Many moons ago when I started this website I thought it would be cool to share stories about some of my adventures. I hated the word “Blog” and still do, but that’s essentially what this is. I still refuse to call it a “Blog” but instead we’ll refer to this as a place to, um, “share stories of my adventures”. Regardless, I did that from time to time several years ago but it’s been quite a while since I did something of the sort. Well, just like I said in another story on this site, I’m going with that “new year, new me” cliché and figured I’d get back to posting on this site. Of course, this will ultimately last a few months and not happen again for several years but who knows, maybe I’ll prove myself wrong.
Now that I’ve written an entire paragraph and have said absolutely nothing useful, let’s get to the story. Saturday January 11th, 2020 is a day that will live in infamy in my household. Have you ever had an amazing idea, which you were really excited for, that you got pretty far into, only to have it ruined? Yeah, that was pretty much my Saturday. It had been a long time since I’d been on a proper dual sport adventure, and I was really looking to get back to it. Unfortunately, my only option is my 2006 Suzuki DRZ250 (or as I like to call it, the DRZ250F because the “F” makes it sound like a rippa), which, even more unfortunately, is down right now with an unidentified electrical issue.
I was in the garage at the office and remembered that there’s a DRZ400, a bike that is much more useful for dual sporting than my 250, that hasn’t been ridden in quite some time. I charged up the battery Friday afternoon and drove to the office Saturday morning to set out on an epic ride. I was FINALLY going to do it… I was going to ride Davis, West Virginia’s Canaan Loop Road. It’s just a simple dirt road out of the back of Blackwater Falls State Park that Jeep fans and Dual Sporters enjoy in the area, but every time I’ve had the intentions of riding it, something has happened.
Let’s get off-topic for a recap. In 2017, I rode a Sherco 300SEFR I had at the time to Snowshoe on a Saturday, then up to Davis on Sunday to meet up with Ryan Echols, John Melton, Bill and Angie Wright and a crew of other dual sport delinquents. I told Ryan I’d meet them at Blackwater Falls to ride the Canaan Loop. Well, they ended up taking longer to get there than originally planned; we rode some other stuff and skipped the Canaan Loop. Oh well. In the fall of 2017 I sat out on a ride aboard a Sherco 450SEFR, which I had at THAT time with the intentions of riding to Davis and hitting the Canaan Loop. Well, it was unbelievably cold for early November, I turned into a giant wuss and bailed on the ride.
In Summer 2018, I had lost my Factory Sherco ride (I wasn’t really factory… Then-Sherco importer Clay Stuckey ran an actual business and needed his money because turns out these companies are in the business of SELLING motorcycles and I was too poor to buy a bike!) but I borrowed that trusty DRZ400 and rode to Snowshoe, then up to Davis with the intentions of riding the Canaan Loop before heading home. Well, several miles outside of Davis I stopped for gas and the dark clouds ahead had me a bit concerned. So, of course I checked the radar and it was absolutely pouring up the road. I went inside, got a sandwich and came back out to extremely heavy rainfall that decided to stick around for about an hour. It took so long that I didn’t have enough time to ride the Canaan Loop and ride home before dark.
Now, bare with me, this story is kind of like a Quentin Tarantino movie; I keep bouncing back and forth between past and present… So, now we’re back to 2020. I mapped out a really fun route with a couple of cool dirt roads I’ve ridden in the past that are actual roads but feel more like a trail. I was excited and headed out early to make sure I had enough daylight to accomplish this ride. I took off and headed through some back roads by our office, working first in the general direction of Fairmont, and then cutting over to Newburg and then towards Davis. I ended up on a road I hadn’t been on before that was really awesome. It started out like a typical dirt road, and then eventually became a trail that would be just wide enough to fit a truck.
Eventually I picked up some paved roads for a bit and made a stop at Cool Springs Park on Highway 50. This is a really cool little store complete with a lunch counter style area for food, and tons of random stuff. Pretty much every time I drive (or ride!) through that area, it’s a must stop. I got a pack of crackers and a Coke to hold me over until lunch, and I think I paid like $1.50. It’s hard to find places that still sell packs of crackers for 30 cents and Coke less than $1.50 but these folks do. One of these days I’m going to sit down and eat there because just one look at the place will tell you their food is awesome.
So after a little snack break, and a break for my ass that was really beginning to hurt, I took back off down Highway 50 several miles before cutting onto a dirt road. Snake Road is the name, and it’s fitting because its a cool twisty, dirt road that’s just wide enough for a truck and snakes its way from Route 50 over to a road called Stemple Ridge. You can work your way down that road, and onto Location Road, and eventually that will bring you to another twisty dirt road, that is basically just a trail. Heading that way, I eventually worked my way over to 219 and into the town of Thomas. At this point, I’m getting excited because I’m almost to Davis and finally will get to ride Canaan Loop Road!
