Excursions pour la Journee avec Gaston

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Gaston Gagne, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
    I recently got out for a semi big three day trip from Wilmington, DE to White Haven, PA.

    Wilmington- pretty nice garage, eh?

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    When I woke up at 4:45, the moon was out, but there were thunderstorms all around the house as I was getting ready to go. I was soaked before I left the neighborhood, but that was the only bad rain I hit the whole trip. By Avondale, PA, I was clear of any real traffic, and the weather started to improve.

    Lancaster County, PA

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    Even as early as Lancaster Country, I was hitting some fun roads.


    Berks County

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    When I found this, I also figured out that I was off course.

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    The Berks/Schuylkill County line on PA 501.

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    When I got to Pine Grove, I picked up PA 125. This road is excellent beginning to end.


    Getting on toward Shamokin and PA 61, the scenery changes to coal mining.

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    Shikellamy State Park in Sunbury, PA overlooks the confluence of the Susquehanna and the West Branch of the Susquehanna Rivers.

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    It was here that I ate my prodigious sandwich that I had carried from Delaware. I also met a fellow on a DR 650 who had found a suicide victim in the park the day before. He seemed a bit freaked out by the whole thing.

    From Shikellamy, I rode up to Mifflinburg and gassed up and headed out to Laurelton, which is another one of my indicators of correct living.

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    First things first: I headed out to find some camping at Poe Valley or Poe Paddy State Park, so I can lose the luggage.

    I know a shortcut to the parks.

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    I was a little late for the peak of the mountain laurels, but they were still in pretty good shape.

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  2. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
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    Nice work Agent Gaston! Hittin' the spiritual homeland. Water lillies at Hawk Mountain?? Looks like it to me. Stomped those grounds last time I was in the Commonwealth.

    Piston
  3. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
    Thanks agent Pants. The water lillies were right along the highway. I wanted to hit both Hawk Mtn and the Pagoda, but I opted to keep moving to get to Bald Eagle.
  4. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Poe Valley SP turned out to be the park with showers, etc. They also have CCC workstands in each campsite.

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    After 200 miles in and out of rain, I needed a little chain maintenance. I set up camp and checked out the concession stand. Pretty nice fare for out in the middle of nowhere.

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    I took Poe Paddy Drive up to the overlooks. This is the Centre of Pennsylvania.

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    I was taking the long way into town, so I checked out some of these "drivable trails" that I passed. When they are dead ends, there is usually signage. I'm pretty sure you can put together epic dual sport rides in this area without following any kind of plan.


    My freeform ride brought me out to Penn's Creek.

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    I was on the wrong side of the creek, so I rerode Poe Paddy Drive and down into Milheim. Milheim rocks. Burkholder's Grocery is great. Their prodigious bakery stromboli is $4.99. The Milheim Hotel is a nice place to sit down for a drink, but remember: only one per wheel.

    Gassed up and ready to hit Seven Mountains, I headed back to camp.

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    In spite of it being after sunset, I hit the swimming area before I turned in. We are off to Seven Mountains in the morning.

    Oyasuminasai!
  5. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Big day ahead. Seven Mountains is a ninety mile course and has a variety of riding surfaces: rocks, sand and rocks, roots and rocks, and mud and rocks. I did not get the earliest of starts this morning.

    This whole area is covered with chipmunks. That would explain all of the red tail hawks. This little fellow and several of his friends shared my breakfast.

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    Poe Valley is between the two main loops of the Seven Mountains trip. I headed west in the morning.

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    Plantation Trail

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    Last time I was here, I had trouble on the Plantation/Burn transition. The map is a bit misleading. Burn Trail is the business.

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    Last time I was here, I smashed my foot between a rock and the side of my motorcycle. As I was riding along, I said to myself, "This looks like that spot." I no sooner lifted my foot when I caught a rock with the right footpeg.

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    I rode down into Milroy for gas and caffeine. It's already lunchtime and getting hot.

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    There is work being done to these trails. Some reroutes had me a bit worried because they haven't been blazed and are still a bit sketchy.

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    The stuff on the Jacks Mountain end is more challenging. Middle Ridge and Summit are pretty tough.

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    The east end.

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    Hey, where's my truck?

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    Where are the leaves? Last time I was here, this little draw was knee deep in leaves, and Clifford's clutch got abused climbing up this.

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    I didn't make it up the climb to High Knob. I went around the back way. Maybe with a better tire and a 14 tooth sprocket. It was slick and hot.

