Southern Maryland Adventure Riders --Pine Barrens Adventure Camp

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Dorito, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Somewhere in the cold of a long winter, you reflect on the (mis?)adventures of last riding season. For me, I have this uncanny knack fish tailing (plowing?) through deep sand. It usually starts with a little butt wiggle, then a big butt wiggle, then a nice low-side get off. One that watches it may in fact think I am snorkeling like a dirt submarine.

    In my mind, every gravel road with an inch of sand looks like this:

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    While it's perhaps no big surprise that I suck at sand. Maryland is home to a clay base and our other haunt (West Virginia) is rock on rock thanks to a glacier sometime last ice age.

    With that, we find the closest place with copious amount of sand and some race-ready instructors, and off to Pine Barrens Adventure Camp.

    http://www.pinebarrensadventures.com/

    Without much ado, this weekend we embark to learn some mad sand skills.
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  2. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Having a bunch of undone tasks to do this morning, we left around 0900. It was probably a good decision given we were trekking into the heart of DC's wonderland traffic. None the less, the morning frost had lifted leaving only a crisp spring air behind.

    Blaster got a whopping 200 yards from the house before he realized that his "Ruby Red Slippers "had never been worn on the HP2. It seems the stiff clown boots making finding a shifter and braking somewhat challenging. He decides there nothing really to be done and we push north.

    Although traffic reports the I-95 corridor is a mess, we find ourselves with extremely light traffic. As many know, there is only one thing we do better than Ride-to-Eat...Ride-to-shop.

    What could be better than we found the new home of the "'Zilla" elves! :nod
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    The new Revzilla store open a mere +/- 6 weeks is located in the old Philadelphia Navy Yard. Parking right outside the store, and feels safe enough to leave your bike as you leisurely shop.
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    It was primo modern, and had a great feel. The store displays mostly their clothing kit. I was really hoping to see more of the gadgets and kitsch on the website, and I love those things!

    This was also sitting on the show room floor:
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    Alas, you don't realize it but the front customer area is only a minor section. Have you seen the movie the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? Basically, the kids access an whole different world via a portal in the closet.

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    This is where the 'Zilla elves live! The show room is connected the entire 4-loading dock warehouse (e.g. where your items ship from if you buy online). If they have stock of it, the elves bring it up. :thumb I almost felt like playing 3 wishes with them! My only regret is my nerdie self didn't ask for a tour of the 'Zilla elf town. Next time. Lakota will be proud that I bought another pair of gloves. Thus, I begin this adventure with more gloves than Blaster!

    The recommended hotel is a bit of a mixed bag thus far. When I booked it, it was a Howard Johnson. When I got the confirmation it was the "Hammonton Inn". Today, it was the Econolodge. :huh Hard to imagine they lost the reservation in the mix.

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    Tomorrow, the fun begins. But for now, I leave you with this vid. This is what driving in Jersey feels like to me. A fight between a lioness and a croc over a dead Hippo!

    Timestamps 2 and 6 mins are the most interesting.

    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/QuTYX7gMPWM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  3. blaster11

    blaster11 Some days.....

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    Yep, the new store is very nice!! The old store front was in an old industrial part of town which was kind of cool but I was a bit nervous about leaving my kit outside while I shopped....not so at the new place. As always customer service was courteous and helpful. It is kind of cool that if it's in stock they will bring it up from the back in about 5 minutes. I picked up a pair of REV'IT summer socks to replace one of the pairs they cut off my foot last fall....I am partial to the BMW socks since they have wool in them but I figured I would give these a try.
    I am looking forward to getting started tomorrow and brushing up my skills and learning some new stuff.

    Oh, and here is the information on the class in case you are interested.

    #3
  4. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Dawn breaks on the parking lot at the now Econo lodge. It seems that magical things have transformed the empty parking lot into a GS wonderland. While we rested our heads with 5 or so bikes, today, this morning the number has doubled.

    The R1200s appear to be the big pig choice of the weekend. There are two G650s Seratos, Blaster's HP2, Dorito, 2013 F800GS, and a lone Tiger. I do feel a bit like a terrible mother today. The Dorito machine looks by far the one that has been rode the hardest and put away the wettest. I've never seen so many clean, unscratched bikes. Well see if we can't change that in the hours to come :wink:
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    We went to the Silver Diner last night. While I got the crab ravioli,
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    and Blaster got the Salmon...
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    I think I should have just got another loaf of bread...it was the bread that was so good!
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    #4
  5. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    The Proprietor: Smiley Jack

    The man has a personality 100 feet tall. Never saw him all day not smiling. Very warming and personable.

    So the class is the brain child of Jack. He lives in the local area, and puts together the only Big Bike Dual Sport Ride though the Pine Barrens. The other 44 yearly rides in the Pine Barrens are for little zippy bikes.

    The Pine Barrens 300 usually runs in the late fall (Nov this year), and is limited to 150 riders. You must have a GPS and a bike over 500cc.

