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Old 06-13-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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COBDR/TAT trip shakedown weekend.

Just a quick little write up about our outing last weekend, which served as a shakedown trip for an upcoming trip to ride the COBDR and then the TAT all the way back east from Moab; this trip will take place shortly after July 4th later this summer.

Just a little background info; there are four of us: myself (Denis) aka XC Rider, my father (Richard) aka 7Cells, Warren aka Kawikazi, and Clarence aka AGStacker. This was actually a trip that Warren & Clarence had pretty much put together and then my father and I jumped onboard about a month ago. Don't worry, we've done this before; two years ago, Warren & Clarence joined my dad and I on a trip on the TAT; we all got along great, had very similar riding styles, and we all decided that we all enjoy another trip together. So this weekend was a way to do a little practice riding, see how the bikes do loaded up, check and make sure we have all the necessary gear, and have some fun! As a last little bit of background info, two of us are on KLRs and the other two are on DRZs.

To get things started, here's a group shot; from left to right: myself, my dad, Warren, and Clarence.



Plan was to meet up at Warren's house for lunch on Friday, June 7th; weather was covered and rainy, but we figured it would be a good test of our rain gear. My dad and I left out from Madison county VA and headed to Harrisonburg to meet up with Warren & Clarence. We got rained on a good bit as we headed over the mountain, but once in the valley, it lightened up a good bit. Being that I was sporting my relatively new Klim Badlands gear, I figured I had nothing to fear from the weather (foreshadowing ). We arrived at Warren's place shortly before noon, where Warren had set up a cold cut buffet for us to have some lunch before we all got under way. We discussed the weather, but all decided to go ahead and just make the best of it, and test our gear out. Here we in Warren's driveway before heading out that day.



The general route that day was to be a short one. We'd leave Harrisonburg and head up Long Run, to Rough Run, and then over to Warren's cabin in Franklin, WV. Knowing that we'd have a short route, and that we'd be sleeping in a cabin with electricity & all, reasured us all about the poor weather we were experiencing; at least we would not have to set up tents in the rain, and we'd be able to dry out over night if need be. Going up Long run was nice and easy as always; a bit slippery due to the rain. We took a quick stop up where Vepco Roads meets Long Run...



... to discuss whether or not we wanted to do Rough run with all the rain we'd been getting, and the several water crossings we'd have to do on that route. In the end we decided to skip Rough run and try and get back to rt 33 via Hall spring road. However, soon after we turned onto Hall spring road, we found that it was gated off; so Rough Run it is! I didn't really take any pictures, as it was raining pretty good most of the time; here's the only other picture I took before we made it to Warren's cabin in Franklin.



To make a long story short, we made it to the cabin some time between 4 and 5pm, unloaded the bikes, changed into dry clothes (yes, my badlands did leak a bit. my forearms were wet and my pants had failed in the worst possible location. this is currently being addressed by KLIM, we'll see what they say).

Here we are unloading the bikes at the cabin, and laying out our gear.



Once inside, it was time to relax; Warren had supplied the cabin in advance so there was cold beer waiting in the fridge...




...and steaks & baked potatoes ready to be grilled!



As night fell, and dinner was cooking, we were even greated by a visitor on the front porch!





He did not seem bothered by us a bit, and I was able to get within 8 feet of him to get those pictures. However, we decide not to disturb our friendly visitor too much, and dinner was about ready anyways (sorry, I didn't get any pictures of the finished product. by the time I reallized this, I'd already scarfed it all down! ). After dinner, we sat around a campfire, discussing details of this weekend, and the upcoming, bigger trip in July.



Eventually we headed off to bed, all anxious for what tomorrow held in store. The plan was to follow the Blue Ridge trail more or less, and make it to Douthat state park to campout for the night so as to test out our tents, sleeping bags, etc....

