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Brought To You By Tom's Yaller Snap-Off Foot Pegs!
Posts: 616
Reply with quote  #61 
Jr. here.... sorry for the delayed respose to our trip.... (the family and I have been moving). I'm sure ya'll thought I was out for that ass transplant I spoke of at the end of this ride.
Anyway, Swampy, Stubbs (aka birthday boy), and Manimal were a real nice group of smart aces to spend a great scenic trip with. Manimal earned his name ... I think he's part cat because of the nine lives he apparantley has....two of which he used up on this trip.


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I know McPush, and you Sir, are no McPush!
Posts: 1,030
Reply with quote  #62 
It's good to see Manimal back in the ride reports.   How did the PDB feel riding off-road after recovering from surgery?

Jack-- Let's just say that weren't no train keeping the town of Matewan up all night.....
Based on reports from the locals, the PDB is doing better than ever.

2007 KLR650, 2002 XT225, 2004 BMW R1200CL, 2007 Ural Tourist, 2009 Kawasaki EX 250, 2004 HD Road King

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Posts: 8,659
Reply with quote  #63 
HM6N2: Part 17

Holy smokes! 17 parts to the story right now!

We covered music by John Denver, Jimmy Dean and Johnny Cash....

We rode some beautiful roads and trails...

We hit 4 Trail Systems so far...

Went through West Virgina Mining History...

Discovered about Matewan...

Pulled Manimal off the mountainside...

Learned about the Hatfield-McCoy Fued.... and even visited the gravesite of Devil Anse hisself!

This has been a great ride report so far if I say so...

So let's do some more!

Part 17: The Manimal Chronicles

So we ride from Sarah Ann to Logan...

Unfortunetly, no pictures here. We did swing up to Bear Wallow and looked at the time. No way were we going to be able to do it and Coal River.... unless we wanted to rough it and sleep next to our bikes in the open somewhere...

I was voted down.... ('s)

So the plan was hatched to ride to Coal Creek and come back and catch Bear Wallow in the morning....

Like I've said before... dual sporting, in it's truest sense, is the absolute best way to ride a motorcycle.

If I were on a street bike, or even an adventure bike (like my 950!) I would have missed some awesome trails.

If I were on a dirt bike I would have missed some great road riding.

But I was lucky enough to be on a bike that does it all. Maybe not with as much comfort as a street bike, and maybe not with the total agility of a pure off-road bike. But I ... no we.... are doing it all!

We're riding the roads of Coal Country!

Here's a tipple somewhere in the West Virginia countryside...

Small towns dot the valleys. Steeply rising mountains to each side and a river or creek running next to the road. West Virginia is a beautiful experience...

I mean, let's really think about it. I'm out here riding a bike that's light-years ahead of what I rode as a younger man... and I'm doing it all... touring, sport touring, adventure riding, dual sporting, dirt biking and yes... even some trials from time to time...taking in the scenery... smelling the flowers trees and fields... it's good to be alive and on a motorcycle. How lucky are we to be able to enjoy this!

... like I said... how lucky we are to enjoy this! How many times do you get to watch Manimal work on his bike! Don't start counting yet, the report ain't over! Ooops.... I may have let a cat out of the bag!

All is good. Mike's got the tube changed on the KLR... the sun is dipping.... we arrive at Little Coal Creek.... no lodgings up to this point. We'll have to press on 13 miles of 4-lane to Charleston and grab something there... no problem... we're riding!

So technically, we did visit (ride to) all 6 Trail Systems in 2 days... but we only rode 4... that ain't no good. Can't claim victory yet. We'll claim victory when we tag 'em all by the end of tomorrow!

As you can see....we wound up roughing it for the night... but the interesting thins was 4 dirty banged up motorcycle, 4 smelly sweaty dirty guys, walking into a hotel... well, okay three of us were walking.... we were dragging Junior who was drooling over a Maserati in the parking lot....

Tonight we rest. And eat.

For tomorrow we ride!

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

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Posts: 8,659
Reply with quote  #64 
HM6N2: Part 18

A full night's sleep and a complimentary breakfast at the hotel had us ready to go. The conversation this morning reflected where we had been, what we had done, and what we had seen.

It also included a comment from John: "Ya'll are decreasing my standard of living not stopping for lunch and all."

We won't hold it against him. He's new to the whole dual sport touring gig!

So we begin our day with a 13 mile jaunt down to Little Coal River...

LOcated just a hop, skip and long jump from the state capital in Charleston, Little Coal Creek is the flagship trail system. It's the poster child for off road recreation. As such it has this neat welcome and information center...

