Highfive goes Dragon Hunting

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by HighFive, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
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    I know I've said it already, but just have to say it again: Pick ANY road you want in the Virginia mountains and you'll NEVER be disappointed. There were lots of remote intersections like this.


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    There's 6 or 7 different directions you can go. Its sometimes hard to tell exactly which way the road sign is pointing. But, since I didn't really care, it was nice & easy for me. At this particular intersection, I stopped to admire an Auction Sign...and pondered following that arrow to check out the available Real Estate. Thoughts of moving here permanently are trying to form a plan in my head. I finish a drink from a gatorade bottle and think, what the heck....put it on the ground and give it a spin.

    Interesting....the only dirt road of the bunch. :wink: Here's a nice shot of what's known as "The Krabill View":


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    After about 15 miles on this road, R² starts getting a little fussy. So, we take a Timeout to have a little discussion. The kind about "who's in charge". She's insistent we passed a better option than this current road just back a ways. Ok...ok...we'll go have another peak at it. Don't get your springs all wound up over it.

    ****Special Timeout Note**** I must apologize and retract a statement. I should never have claimed I was flying Solo. Don't want R² to get her feelings hurt. She's probably got an Internet connection somewhere amongst all her sophisticated technology.

    Of course, she was right. I'll vow to never doubt her again for the duration of this trip. Remember this point. It will become important later when we get to Deals Gap.

    Here it is:


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    This two track ran about 3/4 of a mile and then popped us out of the woods directly across the street from this:


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    We held a long moment of silence. I wiped a tear from my eye and gave R² the biggest hug ever! Obviously, we now have a new PLAN. And it went something like this:


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    For the rest of the day!

    HF :thumbup
    #21
  2. booty0

    booty0 Booger eater

    Joined:
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    Grant, AL
    :clap

    :lurk
    #22
  3. Treedguy

    Treedguy Long timer

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    NY Hell
    Enjoying the trip!

    The best plan, is no plan.
    #23
  4. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

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    Umm . . . HF . . . I hate to be the one to break it to you . . . but those aren't Harely's. I see a couple BMW's and a Honda :lol3



    Carry on . . . :lurk
    #24
  5. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Trail Jester

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    upstate NY, USA
    Wow ... now I know what all the fuss is about ... I get it now!
    #25
  6. TBItoy

    TBItoy Adventurer

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    Aug 13, 2007
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    Location:
    Cookeville, TN
    And that's not even the "real" dragon's tail. That's Tuggle's Gap:norton
    #26
  7. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Broken Arrow, Ok
    Very Cool, thanks for sharing. Very Very Cool. About convinced that the WR250R needs to be then next bike in the stable.
    #27
  8. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

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    Pigs....Hogs, same difference. None of them can keep up with R². :deal


    As you say, let's Carry On:

    That Blue Ridge actually looked pretty green to me. But, let's not quibble over details. It was gorgeous. Very secluded. No entries or exit points for miles on end. There weren't many "lookout points" either. That's where you've got to pull over. They've cut away the foliage for you to have a looksee.

    I leave the Parkway and play Deal or No Deal, this time. Decide to pick a road based on a Name I like. They really have fabulous street names out here in Virginia. Like Moss Cave Hollow, Rocky Top Rd, and my choice this evening:


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    Honestly, who could resist this one?


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    Check out these road surfaces!


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    I finally quit worry about getting run over, and just parked the bike in the middle of the road for every photo!


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    I now had a plan to find a campsite. I'm packing extremely minimal for this evening. The bare basics. So, I'm looking for something quasi setup. I soon have a lead from a Campground sign (they are everywhere). It takes me deep into the Backwoods many miles. Just about the time I think I must have missed something a long way back....success:


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    Someone sure mowed a lot of grass.....just for me. Chopped wood, too!


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    Look at the size of that fire pit. :eek1 The grill was equally big. :huh

    Nice "facilities" too, even with a fireplace! :wave Suddenly, I'm thinking ADV Rally...


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    And, there is a wonderful stream flowing directly behind me in those trees. Even wiith steps to go down there:


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    Most peaceful night of sleep I can remember in long time. Just me, R². And the running water. Plus some big bears, I'm sure. But I learned a thing or two about handling bears near my Bivy Sack during my previous excursion.

    I'll admit...I am troubled by one thing. Where are the people? Its a Friday night in the summertime....just a week or so ahead of 4th of July celebration. Haven't seen a soul since I turned down Backwoods Lane. Well, they sure do name their roads well.

    Enough pavement. Tomorrow, its time to get DIRTY!


