Travels with jdrocks-the Blue Ridge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by jdrocks, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    [/QUOTE]


    fasteddie is from western Canuckistan, so yeah, his bears are bigger.

    as for you on a Versys, go for it. if anyone could break a Versys in half, that would be me, ain't happened...so far.
  2. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    211
    Hell - we got GOPHERS bigger'n those S Jersey "slowpoke69" bears around these parts...!

    :1drink
  3. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    in case the Pony Express hasn't reached you out in the bush with the news of the world...

    you might have big gophers, but New Jersey has these really really big PETA women who chase the bear hunters around in the woods, bet you don't have those.
  4. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    211
    Let's see... new Tourance rubber F & R 'spooned' on - CHECK;
    ... throttle-bodies synched - CHECK; ... oil/ filter changed - CHECK;
    ... air-filter cleaned - CHECK; WD40 all over the chain - CHECK!

    Looks like I'm ready to roll, Dave. :evil

    Hell I'll PROBABLY be able to go at least 50, MAYBE 60 (!!!) mph :ricky, so all you're gonna see is a GREEN STREAK, but watch for the sonic boom thru my Mach wave....:wings

    Cheers,
    the fast one
    :clap
  5. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365

    that's all good, nifty, swell, and all...but then ya blew it by posting up in the wrong thread. you're supposed to be traveling in this one, y'all been into the LaBatts again?

  6. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    i hadn't realized how much the forum changes had screwed up the ride reports, for the reports to be readable almost every report post has to be edited.

    maybe an edit and an update is in order.
  7. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    THE SOUTHBOUND CHARGE

    I was up in Winchester, got the pass from my XO, a quick break from routine to squeeze in a ride south along the Virginia/West Virginia border before the big rains arrive, the gravel road conditions always a question mark, ya never what you'll find. i wasn't far into the first section on the route, and i come across recent repairs on washed out culverts, not good for what might be ahead.

    Bike running along well, the suspension doing the job through anything rough.

    [​IMG]

    At the bottom of this road is a new bridge, the old one recently washed out. You would never think what looks like a benign little creek could take it out, but it did.

    [​IMG]

    The downhill bridge approach had washed out too, now all new...makes me wonder about the rest of my roads.

    [​IMG]

    (to be continued)
  8. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    Now southbound on narrow macadam, some of the things you run across back in the woods makes ya wonder what's going on out here, cults and communes come to mind, and I idled past a dude dressed as a Tibetan monk, complete with wire-rim glasses and carved walking stick. sorry, no photo, I was mindful of that stick...and whatever else he might be carrying.

    Trees starting to show some color, about a week late compared to other years.

    [​IMG]

    These roads might be paved now, but they followed either a ridge line or creek bottom where wagons could make it through, and bypassed the huge rock faces found in the area.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


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    Down through Capon Springs, then smack dab through the old-time resort of the same name, I'd been through here four years ago...

    "Kump and Milk, both paved and southbound, no traffic, then reconnecting to Back Creek, also south, and we found ourselves in metro Capon Springs. We looked briefly for a convenience store, Monsieur Nix desiring a beer chaser with his tortellini if available, didn't find anything close, and we were south on Capon Springs Road, running headlong into Capon Springs, the other one, the old time resort, and man, were they ever glad to see us, the freakin' Hells Angels, and that's the one and only time I've ever seen people mistake a DR for a chopper.


    A big wet fart in the middle of the PTA meeting wouldn't have caused more commotion, people were grabbing the kids, herding the women, and in general, runnin' for safety, except for the teenage kids, and everyone knows they wholeheartedly admire depravity. We were bad dudes, as in whacked out dangerous, and that's when I locked up the brakes, nearly ran over a loaf of white bread wearing an argyle sweater and knee socks with brogues, the spittin' image of J. Edgar shortly before he beheld the pale horse, ya know, croaked.

    I wanted to stop for a few vodka martinis and a Cohiba Black, but doggone, Monsieur Nix hadn't packed any resort wear in those Wolfman bags, no embroidered ponies, no plaid pants, nuthin'. Damn, with embroidered pony and alligator resort wear we could have passed for Ivy Leaguers, slurped down the martinis, smoked the Dominicans, talked ETFs and derivatives, Buffet and Gates, debated estate planning, tax strategy and such all before adjourning for the Caponchase. Can't miss that one, I'm awesomely good at that there code cracking."

