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Old 04-25-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
Dorito OP
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Southern Maryland Adventure Riders --Pine Barrens Adventure Camp (New Jersey)



Somewhere in the cold of a long winter, you reflect on the (mis?)adventures of last riding season. For me, I have this uncanny knack fish tailing (plowing?) through deep sand. It usually starts with a little butt wiggle, then a big butt wiggle, then a nice low-side get off. One that watches it may in fact think I am snorkeling like a dirt submarine.

In my mind, every gravel road with an inch of sand looks like this:



Quote:
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz.

The second most common form of sand is calcium carbonate, for example aragonite, which has mostly been created, over the past half billion years, by various forms of life, like coral and shellfish. It is, for example, the primary form of sand apparent in areas where reefs have dominated the ecosystem for millions of years like the Caribbean.
While it's perhaps no big surprise that I suck at sand. Maryland is home to a clay base and our other haunt (West Virginia) is rock on rock thanks to a glacier sometime last ice age.

With that, we find the closest place with copious amount of sand and some race-ready instructors, and off to Pine Barrens Adventure Camp.

http://www.pinebarrensadventures.com/

Without much ado, this weekend we embark to learn some mad sand skills.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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The Journey North by NorthEast

Having a bunch of undone tasks to do this morning, we left around 0900. It was probably a good decision given we were trekking into the heart of DC's wonderland traffic. None the less, the morning frost had lifted leaving only a crisp spring air behind.

Blaster got a whopping 200 yards from the house before he realized that his "Ruby Red Slippers "had never been worn on the HP2. It seems the stiff clown boots making finding a shifter and braking somewhat challenging. He decides there nothing really to be done and we push north.

Although traffic reports the I-95 corridor is a mess, we find ourselves with extremely light traffic. As many know, there is only one thing we do better than Ride-to-Eat...Ride-to-shop.

What could be better than we found the new home of the "'Zilla" elves!


The new Revzilla store open a mere +/- 6 weeks is located in the old Philadelphia Navy Yard. Parking right outside the store, and feels safe enough to leave your bike as you leisurely shop.


It was primo modern, and had a great feel. The store displays mostly their clothing kit. I was really hoping to see more of the gadgets and kitsch on the website, and I love those things!

This was also sitting on the show room floor:


Alas, you don't realize it but the front customer area is only a minor section. Have you seen the movie the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? Basically, the kids access an whole different world via a portal in the closet.



This is where the 'Zilla elves live! The show room is connected the entire 4-loading dock warehouse (e.g. where your items ship from if you buy online). If they have stock of it, the elves bring it up. I almost felt like playing 3 wishes with them! My only regret is my nerdie self didn't ask for a tour of the 'Zilla elf town. Next time. Lakota will be proud that I bought another pair of gloves. Thus, I begin this adventure with more gloves than Blaster!

The recommended hotel is a bit of a mixed bag thus far. When I booked it, it was a Howard Johnson. When I got the confirmation it was the "Hammonton Inn". Today, it was the Econolodge. Hard to imagine they lost the reservation in the mix.



Tomorrow, the fun begins. But for now, I leave you with this vid. This is what driving in Jersey feels like to me. A fight between a lioness and a croc over a dead Hippo!

Timestamps 2 and 6 mins are the most interesting.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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Revzilla

Yep, the new store is very nice!! The old store front was in an old industrial part of town which was kind of cool but I was a bit nervous about leaving my kit outside while I shopped....not so at the new place. As always customer service was courteous and helpful. It is kind of cool that if it's in stock they will bring it up from the back in about 5 minutes. I picked up a pair of REV'IT summer socks to replace one of the pairs they cut off my foot last fall....I am partial to the BMW socks since they have wool in them but I figured I would give these a try.
I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow and brushing up my skills and learning some new stuff.

Oh, and here is the information on the class in case you are interested.

Quote:
Here is some information on the Pine Barrens Adventure Camp Riding School’s next class.