    HF :thumbup
    #28
  9. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

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    Trying to leave CT
    Just found this report. I'm considering moving to this area so I'll be following with great interest.
    #29
  10. malibu_dan

    malibu_dan Adventuring Mystic

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    :lurk

    Hey, HF. Turns out I'm in town this week after all. Something about multi-million dollar sales project being more important than a boondoggle to Chi-town. Give me a holler if you're bored in east TN.
    #30
  11. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
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    A keen eye might notice I'm sporting some near gear this trip. The Wolfman Enduro Saddle Bags, and an Airhawk seat cushion. I've actually had the Airhawk awhile. Used it on my KLR for long trips. This is first time I've brought it along with R²

    I'm spending 8 - 10 hours per day in the saddle. I like the stock seat. But anyone will get saddle soar on nearly any seat after a couple of days of that kind of action. The Airhawk completely solves this problem. :deal It really is one amazing piece of butt cushion. You can micro adjust for the perfect setting just for you. I don't care if you think it looks hokie. Its darn sure better looking than a Sheepskin cover. Just saying... And worth every penny of the $125 purchase price I paid. Plus, its portable between different bikes!

    I just love Wolfman stuff. These bags look small, but they are somehow cleverly designed to actually hold quite a bit of stuff. They worked perfectly on the WRR with the stock pipe & heatshield. But not so good with an aftermarket pipe (like mine). I've spent a good month of R&D to configure the best setup (for me). I refuse to throw them over the seat and "sit" on the straps. Go ahead....try that for 8 hours, and let me know how it goes.

    The WRR seat comes off real easily. Just 2 bolts under the fender. I cut notches in my plastic side covers (under the seat) to let the straps basically rest on the frame tubes. Then, built me a simple little "standoff bracket" using some Home Depot Aluminun bar stock....for the pipe side. Voila! Works like a charm. My legs never even touched these bags during this whole trip! I put my heavier items in them, and left lighter stuff up top in my tailbag. Wow....did it sure give me more space with so little congestion.

    This trip is the first Big Field Test of my new bag setup. So far, so good.

    Okay, enough commercials, its time to play dirty...

    HF :thumbup
    #31
  12. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
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    Day 2:

    Saturday morning arrives. I'm anxious to get busy hunting down some real trails in these hills. Some earlier research with a local bike shop, generated some good leads on the recommended direction. That's about all I seem to get from these folks (whenever I actually find someone). They're real friendly, but just point a lot and say up there....over there....out yonder a good bit. Good thing I have an Engineering degree.

    The PLAN is to find "Brush Mountain" and then "go get lost". I've strategically located my campsite within the general vicinity (I hope). I pass Virginia Tech and climb the mountain....which is actually pretty steep. Almost as steep as Malibu Dan's driveway (which I observed while retrieving his famous "SPARE" key).

    I try a few turnoffs to no avail. Dead-ends into neighborhoods. Then, the jackpot:


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    I seem to crest the top, and be dropping down into the valley on the other side...of I don't know where. There's everything you'd want here. Really terrific stuff.


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    I'm having a blast. But something starts to bother me. Where are the people? I've ridden over 20 miles in these woods. Its Saturday morning! The weather is perfect! And, I'm all by myself. I planned to find some locals who could show me around. But none. Nada. Zippo. :cry

    But no problem. I finally have a plan that actually panned out. So, I'll just keep riding. Now then, on the back side it really starts getting steep. Very Rocky and Steep! Steep as ..... ...... ...... :D


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    Just beyond that corner was a series of nasty undercut ledges (at least 2 ft. high) with water running down the loose incline. Had I not had my many years of Trials skills, plus had my speed up, I'd never had made it. HF might have gone down. But I didn't.

    This is when it dawns on me for the 2nd time this trip. I could have gone down. I'm by myself. Nobody knows where I am. And apparently, nobody else is coming onto this mountain today. Dang....sure wish I had my favorite Wingman. :ddog

    Since I've got to retrieve College Boy after high noon, I figure I better find my way out. I get a "feeling" that one particular trail is sort of, maybe heading in the right direction. Sometimes my feelings pan out. Sometimes they don't. I have no gps tracks for this area. I'm making my own on this ride. But I can see a road on my screen a few miles away. I've been known to Bushwack before...to get to a road. Let's take it...

    Pretty soon, this trail begins to washout (a little):

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    Ok....a LOT:


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    But, let's not quibble over the details.


