…musings of one easily amused

Hatfield McCoy – August 2013


Thursday morning.  Checkout day.  There was a broom supplied with the cabin along with a note that went something like “use it or get charged $200” (I’m paraphrasing of course).  We had quite a bit of clean up to perform before we could leave.

We were able to pack it all up and give the cabin a sweep by 10:30.  The weather was typical… thunderstorms with heavy downpours.

We waited one out before we headed down to the camp store to checkout and get my “Official HMT Gear”.

Tonight’s destination – Hagerstown.

Previous installment – Gas?! I won’t need no stinkin gas.

Gas?! I won’t need no stinkin gas.

Wednesday morning.  Our last full day of riding.

…and all the bikes were running.

The day started with a quick rain shower, just enough to loosen up one layer of caked mud on the bikes.  A couple hours later the Sun had won the battle and burned off the majority of the cloud cover.

Today’s planned route was across Indian Ridge to Northfork and then to hit the connecting trail to Pinnacle Creek but by the time we got to Northfork I was worried the KDX’s would not have enough range.

This is part of the ride out-

I was already carrying all the tools.  The boys decided they were going to go “light” and not carry anything so the extra 2-cycle oil was sitting back in camp.  So, we headed back towards camp to top off the tanks and then spend the rest of the afternoon at Pocahontas.

The ride back up the mountain towards Ashland-

We took a quick break at camp, refueled and finished off the day riding as much of Pocahontas we could.


Previous installment – It Always Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

Next Installment – Departure

Success, then failure

I was up at 6:00 am and started tearing the KLX apart.  Extracting the carb is not the most difficult process but it does have its PITA features.  Once out I gingerly removed the bowl and found enough sludge that could be the cause of the problem.  I removed all the jets, cleaned and reassembled.  The pilot crew had a tiny piece of something, perhaps rubber, buried below it.  This also could have caused my problems.  Filled with an abundance of hope I put it all back together and went for a test ride.

It was a different bike.  Success!

We headed out around 10:00 am, Northeast along the main Indian Ridge Trail toward the Northfork/Keystone area.  It was extremely wet, have rained for a few straight days.

Most of the pictures from the GoPro ended up water skewed due to the rain and abundance of water pooled up on the trail.  In one section, a low hanging tree ripped the camera of the top of my helmet and it landed in a pool of muddy water.  I rinsed it with the water in my camelback and continued on.  We seemed to have the trails to ourselves.  It wasn’t until around 12 miles in did we pass a couple 4-wheelers.  The trail was mostly hard pack and wide with an occasional high berm in the corners.  There were a few mud sections and a couple slickrock areas, one located perilously in the middle of a wide corner.  This one had my legs flailing as the bike lost complete traction and ass end started to pass me.  I saved it, but there were certainly no style points won.

The boys stayed with me, the old KDX’s giving them no problems.

The last section of trail 19 leads down the mountain.  A bunch of steep, rutted, loose rock switchbacks.  As we started down I was already pondering how much “fun” it was going to be climbing back up this mess.  The end of the trail dumped us out onto county highway 17.  down the road a few hundred yards was a food trailer with a menu advertising the greatest succulent lunches ever… but noone was around.  In fact, as we took a break and used thier picnic tables to hold bikes and gear we never saw anyone, or anything.  Not even a dog.  The place seemed completely deserted.  We decided to continue south through the town which brought us out to US52 and Northfork.  We passed the firehouse and spotted what appeared to be a restaurant, at least the sign painted on the large window was advertising a “Devil burger”.  We parked next to the oil tank and bike-sized hole in the side of the building, shed our gear and walked in.

There was no ventilation working in the kitchen so the smoke of the grill in the back consumed the entire room.  A friendly guy behind the counter asked what we would like and passed our order to the woman in the back manning the grill.  About a half hour later we had our burgers and fries.  As I said before, nobody is in any rush around here.  What’s the point?

