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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ikeya-Seki, Jul 9, 2021.
Awesome, I rarely try to ride above my skill, but some riders know how to push my buttons.
Can you share with me in another setting
Monday, July 12 - Tuesday, July 13.
Nuts n’ Bolts: Camped an extra day at Emerald Lake on Monday and rode the remainder of Section 4 and the first two legs of Section 3 until mechanical break down.
Miles: 162 (including towing)
Total Miles: 980
Weather: 59-64F wet, rainy, dense fog at times, grey skies and low light.
MPG: 58.9 (including 9 miles of towing!)
Tires: No reportable changes
Trail Conditions: Very wet, damp to slick with over flooded puddles, deep mud holes, wet & lose rock. Technical sections were less challenging than further north, but still warranted attention and choosing a good line.
Stops: 9 Mountain Road Retreat, Plainfield, Massachusetts - unplanned
Observations: As a fairly dense rain pattern was slated to move through the area with flash flood advisories, staying an extra night under the lean-to seemed like the best plan. Added to that, three fellows advriders, Mike, Ricky & Dima on a pair of Africa Twins and a Super Tenere were camped next door.
Emerald Lake Campground is nested in a stand of tall pines with a mix of hardwoods peppered in. A row of lean to’s run along a ridge line and probably because of weather, more than half were empty. A clean bath house with a reasonable 50 cent 5 minute hot shower is a short stroll from any lean-to. Potable water is also ample, which is more than I can say for Limehurst Lake Campground, where “you should probably buy some.” (obviously still irks me)
On Monday, while my advrider neighbors went on a day ride, I stayed back and labored to rinse some of the mud cake from Katy M’s nether regions. I probably made 15 trips to the water fountain to fill my hydration bag, which I hung from the lean-to rafters as an improvised hose bib. Mud, stones, weeds and other leafy plant material was ensconced in every crevice. I worked most of it free, paying particular attention to suspension, drive and brakes.
That evening while Mike was off on a solo excursion, Ricky, Dima and I got a fire going and after a market run, cooked up a batch of Montreal chicken, mushroom, onion and red pepper over coos coos. We ate well and although Mike showed already full from a roadside dinner stop, he did bring some cold beer.
The next morning a strong rainfall passed through about 5 am and after we all packed up, posed for a few pictures and had a traditional “Russian sit” for 2 mins before we parted company. I enjoyed meeting this group.
Tuesday’s ride was pretty mellow by the week’s standards. The most difficult sections of NEBDR in Vermont were in the rear view and It felt like only a couple rocky and less steep sections separated me from a relatively easy ride.
I specifically recall thinking to myself that I was on a pretty clear sail all they way to North Carolina. The Mid Atlantic BDR is widely known as a mostly unchallenging ride, technically speaking.
Just about then…… I heard a small, but solid “tick” or light “whack” and Katy M’s internals growled to a fuel starved stop. Sounded like a mini Jake brake and then nothing. I immediately knew it was fuel and from a hit so I was hoping it maybe popped a line.
Once I got skid plate off for a better look at it, I realized the plastic 90 spigot was broken in two places. I found the elbow joint but both end were still in the fuel pump and fuel line. There was not much I could do.
I got lucky and somehow lost power in what might have been the only spot where I had two bars of phone reception. My new advrider friend mike (DCTFAN) had linked up online and I shot him a SOS. With great fortune he replied and was still in the area.
Mike generously stopped whatever he was doing and made his way to my location, about 2 miles from the end of section 3, just outside of Savoy, Massachusetts. Neither of us had been involved in towing bike to bike.
We rigged up DCTFAN’s Harbor Freight tow line and after a couple tricky starts and DCTFAN’s brilliant “stand on the knot” were on our way.
I had made the mistake of not figuring out where I was going to beach my little Austrian whale and all I had at my disposal was the Garmin XT, which pointed me to 9 Mountain Retreats as the closest B&B. With no way to confirm anything by phone and already feeling supremely indebted to DCTFAN, I just rolled the dice on the closest place and off we went.
A local sheriff passed us with a thumbs up as we made our way along the breakdown lane. We hooked a side street that had little traffic and actually got kinda good at DCTFAN slingshotting me at the top of downhills and we finally made our way to the last turn uphill - Garmin said we were a half mile from our destination.
As fate would have it that day, we had our only towline tangle at that corner and the slack got caught up in DCTFAN’s rear wheel. The entanglement was not bad but enough to stop us long enough for a car to come along, someone we could ask about the 9 Mountain Retreats….
It turned out to be the manager of the retreat, Robyn, who informed us they were closed for the season. It was obvious she was a good soul and got a fast read of our predicament and with little hesitation she welcomed us to the retreat, told us where to go, and promised to phone ahead informing folks of our arrival.
