Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge 2012

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by jdrocks, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    to help ya in your quest to master the local vernacular, i'll send you the talking book version of Blue Ridge 2012...and a box of grits.
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey kevin, don't go just for Cliff, there's way more riding in there and we're not done with Green Ridge yet on this trip.

    i don't have extensive riding experience there, Michaux either, but they seem to be different flavors, with many Green Ridge roads more like your home territory.
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Our new friend, the Mayor, was a feller by the name of Bill, so when it came to naming his combo eating establishment, beer joint, pool hall, and fair weather biker club house, he called it…I’ll pause a sec while you put on your freakin’ nuclear physicist hat…Bill’s Place, not to be confused with any other establishments in metro Orleans, ‘cause there ain’t none. Bill had a big time monopoly machine workin’, lucky for us he took a shine to our sparkling personalities right off the bat, ‘course it helped quite a bit that I knew a thing or two about squirrel huntin’. Officially, he was closed, but decided to reopen on our account, and that’s how we were invited to lunch with the Mayor.

    I was parked in front, the logical place…

    [​IMG]

    Monsieur Nix wanted to park at a location where he could capture a damn pretty girl and the DR in the same photo…

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    Heck, I couldn’t blame him for taking the opportunity, he already knew it would never happen in real life without the use of a firearm and handcuffs.

    Bill had locked the door when we rode up, and was equipped for a squirrel hunting expedition with his grandson, very steady and mature at age 14.

    “Ain’t going to fire up the grill, but if ya want a ham ‘n cheese sandwich, c’mon in”.

    Usually when I eat at these places I just say “Fry something for me”, ten minutes later ya got a whole big plate of fried something in front of you, usually pretty good too. Got a friend who I think would eat a deep fried cow pie without blinking as long as he had his favorite hot sauce handy, fried is big time around here.

    “What y’all want on the sandwich?”, and when I replied “Everything ya got”, dljocky said “Make it two”.

    We were hardly into a running conversation on roads, bikes, deer hunting, squirrel hunting, black powder, and the mindset of average kids his grandson’s age, when our sandwiches showed up on the bar, no ordinary ham and cheese, no sir, these things were all of 4” thick, the ultra premium version. We knew they wanted to get out in the woods, so we didn’t waste any time, besides we were hungry. Actually, I don’t think a black bear could have gone through those sandwiches any quicker. The kid rang up the register, a ridiculously small amount for what we got, and when he started to hand us the change, I shook my head no, and said “Ammo”. That got a crooked smile, and “Thanks”.

    Much grass to the Mayor and his grandson, it pays for moto travelers to be nice, and we were back on the bikes, apprehensive of finally finding mud after the previous day’s rain, way behind after a slow advance, and about to make a defining turn back south in not too many miles if we can only get there first.

    The Mayor had given us a copy machine version of the Green Ridge road map, and we also discussed some roads across the border in West Virginia, provoking a grimace from Monsieur Nix, the memories still fresh, and I got a pretty good feel for the location of some of the roads he mentioned, some I thought were already on the route. Could have been wrong at this point, but if destiny had dealt us a hand in Texas hold ‘em, how were we supposed to know that we would bust, literally at that ol’ river card.

    We started out generally west on Old Orleans, paved, crossed Fifteen Mile Creek, started another climb on another mountain, transitioning back to gravel. There were a couple commercial campgrounds fairly close to Orleans with what looked like a bunch of permanent trailers, but once into the Green Ridge, only primitive camping spots, some very nicely situated.

    When the sun was able to poke through, man, the scenery lit right up.

    [​IMG]

    We turned north at Dughill and were immediately on a roughly graded road, wet, but no deep mud and very rideable. In contrast to just about all the gravel roads we had been on so far, this road was not top dressed, and might be a handful in very wet weather.

    Our first turn northwest was supposed to be on Stafford, but when I slowed down for the turn, there was a pickup parked in the road entrance, a closed gate behind it. I wouldn’t have minded too much if this road wasn’t the key to getting farther west to another road network, damn, I never stopped, let the GPS do it’s thing, recalculate, recalculate…freakin’ broken record, where’s my BFH.

    If we were going to get all screwed up on the road network, there were worse places to have that happen, the riding was great. Plenty of hunter camps along the road, almost no vehicles on the road itself, and we continued northeast, our turn south was going to happen farther north than expected.

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    Dughill turned northwest, and I guessed we were less than a mile above the original route road, one of the several north/south roads in Green Ridge. Another north/south road was farther west, I knew we would intersect that one eventually. The roads were in good shape, and we were motoring along.

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    I knew where we were when we crossed the creek at Deep Run on the Fifteen Mile Creek road, getting closer.

    [​IMG]

    They may have graded the roads for hunting season, we could really run if we wanted to get racy.

