Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adventures @ Douthat Part 1.

I wish I had time to sit down and type a post about my adventures when they are fresh on my mind but that never seems to happen. Thursday I took off work a little early in an effort to get our camper hooked up so that we would be ready to leave as soon as Alan arrived. He told us he had class from 5-7 but the Prof. has never kept them past 6 so he would be at our house by 6:30 at the latest. 6:15 rolls around, no call from Alan, 6:30, still no call, 6:45, nothing. At 7:10 I call him for the 3rd time and get no answer. I decide to give him 20 more minutes and then we head out. At 7:15 I finally get word that he's halfway to our house, I guess I should have stayed at work till 6 and saved my vacation. No big deal though, I was just glad to be going down a day earlier. After packing up and a stop @ McDonald's for chicken wraps we were on the road heading for Douthat State Park for our annual NTMBA club camping trip.
As we were cruising down I-81 I was trying to unwrap my chicken wrap and drive at the same time. I looked down in an effort not to take a bite of the wrapper for about a half a second too long. When I looked up all I saw was the rear corner of an abandoned car sitting on the side of the highway. In an effort to avoid biting into my wrapper I had drifted to the right and was heading straight for the car. My instincts took over and I jerked the wheel hard to the left, maybe just a little too hard, especially since I was pulling our camper. Right about then I realized what effect that would have on our little 2800 lb. single axle trailer. I looked in my right mirror with one eye then the left with my other and managed to see both sides of the camper as it swung back and forth violently. Yes I do have a sway bar attached but I don't think it was enough to stop the swing. It did keep my little ECO from smashing into that abandoned car as we passed and for that it earned it's weight in gold. Neither Alan nor Melinda saw it coming, I think they were too wrapped up in the latest gossip. Once I regained my ability to talk I had to explain to Melinda what had just happened.
Once we arrived at Douthat it was all smooth sailing from there, we found Brandon and Melinda's brother Dustin waiting for us and I had a crew of 5 helping me back in and level the ECO in our site. I felt like a NASCAR driver with my very own pit crew.

Douthat State Park was a very nice park with a ton of trails, I would recommend it to anyone but make sure you read all of the park rules and regulations carefully as they take them very seriously.
Friday we got an early start on the trails in an effort to ride as much as possible. Evidently Douthat is nestled in a valley between 2 mountains both sides which host miles and miles of trails. No matter where we started we got to the climbing right off the bat, rocky climbing. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of trails Douthat had to offer. You could tell that a trail building machine had been brought in to speed the process along in some sections and most of the creek crossing had been armored with giant rocks in an effort to keep you out of the water making cold weather crossing more enjoyable.
Our first ride of the day took us up to Blue Suck Falls, which really wasn't much of a water fall, well at least not that weekend. Ironically the whole area was experiencing some what of a dry spell while flooded rivers were taking over Atlanta. No complaints here, I would much rather ride in loose dry conditions than wet.
At the base of the falls we found a nice large stone couch where you could sit and enjoy the view. We thought it made for a great photo opportunity. I think normally there is water running under the log bridge at our feet and the creek is heavily armored just up from it for folks who don't have the skills to ride over skinny bridges.

2009 NTMBA DOUTHAT VA from A Sparks on Vimeo.

Alan shot quite a bit of video from our first ride with his hand held camera and put this video together. Thanks Alan for letting me steal your video!

I decided to break this post up into two because there were just too many stories and photos. That to and I need to get out and mow the yard, I'm trying to set a good example for the rest of my neighbors. Check back tomorrow for more.

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