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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    NC12 must have been repaired. rain and fog in eastern VA, hope you're doing better. if ya mix up some Cavalry Punch, the weather won't matter...visibility is reduced to about 10'.
  2. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    Hey JD. Hope you had a Merry Xmas and fantastic New Year. I thought I saw fried pies at the Crab Thicket 7-Eleven. Looked like it but are mini tacos all sealed. :rofl

    Oh. Got a set of Full Bore tires for the next change. The Wee will be ready for spring if it comes.

    Mike
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Happy Full Bore New Year to ya Mike.

    you sure that those pies weren't the regular small baked pies sold by every 7-11 in the world. fried pie is deep fried, you can't mistake the two, and is a little out of it's usual range for Crab Thicket. i'd send Monsieur Nix over to investigate, but he's supposed to be on a New Year's diet.

    speaking of the four horsemen, i might be able to catch up with the NVa horseman this week.

    i need to get back on this report, been all tied up over the holidays, plus i finally cleaned up my warehouse and i think i uncovered enough junk parts to build a Toyota truck project from scratch, man, plenty of junk in there.
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    let's see, now where was i...?

    between my post flu shot flu and truck assembly, i'm way behind.

    next chapter coming up.
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Bike parked, no tie downs necessary for this relatively short ride over flat water, although I had been on ferry rides in North Carolina when the seas were so rough that I thought the whole freakin’ ferry was going to sink. Not today, and besides a DOT truck carrying spare parts for the ferry, I was the only non working passenger.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was about to wander around with the camera when one of the DOT deck hands rushed up, “What kind of bike is this?...wait a minute, gotta work, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back”.

    Huh, did he just say “Don’t go anywhere”, I’m on the freakin’ ferry, the only place to go would be overboard, and that option held no appeal. I did get a better look at the dredge, and there was a mechanic doing some heavy work on the push boat motor. Working in a cramped engine room is never fun, so that must be why the dredge itself wasn’t operating.

    [​IMG]

    The ferry itself had even more warning signs, Lordy, we hadn’t left them behind.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily, I hadn’t broken out my skateboard, or perched in the wrong spot between tricks.

    [​IMG]

    In the distance along the edge of the saltmarsh were a series of recently brushed up duck blinds, with the area from Back Bay through the Sounds south being a traditional hunting area, although with the warmer weather recently, fewer fowl get this far south than in centuries past.

    [​IMG]

    My deckhand buddy came back, we might have been close to the same age, and coincidentally, he had been up to Alaska in 2009 on an R80, although later in the season than I had been in the same year. We compared our stories of bike travel, and it turned out he was old school in comparison…no GPS, no cell phone, no SPOT, no computer, no route planning, not itinerary, no MC forums, no nuthin’ besides a paper map and a destination, man, how refreshing.

    I couldn’t recall meeting anyone lately who could afford at least some of the usual gizmos, yet chose not to own any. Our conversation went non stop for the entire crossing as we swapped stories, but then he said “Oops, gotta get back ta work again, nice talkin’ with y’all, ride safe” and he was gone, and so was I, back on dry land in North Carolina. Lest I forget, my buddy that didn’t own a cell phone just happened to have a mint 441 Victor in the garage, a country boy, Mr. Cool.

    I had expected a fair amount of traffic for an Outer Banks Friday, even if it was off season, but there was very little. The Sandy storm had brushed this area, and there was still a washed out main road farther south that was restricted to 4X4 vehicles. I had been visiting the area for 30 years, and now there are many businesses that close the doors in the winter. Between the storm and the closures, the place was dead.

    I was going to briefly follow a track provided by inmate Patrick from the Hampton Roads area, and ride a little muddy gravel for a starter, but first I needed something to eat, sorry no fried pie. So many places were closed that I finally said the heck with it, and pulled into a McDump near Kitty Hawk, I was way late and needed quick grease. Yeah, I know, once ya eat there you can’t keep your socks up for the rest of the day, but the choices were slim, clock ticking, and the sun heading the wrong way. I always park the bike where I can see it from the inside, and that turned out to be a real good choice.