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    When we hit the intersection with Green Ridge, man, it was a super highway compared to what we had been riding, still gravel, but smooth and fast. We had made the defining turn, now we were southbound.

    Green Ridge is gravel, chip, and macadam, another road we may find paved the next time. The original route could have been accessed again off Mertens, oops, several groups of hunters blocking the road this time, and another gate beyond. That makes two, the ominous beginning of a trend.

    We had been pushing along at a good pace again, time for a break, and we stopped at the overlook near Kirk.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Monsieur Nix was trying to unwind his back, a victim of his poorly trained DR, and I thought about telling him he could probably find one of them massage places once we cross back into West Virginia, nah, better not mention it.

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    The view to the west overlooking Town Creek, 180 degrees of spectacular. From this location one hundred years ago, saw logs were rolled down the mountain to the creek, then rafted to the Potomac.

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    I wasn’t sure what this sign meant, either we were on the official “Leaf-Looker” trail, or there was a whole gang of renegade Canuckistanians ahead.

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    We rode Green Ridge to Dailey, mostly gravel, then down to MD51, jogged around a little, but generally east, and crossed the Potomac River into West Virginia…

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    Dljocky concerned that his photo might already be on the bulletin board in the Paw Paw Post Office, under a heading that said “WANTED”.

    (to be continued…)
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  4. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    :lurk


    Bill was an interesting fellow.
  5. Merlin III

    Merlin III Mean SOB

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    Me thinks Mr. Rocks must have insomnia or something? Posting at 3 AM? :eek1
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    aren't you a little nervous, we're about to cross back over the border?
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    3AM? sorry, i must have overslept, obviously my Rolex clock radio has finally taken a dump.


    i've noticed that for people with a great many things to accomplish, sleep is grossly over rated. i find that state less than inspirational these days.

    ...and, of course, since life on this earth is so very short, i'd rather spend my allotted time awake.
  8. motopreserve

    motopreserve Been here awhile

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    Brooklyn
    Cheers!
  9. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    That's hilarious :rofl
  10. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Yorktown, Va
  11. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Yorktown, Va
    A bit nervous or anxious. As a friend of mine would say, " kind of like having a flask of adrenaline you kept in your hip pocket just for the occasion." :D


  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    report coming up...for the man with the good memory.
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    The Post Office was on the main drag, dljocky snuck by at 10MPH, no good Monsieur, we had to stop for fuel anyway. Fueled, and I didn’t catch dljocky until 3 miles south on WV9, I guess he wanted to get away from Paw Paw, and was runnin’ that muddy DR for all it was worth. From WV9 where we had turned east, I had a nice little gravel section planned to run over the mountain and connect back up with WV29, but no, after riding in there, the first leg of the road route just flat out disappeared, no matter the map, while we were stopped on the alternate road by a gate.

    [​IMG]

    That’s right, someone had thrown a locked gate across a county road. Back around the corner to WV29 and south, we’ll have to try the next section, four blocked or phantom roads so far.

    West on WV9, WV29 south, and I saw what appeared to be the exit for our missing road, but it seemed impossible that the two sections could connect. Distracted by this thought, I ran right by Cabin Run which angled southeast, a circular wave to dljocky, and he knew to turn around. I swear, walking speed is enough to outrun the refresh rate on the GPS.

    Cabin Run was gravel, rocky surface in places, but fine for motos, and with the road well used it sure looked like this one had to go somewhere. By 2012, 87% of the land in the Mid-Atlantic had been reforested to the extent found hundreds of years earlier, another reason old farm houses are found in present day woodlots.

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    Cabin Run transitioned to macadam on the ridge, great views west, skies clearing again, maybe for good.

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    No hooligan stoppie this time, dljocky was steady enough to get a mirror shot…

    [​IMG]

    Owl Hollow put us back on gravel, and we were soon down to WV127.

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    Of all the miles on the gravel so far, we had found only a small handful of vehicles, no motos.

    West on WV127 pavement back towards the WV29 intersection, then south on North River Road, another important connecting road to points south, and followed along the edge of the river bottom, in good shape and seemingly well used.

    [​IMG]

    These back roads are full of hazards, and I had to get Monsieur Nix to hold off a big rock slide until I was able to get past.

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    When we got to the North River, I was expecting a low water bridge, or anything other than what we found. You might be able to cross with a tricked out jeep or even a smaller bike, but we weren’t going to try it, too far from home, too far back in the woods.

    [​IMG]

    The channel was on the south side, and the road landing visible, but we estimated at least 24” of water over there with a strong flow, no good.

    The adjacent property owner had cleared a nice camping compound, then built a small rock dam which backed up the river water into a pool to the west.

    [​IMG]

    Nice place, but not for us, we had to backtrack, the fifth blocked road.

