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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    hey Dave,

    thanks, might be some places coming up you would recognize.


    for those following this report, Dave is the "navy man" remembered by the old gal at the country store. worth mentioning, on my very best riding day, i don't think i could catch Dave, a desert racer back in the day. i sure couldn't catch him on my Xchallenge.
    #41
  2. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    ain't tellin', you'll have to tune in.

    stay safe out there Mr. Motophoto man.
    #42
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    big, real big...freakin' 5 alarm
    #43
  4. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey jack,

    yeah, when that screen suddenly went black, i sat there thinking...if i can just get a nice tight spiral on this piece of junk, i should be able to bounce it off buoy 42 out in the Bay.
    #44
  5. DAAANG

    DAAANG LambBoyFilms@YouTube

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    Great trip! I see a lot of familiar spots.
    #45
  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Thanks, more roads you might recognize coming up.
    #46
  7. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Yorktown, Va
    Great RR, looking forward to some more.........................................
    #47
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    Hey DR man, have a chapter ready, might be able to get back online Friday.
    #48
  9. WaywardSon

    WaywardSon Long timer

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    Really nice job on the report...good job with the camera & I sure like your style. Thanks for taking the time.

    Don't know how I missed your other reports, but gonna have to check 'em out!
    #49
  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, check out those other reports, some weird stuff in there.


    and just in case anyone is still wasting away at work on Friday afternoon, here's more. heck, nobody gets anything done on Friday, might as well read, so...first off, meet PeterPan on bath salts. stay tuned.
    #50
  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    This little campground was supposed to be closed at 10pm, it’s written in the Bible somewhere, so if you can’t get your dumb butt in there by 10pm, keep on a goin’ baby, officially, you’re out of luck. Unofficially, no one seems to give a hoot about regulations, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when a pickup truck with the big bad dual exhaust pulled in at 12:30AM. Had to be a crewcab, it was impossible to repeatedly slam all those doors if you were just working with two, don’t forget the twenty five tailgate slams. Loud music, loud voices, loud everything for an hour. Didn’t know who they were, but I did know they lucky as heck, I’ve camped places where gunfire would have broken out after the first five minutes of that nonsense.

    Forty degrees when I rolled out at 6, heavy dew, the tent fly was soaked. The campsite across from me was the scene of all that midnight commotion. In daylight, it looked like a freakin’ bomb had gone off in the camping department at Dick’s. Tents, hammocks, gear, clothing, footwear, you name it, scattered around, now all wet, like very wet, soaked…looked like a big sodden pile of Chinese caca. Whoever thought up this expedition must have seen a photo of Chouinard’s people and decided to cut a few corners on the outfitting, those baggy homie pants hanging from the tree wouldn’t have made Yvon’s checklist. Could be wrong, maybe the planning was done by Peterpan on bath salts, the dazed half frozen kid wandering around over there in the wreckage would need a freakin’ search warrant just to find his socks. Sorry, don’t much care for bad manners, y’all have fun.


    Packed up, made a nice little breakfast of semi empty calories, press coffee so black it was sort of chewy, and the day was looking way mo betta, time to ride. Fired up the rat, heehaw, is that testosterone coming out of that there pipe, or what. Sun out, nice and cool, places to see, stupid subversive exhilaration running wild…can’t tame it, edgy zydeco band playing in my head, and I was outta there, gone.


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    The PR75 road wanders before turning perfectly straight and running south southwest for miles. Well graded and no traffic this morning, a warm up gravel ride for the day ahead.


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    At the bottom of Dolly Sods, then a connection with FR19, where I found a young Forest Service crew cutting brush along the road, the only activity on this gravel since Jordan Run. There are almost no young Forest Service employees in this federal agency, ain’t the CIA, DOJ, or any of those, this one is under funded. See some young people in the FS uniform around here, they’re seasonal. The slack in human activity had been more than taken up, say exponentially, by deer activity, and I mean deer everywhere I looked, everywhere I rode, byproducts of an unusual nonwinter.


    [​IMG]


    Riding west again, back on pavement at the river, more low water, it’s been unusually dry out here for at least six months. One lonely fisherman bobber fishing in a hole by the bridge, must have left all his Orvis junk at home today. He looked to be passing the time, smoking his cigs, drinking his breakfast from whatever was in that paper bag, might have a heart attack if that bobber ever came up missing.


    [​IMG]


    The flow was so low and lazy it hardly produced much of a riffle.


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    Sprint, stop, sprint, stop, as 32 and then 72 took me west, still not getting a shot at everything I wanted, but I did get a few.


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    Not much in the way of traffic this morning, only a couple pickups, but with few shoulders, hills, and curves, it was tough to find a safe place to stop. If you happened to think no impaired drivers are on the roads at 9AM, you would be mistaken.


