Great Smokies & Wet Misery on the MABDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by maloryII, May 13, 2019.

  1. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    I had two weeks of leave available prior to attending a 90 day training course (ARMY TRAINING!) and so my wife I and rented a cabin in the Great Smoky mountains to spend a week hiking. Following that, she would drive home and I would ride home from the Smokies following Sections 1-4 of the MABDR.

    My plan was to install an aluminum hitch carrier to tote my KTM 690 down. After reading mixed reviews from inmates on bike carriers, I did what any good inmate would do -- I ignored all the advice and bought the cheapest one anyway: a Black Widow 400lb'er from DiscountRamps.com. I slapped it onto my 2017 Land Rover Discovery 5 (if you're a Rover guy, hit me up and I'll spin you the saga of getting a Class III hitch onto these new Tata Motors Rovers). Then I did the most dangerous, stupid thing I've done in a while... I rode the bike (using just my arms) up the included ramp and onto the carrier. The KTM almost came crashing down at several moments during this foolish endeavor.

    Build quality on the Black Widow was ... agricultural. It's not the prettiest thing, but it came together well and once strapped down there is very little flex or sway.

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    So we depart. It was an 8 hour drive from Maryland to the Smokies and I was sweatin' it the entire time. I'm certainly not an engineer, but I know enough about aluminum to know that if formed and welded incorrectly it will crack or shatter -- perhaps catastrophically. For $200 I don't think DiscountRamps.com uses the aluminum they roll out in Spokane to build airplanes and satellites. You know, the stuff that's cooled with the freshest mountain water -- not some formaldehyde blend pulled out of the Yangtze River.

    The Black Widow did totally fine. I would recommend it to anyone. Just have a buddy there to help you load/unload.

    I'm 35 years old -- relatively young by inmate standards, but old by the internet -- and I've avoided using AirBNB or VRBO or any of these newfangled San Francisco vacation booking tech company things. I've long preferred shitty websites and phone calls to book cabins in woodsy places. But I think those days really are over for good. So I used VRBO to rent a place near the Smokies. My wife's requirement was only that there was a view. There was:

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    I think most southerners would consider me a Yankee. Perhaps unfairly. I've had several different passports, I've lived all over the place, and I'm a career US Army officer. But I talk like a Yankee, I guess, and that's usually not enough to overcome that I have deep, deep roots in the Smoky Mountains.

    My great-grandfather was Dr. FF Brown, the longest-serving pastor of First Baptist in Knoxville, TN and once the leader of all Southern Baptists. Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt both called upon him in times of need. If you are Tennessean, a Baptist, or otherwise, the legends, myths, and stories about him are fun to read:

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    One of his daughters -- Mary-Elizabeth Brown (my grandmother) -- joined Chicago and Southern Airlines as a stewardess after graduating from the Univ of Tennessee in 1946. The photos & memorabilia from this part of her life are fascinating. C&S Airlines flew people around in DC-3s (aka C-47), Lockheed Connies, and Skymasters over short flights across the midwest, south, and a few spots in the Caribbean. Many of her passengers had never flown in an airplane before, and a great deal of them sent telegrams back to Chicago & Southern Airlines HQ describing their journey and how well they were treated by my grandmother. She kept them all (the telegrams) and they're a fascinating insight into the adolescence of air travel in the United States.

    On a layover in Jamaica in 1953, she met a Dutch doctor finishing his residency in Aruba, then a Dutch colony. They were soon married and she moved with him -- my would-be grandfather -- to the Netherlands shortly thereafter. They never left and she raised 5 children in the Netherlands.

    Anyway, she died recently, well into her 90s with her son and daughters (my mom included) at her side. My task was to reconnoiter where she spent her "glorious summers"; specifically the swinging bridge at Kinzel Springs, Tennessee where her family had a summer cabin. From here she, her sisters and brother would jump into the Little River all those years ago. Her memories of the Smokies were present in her conversation until the very end of her life. And so that's where we would spread her ashes.

    The bridge exists today much as it did then. The padlocks are love locks like you see at the Pont du Neuf in Paris, I think... just the rural Tennessee version:

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    Visiting this place that my grandmother loved so much in her youth, so recently after her death, filled me with a great deal of melancholy. I made a promise to myself that I would take my own children to play in these waters. My first is due in October.
    #1
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  2. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    So let's get to the motorcycling.