We will be having a school on Saturday 4/27 and Sunday 4/28/13 in Nesco, NJ.
Both days we will have donuts and bananas available for breakfast. If you stay at the Howard
Johnson's (newly known as the Hammonton Inn) they have a nice breakfast. Then we cover your lunch
and dinner Saturday. We have a nice dinner out at a local restaurant Saturday night to talk about
the lessons and riding in general. We have our continental breakfast again on Sunday and cover your
lunch for that day. Drinks available all day long Saturday from our coolers, and you can grab a
couple waters for Sunday, it is important to stay hydrated, even when it is cool out and you don't
feel thirsty. Any costs for lodging is the responsibility of the rider.

The school will be a two day course starting at 09:30 on Saturday on a private training field,
going over basic skills. We will break for lunch and continue training, and then go on an
approximate 20 mile ride after the class. Saturday usually finishes up around 16:30. Sunday we
cover skills from the class out in the field on dirt roads and trails and usually finish up about
14:00.

This is a beginner course on how to ride a big dual sport or adventure bike in the sand and other
local terrain. We can accommodate beginner to intermediate skill levels in this class and will
adjust accordingly as we go.

It covers basics starting with bike setup and adjusting all your controls. We will help everyone
adjust things and we have tools, but please have tools that fit various nuts and bolts on your
bike, most importantly your handle bar clamps, levers if separate, back brake pedal if appropriate,
mirrors, turn signals, shield, after market lights, and those kinds of things in case we don’t have
the right wrench. We won’t do a complete service on your bike, we just sometimes remove or move
some things in case of falls.

Knobby tires are a must. Not having the proper tires can make the ride a lot more like work. With
knobbies you will save a lot of energy and enjoy the ride a lot more and prevent injuries. A couple
common tires are the TKC80 and something like the Pirelli MT21. If you have any question about this
requirement please call or email.

Boots are also a must. They don’t have to be full racing / mx boots but you should have enough
protective gear to handle a fall or flop over. MX style boots are commonly worn by most riders for
rides like the Pine Barrens 300. If the bike lands on your foot, it needs to be a hard boot and
cover the ankle. Knee and shin protection is also required. In everyday riding, not just this
course, Always plan for the fall whether you are on street or dirt. Talk to one of us and we can
give you some common types of good protective light duty MX/ Adventure boots. We also may have
offers from some of our sponsors.

We cover basic balance, cornering, acceleration, braking, sliding, up and down hills and bumps,
ruts, puddles, and sand. On the ride we usually cover the basics and practice what you learned and
possibly some more advanced riding tips depending on whatever we encounter with the varying
terrain.

For this class there are probably a few other choices for where to stay, but most usually stay at
the Howard Johnson/Hammonton Inn in Hammonton, NJ, which is the Pine Barren 300 start location when
that event is going on, or camp at the Wading Pines Camp Ground. Accommodations are optional, and
you can ride or trailer into the training area in Nesco.

Meeting time at the school grounds is 09:30am Saturday.
Thanks very much for your interest in our school.
Michael Bradway: cel 856-297-1981 mike.bradway@bradwaytrucking.com
Jack O'Connor: cel 732-714-8874, or jack-bsm@comcast.net
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:41 AM   #4
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Dawn breaks on the parking lot at the now Econo lodge. It seems that magical things have transformed the empty parking lot into a GS wonderland. While we rested our heads with 5 or so bikes, today, this morning the number has doubled.

The R1200s appear to be the big pig choice of the weekend. There are two G650s Seratos, Blaster's HP2, Dorito, 2013 F800GS, and a lone Tiger. I do feel a bit like a terrible mother today. The Dorito machine looks by far the one that has been rode the hardest and put away the wettest. I've never seen so many clean, unscratched bikes. Well see if we can't change that in the hours to come









We went to the Silver Diner last night. While I got the crab ravioli,


and Blaster got the Salmon...


I think I should have just got another loaf of bread...it was the bread that was so good!
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:28 PM   #5
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Smiley Jack

The Proprietor: Smiley Jack

The man has a personality 100 feet tall. Never saw him all day not smiling. Very warming and personable.

So the class is the brain child of Jack. He lives in the local area, and puts together the only Big Bike Dual Sport Ride though the Pine Barrens. The other 44 yearly rides in the Pine Barrens are for little zippy bikes.