The helpful staff... sorry about the blurriness... something was screwed up with my camera!

The A-Team.... you pick the characters...

Different tour operators, renatl facilities and dealers (all supporters of the HM) supply vehicles for V.I.P. tours.... while we were there they were waiting on a group of representatives from various states to take them on a trail ride...

So we shot on down the road looking for the trail head. It was going to be another fabulous day!

Wha-Hoooo! One more down! One to go!

Next up: Exploring Little Coal Creek!

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

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Posts: 8,659
Reply with quote  #65 
HM6N2: Part 19

The Little Coal River Trail System located just off Route 119, near Danville and Madison consists of 54.5 total miles of trail. The Little Coal River Trail has one Trailhead with a two-acre parking area and restrooms. Little Coal is most commonly known for its high percentage of green or easiest level trails.

The breakdown in trail percentages is as follows:
14 miles or 46% are green trails (easiest),
 .5 miles or 38% blue trails (more difficult),
3.1 miles or 6% black trails (most difficult), and
6 miles or 10% orange trails (single track only).,2.aspx

What a way to start the day.... on a motorcycle!

Little Coal, as they say, have the greatest number of "green" easy tails. But they have a bunch of blue trails as well, and they equal F-U-N when they start rolling and twisting.

Little Coal is also, by far, the most scenic Syatem we've been on as well....

Oh Oh! Let's go down this "black" trail! Okay, here's the only place I could take a pic because it got hairy after this...

See, there was this sharp dropping left turn.... and Junior decided to take a soil sample at that one....

Then it shot down hill through wash-out-rock-garden, once again, the kind where if you hit the front brake over the bars you go... yes that steep!

Then about 3/4 way down was a ledge in the middle of the trail that you had to roll UP over, then another sharp right and that takes us to this picture...

I just wish there was someway to show the grade of decent  of these trails....

We come out on a flat....

John was feeling pretty good about surviving the trail.... that is until Manimal pointed out the Toyota Camry over at the corner of the flat....

But seriously.... we came out on an access road....

John was primed to get back at Manimal...

So we go riding and grab some more blues with switchbacks... and as legend says.... Stubb had a lateral incursion on one of the horseshoe turns...

We then plod our way through the low land, muddy, swampy, full of skeeters... going slow.... looking for the beaver dam....

A-HA! The beaver pond!

... and the beaver dam! Dam Tourists!

We stay on the slick West Virginia slime and puddles and eventually rise to the clear and dry...

In the holler there are rock ledges pines and sunshine...

... a grand view down the holler... you can see a small swath of brown in the lower part of the pic... that's the trail... we'll be down there soon....

But I'm waiting and no one's behind me....

WTF? What are they doing? It wasn't a hard section....

I hear a motor....

Here comes Stubblefield...

(I'm noticing a pattern here...)

"Manimal got a flat"

So back we go... only to find...

Junior giving Manimal grief at trailside... after all the ribbing Mike was giving him... it was pay back time!

... a scene we've seen before... in numerous states.... both here in the east and out west...

... but no matter what... we're having a great morning... in a great stretch of woods...

From here we work ourselves out of Little Coal and our adventure continues!

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

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Posts: 5,200
Reply with quote  #66 
sorry about the blurriness... something was screwed up with my camera!

I think I know what's.......nah, it's too easy.

Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon

Hey! It's My Birthday!
Posts: 1,377
Reply with quote  #67 
  We did come up with a solution to the flat tire problem: If we run out of tubes we can use biscuits and jam them into the tire like tennis balls and adjust the pressure with gravy. "Hey, how much gravy do you run in your tires in these rocks?"
   Seriously, Manimal has the worst luck with flats.

Rick 13 KTM 500 XC-W 

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Posts: 8,659
Reply with quote  #68 
HM6N2: Part 20

Quality of Life

It was just this morning John was commenting about the decrease in his quality of life because we don't stop to eat lunch.

Here it was almost noon and we're just leaving Little Coal Creek. Life's lookin' purty darn good!

So we motor on down to Madison as we head for the backway into Bear Ballow...

And being that it's noon and all.... and John wants lunch.... what the heck.... how can you go wrong with a place like THIS!

or how can you go wrong with a plate that looks like THIS!

Might be sumthin' to this "quality of life" thing Juniors been talking about!

We eat lunch and stumble out of Biscuit World. Time to ride...

Did I mention I love the West Virginia countryside? Naw.... I didn't think so.... Hey! I just Love the West Virginia Countryside!

Look at those piles of coal in the background! Lots and lots of coal = lots and lots of jobs here in West Virginia!

