Riding the BRT (Blue Ridge Trail), & swinging by the KLR Cattle Call

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by XC Rider, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,124
    Location:
    Right where I need to be
    Well for the past month or so, I've been working like a dog and have not had the opportunity to go riding like I'd like to. However, with the 4th of July holiday, and the work schedule slowing back down to normal hours, I was able to take a few days off to go riding. The plan was to leave home Wednesday and head west to pick up the Blue Ridge Trail near Front Royal, VA (brought to us courtesy of Error-cooled, check out THIS LINK if interested), then follow it south for a couple days, meet up with my buddy Steve down in Bedford, VA on Friday, ride some more and head to the KLR Cattle Call at the Devil's Backbone brewery near Montebello, VA on Saturday, and then head home. Not only was I going to get some much needed saddle time, but this would the the first extended trip on the KLR I aquirred about 2 months ago, and I would also be testing some new gear that I had just purchased. All this while hopefully riding some great gravel & dirt roads! Woohoo! :ricky

    So first things first, here is the ride for this little 4 day jaunt. It's a 2007 KLR that I recently purchased. Some of the aftermarket stuff on it includes: Progressive springs in the forks, fork brace, Progressive rear shock, IMS gas tank, Epic Panniers, center stand, Barkbusters, custom made bracket to mount Givi top box, custom made dash for a pair of 12v outlets, and maybe a few other things I'm forgetting at the moment; it's a work in progress! :D

    [​IMG]


    But back to the story at hand. So Wednesday July 4th rolls around, and I eventually get the bike packed up and am rolling down the road at about 10am. It's hot, but as long as I'm moving, I'm comfortable.

    Leaving NOVA via the Prince William Parkway.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Going through the town of Haymarket, flying the red, white, and blue.

    [​IMG]

    After passing Haymarket, I started to find some of the better roads.

    [​IMG]

    Some of these roads I'd ridden before, like Bust Head road, but I just couldn't pass up riding them again as they are so much fun!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Regardless of whether you're on dirt or pavement, the riding around here is great, and so is the scenery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Even though it was July 4th, these guys were out there working to restore power to those who were still without from last week's storms that rolled through the state. My hat is off to you gentlemen! :devildog

    [​IMG]

    The bike, still clean as it is very early on in the trip (it will not remain this way! :D)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I finally reached Front Royal around 12:30pm, and wound my way to Spelunkers for a little lunch. :dg

    [​IMG]

    After refeulling both myself and the bike, it was time to get on the BRT. It started out with about a 50/50 mix of gravel & pavement, but it was all good!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    At one point ( I think it was near Mine Mountain), I rode by a handful of the beautiful little ponds right along the side of the road.

    [​IMG]

    I eventually wound my way to Peters Mill OHV; I didn't reallize that the route ran this way and had not purchased a pass, so I decided not to tempt fate and bypassed this small section of the trail. Too bad, because I've been here before, and it's some nice riding through here.

    [​IMG]

    Oh well, onwards we go.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Coming to a T-stop, I couldn't turn down this photo-op!

    [​IMG]

    More great roads and scenery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Around 2:30/3:00pm, I found myself feeling a little drowsy. Not needing to be anywhere in particular but right here, right now, I found a great little place to pull over for a nap.....yes....I said a nap! :D This little country church, with a covered picnic area was a perfect fit! Both the bike & I took a 30 minute nap in the shade!

    [​IMG]

    Feeling refreshed, I get back on the road.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I eventually wound my way back into familiar territory, just west of Harrisonburg, VA; prime Cat Herder country! :evil Time to run some more of my favorite roads!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also started to see more storm debris on the trail.

    [​IMG]

    Most of it was very easily avoidable.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also wound my way on Vepco road which has some great views.

    [​IMG]

    Remember this spot Todd!? :pot:hide

    [​IMG]

    Keeping on; the water crossings were all very low, and yet more storm debris.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Luckily I was able to ride into the field to get around this guy, on FR 151.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some resevoir, sorry I can't remember the name, but it's on FR 151.

