Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge 2012

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

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    thanks, more on the way. where's your report?
    #21
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    I was temporarily off the Blue Ridge Trail roads as my route took me generally north on pavement instead of southeast on gravel. I had been on those BRT gravel roads before, so this time I had something else in mind. Sweedlin Valley runs northwest to Ft.Seybert where I turned north on Siple Mountain Road, a lane and a half to start through woodland as you climb the mountain. This road is a connector between 220 and 33, so I knew enough to stay on my toes, sure enough, I nearly get run off the road by a Corolla, damn char-pei at the wheel. Ok, might have been a disguise, who knows, but that doggy lookin’ thing sure got my attention.

    The road runs almost due north as it transitions to Kiser Gap, then northwest on Schmucker, woodland gave way to hay and cattle, small farms in a pastoral setting. You’re allowed to wear a cowboy hat in West Virginia, some of those places might have been ranches.


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    This was a good bike road, heck, if ya played with matches and ran around with scissors back when you were knee high to a short frog, you’d love it. Roller coaster grades free of charge, doesn’t mean I’m implying reckless abandon, but doesn’t mean I’m saying that you should sample life with one of those little measuring spoons in the kitchen drawer either.


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    Stopped for a photo and drew a curious crowd of one…say cheese. I swear I got that cow to smile.


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    Pastures in good shape after a dry winter and spring, should be cutting hay soon.


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    I was finally up to 220, cut a short distance over to Smoke Hole, then north along the river. Water was very low, a couple determined fishermen still working the remaining pools and swifts.


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    I stopped at rock formations along the road, couldn’t resist. I don’t know when this road was pushed through or improved, many were WPA projects from way back. I sat on the bike looking at them rocks, subtle, existential, subliminal, thought vapors drifting…how do you say that in French.


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    I was getting nowhere stopped on the side playing with the camera, and I was a long way from where I wanted to camp, gotta get going. Tucked the camera away so I wouldn’t be tempted, and half a mile up the road I found a deer standing in a glassy smooth pool on the edge of the river…picture postcard, no camera, I’m reminded of my inauspicious motophoto career. Any interesting results I manage to get are mostly the result of pure accident.


    A quick run up to 28, and I stopped one last time for a shot at the river.


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    The road wouldn’t be that much fun with a lot of traffic, but today I only saw two vehicles between 220 and 28, not bad at all, could be one of them there anomalies, just guessin’.


    (to be continued…)
    #22
  3. fredgreen

    fredgreen Proud Canoodian

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    972
    Location:
    not in Lunenburg County!
    I should have been on this ride with you, instead my time off will be spent suffering on a trip to Newfoundland to take Stacey to University in St. Johns. I will be watching though! Good Luck.
    #23
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    hey mr. fredgreen, good to hear from you. you would have been welcome on this trip, but i had a bigger one in mind for you. i might need CAF SAR yet.

    baby girl off to school...i bet it seems like she had a one candle birthday party just yesterday.

    safe travels, stay in touch.
    #24
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    Jordan Run was just a few miles southwest after reaching 28, and then I had the bike pointed north again, it was getting late in the day. Threatening skies off and on, no more rain yet. I would have stopped at the Best station on 28, but they had never opened for the season. I knew another Best station was up Jordan run, and boy, I needed something to drink, several somethings to drink. Fuel, can’t forget an ice cream bar, maybe two of those 99 cent pies, gotta have a balanced diet.

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    I was about to get a big surprise.


    Fueled the bike, did my shopping, and when I went up to the counter to pay, the old gal at the register leaned way back in her chair, looked me over pretty good, and said "I know you". A little taken aback, I told her I had stopped for fuel a month ago, but she shook her head. "Nope, I didn't see you then, ya were here a couple years ago, that be when I saw ya". True, another woman was at the register a month ago, and it was getting real spooky about then.

    "Ya were here with another motorcycle rider, a navy man he was, and you were getting ready to leave on a big trip to somewhere". Wow, now I'm floored, how could she have remembered me and all the rest in the midst of the thousands of people that come through the store. In fact, I was riding with Dave Hiller, a naval officer, when we stopped for fuel and a cold drink, and was in the final prep stage for an upcoming ride on the Trans Taiga and Trans Labrador,

    Exactly two years earlier I had stayed in the store for a few extra minutes to drink a Pepsi and eat an ice cream bar, telling the old gal and the half dozen hangers-on locals at the front of the store about how my day was going so far. I had already fallen off the XChallenge three times and was so covered in dust you couldn't tell what color gear I had on. I didn't realize how dirty my face was until I looked in the truck mirror when I got back to camp. Everyone was laughing damn hard at the telling when I finally got out of there, and Dave and I continued on our way.

