Father & Son WV trip

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by XC Rider, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Last year I took some personal time and rode the TAT. During the course of that adventure I updated a real-time rr about my trek along the trail here on ADVrider and by the end of my travels, I had my father interested in doing some dual-sport riding. Now he's been riding street for several years, but this dirt thing was something new. First things first was to find him a bike. Knowing what I knew from having started the TAT with a KLR 650 and ended with a DRZ 400, I told him to get something small and light; for the longest time we looked at all kinds of 250's. In the end, he got a DRZ 400 like mine (except two years newer). Not a bad choice being that I personally really like this bike and find it a very capable steed, but if we were going to be riding together, both of us riding the same bikes would have its advantages if things were to go wrong with one bike.

    We tried to get together for a small campout trip earlier this spring, but due to mechanical issues with the bike, my father was unable to come along (this would have been his first, trial run with off-road riding). So instead, this 4 day trip would serve as his induction into off-road riding. To make things a little more difficult, I had no ability to really plan out the trip as my computer had crapped out about a month before; this left me with an albeit new computer, but without my Mapsource GPS mapping software and applicable maps (they were in boxes in VA while I live down in Key West, FL). Luckily though, I'd been in touch a while back with Igofar and gotten his tracks to the Trans-West Virginia trail, and the day before we were to leave, I re-installed mapsource onto my new computer, and uploaded the tracks for the TWVT onto my GPS which luckily had on them the Garmin City Navigator maps for that area. Riding this trail had been my goal all along, so aside from not being able to layout a route to the trail from VA and back to VA from where-ever we left the trail, we were OK.

    In the end, we spent 4 superb days of riding all kinds of roads, seeing some great country, meeting some good people, and improving our riding skills!

    Here's a little teaser shot taken of us on our last day as we made our way back home; this picture was actually take in Virginia on top of Flagpole Knob, west of Harrisonburg.

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    I'll get the rest of the pictures and the story up once I finish uploading all the pictures. Not to mention the fact that I've got to get all my stuff back together and head back down to FL the day after tomorrow!
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Father and son trips are always special.. thanks for sharing yours..

    Since it's a short trip, I'm moving this thread to Day Trippin', our new ride reports forum for short trips :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

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    Can't wait xc! I'll be posting a WV father and son RR this weekend as well :webers
    #3
  4. SirWrecksAlot

    SirWrecksAlot Slowventurer

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    This one's gonna be epic! :clap
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  5. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    XC, looking forward to it :lurk
    #5
  6. prometheus rising

    prometheus rising Ghost In The Machine

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    Great start, bring it on:clap :clap
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  7. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF ┬┐to post or to ride?

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    That's great Denis. You and Mike are fortunate; neither my father nor my son rides. :dunno Carry on! :thumb
    #7
  8. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Alright, so here goes day 1!

    Now, I can't even begin to describe the excitement that I felt leading up to this little excursion. Like I said, I've been living down in Key West, and to put it mildly, there's simply NOWHERE to ride down here! :becca
    Then there was of course the fact that I'd been doing this little trip with my dad! :clap
    The day started off with a bang, and when I got to my parents' house to meet up with dad, I reallized that I'd left my wallet at my buddie's house! :baldy No big woop, just cause us to track back a little bit. My plan was to head from Orange on some back roads to Stanardsville, and then pick up route 33 over the mountains into West Virginia. From there I would pick up Briery Gap road that would take up past Spruce Knob, Spruce Knob lake, and eventually down to Laurel Forks campground (by way of a few turns).

    Just a few miles into the trip, I accidentaly route us down a dead end gravel road. I'd always wanted to check it out, and the GPS said that it went thru!

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    After eating a little humble pie we were back on the road. We stopped on top of the mountains between Stanardsville and Elkton and took a picture by the historical markers there.

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    The ride back down the mountain to Elkton was fun, but then followed by a some miles of not so exciting road to Harrisonburg. However, route 33 west of Harrisonburg becomes quite fun as you cross into West Virginia! :ricky Here are some actions shots of dad on his DRZ!
    Warning: Be prepared to see a LOT of actions shots of my dad!

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    Past Brandywine and such, we eventually turn onto Briery Gap road and head towards Spruce Knob.

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    On top of Spruce Knob.

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    Next, Spruce Knob lake.

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    Continuing down the trail to the Laurel Forks campground.

