A CannonRide Up the Mid-Atlantic Backcounty Discovery Route (MABDR)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Cannonshot, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. sgio

    sgio Been here awhile

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    Thanks for this! I am watching along.
    I will probably be riding some of the northern parts of this, since I am not too far from the northern end of the trail.
    #41
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  2. DYNOBOB

    DYNOBOB lucky dog Supporter

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    Thanks for the reply. Yep weather can really define a trip, I worry about getting into loose slop or deep water crossings 2-up. No way we could do some parts of the main KAT on Tenere, this seems generally to be a little tamer ... maybe? Will follow along and see. She enjoyed the Colorado passes last year so drop-offs and bumps are OK.

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    #42
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Marion, VA is a town of about 6,000 people, but the immediate area holds about 15,000 so it is pretty substantial. Major League pitcher Nolan Ryan played here with the Marion Mets when he first started out. He could pitch a ball over 100 mph and sometimes broke bones in the catcher's hand with his pitches. The nationally syndicated bluegrass program "Sound of the Mountains" is based here. The town also holds the state record low of 15 degrees in May and the second record low of 10 degrees in April. But it was nice when we came through and stopped for coffee.

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    There was a Civil War battle here one winter. The Confederates held the place. The Union army attacked and the battle went on for two days. The Confederates were doing well and both sides took significant casualties. Eventually the Confederates got down to no more than 10 rounds per man and casualties reduced their numbers significantly. In the mean time the Union army had destroyed Confederate supplies in Abingdon and Wytheville so there was little hope of getting more ammunition. The Confederates withdrew while they still could. The Union army moved in and destroyed anything of value to their enemy including a lead works and a salt works. Destroying the salt works really hurt since there already was a shortage and losing this salt made it difficult to preserve any meat that the Confederates managed to come up with for other troops in the region.

    Those that are camping may want to stay at Hungry Mother State Park. How did it get that name you ask? Indian raiders destroyed some settlements south of where the park is now. Molly Marley and her small child were taken by the raiders to their base north of the park. Molly and her child escaped and wandered the wilderness eating berries and looking for help. Eventually Molly collapsed and the small child went on following a creek. Upon finding help, the only words the child could utter were "Hungry . . . mother". Rescuers later found the mother dead where she collapsed. The mountain there is called Molly's Knob and the stream is called Hungry Mother Creek. The CCC put the park together in 1936.

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    For those that may motel it here, the Royal Inn has rooms with easy access to your bike.

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    The Hotel Lincoln (Francis Marion Hotel) was built in the 1920s. It was built with 19 guest rooms and 13 bathrooms per floor. The place had a drug store, beauty shop, barber shop, coffee shop, and places for public meetings and dances. It has since been restored and has a high ranking.

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    The Lincoln Theater is behind this apartment house. It is three stories high and access is gained through a broad arcade on the ground floor of the apartment building. The theater suggests an ancient Mayan temple inside. Built in 1929.

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    The Henderson Building was the administration building for a mental health institute. Built in 1887 with a 118 foot clock tower and four stories, the clock tower was removed and it was reduced to three stories during a remodeling in the 1930s. They added an octagonal rotunda at the same time. Impressive structure.

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    There was a trading company here that was the largest dealer in medicinal herbs in the Appalachian region. They operated until 1968. I see now I got the wrong building, but this on is kind of interesting anyway.

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    The Norfolk and Western Railway Depot is a pretty nice structure. It was built in 1904 and indicates how significant this community was at the time.

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    Another opportunity on the other side of town for those moteling it. Plenty of fuel stations in town as well. I think we had coffee at a Hardees on the way out of town.

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    I forgot to mention that Marion was the birthplace of the modern formula for the Mountain Dew soft drink. The original was done in Knoxville, but this formula was substantially different and evolved to what some people drink today. Pepsi purchased the producer here in 1964. Marion has hosted a Mountain Dew Festival for over 50 years.
    #43
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  4. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

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    A Butler motorcycle route map AND a Cannonshot trip report (with history, photos, routing options)...what else could one wish for?

    Thanks!
    #44
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  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks! Hope you enjoy this one as well.

    Hi Shaggie! Hope you enjoy riding along.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip and that this report helps you pout a little.