    Past Capon Springs, and I was back on gravel, climbing up and over the next mountain.

    [​IMG]

    (to be continued)
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  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    A few jigs and jogs, across some unfamiliar new divided highway, and I ignored the GPS that was screaming "TURN, TURN, TURN...ya dumb SOB", but I didn't, then had to unceremoniously cross the median and backtrack a mile to find my road. Others must have had the same experience, then took out their frustration on the sign. Alternately, they didn't shoot any squirrels, but bagged a squirrel sign instead.

    [​IMG]

    The fog and mist had burned off, this road was a great ride, sun filtering through the trees overhead.

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    Long views are hard to come by until the leaves are off the trees, but interesting things are found closer.

    [​IMG]

    Graded 57 stone top dressing, except where the subgrade is exposed on ascents and descents, there's a very high center berm on most of this road, and it often feels like you're riding on a marbled side-hill as you try to stay on your side of the road, a necessary precaution.

    [​IMG]

    Around a curve, I find an old guy standing in the road, an even older shotgun in the crook of his arm.

    "Y'all seen any squirrels crossin' the road, I'm too old to wander around lookin' for them things?"

    "Nope, haven't seen any, ya need to get a squirrel dog, he'll find ya a bushel of squirrels, takes a year to train."

    "Hell, I'm eighty years old, do I look like I got a year to train a damn dog?"

    Hmmmmm, cloudy disposition for a glorious day in the woods, and I left him wandering the road, don't think he shot that sign, but ya never know.

    A person would need a high clearance vehicle to get in there without dragging some low-hanging parts and pieces, nothing like that with a bike, but sliding around on the side-hill marbles requires full attention, and I was glad to find the road finally flatten out.

    [​IMG]


    (to be continued)
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  10. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    Back out to macadam, descending into the next valley on a twisting road, no traffic, so I can stop next to the guard rail for more rocks...gotta have rocks, and these are damn interesting, can't ride past.

    [​IMG]

    There's a small creek running along the bottom of the face, typical, and also the reason why these roads wash out in a heavy rain.

    [​IMG]

    Where exposed, these walls give you an idea of the problems faced when going after the coal seams mixed in the formations.

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    At the bottom of the road before the next turn there's a flock of chickens in the road, an excited rooster trying to herd a bunch of hens...ahhhh, photo op. Camera out, got the shot lined up, but suddenly the birds scatter as a new FJR arrives at my elbow, nuts. Don't know how he got here, but it wasn't on my roads, the bike wasn't even dusty. The rider doesn't say anything to me when I report "Just tryin' to get a photo of these chickens in the road", he was busy looking the bike over for a minute, shook his head, then rode off. Damn, he done spoilt my chicken shot, and that rooster didn't think much of the whole deal either.

    [​IMG]


    (to be continued)
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  11. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    Done with the freakin' chickens, a slight highway zigzag, then i was riding the creek bottoms southeast, passing another small reservoir. These are found all over this area in almost the same frequency as large mill ponds are found near home, but are not connected to a mill. Apparently there was a truck load of Federal money available years back, so the creeks were contained with earthen dams, instant reservoirs, most having risers for a water tanker connection when fighting fires, both wild land and structure.

    [​IMG]

    There's a road along the ridge above heading roughly the same direction, been there, so now i was riding the bottom route, narrow roads, and new to me. It doesn't take all that much rain to put water over these roads.

    [​IMG]

    Lovely day, fine riding, but it's not all nature tour however. Never the less, interesting spectacles found, complete with fill-in-the-blanks dialogue.

    "C'mon boys, we need to fetch that tranny outta thar, ain't crawlin' around in no damn dirt neither, grab aholt, on a countta three...one, two, heeeeeeave, ya sons a bitches."

    [​IMG]

    Always wanted one of them kit cars, I'd look kinda sporty on the roads around here.

    [​IMG]

    Hell with it, I'd rather get a closeup of a cheeseburger right now, and I put the the camera away. Another mile down the road, and I was on the brakes again, thinking I really should get a photo of what I was seeing. Idling along, the Leo Vince startled a yearling deer sunning itself in the tall grass along the shoulder. The deer came up in a blur of sandy fur, and jumped over the front wheel...that close. Some photo-op luck, if I hadn't slowed to a walking pace, the outcome might have been different. Now where's that cheeseburger?


