A FATS Day and next

Comfortable quiet night spent. Heater kept up w/ warmer outside temps.

Drove back into Edgefield being a tourist. Noticed old frame buildings falling down hidden in regrowth of trees. Town drying up, local business sucked off to other places. grocery store was not a stable of overly healthy food selection.

Entered Bill’s address into GPS. Went well until the route entered dirt roads. tried to run me down a dead end FS road. Wandered a bit until I stumbled onto his road which is actually a FS rd.

WOW. I met Bill Victor, pretty much the main man behind the FATS, Forks Area Trail System. What lessens I learned in working w/ regulations & land managers to politicians. Bill is sharp and a spark plug.

We rode the 2.5 miles from his house to the TH. Bill lead the way and kept almost a running description of the trail. My front brake was squealing the whole time I couldn’t hear, plus Bill is a bit faster, i couldn’t stay on his wheel. Almost all the trails are machine cut by either a small ditch witch or the larger tracked machine. Excellent layout and execution. The tread was mostly smooth which allowed enjoyment & focus on trail route. Lots of traverses that went up & down, never any killer hills just lots of noddeling ups & downs. Low point is 200′ above sea level, high point was 545′. In the 22.84 miles ridden we climbed 2210′. I kept remarking that the trail kept me involved in almost constant pedaling. Lots of grade dips across the contour in the erosion gulleys. Bill said that the old timers said that the land was all in cotton and the gulleys were formed by poor farming practices. Whatever the cause they were well used and often. Upper body work out from linear force down & up the walls of the dips. Land is reclaiming the scars of the machine cut and riders are establishing a line. Check out the ride in Google on ride data page.

FATS is the first trail system that will be closed if it is too wet that I have ridden on. Bill manifests ownership of trail and is admirable. If there is a vacuum when 1 is strong enough it can be filled. Congrats to Bill’s effort.

At almost the end of my squeaking front brake ride I readjusted the caliper to the rotor and the noise disappeared. It took meĀ  a long time to remember that skill.

Bill fixed dinner and shared his dogs & cat w/ me and later his 3 small kids. I slept in the driveway.

Put rain cover over bikes before bed as forecast said maybe rain. It rained during the night, not much. If Bill lines up a kid watcher for this afternoon we will ride again although maybe not FATS because of the wet. He said that there are miles of trails elsewhere locally that aren’t being ridden and will withstand our bike tracks.

Bill’s kid sitter fell thru, it continued to rain, and a UK basketball game was on TV. I hung for the game then Bill adieu & thanks for sharing & warm visit. Plan is to drive back to place I camped above Lick Fork Lake. Sun broke thru clouds on way to camp spot. Bill told me of Horn Creek trail near lake. Rode it. Bill, it was not flowey to ride. It did have roots. Nowhere near as fun as FATS to ride.

SE version land treatment
SE version land treatment

Warmer temps.

Monday Am the Sprinter goes in for another engine control light issue in Thomson, GA.

Spent eve researching GA rides on way to FL and FL rides. Lot of driving to get then ridden.

Heading South

Most cold I have slept in van yet. Outside it was 6 degrees. Inside w/ propane heater on full was 44 deg. Windows frozen over. Fixed bfast. Cold.

Bruce was still sleeping when I knocked on door to say good bye. Chatted w/ Beth & left.

Got just a bit S of Hendersonville, home of the Sprinter repair shop, and the engine control light came on again. No turbo power. Turn around & drive short distance to shop. They get me in quickly again and the charge again was warranty. I have less than 500 miles on the warranty and an electronic system that has already had 3 hickups. Not ready to put it in the VW van bucket. Yet.

Have a telephone interview w/ Chris Youman tonight. He has a web site where he plans on poting his results.

Bill Victor @ FATS thinks I am a character, possibly 1 of the best he’s seen. Sure going to brush my hair for this visit.

Mid afternoon hunker down in a grocery parking lot soaking up sun warmth.

More perhaps later.


75 miles South of dealership the light came back on. Called Egolf to report problem & line up a Sprinter dealer down road. Got that nailed with a Monday appointment in Thomson, GA for the next fix. I am just miles from warranty expiration, attempting to cover myself for future problems.

Continued driving S. Saw what i beleive are plantation houses just outside Edgefield, SC where I am in the woods. Red clay dirt.

Made Long Cane RS just before closing to inquire about camping. In the Sumter Forest camping is only allowed in organized campsites and the local 1 was closed for season. FS guy cut me a permit to dirtbag camp. Drove back gravel road thru a pine plantation to dead end. Need to understand southern forest logging practices. Land seems flat that lends itself to machine logging and cutting younger trees.

