Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Adventure WVa

Ryan has been "planning" a motorcycle adventure style ride to the mountains of WVa since we left there with out MTB bikes last September.  I say "planning" as Ryan is a single guy that is rather spontaneous, so, he left the planning to others.  In fact, maybe organized is a better word.  Anyway...  The group ended up as 5: Mike on his F800GS, Jim on a R1200GS, Jared on a DR650, Ryan on a KTM 640 Adventure, and me on the Buell Ulysses.  The plan was for a three day trip, riding down on Friday, checking out the roads and scenes on Saturday, and then back on Sunday, camping on the national forest land each night.

The weather last week was crazy.  Temps were high (hitting 80) only to have a cold front forecast for Friday bringing with it wind, rain, and cold.  We decided to take out of Athens at 7am to beat the weather to Thomas WVa., which we did.  We also decided to skip camping for Friday night know the weather and instead got a room (hostel) at the Purple Fiddle.  After taking care of that, we hit the road to check out Blackwater Falls, see the campsite for Saturday, and do some other riding around before the front hit.

The walkway at Blackwater Falls was closed.  They had a large tree service cable truck parked trying to pull large downed trees up.  Apparently the entire area was dealing with the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy since they had just recently thawed out.  From there, we found our campsite was a dumping ground for tree tops as part of the cleanup.  Luckily, there were other spots open.  By this time it was getting hot since we were all dressed for the weather front and not a sunny day of riding.  I opened my jacket vents and down the road we went.  It didn't take long until the rain hit, and hit in a big way.  In a flash the road disappeared, and my jacket, pants, gloves, and boots were filling up with water (thanks in part to me leaving the vents open on my jacket).  We finally got back to Thomas, changed clothes and watched it rain from the coffee shop.  After getting warmed up and dried out, we played some pool, grabbed some dinner, and hit the sack.

The Purple Fiddle, Thomas WVa
Blackwater Falls.
Tip Top coffee and bar.
The Hostel.
Excellent burger at the coffee shop.
Red at night...
Saturday started a little colder, in fact, while eating breakfast, it poured snow just long enough to dust things. We ate, bundled up, and headed off to the campsite to unload.

Breakfast at the Flying Pig.

Dusting of snow.

Bundled and ready to ride.


View down the river from camp.

We then headed out for Dolly Sods.  We were all looking forward to the long stoned roads in and out of the area plus, I have never seen the Sods and wanted to see the scrub growing sideways.  That all got cut short as apparently, the Sods were still snowed in.

Road closed into the Sods.

A liitle reroute and out to Smoke Hole with some of the loveliest asphalt of the entire trip.  It was miles of foot peg to foot peg riding.  I was thoroughly impressed with the guys on big dirt bikes and how they handled the twists.  Also impressed with the great acceleration of that F800GS who pulled away from my big 1200cc twin out of the turns.  From there, a quick break to along the river which was full of folks trout fishing, and then to Seneca Rocks, having lunch across the street before winding our way back to camp.

Trout were the game of the day.

Break on a forest service bridge.

Young man fishing, he told me he caught 6 goldens and 2 rainbows.

Don't remember the name of this lookout.

Pano of the view.

Seneca Rocks.

Ryan found a water crossing.

I made a pot of coffee and then headed into Parsons so I could call home.  Grabbed some Oreo's back to camp snapping photos and video along the way.  Jim and Mike cooked a dandy camp dinner for us all and we enjoyed the fire, the company, and the conversation until hitting the sleeping bags.

Pilots view of the river road.

A view of CR 26, seriously, see it on the other side of the river?

A happy rider.

Jared is officially the fire builder on all trips from now on.

Sunday we got up to 28 degrees and frost.  Mike restarted the fire, made some coffee and we packed the bikes.  Two of us to had to be bump started.  The DR650 and me.  That big twin had to get pulled to get it rolling over, it was not happy about starting for some reason (I ride in cold all winter long commuting).  Finally got us all started and we rolled out some more beautiful back roads to the Alpine Inn for breakfast before Mike and Jim split to head south and Ryan, Jared, and I headed for home.

I can't wait to go back (though I now secretly want a big dirt bike)!




Alpine Inn.

That says it all.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

And then there were 3

Thursday started out with a pile of feathers. Lost a chicken only a few minutes after letting them out. Came around the house to find the neighbors dog. Coincidence? Never did find the chicken though.

Friday was crazy. No childcare for Brock due to a puking niece and Shelly had parent meetings at school = me staying home. With the IT changes at work, I no longer have email access unless I either 1) use my phone (fat chance typing weekly reports on a cell phone) or 2) use my laptop, which was in my office. So, I packed Brock in the truck and to town we came to get my computer. Headed back home and wrote my reports and sent them in. Two hours later I get an instant message (through Lotus Notes, the same program I use for email) asking if I have any weekly report updates. Great, turns out I can read email, instant message, check my calendar, but not send messages. After an hour on IM with corporate IT support, I gave up. Headed out to Scioto Hills camp around 4:30 to play music for a men's retreat.