When we rounded the final turn and rolled up the dirt driveway, I think both DCTFAN and I had pretty similar reactions: “what do we have here?”
As it turns out, 9 Mountain Retreats is not a B&B, not a hotel or motel in any fashion. it’s a private venue that hosts a variety of seasonal retreats largely aimed at kinetic arts, spiritual empowerment, and generally better ways of being human, at least from what I could gather. One element that was prominent was something called Improvisational Contact Dance, which I quickly interpreted as “liquid Tai Chi.” Robyn agreed.
The main structure is an impressive hulk of an originally three family custom built home on 40 acres and features multiple levels, twisting staircases, full bathrooms on every level and a commercial grade kitchen. The woodworking and joinery catches they eye in every corner and it is tastefully decorated in alternative and eastern themed artwork.The was also a hot tub, which I almost took advantage of, and an outdoor hot water hose, which I did. Katy M loved it.
Robyn and her band of housemates & employees (I’m assuming), who coincidently all had thee letter names, Tai, Liv, Ele, and…and…and, I lost the last name….but it was three letters. Everyone was very kind, hospitable and welcoming. Robyn made a wonderful dinner of fresh salad, homemade dressing and roasted chicken. I had also sampled a wild mushroom stir fry that Liv had made earlier and it was delicious.
Again Lady Luck was on my side when after nearly a thousand miles of trail riding, I broke down only 2.4 hours from my home. My wife drove out the next morning to collect me so I could get the ball rolling.
I stripped Katy M of all her gear and left her behind while I made arrangements for parts and a pick up.
The Fix: My first effort came trailside when I called a local MC dealer. He was able to identify the broken part, but not in position to obtain one. I next called Motorbikes Plus in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and my guy there said, “yep, the 50$ plastic elbow is backordered until August 3rd, but the 300 plus pump is in stock.” Ugh.
I then kinda recalled Rottweiler Performance or maybe Rocky Mountain had an aftermarket solution. It was Rottweiler and with a little direct help from shipping, I got the part in billet aluminum - with a SS guard shipped overnight mail. It’s in my hands.
Still, I had to collect the bike. My tow vehicle was in the shop for repair and I was left with beg, borrow, or rent. None of the begging or borrowing options were open (It’s easy to forget: “no one else is in your emergency”) and so I went for a Home Depot Load n’ Go and a U-haul trailer. Katy M had no power and I don’t have much myself so pushing it up a ramp seemed like something I didn’t want to do, hence the trailer.
Well, try coordinating a U-haul trailer and a HD truck rental at the same time. One location has a truck you cannot reserve - first come, first serve. One will let you tow, others will not. One says, “come pick it up” only to learn it’s been reserved by someone else once you get there. Nightmare. I spent nearly as long driving to local Home Depots as I did finally driving out to get the bike. Nightmare. In the end, I rented the only HD flatbed truck available, which could not tow, canceled the U-haul, and went hoping I could use some downhill slope to load the bike.
It worked. I picked Katy M up around noontime on Thursday and had her back in my driveway by 3 or 4 p.m., returned the truck and made it back to have some of my wife’s Ahi poke. Just what I needed.
So, today I will do my best to fish (see what I did there?) out the broken plastic bits and install this beautiful little CNC Rottweiler piece of mind, clean up, dry up, and get back on the trail tomorrow.
Coincidentally, this is the last photo I took before my mechanical. I have a sister named Martha. Irony in motion.
Onward we ride……
Wow! Sorry for the breakdown. I hope the trip gremlins leave you alone
Sit Rep: Rottweiler aluminum billet spigot and guard installed. Blown fork seal repaired by Factory Connection thanks to Rookie and Brandon at Solid Performance for coordinating this fix on a Friday afternoon. Bike is running and ready to go. My body may need a half a day more.
We ride on.
Nice when a plan comes together. You always make the bad good. Way to be bro!
dang, you broke down just a few miles from my house… glad you’re back together and moving again. ride safe!
I'm jumping back on ASAP. I may shove today, but more likely first thing in the morning. My body protests. Now I am deciding on heading straight to the MABDR or finishing 3, 2 & 1 of the NE, which I rode last September. I've built in some slack days, but I'm using them up faster than expected. I'll post when I launch.
I did not know it, but we passed @Adam Chandler going north, at 3:50 in his video :)
Good vid, Adam!
@DCTFAN - now I understand the very relevant username! :)
"Can't stall a DCT" worked for me on the ClassIV trails, :)
Would have been great if I had stopped to say hey.
But I just wanted to get outta the sauna-like heat- only reason I was not ATGATT
Day 14 & Day 15
Sunday, July 18 - Monday July 19.