    Anyhow, Jack would routinely get folks with a shiny new R1200 show up for the ride, never had so much as a tread off tarmac riders. They were in the school of hard knocks, whereas they figured after 300 miles the would get the hang of it. I've also said
    The first couple of years the n00bs would get tens of miles before calling it a day. Later in the evolution, Jack would escort via the tarmac and show them the hairy sections. Most were grateful to bow out before they got in over they heads after seeing the conditions.

    Now Jack had the idea to have the n00b school the day before the Pine Barrens 300. Just enough skills to get them to survive the Pine Barrens 300 the following day. The problem is a after a day of picking up the big pigs, it wasn't much fun the following day.

    Jack now has the school unrelated to the Pine Barrens. He's renamed it from "sand school" to "adventure camp". He's arranged a swanky deal with a land owner to use a the backyard MX track and some swanky door prizes from Manhattan BMW, and Twisted Throttle.

    It definitely shows that Jack has big dreams for the school. What a great grass-roots endeavor.
    #5
  6. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    In a previously life, Jack was a high-end caterer. And boy does it show. He provided a gaggle of sandwiches for lunch, and then decided to take 20 ADvers to a country club for dinner :huh
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    He had planned to take us a Italian restaurant, but they were booked with Holy Communions. I've always thought it was better to be on bike thinking about God, then in a church thinking about a bike. No worries, we had a separate entrance, and our own room as not to scare off the women and children. Fortuitously, charm school appears to have worked because we even used the silverware mostly correctly.

    Anyone else concerned there are many breakable items on this table?
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    Fancy bannister with a built-in helmet rack
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    I must admit nary a bad crumb hit my lips for the next 1.5 hours. A big kudos to Jack as the dinner is comped as part of the registration fee!

    Mozzarella wedges, calamari, sausages and wings
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    Sweet Potato Fries
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    Salad
    The salads were great. Unfortunately, Blaster is a not much a salad connoisseur. As someone pointed out,
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    Clam Linguini
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    #6
  7. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Jack arranged for some nice freebie kitsch:

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    I didn't realize BMW of Manhattan is the only US factory direct dealership. Also, Twisted Throttle has way more stuff than I realized.
    #7
  8. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Jack has arranged for use of a backyard MX course for our exercises.
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    I usually don't leave stickers on things, but I think this one looks dashing!

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    I have to admit that riding in New Jersey didn't exactly excite me on any level, except for the fact it was something new and the closest I could get to get rid of that horrible sand-ick I have. Teach McNeil apparently came down and had the same sentiments. Mentally, I thought we would be riding into ghettos, abandoned buildings, trash dumps and parking lots.

    What a surprise! The Pine Barrens is over 1 million acres. We rode among blueberry farms and cranberry bogs!
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    How about Cedar Alley..
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    Honestly, it's only about 150 miles from home. Probably as close as West Virginia. We'll probably be scouting some weekend rides up that way :evil
    #8
  9. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    As I always say 'One can never have too may pairs of gloves" :D
    #9
  10. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    The day started around 0900 at the practice field. We were greeted by the instructors, and they wanted us to take off all mirrors, GPS, luggage and other breakable items. Strike 1 for me was I replaced the keys my luggage last winter, and apparently forgot to replace the tumbler on the locking plate for the top case. I&#8217;ve since thrown away the old keys, so not only did I not think about removing it, I have no way to do so!

    Then off to remove the mirrors. Some might say the Dorito machine is somewhat battle-proven. If it is currently on the bike, it&#8217;s survived the test of time, spills and carnage. However, I obliged in removing the mirrors. Later in the day I will fully regret this decision, as I will lose the knuckle bolt at the base of the mirror somewhere between 0900 and the end of day. Meanwhile, Blaster had no problems removing his double take mirrors. Pops off the GPS which is mounted on the aux bar, and puts it in his top pouch. The GPS apparently got into a bar fight with the other crap in the pouch, and hasn&#8217;t worked since. Honestly, another case of it&#8217;s worked all this time in the current location, just don&#8217;t screw with it!

    While the discussion went later in the day, but it probably should have been addressed in the bike preps. The instructors didn&#8217;t recommend airing down tires, and in fact ran whatever the under the seat recommendation was. Seems odd given that most bikes were now running non-OEM street tires and for my bike would have been over-inflated if I had filled to the placarding instructions. Another reason they cited for not airing down was to prevent pinch flats. Again, a good part of class had tubeless tires.

    We had 15 students total, which I think was bit too many given the layout of the practice field and the instructor technique. I think it would have been more efficient to break us into two groups. Scott is a currently an AA rated Enduro rider. It&#8217;s funny to meet any race riders off the track. He&#8217;s very stoic, mellow demeanor, and calm. You wonder how the heck he even completes an Enduro, let alone finds a podium. But as soon as he&#8217;s piloting the bike, he&#8217;s turns into calculated hunter. He was riding a new F800GS and just putting a whipping on that big bike. He&#8217;s for sure got some mad skills.