    (to be continued)
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  12. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    This is an example of an undershot mill from a long gone era. The wheel was so large that combined with the gearing, it didn't take a big creek to drive it...once it got going, it stayed going. The roads were so bad that the the locally grown grains were milled close by, although this is the only mill i have seen. There must be more.

    [​IMG]

    Found my cheeseburger, and I was sitting outside on the duffers bench in the middle of a bunch of actual duffers, telling outrageous lies along with the rest, man, there was some funny stuff goin' round. These were locals, and knew all the roads, and I was surprised to find out that there hadn't been any rain here, while just a short distance north a bridge had been washed out. Flooding is a sore subject in this valley, the high water mark recorded on the wall of the store puts flood water at least 8 feet above the road surface in front of me...people died.

    Back on the bike, climbing west over the mountain, road rough but not bad on the V649, and I encountered the first of many water crossing on these last few route sections. These crossings were filled with muddy water, I hate those, I can't see any obstructions in my chosen line, might be a bowling ball size rock lurking in there, pray ya don't find it. I never did see a vehicle ahead of me, but towards the bottom I find a Forest Service pickup inching towards me, amazing, after I don't even know how many miles of FS road traveled out here, this is the first ranger I've ever seen out of the office.

    Five miles of highway, then gravel travel, I hadn't been on this road for years. This roads points to the variety of conditions found around the border area, while also pointing to the mystery of scheduled road maintenance, frankly, it looks totally haphazard to me.

    [​IMG]

    All kinds of surfaces already today, suspension getting a workout, and although I prefer the suspension on the stiff side, I'm thinking I might soften things up a click or two on both ends. It won't be right now, my rule is never to touch a tool to a running bike while on roads like this...there's only limited upside, but a big downside if your luck is unpredictable.

    [​IMG]

    Another half dozen water crossings, these were clear, and I get to test my legs standing on the pegs for a one mile ascent, trust me, I was ready to sit down again. Rough, but not too bad, and I get to test the mud performance of the 805 in a short spring-fed mud bog at the bottom of a switch back...verdict, true to the reviews, they ain't a mud tire. At the top of the mountain I relaxed a bit, coasting along in 1st through a 100% blind left hander, and here's a flat fender jeep in the same corner. Lucky, he was going slow too, and only the second vehicle I had seen all day.

    Eventually I rode past another reservoir, must be some fish in there.

    [​IMG]

    I had changed mental gears, and realized I was going to be late for a rendezvous with a group of other riders, Mexican fare at a good local restaurant. Ain't never been late for something like that, so I found pavement, goodbye gravel, and a few seconds later, 6th gear.


    THE END

    (ok, there might be more...)
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  13. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    WEST, THEN A MILE HIGH

    This latest ride started at sea level, then climbed nearly a mile heading west. the cheap-ass V649 moto does so well on these trips involving super slab transit miles at 80mph, then hundreds of miles of sometimes rugged FS roads once in the mountains. There are other motos which can be purchased off the showroom floor that will also do the same job, but you'll pay, and maybe more than once as you beat it up out there.

    [​IMG]


    The next stop was one of my all time favorite fuel stops, necessary to tank up to the filler neck for a high speed push to western Virginia, and more fuel, hey, it ain't the first time I've done this ride. This Kwik-Mart has provided a few episodes for the Khronicles, and I should have written about the young lady and her new black 750i xDrive on the opposite side of the island from an earlier visit here, still might, she was truly something else...and what she did while here I'm not sayin' just yet.

    [​IMG]

    A half mile later, I'm in 6th at a steady 80, and would pretty much stay that way until fuel at Waynesboro, beautiful day for it. This stop is also fertile Khronicle country, besides fuel, a leg stretch, sip a drink, eat a granola bar, check email, and call home before entering the no cell dead zone of West Virginia.


    [​IMG]

    There's a Starbuckistan Consulate on the other side of the highway for those holding the proper passport, and being so inclined. I have a troubled history with Starbuckistan, and didn't try to cross the border.


    [​IMG]



    (to be continued)
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  14. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    I didn't waste time, had a long way to go to get to where I planned to camp at a Forest Service campground up in the mountains, and the gravel road conditions between here and there were unknown, at least in part. I had been on all those roads over the years, but not recently, and out here just one rainfall can take a road from very good to very bad.