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    We reached Laurel Forks campground around 2:30pm or so, and got our tents set up. With so much daylight still left, and me ITCHING to ride some dirt, I decided to take us for the loop that I'd done when I was here back in April for the spring campout at Laurel Forks. The following shots are from the loop up Smith Mountain road, to Seneca Rocks, and back to LF.

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    Seneca Rocks.

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    While at Seneca Rocks, we rode up as far as we could up the road/trail up towards Seneca Rocks. This was the site of one of the early N.A. tags. Last time I was here, I was on my Harley! (Dad couldn't believe it!)

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    See the truck over dad's right mirror!? That was the official tag spot.

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    From there we started to B-line it back to camp as it was starting to get dark!

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    And out camp for the night.

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    I swear, the fact that our bikes and tents are color matched was PURELY ACCIDENTAL! I didn't even notice until I was going through the pictures!

    Stats for the day.

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    After a little bit of lasagna in meat sauce for dinner, and a little Jim Beam and coke to wash things down, we slept like babies! All in all, a very good start to the trip.
    #8
  9. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    very cool :thumb great photos :clap thanks for sharing!
    I just noticed dad needs some stickers...give that man a moose, cat or something :deal
    #9
  10. HBN

    HBN lostwithmike.com

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    Cat on its way!
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  11. 7cells

    7cells Adventurer

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    Looking forward for the Cat. Thanks.
    And I wanted to add: I can't find words to express my gratitude to my son Denis, who's got me back riding bikes (after a more +/- 40 years); first on his little Honda Nighthawk, then his Sportster, and now to off-road riding.
    He is also a great coach (OK I admit it I have a bias), but really he helped me a lot, this is essential when one begins doing this kind of riding (I mean on unpaved road, now that I think of it... I understand why there is no need for max speed limit signs on those roads, anyway it is a lot of fun! I can't wait to do again (working on adding a couple of things on the DRZ).
    #11
  12. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    You're right, that bike does look a bit naked.

    Thanks Mike! :thumb

    And now onto day 2!
    #12
  13. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    So we wake up at I don't know what time, and it really doesn't matter anyways! Ain't being on vacation great! :D

    Make a little oatmeal for breakfast, and then the old pack up ritual begins. I think we ended up hitting the trail around 10'ish or so. :dunno

    From LF campground we took a left up the hill and once at the top of the hill, another left. HB & FOX, the same way we took when we left the LF campout back in April. It was a beautiful morning, and the rest of the day looked just as promising.

    Here we are just minutes after leaving the campground.

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    The Laurel Forks overlook (just a mile or two from the campground).

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    At this point in time, we are now following the TWVT (or Trans West Virginia Trail ). This is similar to the TAT in that it is a conglomeration of public roads and trails (mostly unpaved) that winds all over West Virginia with connections to the north and south. It is a work in progress being spearheaded by Igofar (along with some help from some friends I do believe). In any case, it was the focus for our 4 little days in West Virginia. Before I continue, I want to express my gratitude to Igofar for sharing these GPS tracks with me; we had a great time and look forward to riding more of the TWVT as time allows! :thumb

    Now back to the story.

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    At this point the trail is supposed to go down Burner Mntn road. However, this is what we see at the turn off onto Burner Mntn road.

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    Hmmmmmm.........:jjen ..........well, having come across signs while riding the TAT that were not entirely truthful, I suggest to my dad that we try it anyways. After all, if it turns to true :topes we can always just turn around!

    Needless to say it turned out to be a great piece of trail!

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    Only at one point did it turn a little difficult with some deep rutting over trail. (see below)

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    Soon after this, we pulled into Bartow where we decide to top off on gas. It's a little before noon, and my dad has a hankering for a little snack and especially for a cup of coffee! (I'd forgotten to pack stuff to make coffee, but have no fear, we rectified this situation that same day!). My dad get's a cheeseburger and I get the special for the day, a turkey, bacon, swiss on grilled sourdough! :dg

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    Then it's back on the trail, and more beautiful ridding. The vistas a nice, but not as spectacular as they could be, as there is a lot of haze in the air, and the far off mountains just don't show up in the pictures. Oh well, I guess we'll just have to come back through here some day! :evil

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    Before setting out on this trip, I was concerned about how hot it was going to be; after all, I'm very familiar with what VA is like in July! :knary However, the temps were great just about the entire trip! I think though that being at elevation, and ridding in the shade most of the time helped a LOT!

    Example:

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    More riding pictures. Can you see dad!? (7cells)

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    The man in action!

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    Every now and then though, you got to stop and smell (and photograph) the roses!

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    Ok, Ok.....so they're not roses! You still get my drift though!

