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

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

  1. Yooper_Bob

    Yooper_Bob Insert witty saying here....

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    Once again, setting the "gold standard" in ride reports!
    #81
  2. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

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    I concur! This ride report is a great resource for this new BDR route that will no doubt be very busy this year. I think this may be required reading for anyone doing the route.

    @Cannonshot Did you post the link to your ride report in the main MABDR thread?
    #82
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  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    On to the Brandywine General Store, part 1.

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    What nice weather that day. We eventually got a couple of fixes to take care of the dust.

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    Federal security.

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    Intercom traffic:

    Cannon: Jack, did you see that federal security guy parked there? Just up the hill is an NSA listening station. It started off as a Navy listening station.

    Jack: What do they do there?

    Cannon: They listen to communications on the east coast. They're prolly even listening to us right now.

    Jack: [pause] . . . "Go Navy!"


    Sugar Grove Station started off with the Navy in the early 60s. The plan was to put in a radio telescope that could listen in on Soviet radar and radio signals - maybe bounced off of something. They killed that plan even before the telescope was done. In 1962 Bob Byrd asked Jack Kennedy to try to find another use for the site (politics). Since the site was already in a national radio quiet zone, they converted it to a Navy radio outfit that gathered comms from Navy planes, ships, and stations from around the world. They called it "the Navy's ear". Just up the road was a base for the Navy Info Operations Command. Anyway, the NSA uses this site to intercept all international communications entering the eastern US . . . or so some people say.

    I imagine for someone to know what really goes on there, they would have to have a *BBR security clearance. (*Burn Before Reading)

    The route follows the gravel road on the right side of the station.

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    A bit slippery.

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    Same.


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    Rather than continue to go to school on Jack on all these crossings, I led on this one. It was really slippery. Round rocks and algae.

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    Better put out your feet out as outriggers because the round rocks flip and slip you around a bit.

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    Once Jack lost his momentum because of an unexpected hop, there was a lot of tire spinning on the slippery bottom for him to get out of there. Just a head's up for the next guy.

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    The former Navy Info Operations base just up the road. Now closed and locked down. I think they are considering selling it for some veterans health operation.

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    Cameras on the perimeter fences. Must have been tight security when it was in operation.

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    #83
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    On to the Brandywine General Store, part 2.

    Brandywine General Store. Much more than I imagined.

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    I like to take a few inventory shots at a place like this so the next guy knows if there is hardware available, etc.

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    As we sat out front relaxing, Jack mentioned my tire looked a little low. Hard to tell with a heavy carcass tire. I put a gauge on it and got no reading at all. I was about to toss the gauge as junk when I noticed a label I put on it that it only reads from 10-50 PSI. Jack's gauge read 8 lbs. An inspection revealed a slow leak. I had Ride On in this tubeless tire and it had slowed the leak but did not stop it.

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    We tried to plug it (should have been an easy fix) only to discover it was really a cut and not a simple puncture. This was a bad situation to be in since I would be out of business until I got a new tire.

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    BUT, the wisdom of experience has taught me to carry tubes for my tubeless tires for just such a contingency. Now it was just a matter of breaking the bead and doing what had to be done. Carry tubes . . . you'll be glad you did.

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    When it is a cut, you'll want to do something to cover the gap before stressing the tube with the cut. Jack had some PVC tape that he layered on there to take care of that part of it.

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    For a more serious cut, I carry a heavy patch like for a tractor tire. It can cover the cut, but I'm not sure how long the tube will last rubbing on that heavy patch as the tire flexes. Nonetheless, it can get you out of the backcountry and back to civilization for a proper repair.

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    Anyway, despite the gas station not having an air hose, we had our own pumps so we were back in action with little delay of game.

    A rest room stop before we departed revealed a significant stock of stars and bars material at the back of the store.

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    Back on the trail.
    #84
  5. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks. There sure is a lot of interesting stuff to explore along the way.

    Thanks Bob.