Day 2 posting to follow.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #2
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I thought the campground was closed.
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:18 AM   #3
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Nice owl you got there, do they eat steak?
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:54 AM   #4
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Sweet lil cabin!
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I thought the campground was closed.
Nope, campgrounds all through out Douthat appeared to be open; we stayed at the northern most one, I thing it was called beaver dam campground.


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Nice owl you got there, do they eat steak?
I don't know if they eat steaks, but if we hadn't had the steaks, we might have eaten him! Kinda like a cornish hen maybe!?
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:45 AM   #6
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Day 2. The plan for today was to hop on the Blue Ridge Trail, a little south of Reddish Knob, and follow it to about Goshen, where we'd then make our own way over to Douthat state park to camp out for the night. The weather looked promising, and we were all eager to hit some nice trails.

Headed out from Franklin along Thorn creek road.



It was still a little grey in the morning, but the weather report said it was supposed to clear up as the day progressed. We were all just happy that it wasn't raining!



We eventually wind up on some dirt; let the fun begin!







Clarence showing us how it's done!



Me being me, and in homage to HBN, stopped to take a picture of some pretty flowers along the trail.....



More shots of us on the trails; I can't remember the name of the trails/roads as I was just following the tracks I'd uploaded into my GPS, but all you've got to do is contact Error_cooled and he'll send you the tracks to the BRT. It's a great set of tracks, and I highly recommend it, regardless of your skill level.







Around 10 or 11, I decided that we could take a break, and so we swung by Elk Horn lake, and took a little snack/bathroom break.



The weather was now turning great, and the views on the lake were spectacular.



I even spotted a little salamander in the shallows.



Well enough dilly-dallying, there are trails to ride!





And the occasional flower to take a picture of!



As it came to be lunch time, we found ourselves in Craigsville, and found a great little family restaurant; it was called B G's Family restaurant. You kinda got to know that it's there, because there's no big sign out front (thanks GPS).



People were friendly, and the food was quick and tasty!



Ohh, and did I mention home made pie!? Butterscotch!



Well enough about food, back on the road!



Yeah, this is what we came for!







As we got to Goshen, I steered us on a course that more or less took rt 633, then rt 630, heading towards Griffith. According to my GPS the road appeared to go through, and looked like it could be fun. We didn't know just what kind of adventure was in store for us....

It started nice and easy, pretty much like everything else we'd been running so far.



We found a great little spot to take a break along the way, where a stream ran along side of the trail.



Right past it was a little water crossing, so I had to set up and take pictures of the group coming through. First through was Clarence.



Then my dad,



And finally Warren!



Down the trail we went, having a great time, and finding more water crossings, a tad bit more challenging than the last one.





Then about halfway down this route the trail turned from a nice and wide Forest service road, to an old two track that followed the train tracks.



We passed one old house that appeared to be abandoned, and then came a another creek crossing. I was in the lead and came to it first; it looked a bit deep, but since I had routed us down this way, I decided just go ahead and charge in! Well about halfway through it got really deep (for me that is)! I'd say it was about 2 to 3 feet deep, somewhere bettween knee and waist deep, and I started to feel the bike bog down and the engine struggle as I heard the gurgling sound of the exhaust right at water level or just a touch below! Without a moments hesitation, I grabbed a fistful of throttle and somehow managed to powerout and onto the other side of the creek! As I made it to the other side, I shouted out in warning to the other, "Careful, it's DEEP!" Warren was right behind me, and after seeing how deep it was where I crossed, he decided to hang to the left and try to ride the shale ledge that appeared shallower. However, unbeknownst to him, it was rather slick and his front wheel slipped into a hole and the bike bottomed out with the skid plate resting on a big rock. Warren went tumbling off the bike into the water, but luckily for him, the bike remained upright, just leaned over 15/20 degrees or so! I jumped in the water to go help Warren out; luckily he was ok, nothing hurt, just wet. My dad and Clarence jumped in, and we all decided that it'd be safer to walk the rest of the bikes across! Here's a few pics that my dad snapped of us walking one of the bikes across. And this was through the shallow part.





