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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
[to skip to the funny stuff see the numbered list below]

I took off Sunday afternoon for a casual ride, told my wife I'd be back in an hour or two :icon_joker:. Had a nice ride from Raymond up 156 to 152, 202A to Strafford, 156 to Center Barnstead; had a cup of coffee at the general store/cafe before heading back.

A few miles out of town I see "Bow Lake Rd", sounds interesting and should cut off the corner between 126 and 202A, right? :roflmao: I love to explore (and refuse to get a GPS, it ruins the fun). One mile and it ends at a T with no sign of Bow Lake anywhere. So I look at the sun (it's 5:00? at this point) turn SE and wing it, make a few turns and end up on dirt "Evans Mountain Rd". I never pass up a road with "mountain" in the name, and amazingly enough it ends at the top of Evans Mountain (see top left of the map here), near a house with an amazing view (finally) of Bow Lake way down below. A sign says "Private, No Trespassing" so I start to turn around, but then notice the road does continue on to the left and down the mountain. I knew I could get there from here! :vroom:

I continue down the mountain road maybe 1/4 mile and come to a trail sign ???, but it's still basically a narrow dirt road with some larger rocks thrown in for fun, and I think "how bad can it get?" :roflmao: [note: the last time I rode in the woods was on a 50cc minibike when I was 13]

I take the left trail marked "points South/services" (no distance indicated) instead of the right trail marked "to Bow Lake". See the map again for the wisdom of this choice :violent1:; Evans Mtn is at the top left, where the road ends with a small horseshoe. The trail I chose headed South East to Old Ridge Rd; the trail not taken headed due South to Bow Lake.

I am (mostly) laughing about it now. It was a great trail, lots of elevation changes and tight turns, but would have been a lot more fun with knobbies and another 6 inches of ground clearance.

A few things I learned about my SV, Pilot Powers, and the muddy, watery, boulder filled woods below Evans Mountain:

1. Use your cell phone to call home when you're at the TOP of the mountain with reception, not deep in the woods below when the sun is going down. I knew my wife would be worried, and I wanted to call to say "It's OK honey, don't call the police. I'm not a splat on the road somewhere, just spending the night in the woods; there are plenty of bugs and leaves to eat and my tailbag will make a great pillow...". I also should have taken a nice pic of Bow Lake from the mountain top.

2. If you're unsure about a trail that leads down into the abyss, turn around before it gets so bad that you can't make it back up.

3. When you start seeing "CAUTION!" signs after the trail has been kicking your ass for an hour you really start to wonder if you'll be sleeping in the woods (not that there's anything wrong with that...).

4. My Pilot Powers did OK on dirt roads and rocks, but the first mud hole I had to cross they slid all over the place and I barely made it through. I decided the center compound wasn't designed for mud, so I leaned it over in the next mud hole. The frame slider did its job. I finally decided the problem was I wasn't getting them up to temp, so I went through the next mud hole a lot faster. Apparently the deep water cooled off whatever heat I had so carefully put into the tires, but the frame slider on the other side worked well, too.

5. I had never dropped my bike before, not even a driveway tip-over. I guess I'm over that now. [edit for truthfullness/accuracy: Loudon T2 in a downpour doesn't count; I'm talking drops, here, not zoomie lowsides]

6. Mud makes everything really slippery, especially a downed bike and the gloves and boots that are trying to lever it back up.

7. My Prexsport touring boots really are waterproof as long as the mud/water isn't deeper than the top of the boot.

8. A tree that saves you from a tip-over can still snap your brake lever.

9. You can spin a downed bike on a frame slider to reposition the wheels when there's no clearance to get the kickstand down.

10. Not wanting to be "that guy" that the rangers and helicopters come looking for the next day is powerful motivation to persevere and get creative. Plus I was getting hungry.​

In the next 2 hours I got seriously stuck 4 or 5 times, deep enough that my SV would remain upright in the mud and/or rocks while I swore, pondered my next McGyver move, and admired the poetic beauty of the late golden sunlight on the treetops. I tried detouring off the trail several times, skirting the visible mud hazards only to sink deep into booby-trapped pits camoflaged with leaves, between more rocks and logs.

I finally decided to stay on the trail and re-engineer the hazards as I came upon them, mostly filling in mudholes, water hazards and deep gaps between rocks with downed trees that I kicked into smaller sections.

Around 7:30pm I emerged from my own personal "Deliverance" :banjo: onto Old Ridge Road (see the map again) and civilization. I stopped at a gas station in Northwood, called my wife (equal parts worried, mad, and amused), and rode my cold, sweaty, muddy, exhausted ass home.

My wife did crack up when she saw my face, as I had been wiping the sweat out of my eyes with my muddy gloves for 2 hours. I also had a few bloody scratches I don't remember getting, but when your rear tire finally gets traction after being mired off-trail you don't stop for branches, only trees. I had kept my helmet on, but the dark visor had to go once the sun started going down.

Not many photos, as this was supposed to be a quick, casual ride and not a survival report.

pondering my next "move":


unstuck (for now):


pack in, pack out :'( :


home:



I owe my trusty SV a warm bath, a lot of chain cleaner, 3 new levers, an oil filter (big dent :eek:) and maybe a nice soft blanket. It never complained, always started right back up (at least 20 or 30 times), and the engine was well suited to the low speed abuse as V-Strom riders already know.
 

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wow. awesome write up! haha. pretty gnarly. looks like it'd be a fun area with the knobbies.

glad to see you made it home for dinner though! what'd the mrs say?
 

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Wonderful writeup! I'm wiping tears from my eyes, still laughing. My wife came in at one point to look over my shoulder & see what was so funny...

;D
 

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I laughed quite hard, and also felt really bad at the same time. Awesome write up, glad you made it back ok and the bike made it back relatively ok. :D
 

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That was great!
Well,maybe not for you,at the time.... but I really lol'ed.
Poor, battered, muddy SV :'(
You have to buy her something nice now to make up for such abuse!
 

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Man that looks like fun. Now everytime I'm riding in the country side and see a good dirt road I'm going to want to ride down it, thanks;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have to buy her something nice now to make up for such abuse!
she asked for an extra track day, and I said OK ;D

i live near there and know exactly where you were! i wont be bringing my sv through there tho...maybe my subaru.
I am going back there this summer...with either a mountain bike or hiking boots, lunch, and a real camera!
 

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I've been on bad roads.....but I know that road very well and know better:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've been on bad roads.....but I know that road very well and know better:eek:
NOW you tell me! I'll make sure I bring a camera, an axe, a raft, and a sleeping bag next time I'm there....
 

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NOW you tell me! I'll make sure I bring a camera, an axe, a raft, and a sleeping bag next time I'm there....
next time I see Eric, I will tell him your story, I sure I will have to help him off the floor he will be laughing so hard

btw, now you know why I sometimes carry an axe with me on my bike
 
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