    Back to the action shots!

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    Went by this sign, and decided to turn around to take a picture. After all, this would be our playground for the majority of our time in West Virginia.

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    Whenever we weren't on gravel, we were usually riding down these amazing, single lane black tops! What a blast! :ricky

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    At the above point is where we met Bill. He'd been following behind us for a few miles, and stopped to chat when I stopped to take the above pictures. He was ridding a Kawasaki Vulcan (750 I think), and lived in the area. He then proceeded to offer to show us a few cool local spots. Since we were not on any kind of rigid ride, we agreed; after all, you often see the coolest things when you follow the locals' advice (this would happen twice this trip).

    First stop, the covered bridge over Locust Creek.

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    Next, Bill took us to an overlook, looking over a bend in the Greenbrier river. Now, you had to be from here to know where this was as there was no sign or nothing point it out. We basically just parked on the side of the road (in the ditch in my case, dirt bikes have their advantages!) at a spot that looked just like any other. Then Bill led us down this little deer path basically; I would definately not call it a trail. And at the end of it we were rewarded with a magnificent view of the Greenbrier river!

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    Bill, my dad, and me.

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    Our day finally ended at a campground in the Greenbrier state forest, just south of White Sulphur springs. Before going to the campground we fueled up the bikes in White Sulphur springs, and picked up some supplies (such as coffee :evil ).

    While setting up camp, we had appetizers!

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    The camp site for the night.

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    Dinner that night was Beef stroganof with noodles (and a piece of bread). After dinner, since we had not finished off the humus, and had no way of keeping it cool, I went to offer it to the two ladies at the camp site next to ours. They gladly accepted it, and offered us some cold Buds in return! :beer Just goes to show that karma still works! All in all, another great day!

    Stats for the day:

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    #13
  14. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Day 3 update will be up tomorrow or the day after.
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  15. Mistress of the dual

    Mistress of the dual Some say....

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    Very nice Denis. Glad to see you back on the DRZ. Pretty awesome you and your dad can share these good times.
    #15
  16. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Hi Zarah! :wave Hope all is well out there on the west coast.



    And now onto Day 3. We had left off with spending the night in the Greenbrier state forest. This would be our last day travelling on the TWVT, since we wanted to be back home by the following evening. This meant that we could travel a little further down the TWVT, but would eventually have to start looping back north and east; otherwise we would have a very long day tomorrow to get home and would have to end up taking more pavement than I wanted.

    Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather, and dad was starting to ride like a champ! He's going by so fast the pictures are now coming out blury! :pynd

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    More trail pictures:

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    The next to pictures show the first "loose & rocky" hill climb that we had come upon. Lucky for us, we had to go up the hill (I always find it easier to go up than down). The first picture is from about midway up looking down, and the second is looking up at the rest of the "hill". As always the pictures never really do it justice. I would rank this little climb as a 6/7 out of 10. Before trying it out, I walked it with my dad so he could try and pick out a good line. I then went up about half way and pulled off the trail. This way he could see where I went, and I could take a video of him! :evil (videos will be posted later). Here are the pictures.


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    Dad got up without any trouble and we continued on our way! :clap

    Oh yeah, more nice trail.

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    At this point we had reached our turn around point, and started to head back north and east. I had no route planed for this return route and just made it up as I went, trying to look ahead on the GPS while riding and picking out roads that looked like they could be fun and gravel! This brought forth some unexpected surprises! :eek1

    One of my favorite shots from the trip:

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    Shortly after this last picture, we stopped along the side of the road at an intersection to decide on which road to take. While we were there mulling it over, a lady in a Subaru pulled over to see if she could help us with directions. After explaining to her that we were not lost, just trying to decide which route would be more exciting, she offered us a "route" that she usually takes when horseback riding. She cautioned us that it was very much "off the beaten path"! Perfect I thought! Aside from being a little hard to actually see the road/trail at times, and having to ride over a fence line to eventually get back on the real road, it was a blast!

    The end of the actual (maintained) road, and the start of the trail.

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    Now it's getting interesting.

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    Ummmm.....I think this is correct!?

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    Ahhhh.....large open hay fields! :D

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    A great little detour, with just the right amount of excitement!

    Back on the road towards home, we find some nice twisty pavement.

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    And more gravel too!

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    The I route us down this road that eventually becomes a completely washed out rock gulley! With a wonderful dip down and berm to climb back up at the bottom of it! This is where we seperate the men from the boys! I have only 1 picture from this spot, but I do have a video that will be up later! :deal

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    Dad once again surprised me and made it down and over like an expert.

