Pisgah Joy

Been here a week. Got a good thing going for living as I am sleeping in the dirt parking lot of the Hub and a secret handshake shower. Added in is their own on site tavern that attracts and hold way beer drinkers like mtn bikers doing nutrition recovery. Gathers lots of mtn bikers. Weather is unusually warm like some low 80s, today it was 70s and forecast is for more of same. Dry, way behind form the year for precip. Dry trails. Brown ice is starting to form, that’s caused by fall fallen brown leaves that make the trail slippery and hide the little things that make a  difference. The Hub almost shares the property line of the Pisgah National Forest, the first and only one that was created by buying the land. Land of waterfalls, wet slimey roots, elevation changes, deciduous forest becoming bald, lots of traffic on roads, warm friends, and more.

Friday AM I was requested to be at the Sprinter repair shop. I woke to the alarm and turned to to do the bfast thing and get on the road forth e 30 min drive in morning commute traffic. I made it 2 mins late but the shop didnt’ start functioning until 8:30. I started the repair work on their good foot. Todd is picking me up at 9 for a ride in Mills River drainage.

Todd builds trail as Long Cane, the dirt is our canvas, and promotes mtn bike races including the Pisgah Stage Race. I met him back in 2010 at the IMBA Summit in Augusta. He’s a good buddy. I put my bike in his Suburban and sat in the  passenger seat watching whatever. Our ride was Spencer Branch a recently rebuilt trail, and lower Trace mtn mixed in w/ resource extraction road climbing. Some humps. Todd let me lead some climbs as he prolly looked at  the colors as I am slower than he.He still marvels at my performance and says I should race the nationals as he sees the competition. I still say no, I am not interested as it is too much work and discipline such that it would really harsh my odyssey. Todd lead on the  downhills and this time I was able to stay pretty close, neat because I saw him ride stuff that created the mental image for me and I made most of them. Spencer Branch in many places has been sustainably rebuilt, not uber tough Pisgah but now a trail that would deteriorate. My bike built is pretty stout which translates to going where i want to while resisting an alternative line. Big dirt road climb to enjoyable downhill back. Our ridew as pretty much pedal to the metal.

On our descent we encountered 2 riders riding up. They asked if we had seen their dog. No. Gave us dog info. They started over at Bent Creek a good ways away. Back at the rig we spied a hound dog such as was the missing one. Once she was captured Todd read her tag, yes it’s Suzzie and a phone number on the tag. We turned around w/ her in the rig. We stopped at the XG host’s site who was back in a moment no show. I tied her to the golf cart and wrote we were calling the owner. May she be back at home.

Todd took us to this incredible architectural and natural setting Sierra Nevada brew facility. Was a bunch of higher drawers than a brew pub.

He dropped me off at van repair. $924 to buy and replace a crank case vent valve and some leaking O rings. The turbo checked out OK, they think it is a leaking exhaust gas. On Wed when he told me the turbo was going out I made research calls. Service at closest sprinter repair in Greenville said turbos hardly ever go out, check the connecting hoses which passed muster.

I drove back to Brevard.And the PIsgah Tavern. I ate dinner at Duggins an Irish Pub downtown. Sports bar, lots of TVs. World Series game on. The guy a stool away i learned played ball and I peppered him with questions learning about the game inside the game. I slept in the parking lot again.

My requirements for a living spot is it is legal and level or capable of making level. Little or no noise is a  bonus. Lights don’t bother me too  much. Gravel is better as my sink water drains to the ground. I live inside for privacy.

Sat I made ride plans with Logan and Virginia for a pick up late morning. Logan chose Cove Branch ride. Started w/ big road climb. ST down was pleasant Pisgah. Logan rides a mid fat tire that just slays the downhills, he’s way faster than me. Virginia rides a 29er and she allows gravity to pull her quickly downhill. The parking lot at the fish hatchery, the trail head was slammed. We did encounter a few riders w /no conflicts. I seem to coast while riders in front pedal. Hmm. When we jumped out onto the pavement I stage a coast off. I won wheels ahead. From the start my bike rocketed ahead. As the pitch started to flatten out Logan started gaining because of weight. They dropped me off back at the Hub.

Cove Branch
Cove Branch

Along w / loose stool I had abdominal pain. Sat it became I should not ignore it any more. I drove to the urgent Care where I had visited years before. No waiting line. PA diagnosed need colonoscopy to see what’s hidden up there. He suggested more laxatives.