    [​IMG]


    Sick of the pavement by now, I ran west out 72 and then turned south, connecting to Gladwin Road, and then down to the junction with Sully Road, I would be riding south the rest of the day. Sully almost looked like a farm lane from the north, and it would be easy to ride by without making the turn, now I was back on gravel and would be for hours.


    Sully was in good shape to start today, but I had seen it in terrible condition too, deeply rutted and muddy. Hayfields and woodland, some cattle, plenty of deer. Little traffic on the north end, and trees had branched out over the road.


    [​IMG]


    If you’re thinking was running to shady and cool, it was more shady and muddy, the spotty rain had fallen around here and the road was still wet under the canopy.


    [​IMG]


    Mist, and smoke from a fire farther north, laid a haze down over the mountains, sometimes it takes a darn good wind to push it all out.


    [​IMG]


    A muddy road now, not bad, and I had a young deer running down the road only slightly ahead of the bike, the darn thing could not make up it’s mind where to jump the old barb wire fences, then turned 90 and jumped the ditch and the fence at the same time, love it.


    The entertainment was over, and I was down to pavement at 33, but it only lasted thirty seconds and a hundred yards before I was back on a big push of gravel.


    (to be continued…)
    #51
  12. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    I just passed through that area this weekend, but all pavement, needing to make time coming back from a debacle in Pa. without breaking down and superslabbing the whole way.

    Awesome looking dirt you found there. :thumb
    #52
  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, just a maze of roads through the mountains all the way down, takes some time to identify a good route.
    #53
  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    The slight jog on 33 took me to the opposite side of the highway and MiddleMountain road, and a long run of gravel south southwest over the mountain. There used to be a gas station at this intersection, convenient as heck, but like so many small stations, it’s closed. It’s still a landmark, a reminder to turn either north or south on gravel.

    MiddleMountain is well graded in the summer season, but can be rough and muddy in the shoulder seasons, depending on Forest Service maintenance. Today the road was in good shape, graded, but not top dressed, and I could get a good roll. Another cut-through road, although gravel, so you can have a mix of traffic, not unusual to find a corner with someone in your lane.

    A quick stop at the Laurel Fork campground for a break, a camper and toy hauler parked, no tent campers, no bikes. College age Forest Service guys were mowing the grass, and these were the only signs of life I saw crossing the mountain. Fine with me, and after a drink and snack I was back on top of the ridgeline.

    Stopped at an opening along the road for a photo, one of the few places to get a look out across the mountains.

    [​IMG]

    The camera captured a collage through the haze, the Blue Ridge, and I wondered if it looked much different as the first Europeans pushed west.

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    There are several branch roads down off the mountain to Glady, Durbin, or Bartow, pick one in the direction you want to go, north or south, or you can ride out to 28. I wanted to get down to Bartow and fuel, so I made that choice, oops, freshly spread deep marbles, and I saw no tracks on this road, might be the first to pass through after the work was done.

    The quick mart gas station at Bartow is a well known fuel stop for bikes, no matter whether you’re on a gravel route, or riding the “twisty” roads. There are a number of rallies that are based at Boyer around the corner, no bikes around today. I pulled up to the pumps, shut down, did my awkward as heck dismount off this tall bike, whew. The woman gassing up in front of me started laughing, and I said “That’s a new dance step I invented”, and she said “No it ain’t, ya cain’t dance a lick”. Oh well, now my feelin’s were hurt. Got the helmet off, took a look around at the cast of characters, oh boy, here we go, show time at the quick mart, and it ain’t the Grand Ole Opry. Geeeez, isn’t this just wonderful.

    Ok, it was a somewhat hot day, but not one you would think of as getting your behind cooked in one of those jumbo smokers. It wasn’t a designated beer festival day in West Virginia as far as I knew, no “Beer on Sale” signs posted around this place, but every single person in this crowd was somehow engaged in a beer activity enterprise. Buying, carrying, icing, opening, and drinking, the works, it was a dog gone beer free-for-all. There should have been a stage with the local garage band playing heavy metal covers, half deflated beach balls swatted around, corndogs, cotton candy. No beer snobs here, no art deco beer labels, no sirree, this was drinkin’ beer, the cheap stuff, no bespoke hops, no nutty flavor. Here was an instance where the nuts were all on the working end of those cans and bottles.

    One thing you learn quickly around these stores is that those single jumbo cans and bottles sold are not for sipping while watching the night game on ESPN, they rarely make it out of the parking lot. So I wasn’t surprised when two guys and a gal walked by and one guy said “Honey, can you open this, ma hand’s too slippery”, she grabbed the bottle and a big handful of her ragged cut off T, wrapped it around the neck and gave a big twist.

