was right at an I64 exit. This gas station is always crazy because it’s frequented by out-of-state drivers who have quit praying and suddenly given up all hope of reaching Virginia Beach on the gas in their tank. Yeah, God was busy, didn’t take the call, they had to stop right here. Always in a hurry, the ocean might be gone before they get there, some fool might have bought up the last of the saltwater taffy, hot damn, won’t be none left. Men, women, children…tired, plum worn out, often found traveling in pajamas or wrinkled warm-ups with enough dog and cat hair stuck on them, heck, vacuum it all up and ya could weave a couple nice area rugs outta’ all that stuff.


Today there’s a new BMW sedan behind me, diplomatic plates or something, anyway, they ain’t from the YU-ESS-OFA. French Guyana, I guess, or at least that’s what the sticker on the window said. I don’t think they’re going to the Beach for a tan, could be the taffy. Might be diplomats, so I’ll be diplomatic and say the lady driver was big boned…that’s super secret international spy code for say, four hundred pounds.


Tropical print skirt bigger than the rain fly on my tent, sheer blouse, one of those with the big pockets that were supposed to provide strategic concealment. Bad news darlin’, those pockets ain’t doin’ the job, at least not the bottom half of the job, the bits down by your waist…hey, not that I was looking. The kicker, the final straw that caused me to cancel my vacation plans for French Guyana, was the Spanx. Yup, she was wearing 5XL Slimwear, didn’t know they even made it that big. Yikes, stand back y’all, that thing lets loose ya could get hurt real bad, it just ain’t made to fight back against a 55 gallon drum of Crisco. Anyway, welcome to the States, enjoy your stay.


Into the store for a drink, the guy in front of me at the register has a black ink dashed line tattoo around his throat with stencil script lettering that says “CUT ON DOTTED LINE”, oh brother, too much playtime in the big house. The dude was using the counter to hold himself up, half turned towards me, baggy pants riding low, the tag on his plaid boxers facing front, yessiree folks, he was wearing his undies inside out and backwards. Bought a twelve pack, and his parting words to the cashier were “It was just a mister meaner, he let me go on yurcoginance”, pretty sure I got that exactly right, amazing command of the native tongue. If he hadn’t looked like a freakin’ psycho killer with a wolverine face, I might have pointed out that little problem with the boxers. I had to google it up quick on my smart ass phone, yup, public flogging has been outlawed in the Commonwealth for quite some time.


Gone west at 80 cruise, beauty of a day, UFO clouds in a crisp sky. Had the zoom a goin’, and surprise, surprise when I got past Richmond, man, I had picked up a stalker. New Ford pickup, and the guy tried to stay along side of me for 50 miles, traffic or no traffic. C’mon, how many times does that happen? Pretty damn weird, and I wasn’t sorry to see him exit, then a few more miles and I was exiting myself for a quick fuel stop at Waynesboro.


I did say quick, just needed fuel, and I never took the helmet off. Lexus SUV at the pump in front, young handsome couple, Cheeseheads from Wisconsin according to the plate. He looked Wisconsin, she looked Texas beauty queen, and I have to say that at a young age I wouldn’t have minded riding around the country with something like that, in fact, I didn’t.


She was driving and we both pulled up to the light to make a left hand turn, hmmm, backup lights are on, does she really have that thing in reverse? I rolled the bike back about 40’ just in case, stopped, then a car pulled into the gap, thanks dumbass, gettin’ interesting now. Light changed, she hits the gas, and she really was in reverse. Shoots back, hits the brakes, screeeeech, misses the car behind by a whisker, shifts into drive, hits the gas, screeeeech, jumps forward and slews through the intersection way too fast. I could say “All in a days riding”, but if I had been at her bumper, she would have backed that SUV right over me. Beware big haired blond, kitten heel shod Wisconsin drivers, they might not have their Cheeseheads on straight.


Shooting west again with a good look at the horizon, dark clouds out that way, no good for the roads I wanted. Turn the corner at Staunton, now northbound up past Harrisonburg to my exit for Broadway where I’ll pickup 259 out to the West Virginia border, and fuel…and an extra crispy fried chicken lunch. Got the waypoint that says “CHICKEN”, man, can’t miss the recommended daily minimum of grease.


Interestingly, there’s a regulation croquet court close by, so if I ever have a posse along, damn, I’m going to get up a match. We’ll have to pack our whites and court shoes, bring the silver service and all that stuff, no problem. Chicken bones and beer cans scattered around the court, could be a problem, might be a penalty involved, I’ll need to check the rules.