I drove out to the Reeb ranch, Oscar Blues, to attend the inaugural Pisgah Mtn bike festival compliments of Cashion and Eva. I9 had a booth. Dave who set me up on my wheels 2 years prior greeted me by name. I again thanked him for setting me up with my wheels. At the trek booth a full on mtn bike pedal assist bike was leaned up against their table. I put my hands on it then attempted to lift it. I put serious effort to lift it. I managed to get it up a couple of inches. Shit, it was heavy.

More socializing and beer consumption at the Hub. I drove down to Dugans for another series game. Halloween costumes. Interesting conversation w/ a guy at the bar. Back at the Hub for the night. Just 2 laxative pills on my pillow.

Sat night was Heather’s reception. i plugged the address into the gps to learn it was 45 mins away. I bailed and stayed in Brevard.

Today was all about me. The laxatives sent me to a nearby big box grocery store. Suffice it to say action happened. I planned on returning to the fish hatchery. I planned riding the Cove ride again then up to Daniels Ridge  then up to Longbranch and Butter gap back to the hatchery, I arrived early to score  a parking spot then geared up. Same route, big road climb. I continue to be impressed by the Absolute Black oval chain ring, it allows a much smoother and powerful stroke. At the bottom of Cove I turned uphill and up river to the Daniel ridge trail. Oh, I am wearing my white short sleeved shirt with a full Windsor electric green tie.Bits of hike a bike nasty. I started thinking about riding an electric assist bike on this trail. Epiphany: they only go forward when pedaled. I couldn’t imagine a rider pedaling up this chunky stuff. Then I came to this monster step up:

e bike killer
e bike killer

I think the terrain will kill what e bikes can ride.

Colorful leaves free flowing clean water

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am continually amazed at this bike’s performance. I am riding faster under more control. I am learning how well it accelerates up step ups. Going down I drop the seat and sink lower over the bottom bracket, bend my elbows and look way ahead. Smoking. Today at the start of Long branch 3 shaved legs guys rode up. They went first with me on the last guys wheel keeping mys peed in check as my bike was faster. The lead rider stumbled on a step up and I was  allowed tog o by. Last they saw of me. I still have something.

The PA’s treatment suggestion is more days of laxatives to clean me out. He said it’s possible my pain is caused by blockage that still allows the loose stuff to pass. Later today I felt the pain change locations hopefully further down stream. He said he will ask his office to find a gastro doc. I’m thinking nothing unwanted is growing inside me.I might allow a colonoscopy. I am thinking about staying here for that appointment or maybe even coming back from Bentonville.

I learned that leaf color in AL is brown as the leaves died from lack of water. Colors are here. I have been thinking about staying here in the SE well passed T-day.

World series game on XM.

I might leave here Tuesday AM.



Knowing the difference

I am a life style rider: I ride what I can and walk what I need. Some of the stuff here in the Pisgah and even DuPont necessitate decision making for body safety. Bennett Gap is case in point. I wrote about hiking up the trail and saying that it was an old logging road. The lower part that I walked might have been. However, I rode the big loop later on Tues. I rode from the group camp spot on Avery Creek pedaling up the creek on a bike to the horse stable then the grunt began climbing a gated logging road. Grind grind then grind some more. I used the 42T in places. At Buckhorn Gap I turned left away from the Black Mtn trail. Right away an eroded stair step greeted me. I had trepidation that i might not be able to hoist my bike up the steps. I made it happen. These trails are old legacy hiking trails going over lots of root masses and rocks. Going thru Rhody and laurel tunnels. No view sheds, just tree trunks. I had ridden this trail years ago and forgot what I would soon encounter. Nasty. Some was difficult to down climb using my bike as a hiking aid.

Typical view shed
Typical view shed
when the trees part
when the trees part
No bush bashing here
No bush bashing here

Garmin edge recorded 11.39 miles riding time of 1:46 and climbing 2921′ The wheel recorded 13.8 miles taking 2:30. big discrepancy and has been typical of Garmin under reporting. That’s just data, I am a product of the demand. Beautiful very warm day.

I camped on Avery Creek as I was already there, XM but no internet. However, Raceface did reach me in response to my pissed off call to them about missing hardware parts for the warranty replacement dropper post. He said they were able to locate my entire post package that I sent to the repair shop and they gathered up the parts and are shipping them to Phat Tire in Bentonville.

Yesterday I returned to DuPont down at Corn Mill Shoals to ride more single track. My ride took me over and back across Little River. The first year I crossed in bare feet and slipped into the water. Friend Tom advised wearing wool socks as the wool would grip the slime. I have since heeded his advice, today the same.

Little River crossing
Little River crossing



I rode up Cedar Rock then descended Big Rock.

vegetation worn off the underlaying bedrock
vegetation worn off the underlying bedrock

At the top

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA section of the downhill reminded me of the Moon rock at Davis, WVA.