    (to be continued…)
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  6. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Why do you think they call it a flu shot? :lol3


    [​IMG]
  7. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    This
    [​IMG]
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    yeah, so you guys have the winter cabin fever crazies...

    now ya get to meet Ms. Manatee, and sidekick.
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    I got my tray, sat down, glanced at my watch, contemplated what was likely going to be a freakin&#8217; hair-on-fire civil aviation speed ride home in the dark, oh boy, and it occurred to me that I was one of only four people in this McDump. Two women were glued to the TV screen over in the corner, while a third young gal was shoveling in what looked like a little 5000 calorie snack.

    Now, if the normal range of a pregnant manatee included eastern Carolina, that would be her, and if she regularly chose to dress like that, please take eternal pity on the rest of us, and at least shave your butt. Lordy, was she a mess, rolls of fat on top of other rolls of fat, an unlikely layered look. It would take a two ton come-along to pull those knees together, unfortunate, the gene pool of the human race is likely to further degrade.

    (I did find out later why the two women were so intent on watching the TV, seems there had been a school shooting&#8230;)

    I had ordered one of them McRib sandwiches, good thing I was so hungry I didn&#8217;t mind swallowing soggy gray cardboard smeared with off brand ketchup, and when I looked up after two bites, there was a kid standing next to the bike with one hand on the bars, oh boy, here we go. All my junk was still out there, the kid was looking at the bike, then looking around, and I could read his little feral mind. He was gauging the chances of getting caught after doing some impromptu shopping, but when he got around to looking back at the McDump windows, he found me looking right at him, and let go of the bars like he had been holding the barrel of a soldering iron.

    Ms. Manatee waddled over, splayed leg fashion, to the beat ricer parked next to the bike, and my feral buddy hopped into the passenger seat, damn, who could have guessed these two were a couple, a match made in&#8230;ya can fill in the blank. The car backed out, a severe list to Port, shock and strut collapsed on that side, maybe sheared body mounts too, and it presented a peculiar sight driving away, half low rider low on the left, half mud bogger high on the right. Mr. Feral was smoking a cig, arm half out the window, trying to look cool, good freakin&#8217; luck, weasel boy.

    Exciting as was my brief McDump visit, I had to run, my fried pie hopes falling with the sun. I was headed to the mud&#8230;at the beach, no less.

    (to be continued&#8230;)
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  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, then Nags Head, and I was looking for my turn on the route I had converted from Patrick’s tracks, the desolation continued with nobody around this usually very busy location. It was like the place had been struck with the bubonic plague…except for the Brew Thru with five vehicles in line. A hurricane could flatten the rest of the OBX, but if the treasured Brew Thrus survived, life for many would still be good.

    For the OBX noobs, the Brew Thru is a drive through beer emporium, mainly for those already so drunk they can’t be trusted to walk into a normal convenience store, that’s right, they’re too drunk to walk, still fit to drive. The whole business plan was built around the long standing tradition in Carolina of drinking while driving, heck, every convenience store sells iced down single cans of beer right next to the cash register.

    Of course, if ya had a long way to drive you’d want a 6pack of Coke or Dr. Pepper with a jumbo cup of ice, ya know, to mix with whatever’s in that bottle under the seat. Before vehicles came equipped with a dozen cup holders, it was easy to come down with a bad case of frozen nut syndrome from riding around with a cup of ice…never mind, I wouldn’t know the details.

    The turnoff I was looking for took me through an established residential neighborhood on the sound side, and I swear you would never know that there could be anything of interest in back of these paved streets unless someone like Patrick had done some homework. The investigation would have to be through a combination of Google Maps sat view and GPS mapping software, then you’d have to go there and determine whether there was an actual road. I was taking advantage of this effort, and found a pretty cool sandy gravel road with occasional mud pits running south parallel to the sound.