Waterproof boots are great until water get deeper than the boots are tall!



At this point in time, the guys were starting to second guess my navigation skills, but being the good sports they were, they followed me anyways!





However, before too long, we reached another creek crossing; it didn't look too bad, but we were starting to wonder what lay ahead beyond this point. Between the deep water crossing and here, we'd sorta passed a guy on a 4-wheeler, but he'd turned off on a side trail, presumably to go to a house we'd just passed. We all decided that I should go try and find that guy, and inquire about the status of the remainder of this trail, so off I went. To make a long story short, I found the guy at the last house we'd just passed (there were only 2, and the first look abandoned), and asked him about the trail. He told me that we could make it through the spot that we were at now, but a little ways farther we'd have to cross a river, NOT a creek! He said it was about twice as wide and twice as deep as the deep water crossing we'd gone through and that the current was running strong right now. He said that we were free to try if we felt like it, but STRONGLY advised against it. So, even though I hate back-tracking, we all decided that it was best to turn around and find another route. Of course, you know that this means that we had to do the deep water crossing again! Oh yeah, the guys were super happy with me about that one! Just to make it better, our friendly local came out with his buddy on their 4 wheelers and drank beer and watched us walk the 4 bikes across! I told him that he could have at least brought a couple extra cold ones with him to share with us. No big deal though, we got the bikes back across safely, poured the water out of our boots, again, and started to make a B-line for Douthat state park. Time was starting to become a factor as it was getting late in the afternoon, and I wanted to get us to the campground before the sun set.

Mad dash to Douthat!





Stopped at the store/gas station in Milboro Springs to gas up and try to find food.



We got gas, but were unlucky on the food situation. We did discover that they've got some nasty white tail deer there!



Back on the road to Douthat; back up plan for food was to leave 2 guys at the campground, while two of us continued on past Douthat to Clifton Forge to find a grocery store. Mission accomplished, in Clifton Forge, Warren and I found a Kroger!

Warren shopping ATGATT!



Back at camp, Clarence had taken care of paying for the site, and he & my dad had started a fire to cook dinner.



Enjoying a cold one after a good day's ride.



Menu for the night, BBQ chicken, zuchini, squash, & onions, and a couple of rolls.



Of course, followed up by an after dinner little drink...



After a hearty meal, a good drink, a full day of riding with the occasional challenge, and some great conversation, we all called it a night; content with the great day we'd had, and confident that we were in good shape to tackle CO & UT in July.



PS. I've got a good bit of GoPro footage to go through, in particular that deep stream crossing where Warren went tumbling off his bike. I'll try to get through it and post it up when it's ready. Day 3, the return home, coming up next.
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:34 AM   #7
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Good Report Denis

Thanks for pulling a report together... good times and memories
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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Hiya Denis....looks like good fun...I'll be hitting the COBDR in early September myself, don't spoil it for me
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
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That Owl is really cute!

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Old 06-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #10
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Hola Dennis, I am in. ALways good to see another coming RR by you with Dad and friends.

We are on another ride that's not postable here: Via VW Eurovan Camper to the Canadian Maritimes: Labrador/Newfoundland. Cargo ship(not Ferry) from Natasquhan to Blanc Sablon... >>>>>...





I'll be monitoring your trip as we roll along from up there.

cheers...
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Old 06-14-2013, 12:48 PM   #11
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I was just looking at the COBDR .... SA WEET Denis!!! Can't wait for your take on it. Not a bad alternative for your RTW... You're still young, you'll get it done.


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Hiya Denis....looks like good fun...I'll be hitting the COBDR in early September myself, don't spoil it for me
Hey Chhub... I thought they turned you into a toad
This time you won't have to come to any meetings and your commute is WAY shorter.

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That Owl is really cute!