    I've ridden KTM twins for years -- most recently a 1290 Super Adventure R and before that a 950 Adventure. I've ridden these bikes in the Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, and through New England. I like to ride off road -- but I'm a shitty rider, so I'm always dropping my bikes. Last year I nearly dropped my 1290 SA-R in the middle of a pretty mild creek crossing. That moment was a sea change in my thinking about ADV riding. Hard bags with a kitchen-sink style packing philosophy was out the window.

    So away went the 1290 SA-R and in came a 2018 KTM 690.

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    My philosophy was light. That's relative as we'll discover later.

    Here is the kit I determined I needed to pack for a week+ ride on the east coast:

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    And packed on the bike:

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    #2
  3. ExxonValdez

    ExxonValdez Trailers are for boats. Supporter

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    I'm in!
    #3
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  4. djtrik

    djtrik David Reusch Jr

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    I'm 34 and just recently found the "adventure" riding itch. I'm envious with how much of a head start you have on me. Good for you sir! I'm in!
    #4
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  5. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    So the Smoky Mountains are awesome. They're unique for a number of reasons but primarily because they escaped the glaciation of the other ranges on the eastern seaboard. The result is an unbelievably beautiful buffet of forest -- much of it (~30%) old growth.

    We hiked Mount Le Conte:

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    If you've spent time out west, it's hard to get the same feeling I'm sure many of [us] miss when confronted with eastern mountains. They're just not the same.

    The Smokies are different, I think. They feel like mountains. The color, the air, the shape... it's not like Seneca Rocks or the George Washington NF, which are the common east coast analogs. The Smokies are legit.

    There also have bears.

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    Unfortunately the black bear fam pictured above was pretty familiar with the cabin. The mama bear made a good effort at getting into the screened in porch and punched a few fresh holes into the screen. I hope she finds food elsewhere and that she and her cubs prosper.

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    So my wife and I hiked a bit. The classic Smoky Mtn hikes ( LeConte; Ramsey Cascades; Abrams Falls, etc) are really wonderful.

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    My dumbass by a wonderfully crafted wooden bridge. The trails in the Smoky Mtn NP are absolutely impeccably maintained.

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    Gatlinburg is like a hillbilly Niagra Falls but even less.... upscale? Where Niagara Falls or even Las Vegas feels tacky, Gatlinburg is wonderfully kitschy. It's goofy and almost untouched by chains. Beyond a Mellow Mushroom, Dick's Last Resort, and a couple other places there are very few stores you'll recognize. The people watching is sublime.

    OK! Time for the actual Ride Report...
    #5
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  6. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    Time for me to depart. The 690 is loaded up. Together we dip out at about 0630. The weather is perfect.

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    I head out of town. It's 60 degrees.

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    Quickly get into a little of this sweet sweet action:

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    #6
  7. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    I left early... about 630 AM. My intent was to follow this route to connect to the MABDR:

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    I was pumped. Some early gravel and beautiful weather. I had the queen of Eastern Tennessee in my ears -- Dolly Parton -- and all was good.

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    This water crossing was a little worrisome... like many scenarios an ADV rider encounters a photograph doesn't quite satisfy the the scene. Well, the water in the below photo is flowing quite fast and it was about hub depth. These kinds of obstacles -- while minor when taken as individual instances -- can be troublesome if encountered frequently alone. What bothered me here is that the water was flowing fast enough that I couldn't quite see the rocks on the bottom (which the camera captures perfectly well.)

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    I blast through it, it's ugly but I don't go down.

    But the trail is getting steeper and less maintained. And it's not even 0800 yet.

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    And at about 0830 this happens. A tree fall. Route utterly blocked. I now have to go back down a greasy mountain over an uncomfortable water crossing.

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    So I backtrack. I'm a little frustrated and also slightly worried that I've bitten off more than I can chew. I'm not even on the MABDR yet... just some tracks I threw together in Furkot.

    I'm quickly rewarded with some southeastern scenery on my way back to the route:

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    Soon enough I find myself here: The Rattler .. ! I had no idea.

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    Rattler or not, the scenery opened up into beautiful pastoral...

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    Stopped to get gas a few miles later.

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    Headed out.

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    Some beautiful vistas. It's about 63F. Heaven.