    [​IMG]

    The road traversed some old property that had been slated for development before the Nature Conservancy stepped in and bought it. There were incongruous hydrants along the road, so development of the property had progressed to the point of some utility work.

    [​IMG]

    The Nature Conservancy isn’t all that well known outside certain circles, but they’re big and exceptionally well funded to the tune of numbers partially described with the letter “B”, and are not universally well liked, to say the least.

    The property was mostly ground with good elevation, highly desirable on the OBX, where storm surges from both ocean and sound do most of the damage.

    [​IMG]

    There were recent tracks on the road, but I didn’t pass another vehicle.

    [​IMG]

    Despite the elevation, the road was holding water in several locations, just greasy enough to get your attention, no real problem, although that Full Bore rear is almost useless in any goop.

    [​IMG]

    Patrick had warned that the road was gated on the south end, but also that he was able to squeeze his WR250R around the gate somehow, although he wasn’t specific. I did find a gate, but not where his track indicated, a puzzle, and when I dismounted to scout a way around the locked gate, here’s a well dressed guy standing there watching me, the owner of the adjacent house…hmmmm, this could be trouble ‘cause I wasn’t going to backtrack, forget that option. He looked like he was in the midst of an IRS audit, or else was halfway through a jar of very sour pickles.

    He must have decided that it was going to take more than an ugly frown to turn me around and wandered off to collect a loose dog. When he got back, bingo, I was on his side of the gate, although it took some wrasslin’. The guy was close enough to hear me “I would have turned around, but I didn’t want to get my bike stuck in all that mud, sorry about the gate”. He just shrugged, the proverbial horse was already out of the proverbial barn, and I idled away with a cheery wave. Lucky he was dog chasing without his cell phone, but heck, I’m hard to catch when in transitional escape mode, and that shouty exhaust was knocking the leaves clean off the trees. The subtleties of escape are short lived.

    Me, I was southbound, had jumped the highway, running along with the ocean beach, a kaleidoscope of image and color. Master of the universe, if for a moment anyway, but all I could smell was salt spray air, no pie.

    (to be continued…)
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  11. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Great RR jdrock.
  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, too bad you couldn't make it. ya could had snapped a photo of Ms. Manatee with your fancy camera...i would have gotten one, but my camera doesn't have the big zoom, and there were a couple hairy warts on that thing that nobody in their right freakin' mind would want to get near.
  13. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    LOL. Yeah, wish I could have gone. But spring is just around the corner. AND I'm working on getting me some AUX lights!

    maybe.
  14. biker128pedal

    biker128pedal Super Lurker

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    A pair of these is all you need.
    [​IMG]
  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    not much for lumens, but Mr. Nix should be able to handle the wiring job.
  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    I was pointed south on the beach road, that is, the street between the first and second rows of homes, I think it used to be the old main drag. Not a single vehicle in sight, no people either, until I passed a pair of old bearded hippies, gray Edwardian locks, leaning on their bicycles, sharing a doobie the size of a Ball Park Frank, man, I hadn’t seen one of those things since the Cheech and Chong movies. Talk about marijuannnna smoke in the air, those old stoners probably thought they had traveled the cosmic freeway and landed somewhere in Colorado, assuming the THC grapevine had spread the word. Not a care in the world beyond a bicycle ride, any remaining ambition in life died right along with Jerry and the Dead, probably seems lightyears ago in ganja time.

    The OBX had a brush with Sandy, not much hurricane wise for these folks, but I could see numerous places where this road had been overwashed by surge. Not far from here, the first row houses had already been lost to previous storms, so the incomprehensible course of action in this neighborhood was to infill available lots with new construction. Not my property, certainly not my construction money, but it is collectively our tax dollars that subsidize the insurance coverage on these structures, and it’s not even a question of “if” there will be a loss, it’s just a question of “when”. Mother Nature will not be dissuaded.

