Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge 2012

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

  1. Solace

    Solace Temporarily on IR

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    Hey JD, thanks for the informative and entertaining ride reports. I recognized many of the place names you rode through as I frequent the paved roads in your area. Routes 33 and 250 over Shenandoah Mountain are favorites and the roads to connect them we've ridden many times. I've been through Sugar Grove and Moyers many times and have ridden Doe Hill Rd and the one along the Cowpasture River quite a bit. I stop at the little country store at McDowell to buy Cheer Wine. Can't get it here in Ahia. Will have to look for CR25 through Briery Gap next time to get us over to route 257. And I need to bring my gravel-road bike instead of a sport-tourer. You have many roads to play on that sound great.

    Had such a good time reading ride reports I ended up following along with the Delorme ...

    [​IMG]

    Keep up on this thread - we want more ride reports!

    Later,
    M
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hah, now there's a photo, a ride report road up on somebody else's screen!

    i purposely tried to put names to the roads in case anyone wanted to make the same runs, and with that info, a rider can build the route without much trouble. if never there before, at least the description will let you know what you're getting into. the caveat would be that there is sometimes no 100% agreement between the road names in the gazette, your route software, and the road sign. if your GPS says turn, well, most of the time, that works...except when there's no road, if you recall the last report segment. when you get on gravel, it's a maze of roads, so "if ya can't find a church steeple in a freakin' bean field", plan accordingly.

    anyone reading the reports would have noticed a recurring theme on riding both gravel and pavement in the areas covered in the reports, rider safety. you need to be on top of your game to ride out there, the situational awareness dial switched up to high. a careless rider won't last long on those roads.

    the newly paved CR25 takes you from CR21 up and over the mountain at Reddish Knob and back down to 257. nice and smooth right now, lots of loose gravel washed into the corners, no shoulders.

    bring your gravel bike the next time, plenty of real good gravel roads, all flavors.

    glad you enjoyed the reports, should be another when i get the V649 bike back together, currently in my shop for some changes.
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    had the rat bike in the shop to get it cleaned up, and took the time to make a few changes. now that it's done, at least for the time being, there's only one thing to do...road trip!

    coming soon...


    December, 2012


    The Fried Pie Expedition

    The V649HP rat, ready for the road.

    [​IMG]
  4. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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  5. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    Wintry? :ear
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey Chris, kinda like your upcoming Death Valley trip, rode 600 miles and never got 100' above sea level.
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    saw ice, it wasn't floating in whiskey either.
  8. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    report coming soon, but here's a photo of the rat going on a boat ride...

    [​IMG]


    see that red fuel bottle, there's a story there.
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    I ran the first mile at a little over the posted limit, ok, way over, kinda like a full systems check for body and machine, nerve ends jangling, instrument needles jumping to a crazed jive, exhaust spittin’ and cracklin’, all the lights on the bike lit up in the crude oil blackness, and I don’t think that the couple drivers of the vehicles I passed knew whether that thing was landing or taking off, rather just that it was gone, outta site right quick.

    I had been tied up with obligations, and the bike was in the shop for an update and maintenance anyway, no matter, I don’t ride every day, no errands, no ride to lunch, hardly anything in the category of short excursions. My rides seem to belong under a title called “Manic”, an expedition, sometimes a brutal march, never boring, always entertaining…and an adventure.

    So it was today, headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, determined to find, need I say consume, some fried pie, several flavors if lucky. It was a long shot for sure, a better chance in central to western Carolina than eastern, but much better in Carolina than Virginia. With an excuse that bold, and combined with some pitiful whining, well, ya got yourself a day trip most every time.


    At the five mile mark I was facing an unfortunate conclusion, mainly, it was damn cool and I wasn’t garbed quite right for it. My Olympic riding jacket is a good one in many ways, but leave warm off the list, it isn’t that, even with the liner. Not sure of the temperature, but the frost was so heavy it looked like a good covering of snow, and was the kind that crunched when you walked on it. Roadside ditch water was iced over. Downgrade that cool setting to outright cold, head back for an extra layer or two, ya got to be kidding, the march had started, no retreat was in the cards.

    The merge onto VA17 south during early rush hour had about the same feel as being involved in a catastrophic dam failure, a flood of vehicles, bumper to bumper, man, every single one must be late for work, maybe some other event, anger and rage palpable. Never, ever, call customer service first thing in the morning.