I drove back to Brevard. I scored secret handshake sleep spot and a shower.

I use MTBP for ride data. I read this guy’s name on several reviews, Logan Watts. Familiar ring. I rooted around in the gray matter to reacquaint myself. Logan is Pedaling Nowhere and we met in Sedona. He wrote an article about me. I hope to visit w/ he and wife Virginia. Fun people.

Today I am sitting in the parking lot of the remaining laundromat here in town. Where I used to go is out of business. He had a pay for shower. I hung 6 baggie liners on my clothes line inside my van.

Temps are still hot enough for shorts and sandals.

Gotta take out dry clothes.

Making today a rest day.

I googled Sprinter repair and selected a shop and made an appointment fro yesterday. The guy checked out my van. There is a fuel leak that required a $500 valve replacement. HE said that the leaking valve causes the black death. I prepaid the part and made an appointment for Fri to install. He said the turbo is going out and I will soon need  to replace it. He said drive it until it fails as was his advice for the transmission. The engine in drive lacks the pep to pull the hills butt he trans will downshift giving power.

Pisgah Time

What’s up: I posted the below today, Tues. I will add more stuff today.


All alone and no internet. Will type this in Word then paste to the blog later.

Continuing to enjoy wonderful fall albeit very warm temps for the time. The days of heat don’t etch into my memory, it is what it is. But this morn when I checked the temp hit 31 degrees when I awoke to the dying throb of the furnace. The furnace has 2 distinct running sounds: when the control tells it to start the first sound is the blower which runs maybe 30 secs. Next is an ignite sound then the furnace starts and runs which is a different sound. Chilly last night, I covered the driver’s window and the windshield to create dead air. I was under tree cover. About 6:30 I heard the furnace blower turn on, I lay under the covers waiting for the ignite. Didn’t happen. Red light on the panel turned on indicating failure. Shit. Not good. I opened the stove cover and turned on a burner and stuck the lighter at the burner. Nothing. OK, problem is I just ran out of propane. I was still warm from last furnace burn. My camp spot was way up a mountain road above Unicoi, TN on a dead end logging road backed into a pull out. Lumpy bumpy getting into the spot. This morn I was faced w/ turning around in the dark. I waited till light was starting to show then 4 point turned around. The drive was downhill dropping about 1,500’. Going down does not generate engine heat to make hot air. Once down and on the pavement the engine warmed up and produced heat. Right in Unicoi there is a hardware store with propane refill service. I looked at the front of the store to learn of their Sunday hours. No sign. I googled then to learn they are closed on Sunday. OK. Next move is to drive back to Johnson City, TN. In town I drove past a Perkins pancake, a Uhaul store that posted a sign saying propane. Opens at 9:00. It is like 8:05. Tractor Supply further along also opened at 9. I was hungry. I drove back to Perkins for a big bfast and passed time till 9 then I drove to the nearby U-Haul and bought propane.

There, that’s how my day started. An issue arose and I dealt with it.

Sufficiently fueled up I drove up then down to Asheville, NC and on to Bent Creek ride location. I arrived about 10:30 to overflowing parking lots. Beautiful Sunday AM and the public was out enjoying what we pay for. I scored a parking space.

My first year here I tried Bent Creek but was confused by all the trails, maybe unsigned. Today I had MTBP and a sunny day. Chilly, I wore a long sleeve wool underwear top. I fired up the MTBP on my smartphone placed on the carrier on the handlebar. Loop ride was sort of a cherry stem. I had trouble comprehending the direction arrows. What I rode were mostly old logging roads. Beatup but single track. Beautiful day. Lots of riders. None of them really yielded to me pedaling uphill. Don’t ride a popular place on a beautiful sunny day.

From Bent Creek I drove down to Brevard. My plan was to pay for a spot at FS XG. I turned onto the Davidson River road that goes past the XG then up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Traffic was backed up maybe a half mile being held up by stoplight where I just turned. No way was I going to put up being stuck in that back up. I continued past the XG then turned up Avery Creek road which has several dispersed camp spots. My first year I stayed out this way. I found my past spot empty then dropped anchor. No alcohol is allowed on this road per FS. Closest to town fee camping must have contributed to past misbehavior.

Avery creek camp spot
Avery creek camp spot

Beautiful sunny afternoon. I walked up the creek road planning on checking out past beaver tree cutting. But then the trail junction to Daniel ridge appeared on my left. I hiked up the trail for a ways, I climbed almost 500’ when I turned around. On the way down I studied the lines ridden in. Almost at the bottom a couple rode by. I was able to get off the trail before the guy went by. We greeted each other. Short a woman went by. I made the road then turned back to my spot. The two riders were at the white Sprinter parked alongside the road. Shawn remembered meeting me in Sedona. The woman just started working at I9. We chatted about living on the road etc till I became too chilled then walked back to my van. They had I9 wheelsets.

