Southern Maryland Adventure Riders--Three Times a Charm on the Trans West Virginia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dorito, May 6, 2013.

  1. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    It's been a gangbuster spring around the peninsula of southern Maryland. From training classes to blind time trail trials, it has been whirlwind of activity. Our spring multi-day outing was planned while snow was blanketing the ground.
    #1
  2. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Spritely early on Sat morning, Blaster, J4S and I gathered at out favorite launching point, none other than WaWa in VA. For starters, it's at least one state away so a journey has begun.

    Blaster
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    Dorito
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    J4S
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    J4S arrived first and went in for coffee. It seems when he came back out, he noticed that he had a installed a chain self-oiler. Or did he? Seems that when he popped on the bigger tooth sprocket, the washer didn't seat. Now, it was a metronome of oil drips. Surely, the 1 L of engine oil won't last 20 mins at this rate. So off to Advanced Auto Parts in Dahlgren.

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    After a new 17mm socket and ratchet procurement (and a few shop rags), the KTM machine is back in business. We decide that since we have no room for so much as a spare toothbrush, we should start the journey with a proper send off:

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    Blaster is beside himself, and somehow buys another set of gloves! :huh He claims that he doesn't have a gortex pair of gloves (which I don't know that is possible). Now all he needs his is glove murse.

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    All giddy like school girls we get out of Fredericksburg and head west. Not soon after we pass a KTM dealer, Blasters steed starts to buck a bit. But we press on. Shortly there after, she cuts out downhill. After dismantling the entire thing, seems that the issue is the battery fuze has a wonky connection. In fact, this is the same issue that plagued him two weekends prior at Sugar Grove .

    However, another Advanced Auto Parts store and she has been acting like a little lady since. We don't really have any time table, but we start looking for camp sites around Lost River. The first site was cabins only, and the ranger left 45 mins prior. Whoops. The next campsite, Big Hill, was on the side of a big hill. $25 per tent seemed spendy at the time. So we pressed onto Trout River. Yeah, it seemed desolate enough....but almost too quite.

    After we had trounced 7 miles out of our way up, a little obscure sign indicated it was closed. Well, now the sun is getting low in the horizon and things are looking bleak. We contemplate going back to Big Hill, but nobody is enthralled with the prospect of "backwards". What to do? Even though there was suppose to be a nice night to watch the sky, we are now in the hunt for a hotel:

    Meteor Shower from Halley's Comet Peaks This Weekend

    We go follow Garmin to Lost River Inn, and as soon as it we were suppose to arrive there is absolutely nothing other than a farmer loading round bales. As we look for a turn around point, I get the idea that I will ask him to if we can pitch a tent in the field.
    #2
  3. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    After I follow the hay wagon, the guy on the tractor is in close pursuit. I am able to catch him on the driveway turn. Really kind young man sends me right over to talk to dad.

    After a few cordial words, he offers me a spot down the road a bit by a "pond". Honestly, I was fearful the pond was a cattle pond and infested with bugs. Nonetheless, the sun is setting and the time is now. We gallop down the road and through the gate as instructed.

    There we find the family picnic area complete with dock, cut firewood and lilies!
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    The landowner even stops by a bit later to make sure that we have everything we need. He offers the firewood and the 3/8" cut culvert to make a nice forest-fire sized bonfire.

    And while we have an excellent view of the sky (the big dipper was so bright), 0300 did not show Halley's tail.
    #3
  4. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Now a bit about the farmer. He came down to the pond twice that night. The first was ensure we had settled in and offered us the fire wood, and the second time to drop off his new load of honey bees in the far pasture.

    Despite my overwhelming urge to go into anaphylactic shock over a bee, I do find the process fascinating. The queen bees are shipped in a small cardboard box with a piece of candy. The worker bees are shipped in separate box. Once on location, the queen is placed in the hive (still boxed). The worker bees basically chew into her container after the candy (I was going to say "chew into her box" but that didn't sound right :lol3).

    He harvests about 350 lbs of honey yearly. However, he doesn't really want the honey just the pollination of the fields, so he drops the honey off at a processor. Last year he "lost" 50 lbs of honey overnight. Seems he dropped off the raw honey a few hours before the processor canned it and the resident bees stole it for their hives :rofl
    #4
  5. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Albeit the day started early, but you wouldn't believe such a nice pond had such very fast Bullfrogs as you get up in the middle of the night. Although the coyotes were calling around dinner, it was the man-eating bullfrogs that one should worry about :huh

    Anyhow, a little word to wise: When you decide to have a forest fire with nicely dried locust wood, cover your really nice Klim riding kit. Lest it end up like this:

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    Additionally, don't wear your nice windproof shirt as the embers will melt to your skin! The fire burned through the night, and boy was it nice to wake up and warm up for a bit before setting out for the day.