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    There must have been one hell of a flood. Bull Hollow Trail is nuked. I don't think I would have made it through there going uphill.


    At the moment, Pennsylvania is really green. Nice to see.

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    I made it back to Poe Valley and headed into Milheim for supplies. Tomorrow it's off to the Poconos.
  6. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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  7. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I got up early and packed up Friday morning.

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    I got breakfast here.

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    So long Milheim! Deliver me from Lock Haven. I had to go all the way back to Mill Hall for gas. I got rained on hard as well. I'm picking up a pattern here: Millheim, Milroy, Mill Hall. The plan was to ride over Hazard Road, but that appears to be gated Game Lands now. Carrier Road was a nice alternative. PA 44 to Lebo Vista.

    I'm guessing that five years ago, not much was going on here.

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    Now there is tons of traffic with plates from all over the country.

    Marcellus Shale

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    The truck driver from Wisconsin told me that I could connect to Trout Run in spite of the gate. They were going through with huge trucks.

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    Pine Creek Gorge.

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    OK, so I can get to Trout Run, but the "Bridge Out" signs were a little offputting. To their credit, the bridges did look brand new.

    Our judges rated it "diggety."

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    I took Slate Run down into Pine Creek and then downstream to Truman Run and Silver Springs. I made a wrong turn (the first misleading signage of the trip) but it worked out as I got gassed up.

    At this point, my route that I worked out was sort of a bust. I didn't do Grays Run because my map and the layout of the land didn't seem to match. Roaring Branch was a very nice alternative, and I think that would be a stout whitewater run. Pleasant Stream Road had a "Road Closed" sign, so I went through Wallis run. Very pretty area. Then Dry Run was also closed.

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    The consolation prize was that Oglonia road was awesome. I found my way from Muncy Valley to Ricketts Glen.

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    I ran 118 and 29 into Nanticoke. On to Northampton Street for a sub and some takeout beer! Layla was already in East Side.

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    750 miles in 3 days. I did a nice loop out of East Side through Oley Valley into Eckley and down through Sandy Valley. The kids are still holding it down at the guide house.

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    Paddled the upper Saturday and Sunday. Ahhhh, the Lehigh, where I learned to paddle.

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    That's three generations. Note the paddles.

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    I wish I had a purple Ace.

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    River City

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    Thanks for looking!
  8. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

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    The Holy Land. Thanks for that slice of northeast/northcentral PA! Cross that bridge into Luzerne County! Nice singletrack in the mountain laurel. Only You can do that, my brother.

    Piston
  9. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,098
    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
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    A real live wangan.

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    I saw a 250-300 pound bear today at Ivy Gap. Its left shoulder and arm had brown fur.


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    No matter how many times I ride the Parkway, it never gets old.

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  10. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
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    out in the clover patch
    Nice new ride! :thumb

    I wish that I could have had a DRz with me when I was back home reminiscing on the old trails.....
  11. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The other day we got up really early and did the crazy eight of Chestnut/Little Chestnut. As the sun was coming over the horizon, a turkey was giving it up kokorikoo!

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    The day after that, I explored the North Toe and Beech Mountain. Beech now has a mountain bike trail system. I was scouting Beech so Layla and I can get our Col de Tourmalet on.


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    I got caught in a hail storm at the summit of Beech Mountain, where I was regaled with the merits of track days. "Really, the only cost is tires, and a massage for the missus." :lol3



    The next to final step for the honey.

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    They did put up a little bit of sourwood. This afternoon's activity is centrifuging the summer harvest. 81 W 35 N sunshine and rainfall in a jar.:dg


    Sunday I headed out to Grandfather.

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    I get some style points for the 1 handed gap jump.


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  12. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    loved the pics...wood paddles...SILVER CREEK?
  13. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The paddles are homemade. He even makes bentshaft wood paddles.
  14. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
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    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
  15. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    :clap
  16. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

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    Idaho Dammit! When are we gonna get the Idaho report?!?!

    Piston
  17. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
    On Monday July 25, there was a thunderstorom that took out our local internet service provider. Without advrider or facebook, we said, "What the heck, let's drive to Idaho."

    How much fun can you pack into a 2001 Tacoma?

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    As it turns out, you can pack a lot of fun in there. I still have room for a load of sand or a few haybales.

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    Driving across the continent has its advantages. This is by so far the best barbeque I have ever eaten.

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    Layla found a quiet place to bring it to rest at the end of the first session of driving. We were already out of the stinking heat we were experiencing.