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    #7
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  8. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks

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    Nice start, you are describing the adventure with interest. That's a good thing.
    #8
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  9. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    I follow Hwy 209 north to Hot Springs. It's a small town along the Appalachian Trail (the "AT").

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    The small downtown is bustling with folks. Many appear to be thru-hikers -- the "Class of 2019", as those who have begun the journey in March or April are called. We'll encounter the AT and AT hikers quite a bit during this trip,.

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    I follow 212 east... miles of twisties and not a soul in sight.

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    The 690 is a great bike for these roads, and the Pirellis perform well enough to support fairly aggressive riding. I'm still appreciating the relatively light load at this point.

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    My route dips me into some nice dirt...

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    And I'm soon back onto pavement following a meandering river into North Carolina.

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    I stop for gas at a little country grocery. The proprietor -- and his store -- looks straight out of the movies. I ask to use the restroom and he tells me he doesn't have one, but that I can go behind the building if I'd like. This store apparently also serves as a base camp for cyclists climbing nearby Roan Mountain -- a 7 mile ascent.

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    Wonderful views.

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    I pass many of these small mountain communities.

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    I'm close to my destination now -- Damascus, VA, the start of the MABDR.

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    I arrive at about 1500.

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    I had reserved a room at the Dragonfly Inn, a small B&B in downtown Damascus. Soon enough I'm posted up on the porch chuggin a cold Modelo. I reach out to Pat, an inmate here also riding the BDR and we make plans to meet up for dinner.

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    #9
  10. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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    Sorry about the tree. There has been much blowdown in that area this year. I look forward to the rest of your tour.
    #10
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  11. JonnyH913

    JonnyH913 Been here awhile

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    I am also one of those fools that did the digging into motorcycle carriers then bought one anyway. The Black Widow 500lb carrier. It wasn't until it was fully together that I trusted it. I am quite satisfied with the ability of the carrier and works perfectly for me.
    I'm in for the ride!
    #11
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  12. tntriumph

    tntriumph Adventurer

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    [​IMG]


    Anyway, she died recently, well into her 90s with her son and daughters (my mom included) at her side. My task was to reconnoiter where she spent her "glorious summers"; specifically the swinging bridge at Kinzel Springs, Tennessee where her family had a summer cabin. From here she, her sisters and brother would jump into the Little River all those years ago. Her memories of the Smokies were present in her conversation until the very end of her life. And so that's where we would spread her ashes.

    The bridge exists today much as it did then. The padlocks are love locks like you see at the Pont du Neuf in Paris, I think... just the rural Tennessee version:

    [​IMG]

    Visiting this place that my grandmother loved so much in her youth, so recently after her death, filled me with a great deal of melancholy. I made a promise to myself that I would take my own children to play in these waters. My first is due in October.[/QUOTE


    ----------------------------------------------

    I live just a few miles from this swinging bridge. Kinzel Springs is a beautiful spot with a long and interesting history. A well known Mountain Resort was located there in the late 1800's early 1900's where folks spent the summer enjoying the cooler temperatures of the mountains.
    Thanks for reminding me of it's nearby location. Gonna ride over there soon for a walk across and some fishing under it.
    #12
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  13. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    I'm in!
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  14. Shekinahglori

    Shekinahglori Adventurer

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    In!
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  15. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    I meet up with my partner for the trip at the Damascus Diner. We share a meal with two AT thru hikers that are several weeks into their journey. They smell bad and they're hungry. Their stories from the trail make for good conversation -- hiking the AT is an epic journey indeed and it's interesting to hear about their experiences so far.

    The next morning we meet at Mojo's Coffee Shop. The weather is absolute shit. It's raining hard and will be all day.

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    We stash our bikes underneath the awning of the closed Subway next door and prepare to head out. That's Pat on the right riding a DRZ400. He's going to do the entire route while I'm going to break off at Section 4 to head home.

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    It's wet and chilly.

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    After a few hours we're both pretty well soaked. The most frustrating part of riding in the rain is constantly having to adjust your helmet faceshield. Too far up and you get needled, too far down and it fogs up. My Arai's visor helped a little, as I was able to kind of tilt my head down and deflect some of the rain.

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    The roads are lovely. What a shame that the conditions are so poor.

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    The rain quickly turns the roads to snot. Fortunately Pat and I are both running knobby-ish tires (Pirelli MT21 Rallycross and Dunlop 606s respectively). Riding in these conditions on a big bike with dual sport tires would be a handful.