    Despite not finding a single campground last night, we start the route and trip over two sites immediately. Feast or famine I guess. We saw some nice scenery:

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    The Cottonwoods (?) are the only ones in bloom up that way right now
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    We left the Beemers at home, so this road was very passable:
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    We had been heading off to lunch when we came up on big tractor crawling down the road. It had both flashers on, and just as the lead bike went to pass the tractor, he violently swerved towards the bike. I thought it was strange case of road rage, this far away from civilization. In the end, he was trying to turn but your blinkers and hazards don't work at the same time...

    Went thorough Dolly Sods (which was packed with cars), and I haven't seen roads this straight since Translab:
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    Stopped at Laurel Fork for a bit of a rest. Hindsight, this was probably our undoing. The weather went to hel* in a handcart hours after departing that place. I am beginning to wonder if that geographic bowl is a sewer drain of bad weather?
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    Lunch in Durbin:
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    Durbin is only a mile west of Bartow. Bartow only has gas left (no food or lodging). We saw this train leaving at 1430. And Blaster is actually considering going back to ride it (2 hrs/$26 per person).
    Durbin is also home to the Durbin Rocket Train

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qpkZbT6li3Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Knowing the weather is moving in, we decide to find shelter for the night. Marlinton, WV we go.
    #5
  6. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    As we sat in Durbin, we know that 1500 brings the night's discussion. We need to find our destination for the night and have sleeping quarters arranged/tents popped by 1700.

    The temperature has steadily dropped since we've left Laurel Forks. It's clear that a storm is brewing. We decide that a hotel or cabin will be needed. We had thought about the cabins near Marlinton, but in the end we end up at the Marlinton Motor inn.

    Blaster gets the only turtle for the trip, seems we overshot a turn and you can't do a low-speed U-turn in third (fourth?) gear. :D

    Into Marlinton:
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    We arrive on Sunday PM, and the resturant is closed. However, the bar is serving appetizers. As we crunch on a fried mushroom, we continplate the plan for the rest of the week. It's rather ominous weather forecast.

    Out of the 7 remaining days, only one day is under 50% chance of rain. While I certainly don't mind bunkering down for a day to watch a storm, we are only +/-200 miles from home. What sense does it make to spend 6 days in a hotel? We look at possible going south in morning and then riding north ahead/behind the storm, but we'd be in Florida before it would be dry. No good re-routing options remain.

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    We decide that since we are really here to ride the trail and our time table is rather soft, what's the sense in doing in really crappy weather? The steep terrain of WV makes the trails streaming riverbeds as the water falls off the cliffs.

    We look a calendar and decide to beat feet home in the morning. Knowing the little DR200 would be smushed like a Ciacada bug on the highway, I chose the "avoid highway" on the Garmin. In a place like WV, you do find some tasty roads to ride. I'll need to download the track for next time, as it was a great route!

    I am sad to get home, but after listening to the thunderstorms all day yesterday and looking at the forecast...it was the right decision.
    #6
  7. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Services update:

    We completed the T4 track. The following is noted:

    1. Lost City has another camp ground: corner of RT 259/Dove Hollow Rd (Not fancy, really just a field)
    2. WV Trout 1 is closed for well repairs. No date on reopening
    3. I could have swore that I saw a camp ground sign on the way out of Dolly Sods. However, can't locate it on a map now as a marked camping area
    4. Gas called "Wymar" is closed
    5. There is food across the street from Camp Durbin (The restaurant is called "station 2")
    #7
  8. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    As previously mentioned, I might have been on a DR200 which while a nicely sized mount, is a bit underpowered. If you ever believed that you could just power through a bad situation, that thought should leave your vocabulary while mounted on a DR200.

    I was leading most of the ride home, as J4S has now broken not one, but two Garmins. Meanwhile, Blaster's Garmin holds on by a thread.

    Anyhow, I came up to a stop sign and casually looked left. Then right. Then exclaimed "CAR--GO!". I was frantic not much time was left before we had the drudgery of following a sloth vehicle through the WV country roads.

    Apparently, Blaster and J4S just stopped. They heard "Car". Which normally means STOP! As they shook their head, I enjoyed a nice pace while they bidded their time for the car to turn off.