    Thanks! We enjoyed some great sections up that way. Hope you have a great ride!

    That's great! Looks like you have a seasoned passenger. Hope you both get to enjoy this excellent ride. :thumb

    Thanks! Hope you get a chance to enjoy the ride sometime soon!
    #45
  6. Snake Oiler

    Snake Oiler If the world didn't suck, we would all fall off

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    It's ashame that they are taking down our civil war monuments. I don't care what color your skin is, it's still part of our American Heritage.

    Just my two pennies
    #46
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  7. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    From Marion to the Brushy Mountain Outpost.

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    Heading into the backcountry.

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    The paved route over this mountain is a great ride.

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    Part of this route is on some paths that have more soil than gravel. We remarked that it would have been a completely different ride if this soil was wet. It was dry for us so we weren't impeded. Watch for slickness when wet.

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    Coon hounds.
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    When we hopped back out to the pavement, we fell into a line of road bikers for a while.

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    This announcement about a one lane road made me chuckle. Many of these roads are already little more than one lane.

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    Slippery mud hole ahead. A car went through it with little difficulty.

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    It was fun running this ridge top.

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    As I mentioned, we felt it was good to be on this path before the trees leafed out. We were able to see out from the mountainside roads we were on.

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    Brushy Mountain Outpost - a popular stop for AT through hikers.

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    Good folks here. A worthwhile stop for sure.

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    Sign the book.

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    The proprietor seems like a good fellow. He relies on sustaining his business by primarily serving the locals. Makes it nice for other visitors.

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    One hiker wanted her picture taken sitting on Jack's bike.

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    I had a delicious pork tenderloin sandwich there. This hiker had peanut butter and crackers. She said she had been out since early March and already had about 600 miles in.

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    Her boss is a member here and plans to ride this path sometime in the future. She didn't know his screen name, but if he sees this I can say that she is in great spirits and is doing just fine.

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    #47
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  8. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    More on this further up the line. :D
    #48
  9. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Jack and I started off by routinely switching the lead so no one person had to concentrate as much as the lead person has to with navigation, clearing corners, and watching for hazards. After a while, we comfortably worked into a system where Jack would lead the areas that were primarily about riding and I would lead in the areas that held points of interest. This worked well for me because I could leave much of the navigation to Jack while I took pictures along the way. Always better to have a bike in the picture than just a road so it worked fine. When we got to areas with points of interest, I knew what I was looking for so it was better for me to lead. We had an intercom, which we seldom used except to say how beautiful an area was or how great a road was, but most of the coordination between us was intuitive.
    #49
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  10. MGilman

    MGilman Adventurer

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    i'm definitely in on this one!!
    #50
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  11. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    Looks like a phenominal fall color ride. I do like the aspect of seeing more of the distant terrain with no leaves on the trees yet.
    #51
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  12. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Day 1, continued. Brushy Mountain to Marathon gas.

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    Nice pavement for a while.

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    Trents Gas and Grocery

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    Dismal Falls is a short hike off the road.

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    You can barely see it through the vegetation. The falls has step like ledges on one side and about a 12' straight drop in the middle. Depends on how much water is flowing as to how nice it looks.

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    There is a sporty section of gravel in this area.

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    Woods Hole Hostel

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    Wilburn Valley Grocery

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    When I came to Eggleston Springs, I had to reflect a little. Back in 1750, a guy started the first settlement in the region here. Five years later he found Mary Ingles on her way back to Draper's Meadows after escaping from the Indians.

    In 1755, Shawnee Indians attacked the small settlement of Draper's Meadows - the site of which is now on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, VA. The Indians killed five at the settlement and took hostages. In in act of terrorism, they cut off an old man's head and delivered it in a bag to a neighbor explaining that an acquaintance had come to visit. Mary and her two young sons were taken hostage. Her husband escaped into the forest while avoiding being killed. Two neighbor men that were captured were later killed by the Indians during a ritual of running the gauntlet where they run between lines of attacking Indians.