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    The MABDR's dirt tracks are heavily switchbacked as they go up and down the mountains. I quickly learn to fight the reflex to touch the front brake -- skidding through downhill turns with heavy rear brake is the only way to keep the bike upright in this slop.

    We pop out of the woods at Brushy Mountain Outpost, a small general store alongside the AT. We pull the bikes under and awning and head inside to dry off and grab a bite. There are half a dozen thru hikers doing the same.

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    This confluence of the MABDR and AT is quite nice -- the establishments that cater to the AT are also perfect for riders. It's comforting knowing you can squelch into a place like the Brushy Mountain Outpost covered in mud and filth, drop your wet gear in a pile on the floor, take off your boots, and generally make a mess all while being cheerfully welcomed by the proprietors -- in this case the Parker family.

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    Todd & his wife Cathy are well-familiar with the MABDR and clearly love running their little shop. He was full of colorful tales about the hikers that pass through. ("We had a Chinamen came through here not three days ago. Feller musta bin 60 years old, couldnt speak English or nothin. Just like that, walkin on the trail. He was typin what he needed inta his phone and it would spit out the English. We finally got the hamburger owdahim but I couldnt do nothin bout the milk!")

    Todd related to us their tactical seating arrangements -- by keeping the available seating below a certain number, they maintained their agricultural tax status vice commercial. ("That's wha I got them three picnic tables out there all together! One table only seats 6 people by the rules."

    The food was basic, but inexpensive and tasty. It's worth noting that all of the business catering to the AT are very mindful of keeping their prices reasonable -- even when there is a clearly an opportunity to take advantage of folks.

    Heeey look who it is:

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    The hikers were really chatty -- I think those travelling alone get pretty lonely and relish the opportunity to talk to others. One hiker was really agitated -- apparently a knife attack had occurred nearby and earlier that day. Unfortunately I would learn later that a hiker was murdered by some fucking nutcase.

    We depart. The rain doesn't cease and Pat & I are growing increasingly uncomfortable. Nothing calms your rain-soaked nerves like wet freshly dumped 1/2" inch deep gravel.

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    By late afternoon we pass the Mountain Lake Lodge, of Dirty Dancing fame. On the side of the road a shop appears open -- Mountain Lake Outfitters. It looks nice. Maybe they have some better rain pants? And I need some parachute cord or something to help secure my bivvy.

    This store is absolutely absurd. It's not an Outfitter, it's a gift shop. They sell t-shirts and coffee mugs. We ask the two kids working inside if they know any good campsites nearby. "Hmm... camping? We don't really deal with camping." We know White Rocks campground is nearby, but we're not actually sure where it is -- these kids have never heard of it. (Turns out it was only a few miles down the road.)

    We find it easily enough and setup camp. Mercifully, they rain has stopped for a bit.

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    Pat and I have different camping philosophies. You could probably cross from Cuba to Florida on his mattress.

    However, he stays completely dry inside his tent -- while I spend the night perpetually teetering on the brink of wetness. My OR bivvy sack is waterproof, but it uses OR's proprietary GoreTex clone... so it's breathable. But these kinds of membranes are unable to both seal out water completely on the outside and avoid condensing on the inside -- particularly in very high humidity conditions.

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    The rain has broken for now. And we have beer. I can't remember when we got it, but I have 64 ounces of cold Rocky Mountain brew to wash my wetness away.

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    Despite the wet wood I manage to get a small fire going and I try to dry my socks.

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    I think this kind of super lightweight camping is much less viable on the east coast than in the west. The equipment needed to stay under 3 lbs total (sleepinbag + pad + bivvy) just isn't robust enough to resist long term soaking rain -- for emergencies it's fine, but dry conditions are necessary to enjoy this kind of camping. I could've used my ground cloth to make a tarp, but then of course i'm exposing the bivy underneath -- and my pad, a pricey Sea to Summit that weighs like 2 ounces, is PAPER thin and needs all the armor it can get to prevent puncture.

    I don't sleep much as I'm constantly adjusting myself to prevent wetness. In my 11 years in the Army, I've sucked pretty good -- and I was definitely suckin that night.
    #15
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  16. olddrtbikrdr

    olddrtbikrdr Adventurer

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    Great story and pictures! I will be watching for the next installment. Good luck!
    #16
  17. Macdogg

    Macdogg Adventurer

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    In
    #17
  18. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer Supporter

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    Reference your packing.