    [​IMG]

    Another tree blocking the trail on FR 151.

    [​IMG]

    But with a little off-roading, I was able to get around it.

    [​IMG]

    However, not a quarter mile later, I came across another tree, and was unable to find a way around; the terrain was just too steep on either side to permit me to ride around it.

    [​IMG]

    So time for a little back-tracking and finding an alternate route.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I eventually wound my way up past Reddish Knob, and set up camp at Flag Pole knob. Camp snuggly just doesn't get any better than this; a mountain top all to myself!

    [​IMG]

    The menu for the evening:

    [​IMG]

    With some of this mixed in it:

    [​IMG]

    All prepped by this great little contraption:

    [​IMG]

    And just for ambience, I made a little fire.

    [​IMG]

    And now onto the sleeping accomodations. As I mentioned earlier, I recently picked up some new gear; this includes a new sleeping back, sleeping pad, and a camping pillow! :D Yep, I'm turning into a wimp! :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Sleeping bag is a North Face, Cat's Meow; so far I like it a lot.

    [​IMG]

    Sleeping pad is a Big Agnes Q-Core; more on how I feel about this thing in the next update ( foreshadowing!!! :deal).

    [​IMG]

    And my ThermaRest pillow, next to my helmet for size comparison; it rolls up to about 1/3 to 1/2 it's size.

    [​IMG]

    All in all, this was a great first day on the road; lots of great roads, weather was good, albeit a little on the hot side, and a great camping spot to top it all off!

    STATS for the day:

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Butcho

    Butcho Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    312
    Location:
    Wisconsin SE
    Thanks for sharing....Looks like Fun :1drink
    #2
  3. WayneJ

    WayneJ City Slicker

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,324
    Location:
    Here & There
    :lurk
    #3
  4. valongbeard

    valongbeard mild mannered

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,435
    Location:
    VA
    Nice Dennis!
    #4
  5. tennyis

    tennyis Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    267
    looks like an amazing trip!
    #5
  6. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,711
    Location:
    Minn.
    Great report, good pics, perfect country for the infamous KLR.

    A great medium heavy camping hauler. Mine weighs 540 dry.... :puke1

    A folding saw (opens like a jackknife) is your best friend when meeting horizontal wooden road blocks. Couple minutes, you would have punched through...

    Really looked like a relaxing journey.
    #6
  7. error cooled

    error cooled anything but asphalt

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,209
    Location:
    Virginia
    Awesome Denis! Maybe we can round out the portion south of Eggleston one of these days together -- there is a some great riding there as well.

    Looking forward to the rest :clap.
    #7
  8. twohawks

    twohawks Not Afraid

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,966
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley Virginia
    Another Denis RR!!

    :clap
    #8
  9. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,124
    Location:
    Right where I need to be
    Thanks for the kind words all, Day 2 installment coming up tonight when I get home from work! :deal


    Yeah, the crazy thing is that I was thinking about it before leaving. However you know how things go; you can either spend more time planning & prepping, or just get out there and ride, and I just wanted to get out there! :ricky



    You got it man! May have to take the DRZ though; while the KLR did just fine, there were some really fun sections here and there where a smaller & lighter bike would have been so much more fun.
    #9
  10. elicate

    elicate n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5
    :ricky Thanks for sharing :) Looks like a blast to ride up there.
    #10
  11. Rusty Rocket

    Rusty Rocket Life behind "Bars"

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    10,047
    Location:
    Trying to leave CT
    Looking forward to the rest of your trip. I'm headed to that area in Sept.

