TPAT, Vertical Edition - "Prove Out" Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by tonyjuliano, May 27, 2016.

  1. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    It's finally time...

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    The track you see above is a "labor of love" that has taken many months to conceptualize. I wanted to create a Trans-Pennsylvania Trail that bisected the state vertically, and incorporated as much travel on "unimproved" surfaces as possible. You can read more about this HERE.

    After about 35 years of basically exclusive asphalt riding, I've been compelled to return my roots - the dirtier side - where I learned to ride as a kid.

    The work done on this project up to this point has been mostly conceptual, lots of map study, but no real riding to speak of. Until now...

    Tonight, after work, a couple of long-time riding buddies and I, head west from Philly to prove this new track out. Our plan is to motor on historic RTE 30 to Gettysburg, before turning south to Thurmont, MD - where we will hole up for the night before tackling the first part of the trail Saturday morning.

    The trail was developed to be "big-bike" friendly, but we will be taking it on using mostly street-oriented bikes (Ducati Scrambler, a KTM Duke 690 - the only "suitable" exception being a lone Triumph Tiger XC). I've taken various street bikes plenty of places I shouldn't have over the years, so I don't anticipate too many problems. (famous last words, maybe?)

    I'm currently holed up in my office, waiting impatiently for the trip to begin...

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    Attached Files:

    #1
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  2. Switchrunz

    Switchrunz Adventurer

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    Can't wait to hear how the route goes for you! I've watched your thread about planning the route for a little while now. I'm outside of philly in Collegeville and have some friends and family along the route you have shown, which would give me a nice ride while being able to stop in and visit them. Haha.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G925A using Tapatalk
    #2
  3. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Yep, there's certainly not a ton of opportunity (dirt / gravel wise) in PA - but this should be some of the best.
    #3
  4. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Friday, May 27th
    Philly to Thurmont, MD - 130 miles


    So, we broke from the confines of Philly at around 5pm, heading west for the boring ride to our intended destination just south of the proposed trail, in Maryland. Nothing much to speak of, just an uneventful ride on RTE 30.

    Stuck in traffic trying to get through Lancaster...
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    We stopped along the way in York, PA for a burger and a beer, then just as we got back on the road the skies opened up. We pulled over and struggled with our rainsuits before striking out once again. The rain was coming down in huge pellets - note to self, 3/4 helmets suck in the rain.

    The rain tailed off as we turned south on HWY 15, the rain let off an we were mostly dry by the time we rolled into our luxury accommodations at the Rambler Inn located in Thurmont, MD. Nothing like a room that smells like a dirty ashtray wrapped in some leftover Indian food - awesome!

    Here's another boring pic from the road...
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    Well, tomorrow should be much more fun, as we start to prove this sucker out - stay tuned...
    #4
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  5. JLRzr

    JLRzr Been here awhile

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    Tuned in... Good luck.
    #5
  6. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Saturday, May 28th
    Thurmont, MD to Milroy, PA - 185 miles


    Today was to be the day... We awoke early in our scuzzy motel, eager to finally hit this new trail.
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    It was a quick 8 mile trip on some pretty twisty asphalt to the beginning of the track on the Maryland / Pennsylvania border.
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    From here the trail headed north off-road through Michaux State Forest. The beginning was way better than I expected - nothing too technical, but lots and lots of gravel and packed dirt.
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    Continued...
    #6
  7. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    It was pretty amazing as this track was completely developed in hypothetical form, from loads of map study and no actual riding, but so far we only had one small detour due to a closed gate.

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    It was a "snowmobile-only" trail, but the detour was short, and also fun. So far the track was everything I hoped for and more. Plenty of dirt & gravel, but also some decently twisty asphalt - enough to make this former road-racer very happy.

    Continued...
    #7
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  8. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Total fun stuff all morning, as the track averaged about 70% unimproved stuff, but it is total suitable for big-bike travel...

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    We soon came upon some kind of former CCC camp, and stopped for a break...

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    continued....
    #8
  9. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Piss break...

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    Back to the dirty stuff...
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    Continued...
    #9
  10. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Everything going along wonderfully, until problem #1 happened. During one of the really nice asphalt sections, our Triumph Tiger rider hit some gravel in a tight corner and went down hard...

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    We got him back up, and the bike seemed to be fine (outside of a few minor scrapes - his engine guards took most of the hit), and he managed to get away with just a bit of road rash of his own. But everything else seemed cool.

    Low-sides don't count!!!

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    Continued...
    #10
  11. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Most of the rest of the day was spent wandering along the mountaintops...

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    Until we encountered problems #2 & 3...
    #11
  12. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Problem #2 was a thunderstorm that rolled into us as we were navigating the already slippery shale near Penn Roosevelt. We pulled over to wait it out, as none of us really wanted to pull our raingear on...