    News flash young officer: you do not have to live completely like a light fighter on your 690! This isn't the Infantry!

    Guess I'll have to inspect before we allow you to cross the LD/LC next time...:lol3

    Kojack06(retired O6)
    #18
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  19. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    The next morning we wake up in the rain. It's 0630. Everything I have attempted to dry is either wet or damp. I covered my boots and other items with my rain jacket, and while that kept them from becoming sopping wet they are very soggy still. We hurriedly pack up -- it's raining heavily enough that those precious few items that escaped the rain are now getting wet. I forgot to bring instant coffee for my jetboil. Morale is a little low.

    I put on my socks and wince as I feel them get wet inside my damp boots. My jacket (klim badlands) and long sleeve tshirt have stayed dry thinks to my rain jacket -- an Arcteryx Beta. The prices on these things are eye popping, but it never let a drop of water in. I can't say enough good things about it.

    We head out to finish up Section 2 and begin Section 3 -- the longest and most "technical" (to the extent that it's almost all dirt and you're pretty deep in the woods for most of the day). We both agree that it's strange that Section 2 is so short (80 miles) and Section 3 so long (193 miles).

    After a few hours of riding we encounter this freshly fallen tree obstructing our route. A review of my GPS reveals that to backtrack and detour would be a significant endeavor.

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    To the left of the tree is drainage ditch that sits about 10 feet below the road surface. I hop down to examine the soil and see if it would support a bypass. It's sketchy, but the ditch shoulder slope is gradual enough that we might make it. Certainly not something I would try alone on my 1290 -- but my confidence was buoyed by my <400 lb GVW and that with two people we could likely drag the bikes out if we became hopelessly stuck.

    We breeze through, relieved at not having to endure a wet detour.

    The rain is creating increasingly treacherous rivulets of water that run like veins down the road, making unstable channels that love to suck in your wheels and pitch you off course.

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    We spend hours weaving our way through the green tunnels of the George Washington Nat'l Forest. We see no one. Not a single other rider, not a single car or hiker or hunter or anyone. There is no cell service for hours in any direction. It's pretty cool that you can still get this isolated in the mid-atlantic. Going down hard here without a partner could leave you in a tight spot.

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    It begins to look the same, of course. That's Tub Run Road above -- definitely the rockiest road we've ridden thus far.

    There are a few tantalizing moments where the weather feels ready to break. I even catch a few fleeting glimpses of blue. But it never does.

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    At the Warm Springs option we stop for gas -- you don't need to go all the way to Warm Springs to get gas... Oak Ridge gas station is like a mile down Hwy 39. An older gentlemen with one of those electronic voice boxes approaches us and starts talking about motorcycles. Boy is this guy chatty. He goes on about his old Triumphs and BSAs and BMWs for a solid 5 minutes. He doesn't stop to take a breath.. I guess he doesn't need to with his voice box? How does that work? Also, the electronic voice the box emitted also had a southern accent. :hmmmmm I got a kick out of that.

    The people in Virginia are very friendly and hospitable to motorcyclists just as they are the AT thru hikers.

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    Back into the green tunnels. It stops raining long enough for us to think it actually stopped raining. But it hadn't.

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    We agree we're not camping again tonight. I felt like a little bit of a wiener. Can't even handle two nights of camping in a row? I've slept in the dirt in body armor with literally nothing but what I was wearing. Just flopped on the ground and went to sleep. But there's something about perpetual wetness that just wrecks your morale.

    Our original plan was to make it to the Big Bend campground at Smoke Hole. I've ridden and camped out there before -- it's an awesome campground and it has hot showers. But it's 1500 already and we're still 70 miles of green tunnel from Smoke Hole. There's no way.

    We make for Brandywine. Right before Brandywine you have the three river crossings. I had done them before and knew what to expect, but that was in the fall during low water. This was the high water time -- and the final crossing, which can be 20 or 30 meters long, could be a little hairy if it's flowing fast. I was comforted by the fact that I couldn't really get any wetter, and my 690 is a breeze to pick up. We make it through fine and head into Brandywine.

    We don't have service and so we ask the lady at the gas station if there's a motel nearby. Our backup is to slab 30 miles to Winchester, VA. She says the pizza place down the street has rooms. Perfect.