    On the slab for a few miles, then quickly off, instead riding macadam southwest through rolling country down to 39, then west before turning back north. That's right, I'd jiggered the route to ride gravel back over the mountain heading north, and I was a little apprehensive, I'd seen this road in terrible shape, at least big bike wise. Plenty of fuel still on board, and I started up a broad valley leading to gravel.

    [​IMG]

    Narrow roads, pay attention.

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    Every single one of these valleys has a creek or river through the bottom lands, and I always pay attention to water levels, the flow is a good indicator of what I'll find in any water crossings ahead.

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    Not much flow, but that still didn't mean that the crossings would be bone dry.

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    This country is basically rock, and it's hard to imagine the back-breaking work it took to plow this ground in those pioneer days, removing rocks turned up year after year. The rock went into fences and walls, foundations and chimneys.

    [​IMG]

    I stopped at the small bridge over the river for a sip of water, gravel on the other side...adventure starts here.

    [​IMG]


    (to be continued)
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  15. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    About to get back on the bike, one of the old stone farm homes was directly in front of me, and I was reminded that it was on this very bridge five years earlier that myself and a riding buddy were confronted by the woman owner of the house, her family’s home place for generations, young in 1800, damn old all told. If I reported that she was angry, I wouldn’t be painting the right picture…she was positively livid after being run off the gravel road above her house by a group of dirt bike riders, and she thought we were with them.

    She eventually wound down in the face of our protests, and finally said directly to me “I think they were much younger”. Whoa there darlin’, were you speaking of me, or us, or what?, ‘cause I’m feelin’ right sprightly at the moment, my young at heart sauve faire blazing away. So while one of us charmed, the other smirked with abandon, choking back laughter, and we escaped up the mountain, avoiding a spanking of sorts, although my buddy seemed disappointed to leave.

    That stylish mad-as-a-freakin’-hornet gal wasn’t around today…I looked.

    The first time I had crossed this road was from the opposite direction with my riding buddy Shannon Nix, and after several days of heavy rain. We were on small bikes, good thing, the road was all cut to pieces by deep gullies for the entire distance, impassible by vehicle, proof being the abandoned 4x4 pickup we found in a ditch near the start of the climb up the mountain. Since then, I’ve been across on the V649 bikes, but not recently, and was pleasantly surprised to find the road graded, top dressed, and in by far the best condition I’ve ever seen it.

    [​IMG]

    This road shows some use to start, but it’s deceptive because the road branches back southeast, taking most of any traffic that direction.

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    Past the turnoff and north, now you’re on your own all the way to the summit. Ain’t nobody out here.

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    The road is cut into the side of the mountain in typical fashion, but enough in the way that it’s hard to get a good view, or when there is a small opening, it’s difficult to stop without sliding back down the steep grade, brakes or in gear, doesn’t matter.

    Take a photo when ya can, the “blue” of the Blue Ridge off in the distance.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere near the top, I’m thinking, man, it’s a beautiful day for gravel roads and rock…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    (to be continued)
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  16. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    The road seems to show some additional usage at the very top of the mountain, no explanation, but it looks like some vehicles came in from the north, then turned around, and went back out the same way. Seems an inconvenient drive for leaf looking, there may be something else going on, a mystery.

    [​IMG]

    The road is much tighter through the blind corners on this side, and those corners are all high banked to the inside for a northbound rider, the implication obvious…it’s highly likely that you’ll find a southbound vehicle smack in front of you as the driver slides down the banking in the corner, ending up at your front wheel. No good, so don’t get careless.

    I was already feeling a time crunch, and didn’t stop on the way down, finding macadam after almost thirty miles of gravel, whew. No water crossings on this road, but various little creeks cross the road in the valley, this one at Bear Wallow Flat.

    There was a mature Blue Heron standing in the pool when I stopped, but he was shy…damn Leo Vince.

    [​IMG]

    My next fuel stop was a country store up the road a few miles, I needed some of those non-McD style cheeseburgers, water for camp too. I gassed to the top of the filler neck, always prudent, ain’t fuel on every corner out here, then wheeled the bike over near the store entrance. I can already smell whatever is on the grill, growls coming from my innards loud as that tuba in the high school band.