    I would have enjoyed it more, but my visor was solid with ice crystals, couldn’t see much, and when I ran into that cold fog at the York River, heck, I mostly couldn’t see anything at all. That was my excuse, ‘cause I couldn’t see the GPS, and missed one of my turns on the Colonial Parkway, now I had to put up with that incessant Garmin “recalculate, recalculate…”, lucky I didn’t have a freakin’ hammer in the tank bag. I was seriously frozen, but a ferry ride was coming up right quick, I could regroup onboard.

    The sun was almost up when I got to the landing at Jamestown, only a few cars in line, and this ferry would take me across the James River to Scotland Neck.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The Virginia DOT runs two boats, so the wait is never long, and I was parked on deck in no time, hopped off, danced a little jig to get thawed out some, my brain waves had been reduced to fuzzy AM static, no stereo, and I stopped to talk with one of the DOT deck hands, a black guy, only about twice as big as me…and I’m big, he was in a league called freakin’ huge.

    He was wearing one of those uniform hats with the ear flaps, they were down, no kiddin’.

    “Cold day to be ridin’ ain’t it?”

    “Naw, I’m good, sun comin’ up, bound to get warmer, where y’all from?”

    “Southside, over to Surry County, that way”, and after only a few words, I knew I was going to like my chosen direction of travel today. Southside, and keep on a goin’, into the land of the plainspoken, unlikely to encounter anyone fluent in Marie Claire or Depeche Mode.

    “I’m lookin’ for some fried pie, know anywhere Southside where a man could get some?”, and that question brought out a deep rolling laugh from my new deck hand friend.

    “Ain’t thought about fried pie for a long time, old folks on my Momma’s side used to make those, but they’re all gone now, don’t know of anyone who sells them, sorry.”

    Damn, struck out, but the chase had just begun, and I was a hound dog on the fried pie trail, confident I’d catch the scent. I was living in the moment once again, and as everyone knows, hope dies last.

    (to be continued…)
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  11. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

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    :clapmore!! :D
  12. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Endeavor to persevere.

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    Excellent!!!! I like pie! :D
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i know you guys, you're pie-aholics, a peculiar ailment, and according to the CDC, no known cure.
  14. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Endeavor to persevere.

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    ceptin pie. :lol3
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    see what i mean folks, the CDC is right, the stuff is frightfully addictive.
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    We set sail to Scotland Neck, crossing the historic James in a thin cold mist, sun higher, something to squawk about regardless.

    [​IMG]

    My photo quest took me along the rail, thankfully both sides, and I encountered a thirtyish woman standing near her SLK350, halfway through an early morning cig, didn’t want the smoke in her car, or maybe on her clothes either. I don’t think smoking is permitted, but nobody was rushing over to throw the cuffs on her. Speaking of smoking, five inch heels on short black suede boots, fitted black skinny leg slacks, red blazer with gold crest, and where you might expect something like a nice silk blouse, wasn’t none, just the very top edge of some lacy black thing, hate to speculate. If she thought the buttoned blazer might tone down the impact, it wasn’t workin’, I already had a crick in my neck by the time I was close enough to say hello. She was slim, but not where it counted.

    Blond hair pulled back guitar string tight to a gold pinned bun, minimal makeup, the statement clear, “This is who I am, take it or leave it”, and when I said hello, I wasn’t surprised by the eye contact, it was part of the package. A brief conversation, sunrise, weather, destination, and she was one of those people who can smile widely and carry on a conversation at the same time, try it, ain’t easy, takes practice.

    I’m not all that easily embarrassed, so I popped the question.

    “I’m looking for a place that sells fried pie, do ya know any?”

    That brought out a shriek of laughter, and a head shake “Nooooo, I don’t know of any fried pie places, never heard of fried pie either.”

    Damn, I felt bad about the fried pie quest, but good about my status in this world of gamesmanship, heck, I was one up on this sweet thing, at least I’d heard of it. She was feelin’ the chill, could have something to do with having near nothing on under the blazer, and jumped back in the Mercedes. Oh well, that perfume was starting to jump over to my riding jacket anyway, take a hundred miles or more to get rid of it, but the last molecule better be gone by the time I get home.

    Like all the Virginia rivers, the James has over 400 years of modern history, and this morning the river was about as flat as you’re ever going to find it.

    [​IMG]

    Navigation aids and the Southside riverbank nearly lost in the mist.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The ferry had just about docked when a young unwashed guy ran over to one of the cars in front of me and jumped in. He must have made the whole trip locked in the restroom, any thoughts of going in there, don’t. His ball hat read “Take this job and shove it”, hadn’t seen one of those for a long long time, fit him perfectly.

