Saturday, June 5, 2010

more Raccoon, more fish tacos & a late night learning experience

Yes it's been a week and I'm still talking about our trip to Chatt. last weekend. I could have put this all in one post but it would have been long, less creative, and over in one read leaving you with nothing else to do with your weekend. I mean hey, somebody has to pick up the slack for all the lack of blogging around here. My side bar of blog lists is growing some serious cobwebs. If it wasn't for Alan and his never ending search for the perfect used bike bought at a ridiculously cheap deal or AC's ramblings about whatever he's thinking about while brushing his teeth we would have nothing else to read. So until somebody comes out of the wood work and writes something on a more regular basis I'll continue to stretch a single weekend into a week long blog adventure. Who knows maybe I'll resort to making up stories if I get really desperate. With all that goes on in Dustin's hood I'm surprised he hasn't written anything lately, car wrecks, and boating mishaps. So with that said I'll wrap this Chatt. trip up and move on to another subject in my next post.

Monday morning I woke up fresh hoping the rain had held off but it didn't the ground at the Back Yard campground was saturated but I refused to let it get me down. I still held onto hope that Raccoon was going to be rideable. I got in no rush to get to the trailhead early so that hopefully any wet spots might dry out. Breakfast was on the grill that morning, wholegrain pancakes, turkey bacon, eggs and coffee (french press style). Sorry I'm making myself hungry too just thinking about it. It was excellent! We basically just hung around till noon that day doing nothing, the rain came down off and on and several times throughout the day I said forget it, no ride then the sun would come out and I'd change my mind. Somewhere around lunch time we decided to head downtown and hit a taco joint, Taco Mamasita for lunch. Probably some of the best fish tacos I've had in a while and an excellent beer selection to go with it.
The sun remained out all through lunch so I said screw let's go ride no matter what the cond. after lunch. I didn't have to twist Andy's arm but the girls decided to stay in town and do some more shopping. All I heard was talk of bed spreads and curtains but all I was thinking was singletrack.

Andy and I left the girls at the taco joint and headed back to camp to grab our bikes. Upon arrival at the trailhead there were a few folks just rolling in from a ride and the word was the trails were in good shape. We wasted no time just in case Mother Nature had another round of rain in store for us. This time we decided to hit the rest of the trails we had missed on Sat. What can I say about Raccoon Mountain, that place is awesome even after the rain. The trails drain excellent with the help of a bit of sand and some good trail building skills from the fine folks of SORBA. My hats off to those guys. Our trip last year we missed a trail called Six Flags or either it was new but it branched off of part of Megawatt. Six Flags started up a slow climb just like a rollar coaster but once you reach the top hang a right or you will miss all the fun. The decent was a series of screaming downhills that send you right back up hill with little or no effort, bermed turns and as much speed as you can handle for the entire ride.
Raccoon is full of rocks that really put your technical skills to the test, there were a couple of spots that had me and my measly 80mm of travel off the back of my seat or off the bike all together. By the time we reached the end we had covered every inch of the place and then some due to a wrong turn or two. My legs were toast but I was very pleased that we decided to go ahead and ride, we only ran into a few puddles here and there.

Back at the Back Yard campground Melinda had almost everything squared away for the trip home so I showered quick and we hooked up the ECO said good bye and hit the road for Kingsport. Most of the drive home was uneventful except for the rain that harassed us through half of the drive. As the last hour of the drive hit we were cruising down I-81 sometime around 10pm in the rain when we felt a really weird sensation. Before I could figure it out Melinda said "we've got a flat tire!" I pulled our rig over realizing it was probably one of the ECO's tires. The tire that blew was on the road side and with all the traffic speeding past us I couldn't even get close to the wheel to inspect it. I had no other choice but to limp it down to the next exit ramp which thankfully wasn't far and into a gas station so we could get out of the rain.

By the time we pulled into the gas station we had completely destroyed the tire NASCAR style along with the fender. Had we driven it any further we would have probably damaged the rim as well.

Never having used the jack in my truck it took me almost 20 minutes just to figure out how to remove it. When I took the tire cover off the spare I was surprised to see it wrapped up like a burrito in what looked like aluminum foil but relieved to see it was a normal tire and wheel not one of those little donuts.

Even through the stress of the situation Melinda saw good blog potential and documented the whole process.

The slightly damaged fender.

Today I finally got the new tire replaced and discovered a cut in the tread about an inch long. About a half mile before we flatted we had passed a couple of cars with the same problem so my guess is there was several somethings laying in the road ruining tires.
It's funny that the flat happened when it did because I was just thinking about whether or not if I was prepared for such a situation and if my sewer dump line would remain intact due to how low it hangs down. Luckily there was a couple of inches to spare because the Back Yard campground was lacking a dump station and we had a full tank. That would have made for one nasty situation and probably a hefty fine had a cop seen it happen.

That's it folks no more stories from our Chatt. trip. Now go and write something of your own.

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