    I wanted to stick with my plan to ride south on NC12, the one and only road connecting the lower OBX, to the BonnerBridge at Oregon Inlet. I couldn’t go any farther, the road beyond the bridge had been washed out, travel was restricted to 4X4 vehicles only on a sandy track, and then only on a certain schedule. The bridge itself was only 50 years old, but had been repeatedly damaged by hurricanes, including Sandy, and was now scheduled to be replaced. It was a fast ride down to the bridge, no traffic, no enforcement, a deadend for most, and I was on the gas.

    The other truly remarkable thing I hadn’t seen, was a single 4X4 vehicle with the combo cooler and rod rack mounted on the front, surf poles in the rack, bait bucket hanging on the side, a common off season sight in years past, the guys down for traditional fall fishing. I’d done the same myself, but with the ramps and beaches closed, it must be over and done. It might also signal the gentrification of the OBX, a decline in sporting pursuits, where the new type of OBX visitor thinks an over-under is a peculiar event found in kinky porn.

    There is a wind warning sign at the approach, no kidding, I’ve seen winds on that bridge deck that could easily knock a moto down, but not today.

    [​IMG]

    Some preliminary bridge work was underway, a tug standing by for the crane barge stationed out at the inlet.

    [​IMG]

    The bridge approach on the south side of the inlet had been overwashed too, now largely cleaned up, and the space used for heavy equipment staged for the road repairs farther south. The old Bonner is an impressive piece of engineering over a treacherous inlet, with the new bridge even bigger and designed to better handle hurricanes and shifting sands at the inlet.

    [​IMG]

    The NCDOT has made a big commitment to keeping NC12 open into the future, but the road gets cut, repaired, relocated with increasing frequency, eventually they’re going to run out of room, and I was thinking this over as I made the backtrack north to the NC64 intersection where I would pick up another piece of Patrick’s track.

    Now running almost due west, I jogged onto the Manteo loop to see the sights, hadn’t been there for years, but immediately found it a poor choice. For all the lack of people and activity on the islands, the opposite was found in Manteo, the place was hopping, traffic a slow crawl. Good for them, bad for me, I was in big trouble time wise.

    Manteo in the mirrors, no pie sleuthing, plus I was feeling like some kind of fish sandwich pretty bad and almost turned around before I got a good look west. Damn, the sun was only a few fingers above the horizon, and if I only saw one more thing on the list it was going to be the Alligator River NWR. Besides being a refuge, there is an active bombing range inside the boundaries, which I assumed would be clearly marked with more wordy government signs instead of plain basic English like…

    BEYOND THIS GATE, YOU WILL DIE

    DON’T BE STUPID

    Simplify, just like those NC ferry signs…never happen.

    Patrick had run around in here on a maze of roads, recorded a bunch of tracks, and lived to tell about it, reckon I could too. Helps to have a paper map, but the map box at little entrance visitor board was empty, no matter, I still had a GPS route loaded, let’s go…huzzah, crank up the buzz, watch for them signs.

    [​IMG]

    (to be continued…)
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  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    epic night ride coming up...

    how much fuel is left in that tank anyway? hmmmmm....
  18. oldswimr

    oldswimr Flatlander

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    NE N. Carolina
    I was down there the same weekend, came over from Elizabeth City. Ran all the way to Hatteras. The mission was to visit two coffee shops that roast their own beans, but it was just an excuse to put some miles on the Wee, and get to the beach for a while.

    The further south I went, the less traffic.. Love the OBX in winter.
  19. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    they must have opened the road for the weekend, on Friday the signs were still up and the temporary Stumpy Point ferry was still running.

    i've been down there in the offseason too, but i've never seen so little activity, crazy.
  20. JaxObsessed

    JaxObsessed Near Earth Object

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    Location:
    From Alabama to Newfoundland, it's all Appalachian
    Off season is the shizz OBX. Rentals are 1/3 the price. We can't afford beachfront rentals in season. I love the loneliness!!!

    This was taken on the beach between Avon and Buxton. Thanksgiving.


    [​IMG]

    12 very often gets washed over just south of Oregon Inlet. Sometimes just a good thunder storm does it. Good idea going for a ferry! The IBX is really nice too!:evil

    :lurk