Nuts n’ Bolts: Repaired & rested, I got back on the trail Sunday and rode all day Saturday. From constant rain to some sun finally breaking through. Not many riders out.
Miles: 217 on Sunday, 237 Monday. - 2/3 of Sunday’s ride was backroad slab back to trail.
Total Miles: 1422
Weather: 59-79F wet, rainy, dense fog at times, grey skies and low light leading to drier & warmer air with breaks of sunshine.
MPG: 59.9 / 52.1
Tires: Rode street pressures and probably should have let some out. Front is pretty much gone and rear is just about spent. I may put some used ones on if I get the chance.
Trail Conditions: Wet, loose stone, ponding, puddles, damp hard pack in places. No dust.
CR3 - no soil left.
Stops: On Sunday, I rolled into Lee, Massachusetts at around 6 pm and stopped at a local pub, put the cover over my bike and went in - not 5 mins later it poured rain for 40 mins. I booked a room at the American Inn. Nothing fancy, It was what it was and did the trick.
Fish tacos. Yes, fried but I’m leaning away from red meat…. Leaning only.
Monday night, I booked another room - the ground is still a wet sponge here (sorry Cali) and so I booked a room at the Meadowood Inn in Arkville, about 15 mins or so before Andes. Nice place. Tonya, the woman in charge came out to meet me and brought me in to get set up. Could be the most comfortable bed I’ve slept in, outside of home.
The room at Meadowood Inn,
Observations: I hate mud. I just don’t enjoy slogging through wet, loose, earth. The dry sandy stuff is enough of a chore, being wet is just insult. But, ride we did. There was far more standing water than mud actually and what ponding I did cross had fairly solid bottom.
With my tires at road p.s.i. and balding, I attempted to slip through without breaking traction. I think I did a fairly good job and hardly lifted a thing passing through.
I came across a couple of road closures. One was a bridge completely under construction so I am certain it’s been noted on the BDR page. The detour was not more than a mile or two.
Pretty much displays my viewpoint for the last week.
The second closure was a temporary tripod sign that I suspect was put up by Forest Service due to flooding. It was at the tail end of Section Two by Copake Falls. I sail tail end, but riding south that doesn’t make sense to everyone. It was the western section where the trail nearly meets. Anyhow, I tried to find a viable way around but in the end just picked my way through. It was wet, but not bad really and I don’t think I broke traction getting through.
Katy M, posing.
The one difficult section CR3 was pretty nasty. With effort, I’ve made it up and through all of what Vermont has had to offer and that first hill climb (coming form North) was rugged. For starters, a stream was coming down the trail rendering a field of wet stone. With hard pressures, poor grip and the rugged accent, I made a little more than 3/4 of the way up before gravity got the best of me and I laid Katy M down a foot or two off the downslope trail. Almost pulled a Rickey.
Lots of running water on the route.
I lugged her back upright and took a hike up to the only bend in the trial I could see to determine just how much climb was left. It wasn’t looking any better and as tempting as it was to bull my way to the top, I thought better of it and retreated. I’d ridden this part anyhow in September and have never tried an alternate route, so I did.
The sun did shine.
The alt route was kind, sunny and had a few hills to throttle up. I am so glad I took it. 5:30 at night is not the time for an old guy like me to fire things up. “Nothing new after two,” someone once said.
I stopped for tomato and cukes.
I hate to say I am running behind schedule, cause it’s my schedule, but….. I have burned 4 days of slack time chasing after parts and such. My next fixed stop in in Nashville where my tires are waiting.
Fishing has been naught. Rivers are far too swollen and with my time tight, I might not get a fly in the water before Virginia or maybe even Tennessee.
Warming up in Lee. Thanks AVADE.
I aim to finish the NEBDR today and be set to start south on the MABDR soon after. I hope to make some time up riding longer days and fewer stops. Camping. Speed camping even.
Special spot for Bill & Chris’ ashes.
Okay, Tonya promised coffee & breakfast at 7:30, I I better wrap up.
Day 16 - Tuesday, July 20
Nuts n’ Bolts: Hot breakfast, rode from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with many stops. Finished NEDBR.
Total Miles: 1644
Weather: 61-71 dry conditions, bright but overcast with sun breaking through late
Tires: Let about 2.5 seconds of air out of the front and 4 seconds out of the back. Still pretty firm.
Ride Modes: Rally 3, Rally 7 for mud. Road throttle response.
Trail Conditions: mostly dry with some wet and muddy sections. A variety of soil types ranging from blonde sand and gravel to red clay to rose sand to black sand & gravel. Much more gravel, which also ranged from 3/4 -1 inch round river stone and slightly larger grey chipped stone. There were still plenty of washouts, but not as many as previous days.