Some of Bennett gap
Some of Bennett gap

I9, formally Industry 9, in Asheville, makes great hubs, the free wheel because of the 3 degrees of engagement make a loud distinct sound. You just know it is an I9 hub. Locally this is the most commonly heard freewheel. My wheels are at home. OK friends Steve in Sun Valley and Phil in Indiana ride I9 hubs.

Rain fell into the morning of the 23rd when I was camped above Damascus, VA. My ride plan of Iron Mountain was rained out. Route 58 followed a drainage down hill, twisting and winding. Fallen leaves rain soaked paved the road. I was concerned for slipperiness in the corners, made for a slow drive. The AT uses a part of Main street. No hikers around today. I enjoyed a coffee and roll at a café.

rain and wind the death of fall colors
rain and wind the death of fall colors

I have been doing the research, drive, ride, attend to living matters, find a camp spot, and sleep. I need internet for some data. MTBP and a road Atlas provide data.

I considered a round about way to get to Kerr Scott near Boone,VA. I googled the trail and learned that everything was closed except for hunting. Scratch that location. Next I found a ride at Sugar Hollow SP right near Bristol, VA. I drove into the XG and paid $18 for an electric site and a hot shower. I geared up again using MTBP. Small area with lots of user created trails in addition to the ones on MTBP. Between MTBP and my phone the data gets screwy. The high density of trails caused confusion. I did get a ride in. And a hot shower. Rooty trails.

Yesterday I drove into TN to ride Warriors Path, another MTBP trail. This trail network is on 150 acres, lots of miles crammed in. However there were no user created trails and the intersections were marked.

it's how I saw it
it’s how I saw it

First time I’ve seen this:


Here in the Pisgah the wooly adelgids(sp) have killed their host tree, hemlock, which prefers wet locations. The trees here have been dead long enough for fungus to grow on the tree trunks. Sometime in the future these trees will start falling which will be dangerous.

Heather has invited me to her wedding this Sat. I will stay here for that.

My mail in ballot has not hit my mail box yet. I will prolly stay here to receive it before heading out. I now have 17 days to make Bentonville with still other places to visit and ride.

New news:

My ballot hit my mailbox yesterday. Today I ordered my mail to be shipped 2 day to Brevard to arrive before i leave allowing me to vote.

Yesterday I made the rounds of Sycamore Cycle and The Hub bike shops in Brevard.

Beautiful too warm day I enjoyed during my ride out at DuPont SF following a MTBP track that turned out to use miles of abandoned double track w/ pieces of single track mixed in. The track solved my route finding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatches of rhododendrons. Deep tree cover blocks viewsheds, seeing tree trunks is the normal view.

Good grunt of a ride. Garmin gps tracking continues to under record the time and distance covered as compared to my wheel computer.

The bike shops are actually in Pisgah Forest not Brevard which is just down the road a piece.

I visited the Hub at their new owner built new store. I enjoyed 2 recovery drinks at the bar. I made arrangements to have the Raceface Turbine post to be installed today. I bought the Absolute Black 32T oval chain ring that friend Steve speaks well of.

Yesterday Cashion and Eva of the bike farm invited me out and gave me a place to sleep. Great people who have their gig on. Their business is selling camp spots, guiding, and skills training. The are on 400 acres contiguous with the Pisgah NF. We sat around last night visiting and learning. The Bike Farm started a weekly Farm ride to bring in riders from the bike shop posses, the idea worked for a while then riders went back to their posses. Their business is succeeding. They gave me the furthest out empty camp spot. What a gravel road climb it was for the van. Outdoor shower in the dark. I used my headlamp hung on a hook for light. Open roof. Hard to turn the hot water off to dry off.

Today I am at the Hub in town typing this. Side door is opened. A red pickup starts pulling in beside me: It’s Shrimper. So great to connect with him. He broke only 1 leg very badly 2 years ago and is now back on both legs.

Raceface Turbine saga continues: When the original post failed I cut the cable to remove thru the stealth hole in the frame. I put the cable with the dropper lever and the attachment hardware in the box and shipped the shooting match to the repair shop. The replacement post finally caught up to me. I made install appointment at the Hub. Today we opened the box to check the lever out. WTF: only the post is in the box. No hardware. WTF.

So that’s where I am. Beautiful day. Avoiding writing this as I visited w/ Shrimper.

This weekend is the Pisgah Mtn Bike festival co put on by the Bike Farm and Oscar Blues. Costs too much $ just to get into the venue,

Going for a ride.