    There was another guy smelling of hot chassis grease and wet canvas standing at the order counter in back, he already had a loaf of white bread, a 12-pack of Coors, and was waiting on four ham biscuits. Bread for the wife, biscuits and Coors to ease his drive home, and he was big enough that his wife shouldn’t worry much about him spoiling his appetite for dinner.

    Ordered my cheeseburgers, “Be ready in a minute, Honey” from the elderly cook, and took the opportunity to talk with the guy at the register about all the “No Pipeline” signs I’ve seen planted all over out here. Touchy subject, and the question prompted a big-time rant covering eminent domain litigation, citizen uprising, gunfire, arson…in short, the normal course of events. I think they want to run that big-ass pipeline right through his front yard.

    While I was standing there at the register, I swear I got a distinct whiff of Hoppe’s #9, something any individual who enters this store with bad intentions should take into consideration. This is country, could be a freakin’ SAW stashed under the counter for all I know.

    Got my burgers and two liters of water, I’ll eat one right now thanks, save the other for later, the hell with cooking at camp, too late when I get there. Good cheeseburger, and about two seconds later I threw the wrapper away, done. If I hadn’t been so late, I would have gone back in to talk with the old lady cook again about the rest of the hand-lettered menu, don’t think another thousand calories would hurt me too bad.

    Just then I was swarmed from two directions, a pair of bicycle riders on my right, and a guy in a golf cart to my left. The right-handers turned out to be Canadians on their way to Mexico, and I surprised them when I said “I’m going to give you guys some shocking news, I’ve been in Canada longer than you have.” They laughed when I explained, then went inside for…cheeseburgers.

    My new golf cart friend wanted to talk politics, and had easily identified me as an outsider, in other words, the only person left in the whole county that he hadn’t already politicked into some form of diagnosed insanity. He wasn’t a Clinton fan, and was rambling about Hillary this, FBI that, but was talking so excitedly that I had trouble following whatever he was trying to tell me, a new investigation, whatever. I do know one thing, he already had Hillary outfitted in a khaki pants suit, de rigueur at the federal prison up the road out here.

    Gotta run, but since he was wearing a UVA ball hat, I asked him what happened against North Carolina, UVA lost big last weekend. “Simple, those Cavalier boys ‘caint play worth a damn”.


    (to be continued)
  17. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    My campsite was something like four or five mountains away, generally west, but I would see all compass points along the way. It wasn’t the distance that was causing concern, it was the fact that over forty of the miles were gravel, damn, I might be riding the last gravel miles after sundown. Light the fires, get the beast movin’. My route jogged across the highway, and after a short macadam run, I was back on gravel, fast in this case, and dodging bike swallowing potholes while beginning a gradual climb.

    The serious work starts at the foot of the mountain where grades become much steeper in just a quarter mile, and I didn’t get a good sense of what was ahead for awhile…like around the first curve, the Forest Service hadn’t spent any money on this road in a long time. Rough, but ride-able, and slow going.

    [​IMG]

    My road photos only originate in good sections of the roads crossed, never the nasty stuff where I’m way too busy dealing with the road conditions to stop for a photo, and it’s rarely possible to stop even if I wanted to.

    [​IMG]

    I had been on the pegs for a long time, picking my lines, infrequent stops, and in a particular tight and rutted spot, here comes a guy creeping along in a Ford Explorer loaded down with the whole family. WTF, where does he think he’s going at 2mph, and more importantly, how am I going to get past this joker.

    My side was up against the mountain, his side was the fall-right-off-the-freakin’-mountain part of the road, and he was reluctant to move over any farther. The wife was yelling and gesturing, hands flying around, pointing here, pointing there, and when the driver glanced towards me, he looked to be afflicted with very intense pain…hey, ain’t all these leaves pretty as a picture. If I hadn’t been so late, I would have offered a set of earplugs, ya know, as a public service.

    No doubt he had been thinking about turning around, but that wouldn’t be possible for about two or three miles, damn, this four-wheeling is great fun, just like TV. The kid in the back on my side had the window down and was starring at me, death grip on the sill, salad bowl haircut, bangs, eyes wide the heck open, waiting apprehensively for the command to “JUUUUUUMP”.

    I stopped far right, barely able to get a toe down, let him come to me, turned the bars to clear his mirror, and unleashed the snarling Leo Vince, good luck buddy, and I pulled myself back up on the road. I had to be close to the top.