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    We arrived in Denver a little bit after rush hour. We got a 30 dollar :eek1 breakfast at Whole Foods. The Platte looked like it had a bunch of water in it when we went over it, so we decided to check out Clear Creek. It was about at the perfect level. Layla shakes off the long drive with a little Class V. I was leapfrogging with safety and camera on the DRZ.

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    She is so cute I don't know how she can stand herself.

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    I took off up Clear Creek Canyon and headed up I 70 to Loveland Pass. I wanted to see how the bike would run at altitude. It turns out that it will run fine not at interstate speeds. Also at the top of the pass, it was sputtering a bit. I was a bit put off by all this and kicking myself for not looking into jetting adjustments. It turned out to be a non factor though.

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    I put the bike back on the truck for the run down through Vail, etc. We had a nice picnic in the outlet mall parking lot in Silverthorne. That's three thick slices of bread covered with rib tips and sauce and finished off with three more slices of bread. It's a sandwich that you spit bones out of. Good stuff.

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    We spent the night in Eagle at a friend's house.


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    I rode from Eagle to Steamboat Springs (my favorite place on Earth). I did some parallel dirt roads while Layla trucked it into town.

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    Another delightful roadside picnic with my darling.

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    I'm going to stop here. Layla hasn't uploaded photos to her smugmug, so to keep the narrative consistent, I'm going to wait. Here's a Steamboat teaser.

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  18. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    When we got to Steamboat, we did some food shopping and beta gathering. Layla was checking out the boating scene and found out that there was going to be this event called "Cross Fest," where she would be able to meet people to run Cross Mountain Gorge of the Yampa River. I got a MVUM for Routt National Forest and a 32 oz fuel bottle from Ski Haus. I did some exploring in town. Mount Werner Road is a bust and leads to several dead ends that are obivous motoring roads, but only for ski area traffic. Otherwise, you are walking the dog or pushing pedals We also secured a campsite at Steamboat Springs Campground.


    The next morning we unloaded the bicycles. Maison cycliste.

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    We headed out to Mad Creek for a loop.

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    We followed Mad Creek to the Wilderness Boundary. It was tempting to walk on to see the magnificent canyon a bit farther upstream.

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    Saddle Trail connects Mad Creek to Red Dirt Trail and is a bit of a butt kicker. We were doing OK with the altitude. Our "Code Orange Ozone Alert" training regimen seemed to be working out for us.

    Red Dirt Trail.


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    The end of Red Dirt Trail is pretty intense as you are basically riding along the face of a cliff. Sorry, no photos. My fingers were too tightly gripping the handlebars.


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    We got back to camp, and Layla decided to hit up the boating scene again and make sure of her arrangements for the Cross Mountain trip. I jumped on the DRZ and headed for Rabbit Ears Peak. The forest service had a brochure for a motorcycle road to the top of it.

    The flowers at Rabbit Ears pass were crazy.

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    I passed a bunch of hikers on the last pitch to the end of the road. I climbed the little path to the base of the Rabbit Ears.

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    The hikers that I passed turned out to be from Blacksburg. We chatted for a while and then I set off. I stll had some time, so I went out the other fork of the road to Base Camp. By the way, the bike runs just fine, even on the steep stuff as long as it's in the first three gears. My faith in the Suzuki service manual is perhaps paying off.

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    On the way back into town, I stopped at the Ski Haus liquor store. Jackpot. At times, life in the west seems very tempting. They just seem to "get it."

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    Our peaceful, riverside campsite became not-so peaceful. A large group of people rented the cabins and campsites on both sides of ours. They had roughly a million children with them. The fact that we had a campsite didn't make a perceivable dent in their construction of the world. Neither did the fact that we had fancy bicycles and other outdoor equipment lying around. Our stuff was actually safer than it otherwise would have been. The first night, the kids had glow sticks and flashlights. The second night, they stepped it up to a strobelight.

    Anyway, we went to the Safeway for some dinner and then headed out to Strawberry Fields for some serious hot tubbing. If you've never been, you should get on it. Layla and I have been to some nice hot springs resorts, and this one blows them all away. We gotta get up early so Layla can make her appointment. Me, I had a date with destiny.
  19. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    24,833
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    :clap Great stuff!!


    I'm jealous as I have not been out West yet this year....soon though, very soon.



    :lurk
  20. Jamie

    Jamie .

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
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    Location:
    Shelby, NC
    :lurk Bring it on.