Hey.... What's this? The Army and the Air Force involved???


Blair Mountain:
                The History Of A Confrontation



                Miners turn their weapons over to                 soldiers after the strike ends.

                Blair Mountain is a                 unique place, with a unique and powerful story to tell.                 No comparable site exists to tell this pivotal story of                 paramount importance both to labor history and to civil rights in                 America. According to the National Park Service, the Battle of                 Blair Mountain served as the bloody climactic confrontation when "the                 violence of the West Virginia coal-mining war of 1920-21 reach[ed] a                 level unparalleled in U.S. history."


                Rising as high as 2,064 feet, Blair                 Mountain was both the symbolic and real hurdle that confronted miners                 wishing to bring union protection to the miners of Mingo, Logan, Mercer,                 and McDowell counties. The ridge offered only the most inhospitable                 conditions for a march: steep slopes, heavy timber, and rocky terrain.                 It also afforded high points that were good outposts for defensive                 scouts, including massive rock formations that served as strong                 defensive positions. The topography of the region dictated the course of                 the confrontation, and is therefore extremely significant.


                The American industrial revolution brought                 with it massive, rapid changes in the way citizens lived and worked.                 Work in fast-paced, dangerous environments dictated new levels of                 adherence to standards of timekeeping, regularity, and safety. For                 Americans accustomed to the farm life and in-home production of goods,                 this often meant a radical adjustment. As large corporations emerged and                 began competing with one another in the stock market, businesses often                 increased production and allowed safety to diminish as a means of                 staying solvent. Coal mines struggled to provide the growing iron,                 steel, and railroad industries with the fuel that was so important to                 their growth. Though yielding relatively low profit return on a high                 labor investment, and incredibly dangerous, the mining of coal was                 integrally important to the industrial growth of the nation. Repeated                 accidents resulted in growing activism in the mines of Pennsylvania and                 other states, and by the end of the 19th century, coal                 strikes were commonplace as a means of building the miners unions.


                In the early twentieth                 century, coal alone fueled American                 industry. Work stoppages threatened steel production and the                 railroads, and political and economic pressure to maintain order in the                 coalfields allowed coal companies a great deal of latitude.                 Increasingly, however, mine workers began to organize as a way to                 withstand the industry's back-breaking demands and garner a small piece                 of its extraordinary profits. These efforts were consistently resisted                 by the coal companies, whose suppression of the unions were also                 supported by a widespread national fear of bolshevism following the                 Russian revolution.


                By 1921, southern West Virginia was ripe                 for violent confrontation. More than half of the state's one hundred                 thousand miners were organized, but the union had largely failed to                 organize southern coalfields, which produced the region's best specialty                 coal. The United Mine Workers of America believed that organizing the                 southern coalfields would improve working and living conditions for the                 miners, in addition to securing the survival of the union.


                At the time, coal companies enjoyed a                 great deal of political influence, and martial law was regularly                 employed to quell unrest. Lacking a National Guard, martial law in West                 Virginia meant that local law enforcement, including "deputies" in the                 pay of coal companies, exercised an inordinate amount of power, enabling                 widespread violence against miners and their families. The governor                 regularly requested the support of federal troops in disputes, but was                 usually rebuffed by federal officials, who did not want to set a                 precedent for the use of the Army in times of civil unrest.


                Following several violent conflicts,                 including those memorialized in the John Sayles film Matewan,                 Bill Blizzard, Frank Keeney and Fred Mooney of the District 17 United                 Mine Workers of America assembled 600 armed miners near Charleston for a                 march to Mingo County to demonstrate their solidarity, gathering                 additional miners to their cause as they advanced.


                Although no count was                 ever taken, it is likely that the miners' army grew to at least 7,500, and may have surpassed 10,000.                 They intended to sweep through the southern counties of West Virginia,                 unionize workers and drive out the hired gunmen who guarded the                 coalfields and terrorized the miners.                


                Meanwhile, Logan County Sherriff Don                 Chafin, whose salary was heavily subsidized by coal companies, learned                 of the miners' intentions and began organizing local recruits to help                 stop the march. Hundreds of volunteers from across southern West                 Virginia flocked to Logan town to "do their patriotic duty" and end the                 rebellion by joining Chafin and his deputies, many of whom were also in                 the pay of coal companies. In the end, approximately 3,000 men comprised                 Don Chafin's defensive force.


