Natural violence

yesterday I made the staging area for the tour de berg stage race out  by Brierly jnct, I parked almost on the starting line. Today’s leg is a time trial. Varying degrees of race seriousness from tight lips to loose lips and slack jaws. The finish was elsewhere. No help was needed. I cheered racers as they left the line. I left shortly after the last racer.

I was told of camping places way up the mtn, on the VA/ WVA divide. I drove the described gravel road off the pavement until the first switch back where my joboxx dragged because the road was so rough.  I turned around and drove back down to a pull out I saw on the way up. I parked a short ways off the road among fire damaged trees. Just b4 dark thirty clouds moved in and lightning flashed. Winds picked up and picked up again. Way heavy velocity. I checked the trees to see if any dead ones would fall on me. Vicious winds, little rain fell.  Storm did big damage over a wide area down here. Hot inside from no widely opened windows  When I drove out of H-burg earlier it was 102 degrees… and humid.

I woke this AM to silence and 60 degrees. After Bfast i drove back down the mountain to head to Gettysburg. No wood fell on me, however the road was littered w/ broken off branches and some tree tops. Once back among civilization I saw more effects of storm. The was no electricity until just outside H-burg. Corn fields were bent over. Numerous trees were in peoples’ yards.

I turned onto I-81 and drove heartless interstate north at less than max speed. 3 lanes until road construction eliminated 1 lane and the traffic backed up. High density to begin w/ stalled to parking lot speed. dead stops. I chose a bailout on rt 11 that parallels the interstate that turned into another massive parking lot. I lost track of the time it took to go just a few miles. Oh, and it was hot… hot.

My plan was to drive to Michaux SF and stay in a SP XG to stage for rides. I called the Gettysburg bike shop and learned that their race courses are in Garmin connect so i can download to my Garmin and let electronics guide me. I still made the XG.

Gotta go attend a Gettysburg battle presentation. Man’s inhumanity to man.

Earlier I visited w/ a forestry volunteer @ the forestry museum. Old codger, 78 yo, been a fire warden in Pa for 60 years. He knows Ray Kresek from Spokane who wrote a book about lookout towers in the country. Mountain bikers and fire fighters.

State Park camping on a weekend. Holiday weekend to boot. Not all spots are filled but it is not the woodsy experience I seek. No alcohol consumption. What is drunk inside my van remains inside. sometimes camping near the host has benefits.

Fridge is getting warmer,the actual temp is surpassing safe maximum.

Mariner baseball home game called by Rick Rizz, his voice connects me to the northwest.

So, tomorrow a 20 mile 3 hour ride in the forest nearby, solar shower, then drive into nearby Gettysburg….. Nah, tomorrow is Sunday off and same date of 1863 battle. Maybe just the first 2 then find a campspot in the state forest and history on Monday, the second day of the battle.

PA beer rules: up to (2) 6 packs from taverns, case lots from distributor. Liquor and wine from state stores. No singles. I bought a 6 in MD during the traffic jam. The state might be bigger than my beer supply.

Just living in upper 80s up during the day and sometimes below 70 degrees. VA @ Douthat was the best comfortable summer weather. 30 percent humidity feels dry.

Traildoc was busted for doing unauthorized trail work by the USFS that was said were looking to bust him. He did build miles of trails that were sustainable and less technical than some of the  more popular illegal trails. He was fined $1000 and booted out of the forest for 6 months.


Hot Harrisonburg

Sometimes plans just get over ridden w/ new actions. Yesterday case in point.

Yes, i drove back into Appomattox to do my wash. yes I went to the Appomattox Court House site. But I spent the afternoon listening to a Union soldier in period perspective talk about the war from an infantry private perspective. He shared knowledge that I did not have and some contrasted w/ what others has said. Interesting is that his rifle: lock, stock, and barrel could be fired 3 times a minute and was more reliable and efficient as a killing machine than the new Henrys and Spencer repeating rifles. He spoke in the perspective of June 28, 1865. I stayed longer than I budgeted but gained more knowledge.

My plan was to drive towards H-burg and camp somewhere in George WA forest. Only the roads I chose per the color coding on the road map didn’t produce public land. Instead I climbed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I turned north towards H-burg. Scenic drive shared w/ hardly another vehicle. 35mph wandering along a mountain spine up and down gaps. Vistas east and west. Temps were in mid 70s compared to upper 90s in the valley. Windy. Pleasant.

The parkway passes thru Shenandoah NP. My Forever pass admitted me for free as did Appomattox. I needed a camp spot. Again my pas came to play: camping was $7.50. I spent the night @ Loft Mtn XG. temp was 76 @ 7:00AM.

