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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 8gv, Aug 8, 2012.
This guy was quite tame and if I ever figure out how to post video here you'll see more of him.
What's interesting about my bear encounter at the camp site is that I walked away being less afraid of bears. Having spent a few nights in the wilderness of the White Mountains of NH, bear paranoia had been with me for a while. Now they don't scare me, but probably should!
Leaving Loft Mtn we had 80 more miles of SLD. With so many scenic overlooks, I was charged with picking the right ones to pull into. After trying some lesser ones I skipped a few, which with an over the shoulder glance, appeared to be the best ones. The sky was getting cloudy anyway:
Deer were everywhere. You pull up to them, have a conversation about BBQing Bambi and they just don't care.
We had a great no GoPro moment when a slightly larger, potentially less tame bear jogged across the road ahead. We have no photographic evidence of this but we saw it with our eyes and that's good enough for me.
Here's a consolation bunny:
Leaving SLD we had to ride 340 north to rejoin the route. The original plan was to arrive at Duncannon Friday night, sleep there and go home on Saturday. That would require more slab and no chance to ride the sections we missed on day one. We were having such great weather and riding we decided to change it up a bit. Most of all, we wanted steaks over an open fire!
So we cranked it up a bit as one is prone to do with the finish line in sight.
The tracks file showed Greenbrier MD SP close by. We called the reservation line and %<}£+^%<}@&$. I called the park directly and someone actually answered the phone! It was first come, first serve with little availability so we pushed hard to get there quickly. After checking in we inquired about locating steaks.
"Turn left and then left again at the second light." Accurate it was, but the second light was eight miles and a world away. We had just descended from the forest and now found ourselves in a 95* parking lot packed with Friday night shoppers and sub woofers rattling our bikes. I'll take the bears thank you.
Not likely to be seen on the cover of Food magazine but still a real live steak pic:
Our campsite at Greenbrier the next morning:
Great ride report and pictures.
Throughout the week the weather was great, we had no break downs and (almost) zero get off's. We commented freely on this and always prefaced the comments with "I don't want to jinx this but..." or "I really shouldn't be saying this but..."
DON'T DO THAT!
After leaving Greenbrier we had some slab before we got into Michaux SF. On that slab I saw a king snake who looked just like the other one seen earlier in the week:
This one was different. He sounded different. The first one was silent. This one made a thump thump sound followed by another thump thump as Garth passed.
Yep, we ran over a perfectly good snake...
BAD JU JU
Shortly after entering Michaux SF it started raining. It was light enough to not warrant any rain gear but heavy enough to get us wet. Then the thunderstorm came. You could hear it over the bikes at full throttle. "In a thunderstorm, avoid being near tall trees..." how does one do that in Michaux?
By the time we stopped to don the gear we were pretty wet and there were mini streams running down the roads. The riding was great though. There was no dust for Garth to breath and traction got better on the darker surfaces. We were really ripping it up.
I had the GPS scaled way out looking for the end of the dirt. Once out of the woods, we planned to go a more direct route back to Duncannon forgoing the previously ridden PA country road section. Seeing on the GPS that we had only another mile or two to go; I really let it rip!
DON'T DO THAT
There were small rocks protruding from the road. As we blasted along they increased in size and frequency. Screw it, I can walk home from here, go faster. The right side track had washouts with loose rocks to be avoided. Ok, left side. The bouncing on my crappy suspension was beating a brisk staccato into my arms. Just when I started to think that my front rim couldn't take this I saw a rock ahead.
NOT JUST ANY ROCK...THE ROCK
It looked like it was anchored in the ground. It looked bigger than the rest. It looked big enough to do my rim harm. I swerved right to avoid it and immediately swerved back to the left to regain my balance.
This maneuver can only be described as unsuccessful.:huh
Going 40, I hit the rock with my Reynolds Wrap bash plate, left engine side case and the bike's frame. The back tire was next. I was vaulted up, forward and somewhat sideways. My feet were off the pegs.
I had a feeling of déjà vu. The last time I was this out of control I spent a night in the hospital and ended up with a three piece bike. I was seventeen then. I'm fifty four now. OH SHIT!
I pogo'd on the front for a couple of bounces and then the back end touched down sideways. I held the bike loosely hoping to ride it as far into the crash as possible. Being on top, using it as a sled was ok by me. Being under it was not.
Next I dropped into the right track washout. I thought to myself "I survived that and now I'm gonna crash in a washout???"
I got it slowed down, regained control and stopped to catch my breath.
Putting together a Ride Report takes a lot of effort...you did good! I have enjoyed reading it and browsing over your photos too. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Garth pulled up rather excited. "How did you recover from that, instinct?"
More like luck I'd say. Further proof that it's better to lucky than good. Occasionally there are times when something is going wrong for me and I say to myself "were it not for my great luck, things would be much worse!"
I didn't have a scratch on me. Life is good!
I half jokingly asked Garth if anything was leaking from my bike.
HE SAID YES
The rain had stopped and the gear was hot so I took it off to inspect the bike. To stop the bleeding we layed my bike on the ground. Let's see...
Bash plate bashed...check
Frame dented in...check
Small hole in side case pissing out oil...check
why am I reading this RR in a funny voice ??? Great RR
Once again, gas soaked napkins were deployed. I cleaned it up to get a better look and then it started pouring again. Garth sheltered the work area with my rain coat as I pondered the use of various plants to plug the hole. He then says the magic words...Gorilla Tape.
I made a small plug out of tape and layered on the rest of the roll hoping that overkill would be rewarded.
For the want of a proper allen wrench the bash plate had to be removed by peeling it with vise grips. I had ALMOST every tool needed.
So now all I had to do was reload the bike, ride the half mile or so to the paved road and send Garth on his bike to get the trailer...without losing enough oil to fry my engine.
It was a pretty steep down hill ahead and I figured less run time and less heat meant more oil retention. I started rolling down the hill with the engine off. I could hear my tires grinding the road surface. I could hear my suspension flexing. I could hear my breath.
I COULD NOT HEAR GARTH'S BIKE
I stopped and looked back up the hill. My view was obstructed by a curve but I could now hear his horn beeping.
OH SHIT! DID HE CRASH NOW?
I staggered up the hill to find him pushing the bike. I was releived to see him upright but am also aware that he's the guy who would be walking with a broken leg proclaiming "It's just a flesh wound."
"I've got a flat!"
Seriously? A flat tire? Now?
It was all down hill so I rolled on my bike and he pushed his. Note my bash plate affixed to Garth's tail bag. Thou shalt not litter in the forest!
THOU SHALT NOT RUN OVER SNAKES