Well fed, we geared back up and started out.  The KLX had different plans as it decided to sputter and die in front of the firehouse.  I removed the drain from the bottom of the carburetor bowl and found what appeared to be sand.  I cleaned it out, re-assembled and continued on.  I didn’t know it at the time but this routine would be repeated several times before we got back to camp.

The climb up the mountain was a bit of a challenge.  It was a good lesson in picking the right line.

After the climb we retraced our path back to camp. The KLX was getting to the point of giving up. It would die every two or three miles. I would drain the carb, then continue. Of course, it would always die on an uphill section, making it all that much more fun. Not.

Remember that slickrock section in the corner? It bit Alex on the way back. I was leading and in one of my over-the-shoulder glances I had lost both sets of headlights behind me. I turned around and met them at the corner. Alex has lost it and slid directly into the mini pond that had developed at the edge. He was a wet, gray, mess. Completely drenched. After it was apparent nothing was broken (Alex was okay too) Austin and I ridiculed him appropriately and we continued. It would only be a mile or so later that Austin would meet his payback and proceed to drown the KDX in a deeper hole than Alex slid into.

What goes around, comes around.

We headed back toward camp. The KLX died at least three times during the 15 mile journey, and always at the most inopportune moment. Upon arrival we hopped in the truck and set out to the “local” Advance Auto to get an inline fuel filter and some fuel line. At the time we still felt there was shit coming from the tank gumming up the works. Parts acquired, we cooked some burgers and dogs, performed the angioplasty on the KLX and called it quits for the evening. Hopefully tomorrow would be worry free.

Previous installment – Hatfield McCoy – West Virginia

Next installment – It always gets worse before it gets better

Hatfield McCoy – West Virginia

We got a late morning start on Saturday and began our trek to “Trails Heaven” – the Hatfield McCoy off road riding area located in southern West Virginia.  Loaded with three bikes and gear we only needed to get as far as Hagerstown Maryland that night.  It was the maiden Voyage for the trailer and it pulled like a dream.  The truck probably thought different as the gas mileage plummeted from a typically disappointing 16-17 mpg during normal use to 12-13 mpg range dragging the trailer.  The good news is the price of a gallon of gas dropped from a high in New York of $4.49 to $3.28 in Pennsylvania.

We left the hotel Sunday morning and had an uneventful journey to Ashland ATV Resort in Ashland, West Virginia.  We followed their site instructions to find them as they strongly suggested.  “Road”s in this area can be nothing more than what we call a fire road at home, dirt/gravel and barely a car wide.  Throw in some 180 degree switchbacks and you have county road 50/1 – a time-saving cut across the mountain we discovered when trying to find the quickest way to town.  NOT a road I’d want to attempt with a trailer regardless of what Google Maps says.   At least the truck looks the part now.

The campground is a bit of an oasis in an otherwise depressing area.  The homes and buildings are in various states of dilapidation.  Many look abandoned, even some of the businesses that are open.  The people are friendly and helpful but certainly not in any rush.

It rained most of Sunday but stopped long enough for us to unload the bikes and gear and get setup inside the cabin.  The amenities are good yet basic.  We have a small fridge, microwave, air conditioner and a small flat screen TV mounted on the wall.  Our fridge came stocked with a six-pack of beer. Probably not standard operating procedure, but appreciated nonetheless.

Shortly after unloading the sky opened back up and rinsed everything.

We waited out the storm on the porch and when the rain subsided we geared up and headed out for our first run.  The campground is located in the middle of the Indian Ridge trail system.  You enter the trails right at the end of the driveway.  Indian Ridge has connector trails to the Pocahontas system to the Southeast and the Pinnacle Creek system to the Northwest.

Soon after entering the trails the rain started again. Not a light shower, a steady downpour.  None of us cared due to our eagerness to get out there.  Unfortunately my bike started acting up about five miles out.  It got to point that I had to keep the choke on to keep it running.  We turned around and I nursed it back to the campground.

So, we travel 750 miles to ride and my bike wont run.  Sweet.  The evening was spent online scouring the area for motorcycle service locations and dealerships.  I needed to line up every option possible to try and salvage this week of riding.


Next installment – Success, then failure