    While the class is touted for beginners, I would say this class is best used as either an early season pipe-opener/refresher or as &#8220;hone sand&#8221; school. It&#8217;s not structured in time nor in lesson progression to take a rank dirt n00b to much beyond survival tactics. But indeed, I believe the niche that Jack is honing. Most of the exercises were variations of ones we&#8217;ve done before&#8230;with the exception of hill extraction which was new for me.
    #10
  11. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Exercise 1: Low speed turning while on the pegs. Ensure you move your rump to the outside of the seat, and weight the outside peg. No ridged arms (so make sure those bars are adjusted correctly). One instructor would ride around and talk to us individually (which I absolutely love!), while the other one stood at the station. While I enjoyed the conversations we had, I really wish there was more opportunity for one-on-one comments. While I could set up cones anywhere, the consistent constructive feedback is where the value of great instruction is at for me.

    The exercise pattern got a bit clogged at time, but if there is one thing that I&#8217;ve learned from Wattsy to CornerSpin is don&#8217;t get drug into other people&#8217;s bad lines and don&#8217;t ride their bike! However, I decided it was nice to get some breathing room and find your own spot to practice field to hone the exercise to my own leisurely pace.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/oWW1_6xu4kc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  12. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Exercise 2: Low speed turns while counterbalance seated: For this exercise, we suppose to practice on the same cone course just sitting down. Blaster snapped up and his CornerSpin training kicked in. This was all he heard: Sit high on the tank, drive that inside bar down and outside elbow up, screwdriver throttle!

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/AxqzwPIc5y8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  13. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Exercise 3 was start at the first set of marker cones. Ride about 100 feet then stop using the rear brake. Exercise 4, the same except applying the front brake at the very end. And exercise 5 was rear brake while standing. Balance, then ride off. Just like this:

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/bDWn2BYsRAM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  14. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Exercise 6: Failed Hill Ascent
    I imagine that you are on a hill, and you don't quite crest it. What should you do? Well, that largely depends on who you are. You could try this method, which we learned at the BMW performance center. We call it "Domino"...

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    Alternatively, if that doesn't work this might also work.

    When the bike stalls out, grab the front brake and put it in first. Now get off the bike (which is tricky while you are on a hill with no kickstand). While standing on the uphill side, lean the bike into your hip. Crank the handle bars to one direction. Release the clutch and let it roll. Now that it is about 15 degrees to the hill, you need to work the handle bars back and forth until you get the bike slightly lower than perpendicular to the hill. Then get on and ride off.

    I think the hardest part is getting on and off...:D

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/w1WbruySAAg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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  15. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Demo 7 & 8: Dead End Trail

    I didn't get the vid, but they demonstrated turning around on the trail. The first is using riding the bike front tire just enough up a berm to get momentum, then hold the clutch as it rolls backwards. Full lock the handle bars, ride back up the berm and repeat (think 3-5 point turn)

    The next was standing next to the bike, lean the bike way onto your hip, then roost the around 180 degrees. Looks cool, but I think I will try it on the TTR first lest I give the big bike a ghostie across the yard :huh
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  16. thelastknowngod

    thelastknowngod Adventurer

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    There definitely is that in South Jersey but I'd say the majority of the area is protected woodlands and farms. That being said, it does still have the highest population density in the country so take that with a grain of salt. IIRC, it does has the largest amounts of protected land per-capita though.

    North Jersey gives South Jersey a bad rep.. They may as well be two different planets.
    #16
  17. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    The day ends with a ride onto the sand.

    Some nice scenery. No lack of fresh water in this place! A word to the wise...do not drop into unknown puddles on around here. Some are augured out pretty hard, and you'll need a crane to get out. Also, the more orange to ground looks the harder packed the sand is. Lastly, the conditions wildly vary. Jack send pre-riders out to make sure the track was rideable, and adjusted fire accordingly.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/1qoAuT7o7cs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Some bad techniques which will get better on day 2
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/grAE_GxehP0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    And some vid of a "cheater" on an HP2 with a 21" front rim
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  18. blaster11

    blaster11 Some days.....

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    I can't say I like riding in the sand at this point but I seem to get through it reasonably well...the same thing happened to me at the BMW class and everybody kept wondering why I didn't have problems like they did. I guess I try to stay loose and not fight the bike and stay on the gas to keep my momentum up...so far it seems to be working. I don't think I could do it at speed but maybe some day I will able to.
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  19. nylon2000

    nylon2000 Wanderer

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    Glad you started the thread. I was there too: PJ / Philip. British guy on the Sertao.

    Had lots of fun.
    #19
  20. EOD3MC

    EOD3MC What will break next

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    Certainly sounds "challenging".
    Usually if you stop while climbing a hill, the front wheel gets almost no traction when using the brake (depending on what your riding on) and will slide downhill.
    Since you stalled, you would already be in gear. Letting the clutch out should hold the bike in place. The downhill wheel is the best for braking becasue the weight of the bike helps improve the traction.
    The technique described works well if you remain on the bike. Lean towards the side your most comfortable with (or have room to turn to) normally the left so you can work the rear brake. Using the clutch and rear brake back down hill turning to the side you are leaning. Once perpendicular to the hill, work the bars as described and head back down the hill.

    I wasn't at the class and everyone has something different that works for them...What I described has worked for me a number of times... but so has laying the bike over on it's side and pulling the uphill wheel around :D
    #20