Q~
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Old 06-14-2013, 04:52 PM   #12
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Hiya Denis....looks like good fun...I'll be hitting the COBDR in early September myself, don't spoil it for me
Heya CHUB!!! How's the change in scenery treating you? Hope you're finding some good areas to ride your Katooms. We missed ya at LF and Kevin's get-together Memorial day weekend. Bummer our paths wont cross on the COBDR, that would have been one hell of a great coincidence! If you don't want me to spoil it for you, I guess you'll have to refrain from checking out the RR I plan on putting together while we're out there.

Quote:
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That Owl is really cute!

Q~
Heya Q. Yep, I'm a big fan of hooters!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Abenteuerfahrer View Post
Hola Dennis, I am in. ALways good to see another coming RR by you with Dad and friends.

We are on another ride that's not postable here: Via VW Eurovan Camper to the Canadian Maritimes: Labrador/Newfoundland. Cargo ship(not Ferry) from Natasquhan to Blanc Sablon... >>>>>...

I'll be monitoring your trip as we roll along from up there.

cheers...
Hi Elmer! Sounds like a great trip. It's funny because I was thinking of heading that way myself this summer, but then Warren & Clarence told me of their plans to go out to CO & UT, and we had so much fun all of us together the last time that as much as I enjoy travelling solo, travelling with good friends is hard to beat. Newfoundland & Nova Scotia will just have to wait for another time.

Hope you're doing well, and I hope your trip is a memorable one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaxObsessed View Post
I was just looking at the COBDR .... SA WEET Denis!!! Can't wait for your take on it. Not a bad alternative for your RTW... You're still young, you'll get it done.
Hey the Jack! I was actually just over on your picture thread, looking at the pictures from you guys' trip to RDV.

Yep, it's not RTW, but it will still be a hell of a lot of fun. And like you said, I'm young (no snickering from the peanut gallery! ), and I still have plenty of time to achieve that dream.



Guess I got to wrap up this little weekend trip now.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:05 PM   #13
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Day 3, the return home.

So we woke up to somewhat overcast skies; not raining, but not looking too promising either. Thanks to Clarence we were all able to have a cup of coffee as we packed up our gear and the bikes. I don't know what time we got rolling, but I think we got going at a very reasonable time.



Rolling past the overflow damn of the lake in Douthat state park.



First order of business was to find a breakfast spot, so off to Penny's Diner in Low Moor, near Clifton Forge.



Who is this dirty, ugly biker guy taking a picture of me!?



If this is true, why am I not thin as a toothpick!?



Anyways, the coffee was warm and the food was good.



We did have a funny moment in the diner when we ordered as first for the drink order, the KLR guys both got coffee & water, while the DRZ guys got coffee & OJ; then again for the for order the KLR guys got the same thing, and the DRZ guys ordered identical breakfasts! I swear, this was not planned! It does make you think though.....

While we sat eating breakfast, I sat down at Clarence's computer and put together a route for us to head home. I plotted out something that would keep us off the main roads as much as possible, and hopefully through in some dirt and gravel. I don't know about the other guys, but I was pleased with the outcome. Aside from the occasional sprinkle of rain on the ride home, it was fantastic. Here are the pics.





















And as quickly as it started, this weekend came to an end when we arrived at Clarence's house. We did do a loop on his trail around his property with the bikes loaded down; I got it on GoPro and will post it up when I get to it. All in all, a fantastic weekend. Weather was acceptable; if nothing else it was a good test for us and our gear. The bikes performed well, as did the gear for the most part. We all have a few things to take care of prior to the early July departure, but we are all eager for that day to arrive.

Thanks for checking out this little weekend ride, and I'll do my best to get the GoPro footage up without too much delay (I'm still learning how to do this video editing stuff).
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:58 PM   #14
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I know it was a lot of fun.
Thanks for the report.
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Old 06-15-2013, 06:34 AM   #15
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Nice report Denis. I'm looking forward to the next one.
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