I Ain't From the South, but I got Here as Quick as I Could

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Laconic, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Mark_O

    Mark_O Drain Bamaged

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    That's what I call roughing it.
  2. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    Hello! I've enjoyed reading your thread since I tripped over it. I'm new to the South as well, been in Virginia for 5 years after growing up in New Mexico, Colorado, and the last 34 years in Wyoming. It's a whole different world out here, eh??

    I'm a geologist, and have read most of what John McPhee has written and not just his books about geology. He's a prolific author, covering all manner of topics including one book called "The First Fish", I think, all about how shad helped found the New World by keeping the New Englanders from starving to death until they figured out agriculture. Anyway, my favorite of his books is "Rising From The Plains", about a geologist named J. David Love that I had the pleasure of knowing when I was in graduate school and working for the Wyoming Geological Survey. Dr. Love was born and raised in the middle of nowhere central Wyoming, just about 75 miles from Lander, WY where I lived for 20 years before moving to Virginia. I got to meet John McPhee briefly when he was researching his book on Dr. Love. While he was in Laramie, WY doing that research he would walk by the Engineering Building on the University of Wyoming campus on his way to the Geology Department and Geological Survey. Chiselled in the stone above the entrance to the Engineering Building was the inscription "Strive On - The Control of Nature is Won, Not Given". I used to wander past that and laugh to myself, especially when Mount St. Helens was erupting in Washington and I was walking in the volcanic ash 1,500 miles away. McPhee saw that and also had the same thoughts, and those thoughts became the impetus for my second-favorite book of his, "The Control of Nature", cool stories about engineers actually doing so (for a while; in time they will fail like everything else we build. Geologic time is kind to no one.).

    I've spent many hours checking out the rocks from the seat of a motorcycle, and in fact did most of my thesis field work on a Montesa Cota 247 (wish I still had that thing :cry). I've spent most of my life riding and looking at rocks; it's mostly good stuff but can be dangerous when you mix the two. I was riding a single-track through the hogbacks outside of Lander, WY (in the Morrison Formation where so many dinosaur fossils come from) and spotted a cool fossil, immediately biffed because I was gawking at the rocks and not the trail, cartwheeled down the hill, parked the bike, crawled back up, and collected the fossil :D. I love combining my pleasures like that!

    I have to admit, as much as I love how green it is here, all the ferking trees in this country get in the way of looking at the geology. I guess I was spoiled out in the Rockies :evil where you could see everything, very little vegetation obscuring the rocks. Many years ago I was pontificating about the rocks to my (ex) wife one day, enjoying the geology as we drove along, and she said "If I want to know about the damned rocks, I'll ask about the damned rocks!" Well, that was the first step down the death spiral for that relationship, I tell you.

    Anyway, I've enjoyed your thread and just had to post when I saw the photos of cool rocks and one of my favorite books!

    So far we've fared very well from the effects of the hurricane here in Lexington, only some gusty wind and light rain. I guess we're due for some snow tonight. I hope everyone gets through this alright.

    Doug
  3. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Hello Doug, thanks for looking in.

    Funny you should mention David Love, as I am currently reading the part of the book that described how his father came to be in Wyoming, pursued his mother and built his fortune. Talk about adventure; most of us today would crumble under the pressures of pioneering the way he did. The spirit was born into David as well, apparently, given that he slept under the stars for seven years while engaged in his field work.

    You're not too far from some nice rocks; I'm sure you've been on US 220 between Clifton Forge and Eagle Rock. Seneca Rock is an easy trip for you, too. But I bet you already sniffed all of that stuff out, and more. :D

    I imagine I will be looking for more of McPhee's books now that I've discovered him; The Control of Nature sounds like it would be great.

    Do you ever go to any of the ADV gatherings? It would be great to hang around the fire with you for a while. You could explain the difference to me between schist and shale. :D

    Hope you weathered the storm OK; it's really windy here right now and spitting rain.
  4. Al Tuna

    Al Tuna doldrums

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    Hey Doug, good thing you posted up... This guy really gets into his rocks. :D

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    Got a shot of Joe's Truck Stop. Looks like he has had a customer or two.

