Lately, this pesky work thing has really been cutting into our play time, thus the lack of anything interesting to blog about the last few weeks. We’ve even had several weeks of perfect moto-trip weather to taunt us as we slave away in front of the monitors, and as Kevin travels to various sites all over the country, but have not been able to string together three or four days to finish our goal of riding the rest of the Blue Ridge Trail. Even the street bikes have been sitting for embarrassing weeks at a time without movement. (This is where most people break out the world’s smallest violin. No one understands our troubles.)
However, (insert cliche phrase about all work and no play here.) Kevin had exactly three days at home before leaving to go out of town again. We worked furiously for two of them, and then lost all discipline for working on Saturday. Instead, we ditched our responsible adult duties, and went on a little dual sport day ride to soak up the sunny and mid-80s weather (hello fantastic early October). Thus, you get a few pictures from a sparsely documented dual sport day ride of exploring previously untraveled local back roads in search of gravel:
The GPS directed us to this old country gas station, which is obviously closed (which made me a bit nervous, as I was nearly on reserve). I took this shot to document the Video-DVD-VHS sign. The times they are a changin’. (Also, we were amused at the dozen padlocks on the boarded up door an window. Why so many?)
We found a little bit of off-pavement going up Belcher Mountain Rd. towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. We initially tried to ride up “the back ” way and connect to Belcher Mtn. via Old Brammer Spur Rd. The GPS actually routed us this way, which I think is hilarious, given that its barely still distinguishable as having been some sort of road. It started off as just manageable for me two-track, and then quickly devolved into dense and rocky single track. Today was an easy gravel road kind of day, not a challenging trail kind of day, and the further we went up the ridge, the further beyond my skill level the trail got. I didn’t bother to take any pictures, but I’m glad we turned around and went up the easy way. We’re not sure the trail even goes through to Belcher Mountain. It may end, as we had a hard time even identifying where the trail would come out on Belcher Mountain Rd. As best we could tell, it came out on private property behind a locked gate.
The surface of Belcher Mtn. Rd. right now is covered in a rather deep layer of small, rounded river rock. This is more or less like riding on marbles, which I have to say is not my favorite. However, the views are gorgeous. If you don’t mind living on the side of a mountain with somewhat steep unpaved access, the lot below is for sale.
We grabbed lunch in Meadows of Dan at the regular stop. The place was crowded, and we ran into two different friends from various moto-communities.
Kevin noted that our little dualsports were by far the smallest bikes we saw all day. I can guarantee we had at least as much fun on our little bikes as everyone else on their big, heavy machines.
There really isn’t much off pavement to be had this close to home. This road was a lovely ride through the woods, but like several other roads we tried, ended at a gate or private property, and didn’t go through. The maps we have (paper and digital) note gravel roads, but are apparently no longer accurate. If there are more places to ride around here, I think we’ll have to join a local dual sport group to learn about any secret, off-pavement trails.
Our exploring did lead to another trail that looks like it does go through, so we’ll be back another time to ride there. On our way up, the trail got pretty rutted, and was tougher than I wanted to deal with at the end of the day, so I chickened out and turned around. We went around the long way and checked out the trail from the other end, and were able to ride within about 1/2 mile of where we had turned around, so it can’t be bad for very long, and is likely navigable all the way through.
10/05/2013 – 176 mi. Moto itch scratched.