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    Mary and her sons were taken by the Indians to a location about 600 miles away in the Ohio River area. Mary sewed shirts with cloth that the Indians traded for with the French. She was paid for her work in goods. She was separated from her sons which were adopted by Shawnee families. One died in captivity. When the hostage women were taken to a salt lick to make salt for the tribe, Mary talked another woman into escaping with her. They both fled. The Indians figured they had been taken by animals so they didn't make much of a search. The moccasin clad women had a tomahawk, a knife, and two blankets. Mary and her fellow escapee managed 11-21 miles per day trying to retrace the path they followed as hostages. They crossed major rivers, foraged for food, and hid from hunting parties they encountered along the way. Both women were starving. The woman Mary traveled with went a little crazy and twice tried to kill Mary presumably to consume her as food. After the second attempt, Mary snuck off on her own. By now it was December and snowing. After traveling close to 600 miles, someone found her here. A search produced the second woman as well.

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    Mary was reunited with her husband and they had four more children together. Of her previous two children, one died in Indian captivity. The other, Tom, was four when captured so he was completely acclimated to Indian life and language. He was ransomed years later and had to go to a deprogramming facility. He eventually served as a lieutenant in a war with the Shawnee. In 1782, Tom's own wife and three children were kidnapped by the Indians. Tom went to rescue them and in the ensuing altercation two of his children were killed. His wife was tomahawked but survived. Tom managed to rescue his wife and youngest daughter.

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    After being reunited, Mary and her husband started the Ingles Ferry across the New River back in 1762. They had a tavern and a blacksmith shop there as well. Mary died in 1815.

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    The next time someone thinks they are having a bad day, think about the fabric of the people that settled this region and all the hardships they suffered to have what they thought was a decent life. :D

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    Marathon Gas

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    #52
  13. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks for following along!

    I was thinking about this. Since it is a north-south route, the color line would not extend the entire length of the route at the same time. But certainly running the range of no change, early change, peak, and past peak would be entertaining. The limited views when things are leafed out might make the cleared overlooks seem even more spectacular than they are now. :D
    #53
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  14. wadethewanderer

    wadethewanderer To infinity and beyond.

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    Another, no doubt, great RR and another one for the bucket list I’m sure.
    #54
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  15. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    That would also depend on elevation. We had witnessed colors on southern end of BRP in September, yet you generally have to wait well past Columbus day in western MD/NoVA to experience it. The other aspect if you wait later into season weather could become iffy. We had years when we had great camping trips to Adirondacks on Veterans day and years when we bailed out of NC on Columbus.

    How much red clay did you run into on route? It is very common farther east and it doesn't absorb water; when it gets wet it would stay slick for days if not weeks. Would make for great combo with fallen leaves.
    #55
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  16. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Very cool side story ! The depth and timeline of that history is amazing. I wonder if the plains indians and the Apache even knew about us that early on.
    Anyway, bravo!


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    #56
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  17. pyoungbl

    pyoungbl Colonel Blood

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    There are two relevant books about the Va-WV area: The Spine of the Virginias, Chasing the Powahatan Arrow...both by Michael Abraham. The first book covers each of the counties along the Va/WV state line, quite a bit of the early part of MABDR. The second book is about the influence that the railroad had on this part of the country, particularly in the coal producing region. There is a lot of interesting Civil War history along the railroad route. Michael is a motorcyclist. The books are entertaining, witty, and thoughtful. Highly recommended.
    #57
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  18. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    We hit some spots that had slick red clay mixed in. But mostly things are gravel or paved. Surprisingly the 2-track like tread way on some of the gray gravel roads were quite slick when wet where many of the stones were pushed aside.

    Speaking of leaves, in some forest sections the road maintainers come along with a tractor with a big blower on the back. The blower cleans out the leaves from the shallow ditch on the inside of the road. This puts leaves on the road but must help keep water flowing in the ditch until it can be directed over the side.
    #58
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  19. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks. Hope you get to ride it soon!

    I guess the answer is to just take it as it is any time a person rides it. :D

    And to think people get upset these days when there is no cellular service. :D

    Thanks, those books sound great! There is so much history along this path that people could approach their interests by theme: railroads, Indian wars, 1700s, the Civil War, industrial development, "recent" events, etc. We were talking about how much of our development history starts much later in Wisconsin as compared to what was going on in this region.
    #59
  20. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    Or, for our nation as a whole, modern history really when compared to Europe.


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    #60
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