    While Blaster bought his DRZ last spring, the bike turns out to have a lot more gremlins than the Previous owner antied up to. The bike was burning oil at a pace faster than a 2-stroke. And while he has bought the parts to re-build the top end of the motor, it's unclear what the long-term plan will be for that bike. The stable is now getting a bit bloated, as this is coming home tonight:

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    #8
  9. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Meanwhile Blaster has been busy fixing up the DRZ. It's now sporting a new top big bore kit. He'll be waiting a lot for me now with that 434cc kit! Hopefully that will fix up the oil consumption issue.

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    I also ordered an SAE to cigarette lighter to charge the comms and phones in the evenings.

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    #9
  10. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Destination: So Maryland to Marlinton, WV
    Bike mileage on TWVT: 0

    Well, we've finally restarted our adventure. We hauled out to Marlinton, WV after work. While it was great to be buying back time, we were seriously neverous about the impending Memorial day weekend traffic. However, we got over the moat from Southern Maryland by early afternoon, and skirted about 99% of Fredericksburg traffic on River Road.

    Although we chose the "fastest" GPS routing we ended on some very tasty backroads...even as tasty as a 3/4 truck could make them.

    Exhausted, but happy to be back in the game, we bed down for the nite in Marlington. The first ALT of the journey will start spritely early in the morning.

    While it normally takes me a solid 3-days to "Warm up", will need to get my game-face much earlier. We'll see what the day has in store.

    Nary a photo/vid from today.
    #10
  11. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Destination: Hinton, WV
    Date: 25 May

    We get off loaded and bikes out around 0900. We'll be riding T3 track today, as well as the two alts. The ALT is blue rated, but most alts are color coded based on the worse section. So, if some part of the trail is blue...then the whole track will be blue. We leave a nicely graded road through the State park rustic campground. The trail head looks to be a very old, jeep rutted track. In fact, the trick to this alt is mud...water and then muddy water.

    I've been warned that some of these water holes get deep. Blaster kindly allows me get my boots wet. As we get to the first questionable crossing, it's murky and wide. Off I go. I probably walked a half dozen of the them. I don't think this ALT would be ridable with much more water. There is a down tree, but we are able to squiggle the bikes under. No taking that big adventure windshield under that! I take one small mud nap, and I was surprised that the Giant Loop had water intruision. I thank my lucky stars that I've converted the liners to dry bags, else there would a muddy sleeping bag!

    The second alt has two rough sections on the track. The first is steep, rocky but very short uphill. Rode fine today. The seond hard part, was a track that last time whooped my butt! Today was a different beast and I only had one minor drop. Picked a crapola line, and the hind kicked out. Blaster got through "Hamstring alley" just fine too. However, the trail was still mucky and leaf covered in places. Overall, we end the day grinning from ear to ear.

    We score a nice full-service campground at Bluestone State Park, a few miles north of Hinton.
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    Water, water, everywhere water..
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    Camp right on the water
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    All tucked in
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    The Meador camp has hot showers, where the Old mill only has cold showers. Also, Garmin lists a campground right in Hinton where Track T3 starts. It looks to be dozed by construction, and I don't believe it exists any longer.

    Still working the vids.
    #11
  12. macaroni

    macaroni Been here awhile

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    Bruce: Which bike did you take with you for the final leg?
    #12
  13. blaster11

    blaster11 Challenge X-cepted

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    DRZ, and she ran like a champ other than I didn't particularly like going back to stock gearing, 15/44, I will probably go with 15/47 combo for trips like this.
    #13
  14. macaroni

    macaroni Been here awhile

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    So you're keeping the DRZ?

    Looking forward to hearing more about the ride!
    #14
  15. blaster11

    blaster11 Challenge X-cepted

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    Actually I am concidering selling it since all the bugs are worked out and it is running great....this would also allow me to start building the Husky. Who actually knows what I will do with it considering I actually like the bike. :D

    Come on down to Sushi on Wednesday and we can chat about the ride.
    #15
  16. macaroni

    macaroni Been here awhile

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    I'd love to but I'm headed to the Adirondack Mts tomorrow to meet Amy. We're hiking for a couple of days and I'll be back on Monday. I'm planning on riding through Michaux on the way up. :clap
    #16
  17. H14

    H14 Live, Laugh, Love.

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    Glad to see you guys went back and kicked butt on those Alts.
    #17
  18. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    Oh, there was still one that kicked me...and two black alts that we didn't even attempt...one day though!
    #18