Stops: Circle E Diner, Hancock, NY
Lodging: Ox-Bow campground about 15 mins NE of Hancock, NY
Observations: I made a bunch of trail side stops if for no other reason than to enjoy the sunshine.
Less technically challenging, the southern portion of the NEBDR still requires attention. There are a number of wooded sections where the trail is shaded, damp and a bit slick in spots. Lots of work crews were out making erosion repairs and where the grade work was still fresh and wet, it made for a tricky ride at times.
Katy M eyeing the trail ahead
One road closure toward the end near Preston Park prevented me from riding that spear of track, but again, my go-around was great & still plenty of dirt.
Picking a mostly dry line through and up rocky hill climbs was easier than up north being both drier and generally much shorter.
Slab sections were also enjoyable with plenty of curves and bouncy hills. Very little traffic. I only saw two others on the BDR at a fuel stop.
Color in an otherwise green word.
All in all it turned out to be a decent day of riding. I got the drone out for the first time in a while and messed around with it at a ripping waterfall. I’ll post from it later.
Flows directly into Delaware River or fork thereof.
A little sideways here and there in the muddy sections but no drops and no drama. My service light came on, but there is no indication why. Oil & coolant look fine. Katy M is approaching 10k on the clock, so that’s probably it.
I picked the Ox-Bow campground because it was fairly close and someone answered the phone. It took about 15 mins to ride over and 20 bucks to pitch a tent, which I didn’t.
Waterline’s a bit high
Barbara, the host, said my spot included this 15 foot picnic table with awning. I went for speed camping and just set my cot & kit on top of the table. I also deployed an extra tarp cause I had a feeling the 40% chance of rain was 100%. It was.
From about midnight to 3:00 a.m., it poured buckets, bellowed, crashed and lit up.
I anchored the tarp under my cot legs and wrapped myself up for the duration. It worked, well enough.
Everything but the tarp is pretty much dry so packing up no hassle. I made coffee with Firebox Nano & Trangia. I like how quiet it is.
Today I am headed to the Mid Atlantic BDR and points south.
Another beautiful place
Welcome to PA and the northern part of the MABDR. Should be a good ride for you.
Just catching up on this one! I really enjoy your RR/writing style; it's the neat-freak in me Looking forward to more.
Thanks chudzikb, I like it so far! Good night sleep too. Cheers.
It's a good ride all the way down to Damascus. Some of those blind decreasing radius corners in the national forests are tricky, but, you will get it figured out quickly. Sightlines in PA are much better than VA. Enjoy!
Day 17 - Wednesday, July 21
Nuts n’ Bolts: Got a slow roll out of camp and shot over to Lawrenceville, PA for the start/finish of the MABDR. Rode about half of Section 8 before I camped at Ravensburg State Park.
Total Miles: 1925
Weather: 60-72F, Fair skies with some sun breaks. Mostly dry. Brisk.
Trail Conditions: Mostly dry slab with some wet spots. MABDR dirt sections hard packed, groomed dirt roads with almost no large stones and wide enough to land a plane. Long sight lines.
Stops: Jody’s Diner in Binghamton, NY
Lodging: Ravensburg State Park, PA
Observations: Winding backroads started off and finished the day with some super slab in between - 46 miles of it to be exact. I took my time getting out of camp, road easy - even the slab sections and didn’t try to chew off too much after a night of little sleep.
Ravensburg State Park is right along the route and offers a tent only campground with maybe 30 plus sites. I was the only guest, except for the dude that barged into the restroom with his cigarette for his morning constitutional. I suspect it’s his personal commuter habit.
Anyhow all of the tent pads - gravel beds in 4x4’s - were slogged or covered in moss so I eyeballed the pavilion, which a sign states is not for camping. I camped there.
A park ranger came by and chatted with me. We shared an interest in motorcycle and coincidently a first name. He gave me the okay to take shelter in the pavilion and I spent another night cot on table. It was much drier and no bugs.
The park ranger also was sure to inform me that the price schedule is not up to date and does not reflect an additional 5 dollar “processing fee,” which I paid. Personally, I think it sucks to have to pay a third party or entity a fucking processing fee for state or federal parks and especially when POS is at the campground. Evolution cuts both ways.
A bird just landed on my front fender - I think it’s going to be a good day.
Once you hit Section4 in MD I recommend
Oak Barrel Cafe as a fuel/food/camp stop. https://g.page/OakBarrelCafe?share
The Annual Africa Twin Rally -yes, there is such a thing :)
is held on the grassy hills next to the cafe. I don't think it has any other use
but the owner is moto-friendly, AFAIK and the food is excellent.
Great! I'm in. Safe travels man.