Adventure Riding Around Blacksburg, VA: On a Cruiser

Southwest VA: Riding A Cruiser ADV Style

March 14th & 15th, 2007

The bike and the dog are in the truck.
Bye-Bye NC - Hello old college buddy in Blacksburg, VA.

I left Blacksburg from downtown - Harding St. turned into 785 - Just outside of town and I was already dragging floorboards on 25 mph sweeps through beautiful countryside on almost single-lane roads with no paint on the pavement.

Less than an hour into the ride, I hung a U-Turn(with handlebars locked of course) and rode 95 mph back to this place to duck in from the rain. Behind the windshield, with speeds nearing triple digits, I didn't get uncomfortably wet from the 2-3 minutes of rain. 15 minutes later, back in the saddle and back on the throttle.

Another U-Turn (now on 311 headed North toward WVA) to catch a snapshot of this place. Will return with hiking boots (probably on my Gold Wing.)

Now for the ADV part of the ride (I should say, the start of the ADV part of the ride.)

No passenger car here.
I disagree with the sign, I had my old Contour (Mondeo for you folks outside of North America,) on far worse fire roads.

The road was fun. Occasionally my bike felt, and sounded like, it was falling apart. An hour in the driveway with a set of sockets and some loc-tite is a must after this trip. No permanent damage, but the bike powered over some pretty rough terrain.

Just after riding down the trail above and rounding the left-hand curve, I came to another section of mud.
At one point, I thought: "if it doesn't catch soon, I'll be fully locked left with nothing but throttle left as a way to get out of this slide."
Mildly intense...
Dropping the bike is not an option. The custom paint and the sparkley chrome wouldn't survive falling over.

Real Adventure bikes have skid plates and the like to protect the vitals.
I doubt the Napa Gold Oil Filter would survive a direct impact. (Installed on a Jardine's Oil Filter Re-Location Kit, (for the benefit of any V-Star owners who stumble upon this Ride Report.))

The Oil Filter and my front fender were my two biggest worries. Later, a section of trail was so rough that if I had slid off my line (< 1 foot wide) and into a rut, I'd have ripped the front fender off for sure.

After a fine lunch in Paint Bank, it's back off-road for the V-Star and I.

Now for the first of the off-trail excursions.
It would make for such fine photograph... and off I go.

So I rode down to that far power-line pole to take a picture.
This is looking up at where I just came from (the pole in the picture below is the far pole in the picture above.)

The picture was worth it; the ride back up the hill was a ton of fun.
The ride on this trail was fun; the picture of the sign was necessary on the way out to document the location.

I've no GPS. One day for sure, but I'm getting along fine without it for now.
... on 311 at the top of the mountain...

A Self-Portrait... courtesy of the Sun and the Riverbed.

Riding through a tunnel.

And so goes the fateful choice that led me to get stuck in the riverbed with no chance of getting the bike out by myself.
I decided to get a picture of the bike by the river. You see the river is down the hill, around the bend through the little trees and twigs, on the other side of the mound of dirt on the left. I rode down, around, right again, and parked a dozen feet from the water's edge.

The next picture shows where the view from the picture above ends, but from the opposite angle. Here, the camera is pointed up toward the road and the image below ends where the view from the image above ends.

Here is where I stopped (directly over the mound in the big picture above , but down by the water.)

Here is a few feet further. In my attempt to turn around, I made it 10 feet before sinking. I knew I was in trouble when I got off the bike to take the picture above.
Notice the kickstand, locked and in the upright position.
The bike is just sitting there, straight up, stuck in the deep mud.
Buried to the frame - oh to have knobby tires at a time like this.

After flagging down a few cars who couldn't help, two V-Dot guys stopped and helped me out. One of the guys came up with the plan to get the bike out. My plan was for them to push and for me to ride it out of the rut (about 10 inches deep) and up a small hill, grab the clutch and roll back, gun it, and u-turn and head back up the hill. The guy said we'd be compacting new mud and wouldn't make it. Instead, we pushed it backward over the ground I'd already covered. Then, I started it and walked/pushed with one hand on the throttle and between the 3 of us and the throttle, we got it out of the deep mud. I got on, they pushed for the first 3 feet, and I got on the gas all the way through the little trees, over some down dead logs (3-5 inches in diameter) and rode up to the road while throwing a rooster tail of mud as high as the custom-painted rear-fender would allow.

Check out the hand-made additions from the previous owner. Diamond plate passenger floorboards are certainly not stock.

... on the road again....

A 1950's chassis. It was built by OREN as a fire truck in '69.

This turned out to be a mistake. I went down the trail for < 1 mi. before heading back out to get on the gravel road. It was too much. The ruts were too deep and large chunks of rock were common; both quickly became difficult to avoid.

... and then to blacktop...

lots of "loose gravel" signs.

These folks sure are fortunate to live in one of the prettiest places on earth.

... and so ends the ride.

I consider the 250 miles I did during the two days to be among the best miles I've ridden.

With my last four bikes, during the the last 10 years, I've ridden over 50k miles through over a dozen states. Last summer, the thousands of miles in MN and WI were gorgeous. Riding the Gunflint Trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area along the Canadian border was amazing. The ride around Blacksburg ranks up there with some of the prettiest scenery and most fun roads.

I hope you enjoyed the photographs.

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