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    You could say we knew the way back out, and we were in full flight when I saw headlights coming our way, didn’t notice the low profile light bar until the truck was much closer. Oh, oh, no camping for dljocky, he was going to be a guest at the Hardy County Hotel, might even get free flip flops.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily, he was satisfied with talking to me, an obviously upstanding citizen. He wasn’t on a manhunt, but prowling for poachers, meth cookers, dope farmers, moonshiners, and any other miscreants he happened upon…hmmmm, that ruled us out, but everyone else we had seen out here recently could have been somewhere on that list. I did find out that the low water bridge that was supposed to be there was washed out 15 years ago, never replaced. We talked about his job some, and he was well aware that the folks on his list would rather shoot than run these days. Be safe officer, and we were on our way. When I saw the churned up gravel his truck had made on the way in, I no longer thought his appearance was as random as he made it sound. Someone, somehow, and for some reason, had dropped a dime.

    West on Haines, and we were back out to WV29, then south, we needed another way through, and with the turn southeast on CR45, well, let’s just say it was a turn for the worse. Everyone’s heard of those corn mazes that farmers have in the fall, and that kinda explains our situation in terms that are easy to visualize. It was October, we were stuck in the backroad equivalent of a freakin’ corn maze.

    We were way off the route, I could see the waypoints on the screen, and turned southwest on CR4, lets try this one, it was heading the direction we wanted to go. The road started out fine, then got progressively narrow the farther south we rode, never good, and when it got down to two track, I saw headlights in the distance, way too far off the ground to be our Officer friend. In fact, it was a tractor trailer rig, I couldn’t believe it, and it was blocking the entire road.

    [​IMG]

    The driver saw us, but something was being unloaded with a farm tractor from the trailer, so we sat there…impatiently. Done, and the driver edged the cab over enough for dljocky to drop into the ditch and squeeze by, sorry, not me. The driver jogged around a little more, ran slam into a tree, and I got by on the left, good. The guy with the farm tractor said he had unloaded a sewing machine, I wonder, the box was as big as a damn refrigerator, might have been lab equipment. Anyway, when I asked him about the road ahead, he said it was all overgrown, nothing could get through anymore. WTF?, the guy watched us struggle past the big rig, then tells us the road ahead is blocked. He did mention that the road angling south that we had just passed had a deep water crossing, and we wouldn’t be able to go through there either. Another backtrack, we needed no urging, I did say it was a maze.

    Now west on CR4, and we crossed some high pasture, great views, no stops, we were anxious to get south. CR4 eventually turned south, and we connected to CR45, running southeast. The road was getting smaller again, so when we made another turn south on a CR4 series road that abruptly stopped behind someone’s shack, we shouldn’t have been surprised. The road definitely had been there at one time, showed on the maps as running through to the south, but had done disappeared. No, we weren’t lost, the GPS track icon was lying square on this phantom road. Another backtrack, short this time, and we were on CR4, running southeast, not a good decision, I should have looked a little closer at the GPS.

    We were flying on this muddy gravel road, every indication was that there had to be a big problem ahead of us, we should have turned around but didn’t, and then we found kinda what we expected.

    [​IMG]

    Didn’t take too much scouting…

    [​IMG]

    before Monsieur Nix waved off any attempt, the water way too deep for us.

    [​IMG]

    When I wiped the road dust off the GPS screen and saw the track from earlier this afternoon and many miles back, oh boy, if we had crossed the water here, we could have helped that guy unpack his 600 pound sewing machine, or whatever the heck was in that mystery box. We had engaged in a running battle with the North River in an effort to get south, all the low water bridges, and sometimes the roads themselves, were gone. The biggest mistake was missing a promising turn about four roads back, so I picked a waypoint over on WV29 clear of the river, hit the “GOTO” button, and we negotiated our way back out, goodbye maze. Let’s go camping, and we were riding south again.

    (to be continued…)
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  14. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    So does that sign make you want a Cruiser? :rofl
  15. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

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    You guys are a hoot...and I appreciate the sacrifices you are making in order to keep us entertained. You do see some odd shit when wandering around in the middle of nowhere like that, eh? Sewing machine my ass.

    :ear
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Monsieur Nix is going to go full chrome on the DR instead.
  17. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Dec 6, 2008
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    Location:
    Yorktown, Va
    I just bid on some new saddlebags, the leather ones with the rhinestones!
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i talked to our officer buddy about the guys i had seen on the remote gravel this season, basically, he said use extreme caution.

    you're right, you don't need a forklift to unload a sewing machine, but that is what the guy said.
  19. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Dec 6, 2008
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    Location:
    Yorktown, Va
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    more to come Monsieur Nix, been busy. i've seen some recent photos of roads near where our route came down from the north, the near hurricane must has knocked down tens of thousand of trees and limbs across those exact roads. looks like pick up sticks, power still out some places.