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.