    Thanks. I'm trying to make it a reference thread and offer some entertaining information at the same time. I did post a link in the MABDR thread and answered a couple of questions there, but I plan to cover the information of interest in this thread.
    #85
  6. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    I desperately want to ride this now!

    Charles.
    #86
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  7. wadethewanderer

    wadethewanderer To infinity and beyond.

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    All the good stuff I can always benefit from; what I’ve come to expect in CS RR’s. Another over-the-top report! Thanks for the look ahead.
    #87
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  8. Tiger993

    Tiger993 Been here awhile

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    Thank you Cannonshot for your time investment in sharing your adventures with us. I know how big a task it is to document and then publish accurate trip details, and your reports are always entertaining, educational, and inspirational.
    #88
  9. 65bmwr50

    65bmwr50 Been here awhile

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    Just found this and loving every second. I second the staying at Hungry Mother State Park. One of the most beautiful of the state parks with great hiking and a fantastic restaurant in season. The shrimp and grits were some of the best I've ever had.
    #89
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  10. BLucare

    BLucare What could possibly go wrong?

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    :clap :clap

    This RR continues to be outstanding, Bryan :thumb I'm a bit of a history buff (read: nerd), so I'm really soaking this one in.
    #90
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  11. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    Where can I get info on this route? GPS/maps/whatnot?

    Charles.
    #91
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  12. BLucare

    BLucare What could possibly go wrong?

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    Here ya go, fella:

    https://ridebdr.com/MABDR
    #92
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  13. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Long timer Supporter

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    It's not a NSA site anymore. The government has been trying for years to sell the whole thing:
    https://gsaauctions.gov/gsaauctions/aucdsclnk?sl=PEACH416004001
    #93
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  14. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    No, you are confused. You lumped the listening station in with the site of the former NAVIOCOM base which is listed at the government auction site. As I mentioned, the NAVIOCOM based was closed and is being offered for sale. That base was closed in September 2015 as a result of a decision by the resource sponsor (NSA) to relocate the command's mission. The listening station to the south, where I showed an active guard, continues to operate as an NSA listening station. I hope this clears up any misinformation.
    #94
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  15. Mike Garner

    Mike Garner Time longer

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    Cannonshot beat me to it... the listening station up the hill is still quite operational (hence the white SUV & plentiful eyes on the perimeter).

    ETA a topical picture - the listening station as seen from atop Reddish Knob.

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    #95
  16. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Do it! It is great! :D

    Thanks!

    Thanks! It is a lot of work but I figure it saves much more work for others and hopefully it will get more people to ride this route.

    Thanks! I didn't visit the park so it is good to hear your account of it.

    Thanks! The history adds another layer of entertainment to an already great ride.
    #96
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  17. HarveyMushman

    HarveyMushman Long timer Supporter

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    Apparently so. Carry on.
    #97
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  18. davidp14

    davidp14 Been here awhile

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    This is a quality RR. Lots of pics, enough detail to get a good idea of the ride, but not so much that it gets boring.
    I've ridden most of the BDR that you've covered already and yet, I'm still learning things that I never noticed before. :)
    #98
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  19. ChopperCharles

    ChopperCharles Long timer

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    I'm slowly getting stuff together for a big trip. Need to order a bash plate, new tire pump (mine disappeared somewhere), and the lock-together tire levers that can be used to break a tire bead. All my bikes up to this point have been street bikes with tubeless tires, and all I've ever needed for that has been a plug kit. Seems to me going on a trip like this without adequate tire repair equipment would be a bad idea :)

    Charles.
    #99
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  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Administrator Super Moderator

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    Thanks. If there is something about the route that you really need to know, we'll share it. Hope more people participate in the ride.

    Jack has a big C-clamp for bead breaking which can get things started. I used the Motion Pro bead breaker tire irons and they were great - both as tire irons and as a bead breaker. But a third tire iron shaped like this one is handy to have.
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