    Yowzers, ain’t nothing on under that T shirt, not pretty, no one stepped up to offer her the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, she had no glowing halo of celestial light shining around her…it was just the reflection from the Coors Light sign. Then again, could have been her mustache, I think you’re supposed to have a close shave if ya want to be in SI, be good to tear off that birth control patch too. The other guy was standing there and saw the whole thing, “Can ya open mine too?”, must have been more woman parts than he’d seen up close in a coons age. Those two guys thought she was enchanting, I wasn’t standing all that close, still thought I might be gettin’ an outbreak of hives.

    I was watching for an encore…until she gave me a cold hard look through those dull granite eyes, damn lucky I was a mind reader…holy crap, she planned to cut my balls off with her car keys if I didn’t stop staring and get lost right quick. She wasn’t drinking a sense of humor out of that bottle, at least not today. So long, Honey, enjoyed the show.

    The three big ol’ boys across the pumps from me had finished off six beers just since I parked the bike, tossed the empties in the back with all the rest. I didn’t think they were binge drinkers, they were steady drinkers, all day every day drinkers, chaser tucked under the seat of the pickup. Matching beat up cooler in the back of that beat up truck, gettin’ low, and the one guy went in and came back with another case, plus a bag of ice. Put away another while the beer was carefully iced down, that makes nine, heck, they haven’t even left the pumps yet.

    Time’s up, and they squeezed three itchy, sweaty, tatted up hippo bodies into the cab of that pickup, driver and passenger half hanging out the windows, not a good fit in there, each holding beer number four, don’t think they were in there discussing the wine list for that upcoming soiree. The motor in that truck sounded like an old refrigerator falling down three flights of stairs when it started up, yup, those boys drank up a 12 pack when they stopped for fuel.

    Damn, too late, I wanted to ask that one beetle browed guy where he got those pale blue jailhouse flipflops, he had a certain sartorial fashion sense, a trend setter, but he was grinding his teeth and mumbling something, a slow bubbling lava flow of mental acuity, an explosion eminent…better not. The collaborating hippos took their drunken circus on the road, no fear of the abyss ahead, might be a buzz kill…and I think I could still hear that POS truck when it was half way to Durbin.

    I needed to get back out there too, but the opposite direction. Fired the rat, down the road to Old Pike, and I was back on gravel, fueled, hydrated, and…laughing.

    Old Pike starts paved, then macadam, broken macadam, finally gravel, all in short order. I’ve never seen any traffic on this road, it’s sometimes rough and muddy, but today I found a Jeep driven by a young boy, way underage, might have been his mother in the passenger seat. They were creeping along, not expecting anyone, the kid was so short he could barely see where he was going. Mixed feelings on this one, I wouldn’t want to meet that kid on the wrong side of the road, but I was an accomplished driver at that age, although a good foot taller. Got to start sometime, somewhere. I taught all my grandkids to drive by age ten, or as soon as they could reach the pedals. Try a cushion under his skinny butt, he might be able to see the road.

    [​IMG]

    The road was interesting, but I had been poking along, and now I needed to get going if I wanted to get to camp at a reasonable hour. I had passed numerous deer along this road and was watching for animals, but I didn’t expect to find a dog. Big white dog, not sure of the breed, and he was down in the grass when I ran right past him. Whoa, surprised the heck out of me, my line had taken me within five feet. If that dog had jumped into the road I would have hit him. The dog was just laying there, head up and alert, man, I hoped someone hadn’t dumped him out here.

    [​IMG]

    I sat there and thought about it for a few minutes, decided there wasn’t much I could do without a vehicle, then rode the remaining distance down to 250 and stopped, that dog was on my mind.

    (to be continued…)
    #54
  15. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

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    Looks like a White German Shepherd, great dogs, hopefully he has a home nearby.

    Meet Max, look familiar??
    [​IMG]


    Entertaining as always jd


    Cheers, Todd
    #55
  16. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Pure effing gold. :rofl
    #56
  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    thanks, good call, that does look like the dog. i happened to go through the same road with a couple buddies 10 days ago, no dog, a mystery.
    #57
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i was reading the entry in my journal when i wrote that up, man, i was laughing all over again. even more in my journal from that fuel stop than i managed to write about, but i thought i better move the report down the road.

    i always get asked "Why no photos?", but you can guess what would have happened if i got out the camera and started pointing it at the central characters...no cell service, that 911 call ain't goin' nowhere, besides...i think i have a rare blood type.
    #58
  19. dljocky

    dljocky Been here awhile

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    Yorktown, Va
    :rofl
    #59
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    hey mr. nix,

    those places look familiar yet?
    #60