The Pine Barrens 300 usually runs in the late fall (Nov this year), and is limited to 150 riders. You must have a GPS and a bike over 500cc.

Anyhow, Jack would routinely get folks with a shiny new R1200 show up for the ride, never had so much as a tread off tarmac riders. They were in the school of hard knocks, whereas they figured after 300 miles the would get the hang of it. I've also said
Quote:
Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.
The first couple of years the n00bs would get tens of miles before calling it a day. Later in the evolution, Jack would escort via the tarmac and show them the hairy sections. Most were grateful to bow out before they got in over they heads after seeing the conditions.

Now Jack had the idea to have the n00b school the day before the Pine Barrens 300. Just enough skills to get them to survive the Pine Barrens 300 the following day. The problem is a after a day of picking up the big pigs, it wasn't much fun the following day.

Jack now has the school unrelated to the Pine Barrens. He's renamed it from "sand school" to "adventure camp". He's arranged a swanky deal with a land owner to use a the backyard MX track and some swanky door prizes from Manhattan BMW, and Twisted Throttle.

It definitely shows that Jack has big dreams for the school. What a great grass-roots endeavor.
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:44 AM   #6
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Smiley Jack--The Foodie

In a previously life, Jack was a high-end caterer. And boy does it show. He provided a gaggle of sandwiches for lunch, and then decided to take 20 ADvers to a country club for dinner


He had planned to take us a Italian restaurant, but they were booked with Holy Communions. I've always thought it was better to be on bike thinking about God, then in a church thinking about a bike. No worries, we had a separate entrance, and our own room as not to scare off the women and children. Fortuitously, charm school appears to have worked because we even used the silverware mostly correctly.

Anyone else concerned there are many breakable items on this table?




Fancy bannister with a built-in helmet rack


I must admit nary a bad crumb hit my lips for the next 1.5 hours. A big kudos to Jack as the dinner is comped as part of the registration fee!

Mozzarella wedges, calamari, sausages and wings


Sweet Potato Fries


Salad
The salads were great. Unfortunately, Blaster is a not much a salad connoisseur. As someone pointed out,
Quote:
It's the food that my food eats



Clam Linguini
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:02 AM   #7
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The Sponsorship

Jack arranged for some nice freebie kitsch:











I didn't realize BMW of Manhattan is the only US factory direct dealership. Also, Twisted Throttle has way more stuff than I realized.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:16 AM   #8
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The Practice Field

Jack has arranged for use of a backyard MX course for our exercises.


I usually don't leave stickers on things, but I think this one looks dashing!





I have to admit that riding in New Jersey didn't exactly excite me on any level, except for the fact it was something new and the closest I could get to get rid of that horrible sand-ick I have. Teach McNeil apparently came down and had the same sentiments. Mentally, I thought we would be riding into ghettos, abandoned buildings, trash dumps and parking lots.

What a surprise! The Pine Barrens is over 1 million acres. We rode among blueberry farms and cranberry bogs!


How about Cedar Alley..


Honestly, it's only about 150 miles from home. Probably as close as West Virginia. We'll probably be scouting some weekend rides up that way
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:07 AM   #9
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As I always say 'One can never have too may pairs of gloves"
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:30 AM   #10
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Day 1

The day started around 0900 at the practice field. We were greeted by the instructors, and they wanted us to take off all mirrors, GPS, luggage and other breakable items. Strike 1 for me was I replaced the keys my luggage last winter, and apparently forgot to replace the tumbler on the locking plate for the top case. I’ve since thrown away the old keys, so not only did I not think about removing it, I have no way to do so!

Then off to remove the mirrors. Some might say the Dorito machine is somewhat battle-proven. If it is currently on the bike, it’s survived the test of time, spills and carnage. However, I obliged in removing the mirrors. Later in the day I will fully regret this decision, as I will lose the knuckle bolt at the base of the mirror somewhere between 0900 and the end of day. Meanwhile, Blaster had no problems removing his double take mirrors. Pops off the GPS which is mounted on the aux bar, and puts it in his top pouch. The GPS apparently got into a bar fight with the other crap in the pouch, and hasn’t worked since. Honestly, another case of it’s worked all this time in the current location, just don’t screw with it!