    Remarkable memory on her part, and I told her so, it's a gift. So long, I’ll be seeing you…again.


    It was only a short distance from the country store up to the T intersection at 75, where I turned southwest after waiting for two bikes to pass in the opposite direction on Jordan Run. Could have been Mardi Gras floats, but I’m pretty sure there were Harleys under there. They didn’t wave.


    This road had me back on gravel down into Dolly Sods where I intended to camp. The road zigged and zagged on graded gravel until I was up on top of the plateau at about 4,000 feet. Windswept, with leaning stunted trees, the area in places has the look of the boreal forest found above 52N.


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    This road is the only one in the area that has the flavor of the big western and northern roads disappearing at the horizon. I had to sit there and soak it up for a minute, man, memories of the places I’ve been.


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    Trees along the roads through the black spruce boreal forests of the north take 100 years to grow to the same height as these, makes me wonder about the age of the Dolly Sods trees.


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    It had been a day of riding, time to find a spot and set up camp, fix a bite to eat, sip some spirits…relax, contemplate, dream a little.


    The small Dolly Sods campground only had four sites occupied when I rode in around 6, but I knew from experience it could still fill up late. Found a reasonable site for my money, had everything set up right quick, I’d done it a million times. Ah, home sweet home, now where’s that bourbon.


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    I was using a MSR Hubba Hubba tent, my second. I’d about worn out my first one, and with a big trip coming up last year, I took the tent back to REI to see if I could get a replacement for one of the 16” pole sections which had developed a slightly flared end. The guy at REI said it was too much trouble to find me a new section, he didn’t care to get on the phone, couldn’t be bothered…but, he did take the time to check his inventory, and handed me a brand new tent instead, not what I asked for, I don’t remember complaining.


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    Dried out the gear, wrote some gibberish in my journal, had a simple three cheese tortellini dinner with seasoned olive oil, and by that time the sun was getting low. No bugs, the car camping couple next to me had the smokiest campfire I had ever seen, damn, I was expecting one of those tanker planes to drop a load of retardant on me at any minute. Deer were grazing on the small patches of grass at the campsite across the road, I was grazing on trailmix, drinking bourbon and water, can’t forget to hydrate. The temperature had dropped into the forties, all I felt was relief after a hot day of riding.


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    Stretched out in the tent, using a sleeping pad for the first time in about fifty nights, I mostly don’t bother, felt darn good. Pure peace and tranquility as I dozed off, almost like I was all alone. That sensation was to change a little later on, and I was to find that I could make fifteen different cuss words into a single sentence.


    (to be continued…)
    #25
  6. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    884
    Location:
    Yorktown, Va
    Jdrocks, Great RR!
    #26
  7. SimonZayne

    SimonZayne n00b

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2
    You've got a gift JD, thanks for letting us tag along.
    #27
  8. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,860
    Location:
    Eastern Montana
    :ear You still know how to leave folks hanging. :lol3

    David.
    #28
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    thanks DL...i mean DR dude, bring that camera.
    #29
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    thanks, more report on the way.
    #30
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
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    5,384
    huh, when have i ever done that?

    how's things montana way?
    #31
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    more report ready to go, but the computer suddenly went black screen.

    be back as soon as it gets fixed...unless i douse it with gas and set it on fire first.
    #32
  13. WNCSte

    WNCSte n00b - yep

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    Western NC
    :lurk

    More please.
    #33
  14. dhillr

    dhillr Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,771
    Location:
    SoCal
    Great report JD. :clap Makes me really miss that WV riding. :cry

    There is some great riding in CA but I don't think I'll ever shake my need for some good ol' WV mountain riding.
    #34
  15. douglasgraham

    douglasgraham This is my car

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Virginia's Valley
    Dam'it Dave would ya just keep writing......I'm trapped in a fucking airport and now I'm going to have to find something to read to pass the time after you left me on pins and needles. Was it a bear, a skunk the wife from next door.....who the hell shot JR?
    #35
  16. SnoPro753

    SnoPro753 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    88
    Location:
    Ames, IA
    LOL. What did the flames look like?

    Subscribed.
    #36
  17. Laconic

    Laconic Hapless Rube

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    21,371
    Location:
    1984
    :lurk
    #37
  18. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Endeavor to persevere.

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23,059
    Location:
    From Alabama to Newfoundland, it's all Appalachian
    The confounded things tend to take flight around casa Jax.
    :ddog.... Although they are great and have opened many doors for me, I hate how much I NEED them!!!
    #38
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    Inbound off the mountains, 225 miles of gravel road with inmates dljocky and ddlewis, a pair of DR650 koolaid drinkers, those dudes can ride.

    iPhone post from Bridgewater, more report if I have computer when I get home.
    #39
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,384
    soon, computer in the service bay, had a rod knock.
    #40