I rolled through Thomas and into the edge of Davis where I stopped to top off on gas at the “Blackwater Plaza” gas station before heading into Blackwater Falls State Park to pick up Canaan Loop Road. I was almost to the awkward intersection just inside the main gate of Blackwater Falls when the rear end of the bike awkwardly stepped sideways. I thought maybe there was a random patch of black ice that had somehow survived the nice temperatures, or maybe there was a rock on the road. But, when the bike kept slipping sideways I immediately realized I had bigger issues.
The rear tire had gone flat, and popped off the bead. I was basically two hours from home and there was no way I could safely ride that bike back with the tire that flat. I turned around and went back to the gas station to further access the situation. Luckily it was just a flat. I had some tools, so I could definitely get the wheel off the bike. I didn’t have tire irons, so I would’ve had a fight to try to cram a tube in there, which really didn’t matter because I didn’t have a tube either. I tried putting air in it, but it started leaking right back out. I did check to see if the store had any Fix a Flat or anything, but they didn’t and that stuff doesn’t work worth a shit inside of a tube anyway.
I decided to ride back into Blackwater Falls, which is very close, and parked inside the parking lot to try to devise a plan. The same time I came to a stop, Kayla texted me and said she was about to go to Kirklands. It was at that moment that I realized my only reasonable course of action. I did the exact thing that any self-respecting man would do… I called my wife to come rescue me. Yeah, I have no shame saying that. She would begrudgingly agree to drive two hours to rescue me because, ya know, for better, for worse! She first had to get my ramp out of the garage, put it in her car, drive to the office, put the ramp in my truck and then drive two hours to Davis. Again, she begrudgingly agreed and made the trip.
Meanwhile, I sat down on a picnic bench at Blackwater Falls State Park. I had zipped the sleeves off my riding jacket before leaving because, well, it was freaking 70 degrees! And it was still in the high 60s in Davis but the wind was absolutely ripping and made that 65 degree temp feel more like 50. So, there I am sitting on this bench with no sleeves on my jacket, in the howling wind, with the comfort that if I went to use the restroom, it was at least 70 degrees in there. So, I went to take a pee. Three times. I was buying water from the Gift Shop, just to try to flush more fluids through my system so I had an excuse to go use the restroom.
Let’s face it, I didn’t want to just sit in the men’s bathroom like some Truck Stop Lot Lizard waiting on a lonely driver looking for some action but any excuse I could find to go take a whizz, I was looking for it. I ended up breaking out my headphones and watching a few episodes of Letterkenny while waiting… And just to clarify, that was sitting at the picnic table and not in the men’s room. By the way, if you’ve never watched Letterkenny, do yourself a favor, subscribe to Hulu and start watching.
By this time it was also like 2:00 and I was starving. I had planned on blitzing through the Canaan Loop and hitting Highway 32 by 12:30 and head over to Big John’s Family Fixins for lunch. Well, since my whole “Canaan Loop Curse” struck again, and the Blackwater Falls Snack Bar closes for the winter, I was left withering away to nothing waiting for the rescue efforts of my wife. Around 2:15, Kayla rolled in with my truck. I loaded the bike in the back and changed out of my riding boots into some slip on shoes I wear in the basement.
Notice I only mentioned my boots. In all of my genius ideas, I had changed into riding gear at home and drove over to the office to get on the bike wearing that same gear. That means when Kayla came to get me, I had no normal clothes to change into. I knew I owed Kayla big time and since she was also hungry, we drove out of the way to hit Big John’s Family Fixins. If you’re ever in the Davis area, be sure to check that place out. The steak is absolutely delicious, but I digress.
So here we go walking into Big John’s Family Fixins, with Kayla all nice and pretty and me wearing a set of Moose M1 riding gear, a Moose riding jacket, with the sleeves zipped off and a pair of slip on shoes. As if it’s not already weird enough, there was also the biggest crowd I’d ever seen in my five times eating there, so I’m sure they all wondered what was up with this goofy looking ginger. Did I care, though? No way. I ordered my steak with pride, ate it and enjoyed every bite. Kayla also got a great steak, so the day wasn’t a total loss for her either.
After that, we began the drive home… Er, well, back to the office to drop that bike off. Just to break up the scenery, we drove back through Oakland and Deep Creek, Maryland just so we didn’t have to see the exact same stuff we had just driven through. We made it back to the office with daylight left and I decided to wash that bike off before heading home. We finally made it home just after dark and while we wasted a huge chunk of our day it wasn’t a total loss. Kayla and I spend a ton of time together, probably more than most couples. We live together, we work together, we travel together, and somehow we never get totally sick of each other. So, instead of spending a day apart doing our own things, we ended up still spending the day together stuck in a vehicle…. And we’re still not stick of each other.
Moral of the Story: Call your wife to rescue you sometime. At the very least, it makes a good story.