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  5. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    All I see is X :ear
  6. Al Tuna

    Al Tuna doldrums

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  7. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    I can see 'em now. I think it has something to do with our network at work.
  8. Mark_O

    Mark_O Drain Bamaged

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    Did you get that package I sent you?
  9. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Yes, thanks!
  10. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    Good morning! You'd be even more impressed with the Dave Love story if you've ever seen where his folks' ranch was - it is an amazingly empty, remote, desolate place even today and must have been very intimidating way back then. Those folks were TOUGH. Yes, we've ridden all around this area looking at the rocks you mention. We have a farm west of Lexington and are only about 20 miles from Eagle Rock via some glorious backroads (about half of it dirt). We also kayak all around here and my favorite route is the stretch of the James River that cuts through the Blue Ridge Mountains - some of the boulders in the river are bigger than my house. Here's a shot of my last stop at one of my favorite riding areas just outside of Lander, WY on my way to Virginia - see, very few frigging trees, shrubs, flowers, grass, bushes etc. clogging up the view of the rocks:

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    When the Highway Department says "watch for falling rocks" they really mean it out there:

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    I love rocks.... The difference between shale and schist is heat and pressure, sort of like what turns a boy into a man :lol3.

    We've got a regulation blizzard going on here this morning, and I thought the house was going to cave in last night with some of the stronger gusts:

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    I haven't ever been to an ADVrider gathering, but back when I lived in Wyoming (and had a different job with lots of time off, no wife, and kids all gone to college :D) I spent a lot of time with folks from BMWSportTouring.com, had lots of fun. I've been so busy since moving here that I haven't done as much riding. I also sold all my dirt bikes before coming here, mistakenly thinking that there wouldn't be any dirt to ride and now I really miss them. There are a zillion miles of dirt roads around here, with some pretty nice riding to be had, and several "off-road" trail areas close by. I'm thinking of getting another dirt bike, probably a WR250R, but haven't gotten real serious about it because of the time issue. Maybe I'll win the lottery and that will fix everything.

    Take care, hope all is well with you, and maybe we'll see each other out on the BRP some day?

    Doug
  11. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Perfect! :D

    Yes, perhaps our paths will cross one day. I assume you'll be the guy carrying a bag of rocks around with him. :brow
  12. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Saturday we rode over to NCN for a bit and got together with Dyno for another Al Tuna led tour.

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    Most of these shots are taken around the Little River Canyon. This is a crack in the rock near the edge.

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    Dyno Dave

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    You know who that other guy is.

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  13. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Getting near the edge.

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    Notice my body language?

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    I have decided to name this feature "Kirk's Crack", since he's the one who led us there. :D

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  14. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Ever heard of Aron Ralston?

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  15. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Little River, good sized canyon. It's been busy over the millennia, I guess.

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    Notice the body language again? It makes me queasy just to look at this picture.

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    I may have left some fingerprints in that rock... :lol3 There's definitely a strong gravity well in that canyon.

    In his book about being trapped and ultimately amputating his own arm, Aron Ralston mentions a quote one of his college geology professors used to illustrate the fact that the Earth is continuously changing; "Geologic time includes now". That's all I could think about the whole time I was out there.


    Looking up the canyon to Little River Falls.

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    If you are ever in the area, this place has fantastic hamburgers.

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    Rode home Sunday, hit quite a bit of rain between Cleveland and Sylva, then it dried off enough to allow me a pretty good shot to the house.

    Awesome weekend, Kirk. Thanks again.
  16. manfromthestix

    manfromthestix Lost in Space

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    More rocks! Does your wife know about your obsession? I think mine cost me at least one marriage... :D

    In his book about being trapped and ultimately amputating his own arm, Aron Ralston mentions a quote one of his college geology professors used to illustrate the fact that the Earth is continuously changing; "Geologic time includes now". That's all I could think about the whole time I was out there.


    There is a theory (well, probably more like a proven concept) in geology called "puctuated equilibrium". It seems the Earth likes having it's geologic system in equilibrium but at times things happen that upset that equilibrium, like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, glaciation, meteor impacts, etc. I think about those punctuation marks when I'm standing on top of a cliff like that, looking into the "gravity well"... :lol3

    Doug
  17. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

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    :nod

    And I know he's missing more than just a vowel from his name.

    Yes I know that's how he spells it.


    Nice ride.
  18. Al Tuna

    Al Tuna doldrums

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    "Kirk's Crack" I'm sure the park service is proud. I'll bet they're working on the signage now. :lol3

    Great pics and report!
  19. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    If rocks were the only obsession I had, I think she'd be happy. :lol3 Besides, I don't think I'm obsessed; I haven't crashed while gawking at rocks yet. :D

    :wave

    :rofl
  20. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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    I always wanted to go to Little River Canyon. The rapids at the bottom are reputed to be good. Just couldn't get over the distance part.