                The Battle of Blair Mountain took place between August 30                 and September 4, 1921. Spruce Fork Ridge formed a natural dividing line                 between union and non-union                 territories. On August 30, the miners began their assault on Blair                 Mountain. Defensive positions blocked the miners along on the upper                 slopes of the ridge, with particular concentrations at the gaps: Mill                 Creek, Crooked Creek, Beech Creek and Blair Mountain. Here the defensive                 force dug trenches, felled trees, blocked roads, built breastworks and                 placed machine guns. Most of the hostilities between the two groups                 occurred along the fifteen-mile ridgeline, reflecting the miners' use of                 natural pathways up and over the ridge to breach Chafin's line.  


                During                 the battle, private planes organized by the defensive militia dropped as                 many as ten homemade bleach and shrapnel bombs at Jeffrey, Blair,                 and near the miners' headquarters on Hewitt Creek. In Charleston, eleven                 Army Air Corps pilots arrived, led by Billy Mitchell, a pioneer in                 aerial bombardment who was eager to experiment with the strategy. While                 troops were used in labor disputes throughout the nation during this                 era, West Virginia alone bears the distinction of having been the focus and potential target of military aircraft. Fortunately, the Army did                 not allow Mitchell to bomb the miners; the military planes performed                 reconnaissance flights.


                The end of the battle began with the                 arrival of federal troops on September 3. Six hundred miners, many of                 whom were veterans of World War I, formally surrendered rather than                 fight the soldiers. Far from considering the Army as an enemy, the                 miners considered the soldiers to be brothers and refused to fire on                 them. In the end, despite the                 valiant charges of a few miners and close-range gunfight at Blair                 Mountain itself, there was little face-to-face combat. Visibility                 was so limited by the thick, late summer underbrush that few combatants                 actually saw the enemy. Lon Savage, who wrote the most authoritative                 account of the battle, sets the number of documented deaths at                 sixteen--all but four from the miners' army. But the defeat heavily                 damaged the UMWA, which lost members and territory in the wake of the                 battle. 


                Although they did not win the Battle of                 Blair Mountain, the miners accomplished a great deal in their revolt. It                 forced national scrutiny of their situation in the press and in the                 federal government. They amassed sufficient force to require                 intervention by the United States Army, and they broke down racial and                 ethnic barriers to the solidarity they would need later when they did organize.                 Following sanctioning legislation in the 1930s, the UMWA became the                 leading force in organizing the nation's industrial workers. UMWA                 president John L. Lewis formed the Congress of Industrial Organizations                 in 1937, which spearheaded the struggles for unionization in the auto,                 rubber, steel and other industries. 


                As with                 other wars, this battlefield must be considered an important part of a                 larger effort. The events at Blair Mountain are overwhelmingly                 significant to the history of labor in the United States, because they set in motion a national                 movement to better the conditions of working people by demanding                 the legalization of unions and the use of the federal government to                 protect workers' rights. In its 2003 American Labor History Theme                 Study, the National Park Service observed that the fight for control                 of the southern West Virginia coalfields centered                         less on economics than on civil liberties  freedom of speech                         and assembly,                         freedom from the industrial feudalism of company                         towns, and freedom from the terrorism                         inflicted by the operators hired                         gunmen. The struggle that began in 1912 and culminated in the 1921                         armed miners' march to liberate Logan County, West Virginia,                         from the company rule shows that                         labor history is part of a larger historical theme, the                         struggle for liberties promised in the Bill of Rights.

WHO KNEW?????????

Isn't American History amazing?

So we continue on our way... the thoughts of our armed forces being brought against citizens... prohibited by the Constitution... but can be done by the powers-to-be... scary thought in todays times as well!

Luckily we have scenecs like this to help clear our heads...

I'm just diggin' this tour of West Virginia!

...and finally we arrive at #6. The final system we have to conquer: Bear Wallow!

C'mon..... let's go ride The Bear....

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

By Neighbor
Posts: 190
Reply with quote  #69 

I've heard people say the goverment can't bring the armed forces agenst the people of this country becouse of the constitution they better study history!!!


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Posts: 1,446
Reply with quote  #70 

Originally Posted by stubbjr
  We did come up with a solution to the flat tire problem: If we run out of tubes we can use biscuits and jam them into the tire like tennis balls and adjust the pressure with gravy. "Hey, how much gravy do you run in your tires in these rocks?"
   Seriously, Manimal has the worst luck with flats.

While that might work I'm thinking what a waste of good biscuits.  I'd just bring a few extras in my pack and when Mike's feverishly working on his tires you'd find me sitting on a nearby shaded rock enjoying my biscuits.
mmmmmm biscuits.  


