It rained and then it started to mist after it stopped raining. Dad and I took the back roads from Columbus, OH like rt62 666, 66 and 6. The back roads were fun and all, but not good for covering a lot of ground.
We camped at the North South lake camp grounds, good clean sites. I know they have quite time after 9 or 10, but this one group had the the whole camp complaining to the rangers.
84 Honda 700S Nighthawk
I was hanging around after Chris "Teach" McNeil's early show on Saturday. He was signing photos, but not too many folks around. So, I had a chance to speak with him. He seems a nice guy, pleasant, unassuming, friendly.
Oh, and a reasonably competent rider.
Max sent me a text about 8 minutes after I left my house Friday morning.
it's raining, we know all the trails so I'm not coming up till 4 or even tomorrow morning.
Rather than setting up or checking routes I now had a rainy afternoon in Hunter to kill. I started with a haircut. I thought I'd see some other riders getting high n tight for his ride but it was pretty quiet. After my trim I rode one of Mike Friedle's favorite rides; the shortest loop which was just right. Max showed up around 4 and immediately got scolded about parking his van. This was to check in and throw down a card for a block of rooms. Welcome to New York, go to hell sir.
It's a real shame because Mike Friedle had a great concept that the mountain is only willing to go so far with. There's no reason other then the owner's attitude that we couldn't have 200 campers and an absolute rocking beer garden Saturday night in the base lodge. As it is there are some dedicated campers, a bunch in the hotel, some in condos and no reason for everyone to get together and have a beer, except during prime riding time. There are folks who ride a long way for this and I think it would be nice to show them a little more hospitality.
Saturday I was up early and we did a quick trail check. I was riding a Sertao with 50/50's. Between the horrible fit and the tires I was relieved the bike was small. Fortunately for the rest of the day I was on a '12 GS with TKC's.
I don't think folks that don't attend can appreciate the gift we get from the good folks at Hunter. I can't think of another ski area or similar terrain that freely allows motorcycles to come play. The only conditions are that the rides are led by Max or one of his riders. Nope, Nick being on the mountain is a myth.. yeah that's it.
We would start on Hunter One (left on above map) , doing a ride to the top of the farthest lift on the (lower) left, then come back down to the base. This was mostly on hard pack and loose stone track about 8' to 6' wide. It was just enough to give folks a little time to warm up and assess their skills before taking more challenging stuff.
After coming down we'd go back up toward lower K27 and if you were in sight of anyone who was in sight of anyone who could see Max you did some single track. If not you went with Jim and me and we cut that out, only because it isn't marked and only Max knows. :wink:
We'd traverse on a cat track over to the Belt Parkway, blast up to the top and do some single track on the summit and over the backside a little bit. Back down the Belt to the base, over to an access road, 'round a gate to a trail heading off to the right of the Way Out to a muddy field. This final segment was some more trail / single track back to the gate - traverse and base.
First up was about 400' of vertical, second another 300 or so and then the final 900' to the summit before coming down the full 1600 via the belt parkway. There was one really good vertical section; about 600' from start to finish, too steep to stop, 6' wide and loose gravel made it a bit of a challenge for some. Single track was mud, grass and rock.
My day got interesting at about 2:45. That's when we came down from a ride and Max told us it was time to head to the Barber Shop ride. Off we go, hang out and then the ride starts. I got about 100' in on wet grass and mud thinking what in the name of Dog am I doing? I stopped, started and then got to the first hill. Headlights are pointing everywhere and my buddy Jim Stoddard (GS Trophy champ) is sideways. I looked over at the sweep rider and said, "tell 'em I bailed." and turned around. The relief on his face was evident.
Back at the tent Max calls. I tell him where I am, he asks about Jim and I tell him what I know. Then Jim shows up and we both laugh about how we're 10 years older than Max and in about another 6 or so the pleasure / pain equation will invert and he won't be trying to hustle a GSA in the woods with 2 strokes.
With not much to do I easily got the itch for one more run on trails I knew. There was a kind gentleman whose name I've forgotten so I'll simply call him berg guy. He wanted to go and there was nothing more appealing than a ride for two after three rides for 20 or more. Off we go and silly me I decide that we can explore a bit.
I committed to a traverse that ended with a gravel lip onto a ski trail. This was one of the trails we wouldn't use as it was too steep and didn't have much of a gravel track on either side. ****, ****, ****. I took two runs at getting up, I think the second bail out must have looked pretty good. Not knowing what was over the ridge I decided down was the way to go.
Max if you're reading this skip ahead a bit...
Now this was Saturday and it's Friday evening so lord knows I must have slid 200' down the hill on the left jug, half on and half under the bike. In reality is was probably 10' or so, just long enough for me to consider if pushing down hard would dig the jug and bar in enough to stop me.
After that the ride got easy and we finished up a great day of riding.
Thanks to Hunter for letting us play and a huge tip of the keyboard to Max for convincing them to really open it up.