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    Which brings us to problem #3...
    #12
  13. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    As we carefully picked our way through the dirt roads if Rothrock State forest, my fuel light blinked to life. Shouldn't have been a problem, as normally fuel would be easy to find, but we didn't want to back track as I thought we would make it to the next available fuel. Unfortunately it turned to be another 30 miles to the highway, and of course we could only muster another 28...

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    So, the Triumph with the much larger tank motored on ahead with containers for fuel, as the 2 of us waited for his return. Once we were moving again, it was almost the halfway point, so we decided to call it a day and headed off the track at the next highway to find a motel...

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    #13
  14. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    We had to ride almost 15 miles on the highway before we found a vacancy, time to wash up and do a little laundry...

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    We had a good steak dinner, washed down with copious amounts of beer, and sleep will probably come early.

    Tomorrow we tackle the 2nd half, which on paper looks to be even better than the 1st.
    #14
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  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Looks to be a great ride and you have some outstanding pics, IMHO.
    #15
  16. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    Sunday, May 29th
    Millroy, PA to Erwin, NY - 195 miles

    Yo! This is Mo (username mobo215, if I remember correctly) posting on Tony's account. I'm the guy on the white KTM 690 Duke. We're at the bar next to the Erwin Motel, a great deal at $54/night, if you don't mind that the room smells like a sardine's twat. I'm on my fourth IPA and I'm not stopping until I'm blasted. I still haven't pooped since Friday night.... this always happens to me on 3-day weekend trips.

    But enough about me....

    The Northern half of this trail was a good mix of paved roads and gravel/dirt trails. I guesstimate that in terms of mileage, it was about 70% unpaved and 30% paved. As for time on road, it was 90% gravel and dirt. Most of the original track worked out nicely, except for three or four detours. An updated track will be posted shortly with edits to reflect these discrepancies.

    Being the cheap bastards that we are, Adrien and I decided to share the second bed last night and Friday to save some money on the hotel fees. Tony always gets his own bed because he's a disgusting, greasy baboon whose snoring sounds like agonal breathing as heard through a megaphone. It was kinda ghey but hey, the current year is 2016 and I'm all out of give a f#$k. The good thing about sleeping with another man is that you get out of bed really early.

    So we were out the door, packed up, and headed over to the hotel restaurant by 6:30AM. It was closed so we went to Bing's Diner in Lewiston, PA. Across the street from the diner was what appeared to be a mothballed steel mill. Lewistown looks like another one of those "steel towns", built around a steel mill and then abandoned when the mill closed. You see a lot of those where the roads are good. Sidestands were up by 7:30 and we were on the way.

    We hit 322 West to pick up the track where we left off on Saturday. Two exits later and we were back on dirt.

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    Continues next post....
    #16
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  17. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    (This is Mo again, posting under Tony's account)

    Adrien's bike was acting up all morning. We think his throttle position sensor was knocked out of whack in his crash yesterday. His bike wouldn't run at idle, and would stall every time he came to a stop. Not that big of a deal, as he could just clutch it hold his throttle a little bit at every stop. He also had a little boo boo on his elbow, right below the armor in his dirtbike shirt. No big deal though, he was going to be fine.

    But NO... Adrien is a big fat pussy and decided to peel off at about 10AM as our track crossed I-80. Let it forever be known that Adrien is a cowardly mangina, not worthy of the Adventure Rider moniker. Here is a picture of him, in case you ever come across this yellow-belly on the road (he's the bald guy. I'm the ugly guy next to him):

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    Immediately after parting ways with Adrien, we hit a section of dirt that was too steep and slippery for us to safely pass, so we made a slight detour and went right back on track within less than a mile. Unfortunately, what came next was almost as bad - about 5 miles of deep, loose gravel. We were sliding all over the place and both of us almost bit it several times. On the bright side, it was all uphill. Luckily, the other side of the hill was hard-packed dirt and we were able to blast our way down at 50mph. Tony's dust cloud was so thick that I had to hang back a bit just to see the road in front of me.

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    Continued...
    #17
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  18. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    So... Ghost Writer Mobo has been fired.

    The weather really cooperated today as we managed to stay dry right up till the end - almost. Soon we were approaching the rim of the Grand Canyon of PA, and the views and vistas were plentiful from the forest roads we traveled upon....

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    When the forest roads are not full of gravel, they have a niced packed surface with very little washboard - you can really rip on them.

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    Continued...
    #18
  19. tonyjuliano

    tonyjuliano Grumpy Santa

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    After the canyon we were treated with the twisty asphalt on the road to Colton Point Park. We used it as a private race track, and had a ball. From there it was back to the the dirt for the remainder of the day, we had a few closed gate to route around, but it was otherwise uneventful, and we hit the PA / NY state line at around 3:30pm.

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    Continued...
    #19
  20. Tall Man

    Tall Man Medium timer

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    <sorry to interrupt>
    Excellent report, excellent pics.
    Just let us know where the GPX file will be posted.
    Many thanks.
    #20