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Posts: 1,896
Reply with quote  #71 

You know it's been a good ride when "cleaning your bike" only consists of wiping dried mud from the tail light. 


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Posts: 8,659
Reply with quote  #72 
HM6N2: Part 21

The Bearwallow Trail System located near the town of Logan consists of approximately 67 total miles of trail. The Bearwallow Trail has one Trailhead with a two-acre parking area and restrooms. Bearwallow is one of the more popular trail systems of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and is commonly known for its difficult single track and most difficult level trails.

The breakdown in trail percentages for this trail system is as follows:
14.7 miles or 22% are green trails (easiest),
29.7 miles or 44% blue trails (more difficult),
11.2 miles or 19% black trails (most difficult),
1.9 miles or 3% red/black (extreme difficult), and
8.2 miles or 12% orange trails (single track only).,1.aspx

So here we go... Let's Wallow in the Bear!

When we received our permits in the mail, included was this card that said if you visit all 6 trails systmes send it in for a free t-shirt! This became a quest, to get the stamps!

Here at the trail head we get our cards stamped with the last.... THE LAST... stamp! off to the trails and bagging the last of the systems!

Manimal showing how it's done up a rock wall....

Stubb taking the smooth way up....

The trails don't get much better... they actually tighten up and get rockier. And the decent to the Logan connector?.... Awesome!

So awesome we "climbed" the connector back up and grabbed another trail to bring us back to the trail head...

Here we have a beautiful view of Logan from the trail.... from the narrow, wet, slick trail...

Manimal loving the day! These trails are great!

Back under the trees and moving the temp drops so much you can feel the difference!

Running along the ridges allows you to look to one side or the other from time to time. Sometimes you can look over and see the guys coming the other way!

Bear Wallow... KTM in Repose....

Here they come...

View from the trailhead parking area. Yesterday evening when we were here, a bobcat crossed the parking lot just down there...

The sun was dipping... the boys wanted to get back... and that meant pavement... which in West Virginia.... is not a bad thing!

We swing into the administrative offices of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails Authority (yes it's a government agency. Can you believe THAT?)

Anne here was the one mailed out permits out.... and gave us some follow up phone calls..... we turned in our cards... wait... we kept our cards and filled out a paper saying we did them all.... to which... Anne and an officer were a bit surprised that we wanted to keep the cards, since no one asked before!

So not only did we visit the 6 trails and the visitor center, we also hit the administrative offices!

Oh yeah. We hit them all!

So we continue on our way towards Welch.... when Rick gets this wild hair to do some creek riding....

Rick scaring the trout...

Why not. Manimal hasn't crashed in a creel yet....

West Virginia is deffinetly a secret that no one wants to hear. Not many people listen for it... but we can hear the whispers of West Virginia now...

It was either whispers of West Virginia or some other voices in Manimals head... Hey... I can get through there!

Here's Manimal in his natural pose...

Now fully recovered, we continue on our way...

Welcome to Welch, WV!

Downtown Welch. Once a thriving small city, now, a virtual ghost town. Like so many other towns throughout southern West Virginia.

Welch, from above town...

In Keystone, we pass hundreds of railway cars filled with coal. We stop as John needs fuel. Manimal and John marvel at the conditions of housing here...

We hang a left and swing back through Ashland...

...back through more countryside...

...almost heaven...

... narrow roadways... scenery... motorcycles & friends....

West Virginia truly is that kind of place, salt of the earth, scenic, ever changing,  .... it's close to... no wait.... it is...... Almost Heaven.

... it's time to go home and share the secret....


Hope you enjoyed the trip!

The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged

Hey! It's My Birthday!
Posts: 1,377
Reply with quote  #73 
  Beautiful report Swampy. I really enjoyed riding West Virginia again in my head. Thanks again for inviting me along on another adventure. Funny though, I

 feel as though I've aged 3 years on this trip.


Rick 13 KTM 500 XC-W 

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I know McPush, and you Sir, are no McPush!
Posts: 1,030
Reply with quote  #74 
Great report!
Thank you.

2007 KLR650, 2002 XT225, 2004 BMW R1200CL, 2007 Ural Tourist, 2009 Kawasaki EX 250, 2004 HD Road King

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DDS LifeTime Member
Posts: 338
Reply with quote  #75 
Thanks, Swampy, for a great ride report.
The trail system has expanded alot since Tom and I went up there years ago but they look the same; gnarly and steep!


'03 Aprilia Tuono R (Tuono. Making juveniles out of adults since 2002.)
'04 Aprilia Tuono R (Track Bike)
'05 KTM 450exc
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