While the discussion went later in the day, but it probably should have been addressed in the bike preps. The instructors didn’t recommend airing down tires, and in fact ran whatever the under the seat recommendation was. Seems odd given that most bikes were now running non-OEM street tires and for my bike would have been over-inflated if I had filled to the placarding instructions. Another reason they cited for not airing down was to prevent pinch flats. Again, a good part of class had tubeless tires.

We had 15 students total, which I think was bit too many given the layout of the practice field and the instructor technique. I think it would have been more efficient to break us into two groups. Scott is a currently an AA rated Enduro rider. It’s funny to meet any race riders off the track. He’s very stoic, mellow demeanor, and calm. You wonder how the heck he even completes an Enduro, let alone finds a podium. But as soon as he’s piloting the bike, he’s turns into calculated hunter. He was riding a new F800GS and just putting a whipping on that big bike. He’s for sure got some mad skills.

While the class is touted for beginners, I would say this class is best used as either an early season pipe-opener/refresher or as “hone sand” school. It’s not structured in time nor in lesson progression to take a rank dirt n00b to much beyond survival tactics. But indeed, I believe the niche that Jack is honing. Most of the exercises were variations of ones we’ve done before…with the exception of hill extraction which was new for me.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:19 AM   #11
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Exercise 1

Exercise 1: Low speed turning while on the pegs. Ensure you move your rump to the outside of the seat, and weight the outside peg. No ridged arms (so make sure those bars are adjusted correctly). One instructor would ride around and talk to us individually (which I absolutely love!), while the other one stood at the station. While I enjoyed the conversations we had, I really wish there was more opportunity for one-on-one comments. While I could set up cones anywhere, the consistent constructive feedback is where the value of great instruction is at for me.

The exercise pattern got a bit clogged at time, but if there is one thing that I’ve learned from Wattsy to CornerSpin is don’t get drug into other people’s bad lines and don’t ride their bike! However, I decided it was nice to get some breathing room and find your own spot to practice field to hone the exercise to my own leisurely pace.

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Old 04-29-2013, 08:55 AM   #12
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Excercise 2

Exercise 2: Low speed turns while counterbalance seated: For this exercise, we suppose to practice on the same cone course just sitting down. Blaster snapped up and his CornerSpin training kicked in. This was all he heard: Sit high on the tank, drive that inside bar down and outside elbow up, screwdriver throttle!

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:26 PM   #13
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Exercise 3-4-5

Exercise 3 was start at the first set of marker cones. Ride about 100 feet then stop using the rear brake. Exercise 4, the same except applying the front brake at the very end. And exercise 5 was rear brake while standing. Balance, then ride off. Just like this:

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:53 PM   #14
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Excercise 6

Exercise 6: Failed Hill Ascent
I imagine that you are on a hill, and you don't quite crest it. What should you do? Well, that largely depends on who you are. You could try this method, which we learned at the BMW performance center. We call it "Domino"...


Alternatively, if that doesn't work this might also work.

When the bike stalls out, grab the front brake and put it in first. Now get off the bike (which is tricky while you are on a hill with no kickstand). While standing on the uphill side, lean the bike into your hip. Crank the handle bars to one direction. Release the clutch and let it roll. Now that it is about 15 degrees to the hill, you need to work the handle bars back and forth until you get the bike slightly lower than perpendicular to the hill. Then get on and ride off.

I think the hardest part is getting on and off...

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:59 PM   #15
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Demo 7 & 8

Demo 7 & 8: Dead End Trail

I didn't get the vid, but they demonstrated turning around on the trail. The first is using riding the bike front tire just enough up a berm to get momentum, then hold the clutch as it rolls backwards. Full lock the handle bars, ride back up the berm and repeat (think 3-5 point turn)

The next was standing next to the bike, lean the bike way onto your hip, then roost the around 180 degrees. Looks cool, but I think I will try it on the TTR first lest I give the big bike a ghostie across the yard
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