    (to be continued)
  18. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    The gravel ends at a narrow one lane macadam road, part of which continues up to an overlook at 4400’, but I was headed the opposite direction, down and west into the next valley. The road west used to be gravel until someone broke the bank and paved it, I guess there were too many wrecks with all the tight switchbacks. If you get off the road here, forget it, it’s straight down hundreds of feet…if you’re counting. Buzzards will find you, don’t worry, there will be closure eventually.

    Near the bottom, I could look across the valley to the graveyard on the other side. Some things have never changed throughout recorded history, it was sited on the western slope to catch the rising sun in the east.

    [​IMG]

    A slight jog south, then west, another mountain, but all macadam surface. I stopped once out here to ask directions from an old guy I found at his mailbox, and after giving the question some thought in complete silence, he said “Five mountains yonder, then stop and ask again, yeh be close”. That’s kinda the story of today, five mountains, and I was climbing again. At least I could get out of first gear.

    This road runs through some small farms, hay and livestock, well off the beaten track, you had to want to be here.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The livestock runs equal parts cattle and sheep, and they usually have dogs on coyote duty, but I didn’t see any today. Previously, I’ve seen every one of the breeds historically associated with protecting herds, plus guard llamas and donkeys.

    [​IMG]

    Into the next valley, a longer jog south, then west, and up mountain four on the gas, the Leo Vince shrieking away, rising and falling, the Romulan war bird approach to riding mountain roads when racing the sun. Anyone with a tendency to hammer these roads needs to give it some thought, and I’ll stop right there. This is a wonderful road on a bike, no traffic today, and I finally stopped near an outcropping I had passed before, always in too much of a hurry, but I grabbed some brake this time. This impressive spine runs from the top down to the shoulder of the road.

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    Across the river, south, and I’m running hard when I pass the exact spot where I had hit gravel fines on a wet road and wrecked at somewhere north of 50mph earlier this season, picking the one and only one location for miles where I could pull that stunt and not total the bike, myself, or both. Ah, pleasant memories, but here we were again, man and bike, still operational, leaned into the curve, and on the gas.

    I found my turn, mountain five, and a twenty plus mile gravel run to camp, the beginnings of shadows across the road.

    [​IMG]

    This is another road that sees some use, and can be good or bad, you never know. Today, it was pretty darn good, and I could move right along on gradually ascending grades, there’s nothing steep on this road until the last two miles where a branch road descends to camp. Another thousand feet in elevation and farther west, the leaves are off the trees.

    [​IMG]

    I was watching the miles on the odometer click off, I knew the number I was looking for, and then I ran up on a pickup parked in the road, the two guys leaning against the bed turning their backs to me when I squeezed past…hmmmm, makes ya wonder, but my impression was that they weren’t the type to be deep in thought, but more likely deep into some kind of shenanigans of the illegal sort. Look out for a loggerhead turtle wearing a ball hat, that’s half of the team, he was 60” by 48” in stature, should be easy to identify. The other half had the look of the perpetually perplexed, like he was trying to figure out why it costs at least $10 every single time he calls his girlfriend. Must not be deer hunting, at least one of them had bathed in Bulgari.

    This is a twisting road like most, as it alternately follows the side of the mountain or ridgeline.

    [​IMG]

    Five miles from camp, and the sun was down.

    [​IMG]

    If the wind was right, someone ahead of me must be looking for an approaching unholy herd of chainsaws, on the gas, off the gas, swerving around wheel busting potholes lost in shadows and leaves, fire gurgling over run on the let off. Arriving at the Forest Service campground, there were only three trailers in the whole place, and I rolled to the back, picked a spot, I’ll need to set the tent quickly in the last of the light, where’s that damn Petzl.

    [​IMG]

    No wasted motion, the temperature was falling fast, accelerating towards a freeze. I got the tent together and gear organized, inflated the pad, shook out the mummy bag…and after much rummaging, found the whiskey, some old granola bars, and my long lost cheeseburger along the way.

    [​IMG]

    The end of the day, and I took finding that bottle of whiskey at the bottom of the pannier a surefire signpost of luck, and there I was, sipping some fine whiskey under a sky solid with stars, it was full on dark behind the mountain, coyotes yipping faintly somewhere distant.

    (to be continued)
  19. ZigzagguzzI

    ZigzagguzzI Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    343
    Location:
    N central florida
    Interesting!
  20. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,365
    wonderful time of year to be out there...if you can catch the right weather.