Got down to the camp about 20 to 6 after getting slowed down by no less than a hearse with historic plates and a handicapped hang-tag without working brake lights and with a nearly flat rear tire going somewhere between 10 and 25 MPH for 4 miles.

Evening session went well, food was good, nice "man's fire", got a decent nights sleep, breakfast followed by the second session went well again. It was nice to hear men sing, doesn't happen in church. Followed by a group discussion that was encouraging, lunch, and then I hit the road for home. They played once more session after I left (the bluegrass session) but it went down hill when they tried to play "Swing Low". The men all handled it it good spirits though. A good friend suggested that "White guys singing black spirituals never works, but you can’t get people to believe it."  That right there is true wisdom friends!

We went to see a friend's band, Time Machine, Saturday evening. They played at Abrio's. We got there about 7 and was told it would be an hour and 20 minute wait! We had Brock and Ethan with us and we hungry so we left, ate at Casa, and then came back and got right in to see them play. Brock had a blast. He danced so much his hair was wet and his face was red. When they quit playing, he yelled "again! again!". They played pop/rock covers from 50's though 70's.

Skipped racing Sunday. Allergies (presumably) have me beat down. Played at church instead. It was a train wreck. We somehow lost the acoustic guitar in the house between sound checks and service. Phil (acoustic player) didn't realize it and I couldn't get his attention. Finally after the 3rd song I got Don's attention who then got Phil's. They had to move a mic over for him. We played 3 songs with bass and drums and a little fill in from electric guitar. The singers missed a queue in one song, sang the wrong part in another. The team handled it well though. Finished with I'll Fly Away. We nailed it and the congregation enjoyed it.

Messed around at home all afternoon. While we were out on the deck, Brock playing, I walked inside to pour a cup of coffee. I heard a chicken start squawking. Headed out to find a pile of feathers and only 3 chickens. Starting to believe it wasn't the dog on Thursday. Bet we have a fox or coyote problem. Just before it was time to go to our small study group, Brock fell on the deck and got 5 splinters in his hand. A few of them were significant. By the time I got 3 of them pulled he was in total meltdown mode. We didn't make it to group.

All my emails from Friday finally sent yesterday afternoon when we got internet access back at the office.

My great aunt passed away on Sunday. Heading to her viewing today.  I did get out on the bike at lunch.  What a difference a week makes...


Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Got to stay home for half a day last week with Brock who had come down with a fever.  We spent the morning just playing.  It was kind of nice, though I am sad that he feels rough.
"me cut it!"
 Picked up a new camera this week.  Found this Panason Lumix DMC-TS20 on clearance at Staples for $59.  Not nearly as nice as my LX5 or LX7 I have at work or as versatile as our DSLR, but nice for a rugged camera (supposed to be water/shock/dust/freeze proof).  Figure it will be a great little camera to carry on the bike and motorcycle.

 Ethan has started track season and though Shelly didn't really get a good shot of Ethan hurdling (he is in lane 2 here), it is a nice shot with the new camera.

Brock didn't have much interest in the track meet so we played instead.  He enjoyed catching big fish in the lake by the track.
Saturday was the work day.  Great weather outside meant I worked hard to get some things done.  Even harder work with all the help from Brock, but we accomplished a lot anyway.  Tried to steal a bike ride in the afternoon only to get a flat (on my new Kenda Kountach's none the less) after about 5 miles.  Patched it on the side of the road and turned around for home.

Sunday evening we took a walk and let Brock play in the creek with his little dinosaurs.  At least I got in a nice mountain bike ride at lunch on Monday.  Just a touch of green peaking through.

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Monday, April 1, 2013


The week got off to a great start when I arrived home from work to find this.  I can hear the conversation... "Hey, hold my beer while I run into the ditch and hit this guys trash can."  Whomp. Hi-Five.

Shelly and the boys were on spring break. That just means I get up and try to leave for work with as little noise and light as possible while everyone else sleeps in.  I did at least get the spark plugs changed on my Buell.  Not an easy task as you are supposed to rotate the engine out of the frame.  However, you can also do it with the right extensions, universal joints and open ended wrench through the frame if you remove the air box, so I went with that.  Besides, I got to buy a new socket universal joint to do it.

Saturday I decided I wanted a spring break.  I headed out to Lake Hope State Park for as much trails as I could squeeze in.  Got 21 miles.  Some soft spots and trees down in places, but a good way to get outside on a nice day and turn the legs into noodles.  Followed that by taking Shelly, Ethan, and Brock for ice cream (for the boys) and coffee (for us).

Finished the day making homemade whole wheat tortilla shells.  We cut up some onion, red pepper, portabella mushrooms, sauteed and then topped with goat cheese for tasty and healthy wrap.

Sunday was the typical holiday around our house.  Leave early, toddler meltdown, sit a lot, eat a lot, drive around a lot, come home tired and cranky.  Felt like we forgot the whole died and rose thing.  Happy Easter (and yes, He did die and rise!)
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