Chris called me and we did phone interview for his web site.

Zysk, I bought some boiled peanuts from a smoke shop. Yes, they were tasty and like a lugie. I wonder if they are better just having been boiled versus slow cooked who knows how many days?

Another cold night forecast. I lack an outside thermometer. I could put the inside 1 outside but that would mean getting out of a comfortable van.

10:00PM Friday night, listening to channel 54 on XM: BB King Bluesville. I liked the other blues on old XM better.

Very fat woman w/ equally fat husband on her choice of men: She wants a man that she doesn’t have to shake the sheets out to find.

Say good night, Trixie.

karma happens to other people

Chilly night. Heater on med. At 4:45 I woke up sensing all was not the same. One short look @ the refrigerator instrument panel that is almost @ eye level displayed the letter “F” for failure. Out of propane. And the air temp did not have a source of heat in it. 4:45, no heat, no bfast. At least the food should be safe. I drove to freeman’s S of town & arrived about 7:30. We don’t open until 8:00. Cool, Yes and I meant OK. Ran the engine for a short while. Filled up tank to 80% of capacity.

Drove back to Dollies to fix bfast and then to FS visitor center to say good bye to Fred. Good bye Fred.

Drove to Turkey Pen TH. The road up on non federal land was the worst I have ever driven my van on. The FS road was in much better shape.Jockeyed for a level parking spot for the frige

Cold & clear. Blue sky. I planned to replace my front disc pads as they were worn. Simple process, leve the old pads back into caliper to make room for the new pads w/ more material. Used a screwdrive per instructions. The disc just barely spun between the pads and I thought that if I rodeĀ  for a litle bit the material would wear away. But then I squeezed the brake lever back. No brake, nothing, no fluid compressing the pistons. Oh Goodie. Drive up this horrible road w/o a ride to even mollify my driving decision. Loaded back up and drove to The Hub to allow Sam and Alex to earn their $. Sam mistakenly bled the rear brake which I wasn’t concerned w/ but quite a lot of air escaped. He bled the front brake and found oodles of air. Now the brakes work as true 1 finger over the bar brakes but excellent modulation. According to Sam Formula brakes have the best modulation..

Stopped @ laundromat to say goodbye to Vito who shared some of his romantic travails. The laundromat was fun with the brothers.

Drove into Asheville for my jersey and beer evening. Both times been in town it has been cold, windy, & sunny.

Temp getting cold. Tomorrow I am driving to FATS and then down to FL to get that state on the count column.

Update after evening in Asheville.

GPS navigated me right to Bruce’s door of a large old house inn an old residential section of town. 1front room was filled w/ bikes. Bruce is in young 30s as are a group of guys & gals in this unit of people. Not everybody lives in this house but have connections w/ people who do. But this unit is a subset of house population. Bruce starts to organize 6 people in 2 cars w/ slightly different agenda items to accomplish before hitting Pisgah Brewery up in Black Mountain. I pull on my jersey. Wow, so soft & cool. I was told that I needed to wear it on the beer stop. The jersey has “Pisgah” in big letters across the chest & is a pea green color. Pisgah is the national forest I had been riding in. Google Pisgah & learn the assignment of its local name.

Our car w/ Bruce & Ian driving start to suffer from i do not know where the brewery is which is in an industrail complex and the actual “pub” is located in the brewery whare house. Several false turns & we arrive to a non descript building. The pub has a bar w/ lots of their handcrafted beers and that’s it. Concrete floor. A old time music band was playing: banjo, fiddle, guitar, & bass. Their music was what was played before bluegrass moved in. Band memebers in 30s and all apperared to be normal. The fiddle played educated me on their music and was literate.

People brought their dogs, at least some people did. In a pub, drinking a well crafted porter, listening to old time music, & walking around dog leashes.

I engaged a 30 yo attractive woman, psych masters degree in a Craig coversdation which she said seveal times that she enjoyed it as she liked it and few people were able to engage her in it. She left early, darn.

Bruce has ties w/ the brewery owner and we gained access to the man’s cave to play pool. They drank quite a bit of beer, i stayed w/ to pints.

We left for a dance club near the house. I begged off and was dropped off @ my van on the city street outside their house around 10:30.

Tom, there were common items to the loppers ball but then there were a whole bunch of items not congruent. What was same: beer and people having good time.