    :lurk
    #11
  12. Todd34

    Todd34 Toubab

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,044
    Location:
    Dakar
    Great RR Denis. Keep it coming! Yeah, I remember that spot and I can't wait to go there again. Might be a while though, I'm currently in Bogota, Colombia. I wish I had a bike here. There are some amazing areas to ride.
    #12
  13. Farkle_Adict

    Farkle_Adict Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    Off the Grid
    Nice report!!
    #13
  14. goosecreek

    goosecreek fed up

    Joined:
    May 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,604
    Location:
    wrenching th bike
    Wish I had been with you the whole trip looks like some good riding.
    Allen and I went over fs48 then I went home . I did not have enough left in me to do 317a a second time.:D
    Thanks for having me along even though I avoided the technical riding.:lol3
    #14
  15. Kawikazi

    Kawikazi Loose Cannon

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    383
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Hey Dennis,
    I don't think I told you but I bought a cabin over in West Virginia. It's located just 4 miles from Franklin on Sandy Ridge Road. If your in the area and want to spend the night in air conditioning be my guest. I'll send you a PM with directions and info on how to get the keys from my neighbor.

    Warren:freaky
    #15
  16. Kawikazi

    Kawikazi Loose Cannon

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    383
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Dennis,
    I just sent you a PM giving you directions to my cabin over in West Virginia just in case you were in the area and wanted a nice place to crash. Then I realized your already home doing the report. Anyway, I have been spending Thursday through Sunday over at the cabin, so if your over that way stop in for a cold one.
    I'll send you an email with some pictures of the cabin. Warren
    #16
  17. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,124
    Location:
    Right where I need to be
    Alright, got home from work about 30 minutes ago, took a quick shower, and now I'm gonna try and put together the Day 2 post. I say try because I got a call this afternoon from my 2nd job, asking if I wanted to work tonight at one of the local music venues and load-out the Coldplay concert. Seeing as how I had fun last week, and spent money, now I need to work to make some money so I can go out and play again! :deal

    So the Day 2 installment will be coming up shortly.....or atleast part of it.


    Bogota!?!? Damn, that sounds awesome! Hope to get there next year.


    You'll love it!



    Same here brother! It was great riding with you Friday and Saturday. Thanks again to you & Allen on accompanying me out the end of Shoe Creek.



    Wow Warren, thanks! But as you noticed I'm already back home. Some other time my friend; I'll be heading back out that way again with the DRZ this time to go play a little harder! :wink: And it'd be great if you could join in.
    #17
  18. XC Rider

    XC Rider Motorcycle Vagabond

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,124
    Location:
    Right where I need to be
    Before I get on to the Day 2 ride report, I must go back and talk about that wonderful new Big Agnes Q-Core ground pad that I got. So I filled it up before going to sleep (unfortunately it's not self-inflating, but that was not a deal breaker for me), and when I first layed down on it, I was in heaven! Three & a half inches of mattress with insulating material inside! Ohh Yeah, I was going to be sleeping well tonight. Well I fell asleep really easily, but halfway through the night, I woke up and found myself flat on the ground!?!?!? :huh It appears as though my brand new thermarest type pad has an air leak!!! :becca I re-inflated the mattress and tried not to think about how long before it would deflate again.

    I woke back up again around 7:00am; temps weren't bad yet, but I could feel that it was going to be a scorcher of a day. So without wasting time, I packed up camp and was underway by 8am.

    Heading down to Reddish knob; can't come this close and not go up and see the view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The skies were clear, and views from Reddish Knob were great this morning.

    [​IMG]

    But enough lolly-gagging, time to RIDE! :ricky Today would be mostly gravel, with some challenging sections on a fully loaded KLR, including some mud!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Brayley Pond.

    [​IMG]

    Continuing on down the road, going back and forth over the VA/WV border.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Started to see more and more downed branches and trees. This poor oak tree was all rotten inside and did not survive the storm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I reached this forest road:

    [​IMG]

    And was met by this guy.

    [​IMG]

    I figured I could squeeze under it by going through the ditch on the right, but I decided to scout ahead on foot because it looked as though there were more trees down that I might not be able to go over or around.

    Unfortunately, I guessed right.

    Passable...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not passable.

    [​IMG]

    Since it was clear that no one had come through and cleared this trail yet, I decided to reroute a few miles around this section of trail.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ahhhhhhhh......back on dirt & gravel.

    [​IMG]

    Starting late yesterday, I was starting to see a lot of these flowers along the sides of the trails. I'm no expert, but I think it might be flowering mountain laurel? :dunno

    [​IMG]

    Back to the trail.