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    A short hike through the woods and my bushwhacking plans (to go around) are terminated. There is a big rock face about 5 ft. vertical that runs for a mile both ways. If my Wingman had been with me, I'd have jumped off of it. But Solo....out here...no way! The best line was down into the gulley for a greasy ride to the bottom. It actually dumped out onto a road.

    Now is the point I decide to take a "self-photo" for documentary & identification purposes should someone find me dead in this ditch, many years later. (you didn't see the middle section).


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    Fortunately for all of you (& me)....I made it. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a "Deals Gap" dragon hunt coming. So, I survived the nasty, long....long, narrow gulley! Which, of course, was much steeper than it looks. Here I am at the bottom.


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    It really was a hoot! It reminded me of that long launch shute in the Arnold Shwarzeneggar movie "Running Man". Except nobody is at the bottom trying to kill you, if you survive (unless you're trespassing). R² wants to go do it again. I tell her we can't, because we might be trespassing to get back up there. They had a lot to say about what actually happens to trespassers in these woods:


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    The bottom (down in the weeds, of course) is like fine print....only in not so fine hand writing. It even gives the name of their attorney so you can call him to turn yourself in for prosecution, before you get "taken to the Range and shot". It really said all that. So, I tried to stay out of those kind of areas. Hard to do for a Stranger running Solo, in an unknown territory....but I do my honest best.


    HF :thumbup
    #32
  13. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    When you find the Dragon meander over to the Cherohala Skyway and go to the top towards Tellico Plains, TN. You'll start to see a lot of gravel roads that run off in every direction. Have fun!
    #33
  14. YamWOW!

    YamWOW! Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Kennewick Washington
    How about some close up pictures of the bag stand off. I would like to see.
    #34
  15. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    Denver, more or less.
    You came through Memphis and didn't call or stop by?

    Jamie
    #35
  16. photojojo

    photojojo This space for rent!

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2005
    Oddometer:
    470
    Location:
    Sherman, TX
    Is there a slight incline on that? I can't really tell. :D
    #36
  17. Jaynen

    Jaynen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    618
    Location:
    Oceanside CA
    Very cool HF. I need to ask you about the Airhawk I bought one per your idea on it ages ago got it for Christmas but I can't seem to get it into the right position on the bike so I am curious how you are strapping it down and how much air you have in it. I feel like it raises me up a good couple inches and pushes my legs out wider which feels wierd since I like to hold the bike with my legs. Also since you are "floating" your weight shifts some on corners I think. I really want to make it work since I have it :)

    I had just put the straps under the back of the seat and doubled it up going around the front so it was not the tightest mounting method
    #37
  18. Strog

    Strog Geek on two wheels

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    Broken Arrow, OK
    You have way too much air in it. Sit on it and let the air out until you are about back on the seat. A very thin layer of air works wonders. An Airhawk is supposed to level out the hotspots, not be a inflatable kids toy. :wink:

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    #38
  19. Jaynen

    Jaynen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    618
    Location:
    Oceanside CA
    I've tried to air it down as much as possible usually until I can feel the seat through it then just put a tiny bit back in. My main issue which is why I want HF's input is the small cruiser pad is still way wide for a dirtbike seat
    #39
  20. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
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    Okiehoma
    Later....on the personal apparatus questions. I'm too busy riding right now. Got to get out of these woods and pick up College Boy real soon....


    So, I obviously decide to go in the opposite direction. Soon, I'm going to be spending time with the Son.

    The two-track becomes dirt road then blacktop. Another gloriously meandering country mountain road with some heavenly name. I've literally shot hundreds of photos already. But, I just can't pass this one up. Maybe the most important photo to me (personally) during all my time in VA.


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    There I am....standing in the middle of the road....about to swing my leg over the bike, when my Red Alert sounds off! Something is up over there...to the right...in that pretty mowed grass. I quietly approach in reverence, as I realize this is holy ground.


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    I don't recall ever seeing a more worthy and beautiful monument honoring the brave. There's not a sound here. Not another person present. No cars going by. I'm proud to be an American. I take a knee and give thanks to those who gave their lives for my freedom.

    There's something more here. I'm drawn further up the hill.


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    This is dedicated to all the Coal Miners from this very community who've passed on. There were hundreds of names on all sides. Then, further up I find this monument on the highest ground.


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    I sit down right here...in this field of grace & mercy, and let time stand still.


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    The air is so sweet, the sound so silent. Nearly an hour passes by. Its soothing to my spirit and soul. Finally, I'm awaken to the present by the sound of a passing car. Its time to leave Virginia. I must find my way back to the College and retrieve my son. He's been waiting an hour (ok....more like two).

    HF :thumbup
    #40