Today i made H-burg dropping down to 1300′ and heat. I made Shenandoah Bike company, Tim’s shop. Only Tim and Thomas were out in Flag for a wedding. I visited w/ Colin. Today starts a bike stage race that is part mtn bike and road bike. Shortly I will drive to today’s stage w/ is a mtn bike time trial and offer help.

100 degrees. No riding today. I am in a local library enjoying air conditioning and great internet speed.

Visited w/ Sue Haywood. last weekend was the Canaan Valley bike festival in Davis, WVA. I didn’t attend because I helped on trail work at Brevard. Sue is still competing. Cannondale is supporting her, she quit Turner as he would not foot her race bills.

My van temp is above 100 degrees. My fridge is keeping temp just above 40 degrees.

Gotta go.

Haven’t planned an exit strategy. Sue said Davis trails are dry. The festival had a Hash event that allowed someone to pull a trailer w/ cold beer. Cool.

Les, regarding mpg: you gotta drive out here to sense the steep, hilly, twisting nature of the roads that one would suspect sap mileage. Consider that I have no time schedule and being an older driver, I just putz along upsetting drivers behind me that are in a hurry. Not having an inside rear view mirror isolates me from their frustration. I drive w/ the skinny pedal and never put my foot into it. 5 cylinder diesel motor.


I don’t always spend the night where I have internet access and don’t make time during the day when i have coverage. Life of mine on the road.

So, Monday i took a rest day outside Douthat SP up in the George WA Nat Forest. On the left side of the road was a recent prescribed burn, the other was undisturbed. Quiet night. Whippor wills and lightning bugs.

Tues I bit off the big ride in the park. This time I rode more of the real race course as previous I push my bike up the steepest trail in the park: Buck creek. None the less today’s ride was a humper: 17.95 miles climbing 3720′ in ride time of 2 hrs 51 mins. Ride time is moving time. The park spans 2 mtns and a valley in between. The first climb topped out @ 3,000’m elev for about 1800 climb on good single track, old hand built trails that are sustainable and of a riding gradient. descent was great dropping back to valley bottom then climbed up Brushy mtn. I lacked the snap of the first climb. This trail was right on top of mountain and exposed to cooling winds. I stopped @ an overlook to check internet access on my Android. I caught up on news, weather and sports. The descent down was zippity do dah, again a rideable grade but going down was rewarding. I used my Reverb seat dropper to really enjoy the ride. At one point I came around a snout of a ridge to face a small fawn looking at me. It didn’t stay still as it scampered full on as fast as it could figure where to go. Unfortunately for it it split several switchbacks and I caught it again until it headed straight down hill and disappeared.

middle mountain Douthat SP VA
view looking NE from Brushy mtn internet spot. Note the lack of humidity haze

Back in the shade at the van. I pedaled into the camp ground nearby to gab up the host to poach a shower. Success.

I drove back to previous camp spot.

Wed. I drove into Lynchburg. Plan was to ride Candlers Mtn. I googled bike shops in town and found Blackwater bikes, same name as one in Davis, WVA. Not same owners. Davey gave me a ride suggestion. I headed out to trailhead. Getting into mid 80s, humidity is not as high as Pisgah, must receive less rain. TH was @ SnowFlex which is a crazy sliding slope that per Davey is like a big toilet brush. The “snow” is white bristle that is lubricated by frequent h2o jets. 85 degrees and a guy is putting on bib snowboard pants. The “snow” is abrasive requiring skin protection.

Snowflex ski slope. Don’t know vertical drop or lift line wait. Above Liberty U

I found Lake Trail right in front of parked van. Davey gave me a copy of the trail map and later I scored an actual copy from the resort. Buggers used a satellite image and reversed N and S which confused me. I dropped down Lake and tried to navigate from screen print. I resisted the urge to wander around, chosing to remain “found” and climbed back out same way.

location point

Plenty warm out of the trees.

Back on the streets again I drove thru Appomattox Nat Historic site to Lake Holiday SP for the night. Paid $27 for legal site w/ electric and shower.

This AM I took advantage of AC to defrost my fridge as it cools faster than the propane fired gas absorption. Not much frost build up.

Then I drove back thru park to town to do laundry. Soon I will head back into park and visit the court house where our nation was rejoined.

I plan on driving part way to Harrisonburg today camping above the Shenandoah. Fri I plan on visiting Shenandoah Bike CO and Tim. Ride opportunities and stay are open. Further up the road is Gettysburg and to the west, Micheaux SF rides. Gettysburg battle was July 1 to 3 about when I will be passing thru.

Forests are drier and less mountainous as I work my way N and E.

27.3mpg on last fill up. 108,000 miles on van, I have driven about 88,000 miles so far.