New Years Run – German River

In keeping with tradition, CORE gathered to inaugurate the New Year with a ride to the German River District of the GWNF near Broadway VA.

“One might be inclined to call upon another bit of wisdom from the ages and surmise that “He who hoots with the owls will be unable to soar with the eagles come daylight.” We’ll see about that!”

Attending were:

  • Gil Campos and Sherrie Burns, members in a 99 TJ
  • Mike Vincenty and Donna Edwards,members in an 90 YJ
  • Mike Peterson, member in a 93 XJ
  • Bob Weaver, member in an 03 Rubicon
  • Miles Oliver, member in an 01 Dakota Crew cab
  • Paul Woscek, member in an 01 S-10 Crew cab
  • Alan and Blake Rowe, guests in a 72 Bronco
  • And eventually, Keith Holman, member in a 99 Blazer

A little background first on why we call this Grandma Holman’s Ride. My grandmother firmly believed that whatever you did on New Year’s Day would be repeated throughout the year. For this reason (along with the obvious ones), she avoided hanging out wash, cooking and housework that could be postponed to the following day. In memory of her beliefs, we try to get out for a ride on New Year’s Day with friends since that’s something we would like to do all year. Besides, who wants to stay home and hang out wash, cook or do housework when you could be enjoying the day outside?

So we establish a meeting time of 8:00 a.m. at the Wendy’s in Park Ridge Centre to allow an early start by 8:15 on our way.

Attendees (less 1) meet at Wendy’s at appointed time. At 8:20, a phone call is made to find where the bozo that put this thing together is. Alas, he awakens to the sound of the ringing phone (which is a good thing, one supposes, since the ringing of the alarm clock seemed unable to accomplish this task!)

Quick calculations from a sleep-deprived and sleep-fogged brain lead to the conclusion that CORE will just have to make this run without him. Hanging up the phone, he curses and stumbles downstairs for coffee. Then, looking at the directions he’d printed out the night before, the phone rings again. This time, it’s the newly drafted trail leader looking for directions since it’s been quite a while since CORE has run this particular set of trails. Particulars are passed along and the group heads out.

Meanwhile, the sleep-fogged brain comes to the conclusion that if he drives quickly, he might actually be able to join the group before the end of the day. So, he loads up and heads out with plans to drive to the meeting now-deserted meeting spot and then find out what the chances are of joining up.

One might be inclined to call upon another bit of wisdom from the ages and surmise that “He who hoots with the owls will be unable to soar with the eagles come daylight.” We’ll see about that!

The group heads out 66 and down 81. The sleep-deprived makes a phone call (cell phones are pretty neat sometimes) to find out where they are since he is now passing the meeting spot in Manassas. A quick determination is made that he can catch up to the group at the Sheetz station at Exit 273 if they dawdle and he hurries. After killing time and sucking down free coffee for 25 minutes or so, the sleep-fogged rolls in and the group is now as complete as it is going to get.

Ribbing, all of it good-natured, of course, is piled on throughout the day. Luckily, in four-wheeling, piling on is not a flaggable offense and no yardage is lost.

Along the way, it was obvious that the drought deficits were being erased. It rained and rained and rained. The puddles were muddy, the streams were full to almost overflowing.

Our first stop after the pavement was to arrange a few things for trail mode. There were some truly sexist comments made regarding men without umbrellas as we stood about in the rain before moving along. Another bit of “wisdom”: “If it’s not wet and messy , you’re not doing it right.” (From some crazed four wheelers notion of fun)

Trying to follow a set of GPS waypoints, our first turn to the right allowed us to all practice those trail turnarounds, you know the ones where you try to make it in no more than 3 points. The trail led to a closed gate at an entrance to private property. We all got turned around and headed on the way we were supposed to and hit our largest mudhole of the day. It had been wallowed enough that several of us polished the frames as we drove through.

At the next turn, you go go down a little hill and cross a stream bed. There was enough ice there to clench a few knuckles but not enough to casue any serious concern. From there, the road follows the stream for a while with some minor off camber spots. CB chatter discussed the paradox of 40+ degrees with rain falling while the road remained icy. Paul’s crew cab seemed to have a mind of its own, or at least the rear end did, on a couple of occasions. The obvious cheap shot parallels between the rear of Paul’s truck having a mind of its own and some people’s rear ends and their minds will be avoided.

We met a Subaru Brat coming the other way with two gentlemen inside. Has certainly been a while since I’d seen one of those. We exchanged a few brief comments relative to road conditions and went along. Since it was raining, we bypassed the usual lunch spot as it seemed less inviting this time.

The remainder of the trail took us through more of the same pretty much. Eventually, we reached a wide spot in the road where the rain seemed to have momentarily stopped where we had lunch. Mike Peterson provided some of the mealtime entertainment with his mime routine of “Man on Ice without Skates” which was entertaining and not injury-producing. We shot the breeze and compared notes and munched down a few bites and then the rain reminded us to move along.

We did find another side trail with a closed gate (this time a Forest Service one) that allowed more close quarters maneuvering practice. Some fresh berms were also in the area blocking where it appeared the trail used to go.

One more side trail a bit later led us to another private gate. This one was open but there were “No Trespassing” signs alongside so we again retreated back down the path.

Pretty shortly thereafter, we reached pavement and so began the trek towards home. We managed one more stop at the Sheetz for the free coffee and a topping of hte tanks. If you live in this part of Maryland, you don’t pass on gas that’s only $1.35. The $1.60 stuff can wait until you get closer to home.

Several of us stopped near where the day had begun for dinner at the Cracker Barrel and then headed for home feeling pretty good for getting the New Year off to the right start.

Happy Trails! Tread Lightly!

Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Bob Weaver, Keith Holman, and Paul Woscek.

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