    Back to more reasonable roads.

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    Next we wound up riding along a ridge line and among a lot of power generating wind turbine thingies!

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    We eventually wound our way to Sherwood lake rec area, near the VA/West VA border. Here was our camp for the night.

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    Sorry, for some reason I didn't get a picture of the GPS stats for the day. :(:



    Final day and videos still to come!
    #16
  17. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    :thumb :lurk
    #17
  18. airborndad

    airborndad Long timer

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    :waveDenis

    Nice :clap
    glad I stumbled on this RR
    Good to see you and your dad trippin together :thumb
    good move getting another DRZ
    you still planning on hitting Alaska :dunno with your dad

    :wave7cells
    Blue motorcycles are better & faster than Yellow ones :lol3


    you guys take care and enjoy your rides together
    #18
  19. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

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    Heya Keith!

    Shhhhhhhh....don't tell him that! And yes, as of right now, I'm still thinking Alaska for 2011, but whether or not dad will join me is all up to him. Might be kinda cool to see a moded Ninja and a Harley travellin' together! :lol3

    How 'bout you, any more trips with Justin or the other boys? Say hi to the family for me! :wave


    And now onto Day 4, and the return home.

    I know I've said this three times already, but we were truelly blessed with great weather for this trip! I guess the little good weather dance that I did before leaving worked! :jive

    As we were eating our oatmeal breakfast we had a visitor come by, hoping that we'd share our meal with her.

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    Pictures from the lake where we camped out for the night.

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    First little town we come to as we cross back into Virginia, Mountain Grove. Time to stop for another cup of coffee and to top off the gas tanks.

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    This little lady was very protective of the nectar and wouldn't let any other humming birds come to feed.

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    Back on the road.

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    And finding some interesting route through the George Washington national forest that will wind us back to Harrisonburg.

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    Shortly after the last picture, once we crested that hill, we came upon a black bear in the middle of the trail/road. As soon as we came into view he ran off into the woods, but only about 30 feet or so and then stopped, as we stopped. I tried to pull out my camera and take a picture, but he eventually ran off before I could take a picture! :(:

    Oh well, back to riding! :ricky

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    What I presume was once a flowing spring.

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    For most of the morning we were back in VA, but we eventually crossed back into West VA before heading to Harrisonburg; we were so close that I figured I'd take my dad up to Reddish knob. From here I was back in familiar territory and I knew some perfect trails that would lead down and out of the mountains and back to Harrisonburg where we'd have to pick up pavement to get home.

    Here we are on top of Reddish Knob.

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    From here we went up to Flagpole.

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    And then down Dunkle Hollow, throught Skidmore Fork and back onto rt 33.

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    There was one spot going down Dunkle Hollow that almost got me and my dad. As we were going down the mountain, the trail got progessively nicer and easier and lulled you into a false sense of confidence. As it always happens in situations like this, coming around a 90 degree turn the trail suddenly became fully washed out with a big rock gully in the middle. There was a small patch of ground about 2' wide on the far right side that was easily ride-able with a little 1 or 2 foot drop off at the bottom. This was the route that I took, and once down this little tricky section, I parked the bike and started running back up to warn my dad. I of course had grabbed my camera! :evil Well, to make a long story short, I was too slow and he was too fast, and he ended up coming down the middle of the rock gulley, but maneuvered it expertly! :clap

    Here it is!

    Uh oh! Where do I go now!?

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    Alright, well I'm in the thick of it! Better just power through!

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    Yes!!!! I made it through!

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    The rest of the way down was a breeze in comparison.

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    I knew that there was a nice creek to cross at the bottom, but when we came to it, it was just about dried up! :cry

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    Final shot in the Skidmore fork area, before hopping back onto rt 33.

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    Goodbye national forest! Thanks for the memories! :wave

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    Stats for the final run home.

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    All in all this was a great trip, albeit a little short. We both had a lot of fun, and my dad came away with a greater appreciation for a different style of riding, not to mention that he greatly improved his off-road riding skills; some of the stuff that we encountered on day 3 and 4 he might not have been able to handle on day 1! As I told him, he is now ready to tackle the TAT! :norton


    Well, as Porky Pig would say "Tha, tha, that's all folks!"
    #19
  20. Michhub

    Michhub Major Medical

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    Good stuff...I have never been to skidmore/dunkle looks cool...you haven't hard wired that GPS yet?
    #20