    Remember when I said Virginians are really friendly to hikers and motorcyclists? I've ridden a lot in West Virginia... and I just don't get the same vibe in these smaller communities like Brandywine and Franklin. It's not that folks are unfriendly, but there's just something different in the air. People are more wary maybe? Perhaps they'll open up more as they're exposed to more and more BDR riders. Or perhaps that exposure isn't welcome.


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    With that said -- the Fox's Pizza Den was hoppin' full of customers orderin' up fresh pies and 2 liters of Mtn Dew. The owner/manager/cashier was happy to provide us with rooms for $50 even. A $50 motel room in the United States of 2019 is an uncertain thing, but I'm happy to report that the rooms at the Brandywine Motel are perfectly serviceable. There were no complimentary bottles of VOSS water, but the towels and sheets smelled clean and it was dry.

    Plus there was a manually operated space heater on the wall. Oh man. The ultimate gear dryer. I turned that fucker to 11 and get to drying my gear. The smell was unbearable. A jungle mist of hot ass and feet hung in the room. It fogged up my glasses every time I walked in. Disgusting.

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    The space heater is just absolutely barbecuing my gear. It's awesome. Before we left to eat at the Pizza Den I checked to make sure I wasn't about to burn the place down. Sure enough, I managed to melt the plastic buckle on my Sidi Discovery boots. This thing was roasting.

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    The pizza at the pizza den was OK. It was freshly baked and very inexpensive. There was effective WIFI and so we consulted the weather radars. Nothing in our future but rain. We walk to the gas station and buy some beer. They had a pretty good freakin' selection! and I was able to score a six pack of Bell's Two Hearted Ale -- which I think is one of the better widely-available ales.
    #19
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  20. maloryII

    maloryII ey brah Supporter

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    Mar 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,962
    Location:
    Severna Park, MD
    Over beer we plan our next moves. I feel for Pat, he hasn't seen this part of the country much and he's a bit disappointed that he's missing so much of the scenery. His timeline is a bit more flexible than mine so he ponders staying in Brandywine another day and waiting for the weather to move on. Part of our struggle is that we're following exactly the path of the weather system causing all this rain. And it's moving slowly across the mountains. We decide to do a weather call in the AM. That night I sleep like a corpse.

    The next morning it's fuckin raining again.

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    The radar shows us under a small cell that should clear quickly. It does and -- with freshly dried gear -- we decide to push on. I had picked up some rubber overpants at the Tractor Supply in Covington to better armor myself against the wet.

    Back into the green tunnel. It's cold today. Much colder than it has been -- when we leave it's only about 50F.

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    We're in a rain storm now. Heavy winds and torrential rain. It's cold. Pat's rain gear immediately fails and he's soaked. With my Beta jacket and the rubber fishing pants I'm dry, but my hands and face are frozen. This is just 100% not fun anymore.

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    We make it to Moorefield and ask the girl at the Sheetz for a lunch recommendation.

    She suggests "Family Traditions" down the road. She says it's really good. She gives us bad directions and so we spend a few minutes riding in the rain lookin for this fucking place.

    It's a total dump.

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    It felt like you were eating in someone's garage. It was filthy. I don't get these places. Maybe once back in the day they served good, homecooked food? Now I guess quality ingredients are too expensive, so everything just comes off the Sysco truck? The coffee was nearly undrinkably bad. The proliferation of chain restaurants isn't so hard to imagine when the local competition is so poor. Were the people that run this place really doing their best to produce the highest quality meals possible for their customers? Am I just being elitist?

    Sorry for the rant. The waitresses were cheerful and attentive, and it was inexpensive.

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    It actually looks like it's clearing up now. We hang out for a little while before starting Section 4.

    We push on. It's still cold and my hands are ice blocks.

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    It's fun to be acknowledged. It was raining and cold so we didn't stop.

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    We make it to Slanesville (about halfway through section 4) and Pat calls it. He doesn't want to spend the entire MABDR in the rain, which I completely understand. He breaks for Romney to stay the night, re-dry all his gear, and try again the next day.

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    I point my KTM towards home. I'm only about 3 hours via slab away. Man it's gonna be a long and cold three hours though. And it was.

    That's it! Thanks for following. I'll post a few AAR comments as well.
    #20