MABDR solo

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Brett737cap, May 7, 2019.

  1. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Just got back from doing the MABDR, South to North, solo on my 1200GS. I live in Virginia, so I rode down to the start in a day, spent 6 on the trail, then a day to get home. I had great weather until the last day on the trail, when it rained on me all day without letting up. I ended up doing both expert sections (in section 7 & then 8), and I bypassed Shepherdstown and Harpers Ferry (too much traffic, all on paved roads, plus I’ve been to both already) and instead took the alternate route from section 4 to 5. Not feeling like writing much so I’ll let the pics speak for themselves:

    Section 1, VA:

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    #1
  2. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Section 1, VA: I ended up at Mountain Lake Lodge for the night. Great place with good food!

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    #2
  3. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 2, Section 2 & 3, VA and WV:

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    #3
  4. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 2, Sections 2 & 3, VA & WV: I ended up staying at the Brandywine motel in Brandywine, WV. Yes, I dropped the bike. Not even a good tale, just lost my footing when I stopped and dropped it.

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    #4
  5. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 3, Sections 3, 4, & 5. WV, MD, and PA. Took the alternate route from section 4 to 5. Section 4 is mostly paved roads. Stayed the night in Waynesboro PA.

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    #5
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  6. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 4, Section 5 & 6, PA: beautiful riding through several state forests. The day started out misty and I was riding in the fog all morning. The roads were fast, hard-packed gravel and dirt.

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    #6
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  7. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 4, sections 5 & 6, PA: Beautiful Amish country. Unbenownst to me it was graduation weekend at Penn State. That meant all the hotels were full. I opted to camp at Greenwood Forest State Park, but as I was pulling in, the skies opened up and it started pouring. Not being hardy enough to camp alone in the rain, I hightailed it out of there. I stopped at a Sheetz where I hung out in the building calling hotels. I finally found a room 5 miles away for an outrageous price, but I took it to have a dry place to sleep.

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  8. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 5, Sections 6, 7, & 8, PA: PA is mostly hard packed dirt and gravel roads through the forest, often following a stream. Many of them go up and over escarpment after escarpment, and you can keep your speed up and the riding is easy.

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    #8
  9. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 5, Section 6, 7, & 8, PA: For the most part I didn’t come across any other riders doing the MABDR. In section 7 I came up on 2 riders on F800GS’ taking a break, so I stopped to say hi. It turned out they were a father and son, Brent and Brandon, who had done the entire MABDR last fall, and were now just riding some of the PA Sections again for the weekend. They offered to ride the expert section of Section 7 with me, as I was a little hesitant to do it solo in case I got in trouble. It turns out I needn’t have worried, as it was easily doable. After we hit Harvey’s food mart, the beginning of Section 8, we parted ways as they wanted to continue on and I needed some lunch. There is a great place for a stop just 4 miles off the BDR in Miffllinburg called the Rusty Rail Brewery. Great food. Didn’t try the beer as I was riding more. In section 8 I opted to try the expert section solo. One word on that: Mud. Lots of mud in deep ruts that have to be ridden through. It was slow going but I made it without dropping the bike. Spent the night in Williamsport, about 13 miles off of Section 8. It was a great town with lots of good hotels, restaurants and pubs.

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    #9
  10. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 6, Section 8 & 9, PA: The day started with steady light rain that continued and changed between medium and light rain all day. I thought this day would go quickly as I only had 100 miles to do, but the weather made for slow going, and the temps dropped to 50 in the hills. About 75% of the roads had decent traction, but the others are sloppy, slick clay and dirt which made the going very slow and like riding on ice. I figured I would drop the bike at some point, and I came close a few times, but somehow I kept it upright. The last 20 miles were the slickest, as they went through pure dirt farm roads. I ended up spending the night in Corning, NY.

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    #10
  11. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    Day 6, Section 9. The finish:

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    #11
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  12. txbear55

    txbear55 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Nice photos and report! Thanks for taking the time to post!
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  13. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    Thanks for that! Great pics. My buddy and I are doing it North to South at the end of June. It was nice to see your pictures.
    #13
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  14. Jager

    Jager Been here awhile

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    Great post!

    Tell us about your tires. Your rear looks like it already had a few miles on it when you started.

    And how come you pulled your right bag off in the pic where your bike is taking a nap? Was that to reduce weight before picking up the bike?

    That muddy, expert section looks pretty challenging!
    #14
  15. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    The tires were Heidenau K60s. I only had about 3500 miles on them when I started. They seemed to wear pretty quick off road, so by the time I got to the slick stuff they were fairly worn. I got through all the slick stuff without dropping it though. I can't say if less wear or another tire, like a TKC 80, wouldve been better on the slick clay-like stuff that was not deep. I think anything wouldve slid around quite a bit. And the Heidenau's got me through the deep mud in the expert section with no problem. I was worried they would spin a little bit, but that did not happen.

    I took the right bag and the top bag off the bike to reduce weight. I tried picking it up with both on it, but couldn't quite make it. I think the moment-arm of where they were in relation to where the bike had to be was workign against me as well. Once I took them off, it came up pretty easily. Thankfully I had dry dirt and good traction. I am not so sure it would've been so easy to pick it up in the slick mud on the last day, so keeping it upright was the better option.

    The muddy expert section was challenging, mostly in that it was very physical. It was only 3 miles but it had me sweating my ass off by the time I was done. The other expert section, which I did not stop to take pics of since I was riding with others, was not as muddy, but much more rocky. I found it quite a bit easier. especially on a big bike.
    #15
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  16. Jager

    Jager Been here awhile

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    I ride solo most the time, including my minor off-road adventures. That's one reason I found your solo MABDR ride especially interesting. Riding solo is a different experience all together... and none more so than when a bike needs to be picked up. That's a particularly salient point for those of us whose off-road skills are still, uhm, developing (tip of the hat to all you boys and girls who happily glom to the "expert" sections...). I rode part of the MABDR solo last fall and, at my skill level, some of the wet stuff was quite sketchy!

    Again, great report.
    #16
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  17. edgeoftheworld

    edgeoftheworld Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the report. I am hoping to do all or part of the MABDR this summer and most likely solo. I don't have much off road experience but I have had to pick my bike up a lot :) Looks like if I avoid the expert sections, I should be ok alone.
    #17
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  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Beautiful countryside.
    #18
  19. Brett737cap

    Brett737cap Life is short... leave with no regrets. Supporter

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    It’s all fairly mild riding. The stream crossings have a lot of large-ish uneven rocks, but as long as the water level is lower they aren’t too difficult. With waterproof boots you can wade across a couple of them, to check out your best line and where the big rocks are, before riding across.

    I’m almost always a solo rider as I work weekends mostly and I’m a bit of an introvert. Best thing I ever bought for peace of mind was a Garmin Inreach Explorer. Most of the BDR I had no cell signal, so having that meant I could get help if I got hurt or had a problem I couldn’t fix, no matter how far in the wilderness I was.
    #19
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  20. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale The Adventures of Peter Pan

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    Looks like you had a great trip. I need to do the MABDR soon. The Mosko bags look good on your bike.
    #20
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