    [​IMG]

    Ohh yeah, this is my kind of riding! :wings

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Got up on top of a ridge and was rewarded with some beautiful vistas every now and then when I came through a clearing.

    [​IMG]

    And even a few long & straight stretches, reminiscent of the Dolly Sods area in WV.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The trail just continued on forever, and did not disappoint.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some nice erosion scars on the trail.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then a little section of pavement to get to the next section of gravel.

    [​IMG]

    Looks promising. It was short, but nice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another little pavement section.

    [​IMG]

    How would you like to live here!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Coming around a bend, I noticed a doe in the field next to the road, and she had a fawn with her. I doubled back to see if I could get a picture, but as I drew closer, she and the fawn next to her took off. I figured I'd missed my opportunity, but as I turned back around, I spotted a 2nd fawn in the field! Apparently it was not next to its mother when she ran off into the woods, and this poor little guy was running around and crying out for it's mama. I snapped a few pictures, and then took off so that its mother would hopefully come back for it. Here's the little guy or girl.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And in case you didn't know, or haven't been down this way before, southwestern VA is known as:

    [​IMG]

    More trail.

    [​IMG]

    Slowly at first, but surely, the trail started to become less well maintained and more primitive. Still a blast though!

    [​IMG]

    However when I started seeing mud, I began to feel a little uneasy as the tires I currently have on the KLR are in no way shape or form meant for mud!

    [​IMG]

    But what you gonna do? PLOW ON! :pynd

    Hmmm.....mud. The bike is starting to get dirty! :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But what an awesome trail! This bit of trail according to my GPS was called Apalachain trail.

    [​IMG]

    Hmmm.....bummer, not easy way around.

    [​IMG]

    While I didn't have a folding saw with me, I knew I'd come too far down this trail to turn around. Besides, I think I have a solution....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not the best of solutions, but with about 5 minutes worth of work, I was able to achieve my goal.

    For size reference.

    [​IMG]

    Now I can get through.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This place, with it's nice ups and downs, minimally maintained trail, water puddles, and mud pools was starting to remind me of the Cannan Valley loop, minus the two water crossings.

    [​IMG]

    Then not quite a mile from the end of this piece of trail, I come to this monstrous water puddle.

    [​IMG]

    Now I actually like water crossings, but big, murky water puddles make me uneasy; you never know what's lurking/hiding under that water. I scouted out the area, and found it to be quite muddy and boggy around both sides. However, not having any choice, I decided to go around to the left of the puddle; seems as though it had been done before.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe it was my negative thoughts, but sure enough, I got stuck in the mud. I then did the only thing I could do in this situation and unloaded the bike to lighten it up, and then power walked it out. Quite physically exerting in this heat! :knary

    This is the spot I got stuck in; you can see my track in the center.

    [​IMG]

    Oh yeah, the bike is really muddy now.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Continuing on down the trail.

    [​IMG]

    And back to pavement for a bit.

    [​IMG]

    I finally wound my way back into the Jefferson National forest, and found a primitive campsite along the side of the trail. It was practically dark and I finished setting up my tent with the help of my head lamp.

    The menu for the evening.

    [​IMG]

    But the real highlight of the menu was the desert!

    [​IMG]

    When I left on Wednesday (July 4th), all ABC stores were closed due to the holiday, but not today! So I picked up some supplies. :evil

    I ended up chosing the Firefly, Iced tea flavored vodka for tonight, along enjoyed it while reading a good book.

    [​IMG]

    The Stats for the day:

    [​IMG]


    All in All, a GREAT day! This is exactly what I had been hoping to find; not too easy, but not impossible, just a perfect mix of trails and challenging enough to keep you on your toes!
    #18
  19. WayneJ

    WayneJ City Slicker

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,324
    Location:
    Here & There
    #19
  20. SLiP210

    SLiP210 you can call me slip

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Crimora,VA
    Hey Denis ----- :thumb
    #20