    (to be continued…)
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  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Southside Virginia has a different look and feel once you’re only a matter of miles away from the river, the view open to larger farms, and in an evil weather twist, it was even colder as I worked my way southeast on secondary roads. The ditch water was solid, small pond water skimmed with ice, and ice in patches on the road where shadows had prevented the early sun from hitting it. I was in thermodynamic denial, could have stopped but didn’t, ain’t much adventure found with a parked moto.

    If the market is right, I can sometimes find cotton north of the James, but there’s always cotton found in Southside where there are still local gins within a more reasonable trucking distance.

    [​IMG]

    The roads crisscross the countryside, routed around the small creeks and rivers, also bays off the James, the network dating to the colonial era, and titles to the land noting grants from the King of England, it’s that kind of place. The flavor of the Southside extends in various similar forms and textures all the way to Texas along the coastal waters, unique in the larger Country, the native residents, color not withstanding, seemingly more proud in their distilled heritage as any found elsewhere.

    An old house on the edge of a clearcut field of maybe five hundred acres, frost on the roof, the land may be destined for row crops in the future.

    [​IMG]

    The backroads route I had chosen was a fried pie route, can’t find pie at 80mph on the I system, or the other four lane roads south, but it was comparative slow going, although interesting, and a quick run through the numbers meant I would need to average 119.5mph or I was going to miss the next scheduled ferry departure over on the Currituck Sound. That’s a big number, jailhouse big, better not try it. Besides, I was thawing out a little as I wandered, plenty to see, hungry for pie.

    [​IMG]

    South at the Dismal Swamp Canal, part of the Intercoastal that runs all the way to Florida, you used to be able to follow the canal way south until a new road was recently completed, now you get a look at the canal for only four miles, too bad.

    When I first started coming down into the area 30 years ago, there wasn’t much going on except for the big ag operations, now development has overtaken the area, sprawl from the Hampton Roads metro area, and it didn’t thin out until the available land decreased along with the elevation. I knew I was in coastal Carolina when I found salt marshes reaching to the horizon.

    [​IMG]

    My destination was the Knotts Island Ferry, I missed the 10AM sailing, now I had an hour before the next departure at noon. I had been on all the North Carolina Ferries over the years, except for this one, today was the day.

    [​IMG]

    A dredge with pushboat was moored next to the landing, I could see that it had been cleaning out the shoaled channel in front, although not working today for some reason, a wintry sun on the water, it wasn’t the weather. This was a North Carolina DOT operation and there were some guys on board, no work though, must be rules.

    I was pleased to see that Janet Whatshername had the alert status posted, seemed like it would be important to know. Why any terrorist would try his luck sneaking through the Mid Atlantic is beyond me, heck, if he read up even a little, he would know that every man, woman, and child in the region owns a dozen guns and a truck load of ammo to match. Down here, a child gets a Glock and a Benelli when its baptized, by age three, it can land rounds in the X ring, spin silhouettes like a whirl-a-gig. Bad terrorist choice here, the locals would make Red Dawn look like a freakin’ tea party…just for fun, use up the ball ammo that’s been on the shelf a little too long, blow lots of holes in things, fires, explosions. Better fire up pig cooker, feed the troops, they’ll be hungry, home by 5.

    [​IMG]

    They were heavy on the signs, I couldn’t think of anything important the DOT or HS people had forgotten.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They could have saved themselves a lot of bother and condensed it all to one big sign…

    DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID

    YOU WILL DIE, BY ACCIDENT OR GUNFIRE

    I’m bettin’ that plenty of people would think that the sign was speaking directly to them, and the number of people using the ferry would drop by about a third, some a little nervous of the gunfire part, especially with their deranged sociopathic tendencies.


    By the time the ferry showed up, I realized that I was going to be the only passenger. I eased the rat up the ramp, didn’t want any stupid moves, and I barely had the sidestand down before the ferry ride got real interesting.

    (to be continued…)
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  18. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    :lurk:lurk:lurk

    Keep the prose flowing, it soothes a tired mind better than Christmas eggnog.

    David
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    if you like eggnog, you would like "Cavalry Punch", a traditional holiday drink in the coastal south, the only downside being that it leaves you with little mind to sooth.

    this ride is a contrast to your rides in the mountain west, the water in the roadside ditch is sea level.
  20. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Endeavor to persevere.

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    :lurk

    Looks like we have the same OBX idea. I'm on Hatteras Island in my rr. Maybe we could meet up on the Ferry and do some shootin, fishin and have a beer!!! :lol3