(to be continued…)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:19 AM
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:22 PM   #2
JaxObsessed
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IN!!!!!!

Excellent.
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Jax' mediocre photo thread.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:14 PM   #3
jdrocks OP
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IN!!!!!!

Excellent.
hey jack, you know a bunch of the upcoming roads...take the 650.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
hansi
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Oh yes! Subscribed
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:03 PM   #5
jdrocks OP
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Oh yes! Subscribed
welcome aboard.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
jdrocks OP
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These country stores are an essential part of the landscape out here, fuel and food, sure, but also a country song played on a continuous loop. Order your food, but ya need to take it outside to eat unless you want you want to smell like fried chicken for about a week. That chicken grease wiggles into your pores if you hang around too long, then ya have to take a shower with Dawn dish detergent, the same soap they use to clean ducks caught in an oil spill.

That’s ok, heck, most of the entertainment is outside anyway. You’ll find the country song top ten subject material in a parade marching right on past, eat that chicken a la saturated fat, take notes for the song you always wanted to write…we got the hound dogs, broken down pickups, couples in love, couples out of love, big rigs, Harleys, guns, beer, big hair with the credit card boobs, and the shine that the guy on the side is selling outta his trunk. Sorry, no trains. About covers it, man, I love these places.


My greasy chicken has been reduced to greasy chicken bones, and I’m seriously thinking about buying some for the road, that is until I look towards the mountain I need to cross, damn, looks like it’s raining over there, ya know, yonder. Some of those roads can be a bitch when wet, time to get movin’, and it was just a short run to where it can get interesting.




Takes detailed paper maps, GPS tracks, or local knowledge to get around out here on a maze of roads, plenty of deadends, or you could ride out a road only to find it doesn’t connect well with your next road. Might be nice to spend a day riding around on one mountain, but I don’t have the time right now.


The road does end, but only for the family mini van, bikes and 4x4s exempt.




The gravel starts at the end of this pavement, no more hard surface for 40 miles, as I ride around and over the mountain before dropping back down into the first big valley to the west.




A drizzle starts just as the front tire touches the gravel, nothin’ much, won’t hurt me unless it gets heavier. The road shows some use down low, nothing recent, but then decreasing use farther up the mountain.




Once past the one or two unimproved campsites, you’re frequently on two track. I’ve been on this piece of road several times, and have yet to see a vehicle, rarely a fresh track, mostly no tracks.




There are plenty of places to camp along these roads, if you don’t mind a dry camp, any water is down lower. Bring drinking water, I don’t go in here without 2L on the bike, Nalgenes work for me.




No use at this campsite, maybe it gets used in the hunting season. Somebody spent some time on this fire ring, good for a campfire, no good for cooking over a fire.




Once the leaves are on the trees, the foliage is so thick that photo ops of the surrounding countryside from the roads are limited, so find an op, don’t miss out.




Bike running along fine, I’m running along fine…then this on a long ascent through a boulder field and over small ledges, damn.




Bouncing along boulder to boulder, ledge to ledge, one too many bounces and I was off the freakin’ road. The bike landed on a huge rock, missed my foot, and after a short bout of cussing, I had it back up. Scapes and scratches, no damage.





(to be continued...)

jdrocks screwed with this post 08-12-2012 at 08:23 AM
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:44 PM   #7
H14
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No way I'm not subscribing to a JDRocks ride report.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:19 PM   #8
jdrocks OP
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No way I'm not subscribing to a JDRocks ride report.
welcome kevin, you're another guy who knows these roads.

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Old 07-28-2012, 07:34 PM   #9
SteelB12
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Damn, I jealous. Wish I could get out that way more often
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:10 AM   #10
jdrocks OP
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Damn, I jealous. Wish I could get out that way more often
easy, point that KLR west, ride. the KLR does a good job out there.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:59 AM   #11
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It was a JD ride report that initially brought me to this site
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:13 AM   #12
siyeh
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I just got back from a 7000 miler

I was looking for a rat bike out west JD.

Guessing you went more north this year?

safe travels
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:28 AM   #13
jdrocks OP
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It was a JD ride report that initially brought me to this site
hey, how 'bout dat. enjoy the read.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:32 AM   #14
jdrocks OP
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I just got back from a 7000 miler

I was looking for a rat bike out west JD.

Guessing you went more north this year?

safe travels
were you riding with your son again this trip? what bike?

haven't been north yet...still plotting an escape. would mark 50 years above the border, a milestone.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:38 AM   #15
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Love reading ride reports. Can't wait to hear the rest. This is one thing that makes me want to get a DS bike...
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