Independence Day weekend 2002 found CORE and its guests declaring Independence from the Pavement and riding the Tuscarora Trail along the mountaintop between VA and WV.
This trail is also called Stateline, County Line and Walking Stick Trail following an earlier ride and the preponderance of that particular insect in the lead Jeep.
” The off camber aspects of the trail added a little adrenaline to any obstacle we encountered.”
Along for the ride this time were:
- Gil Campos, 99 TJ, CORE
- Chad and Dawn Perry, 99 TJ, CORE
- Bob Jaeger, 99 Ranger, CORE
- Keith Holman, 91 S-10 Blazer, CORE and
- Mike Volpe, 88 S-15 Pickup, Guest
This ride came about in large part because Gil had wanted to do this again and he and Sherrie were spending the long weekend camped out in the area. Sherrie decided on Saturday morning to stay in camp and watch the Wheel Chock (their Yorkie named Missy). She missed a treat, as did you, if you weren’t there.
We assembled at the West End Market at the western edge of Strasburg VA. After a week of silence, Bob and Mike V. announced they would come along on Friday. We talked about the usual stuff including the likelihood of winning the ATV being raffled off there.
The weather was hot and clear. I was looking for signs of fires since the trail had been reported closed earlier this year due to forest fire activiity. Apparently, the trail had been closed only as a precaution since there was no evidence of recent fires although there were a couple of wide spots in the trail that I didn’t remember from past excursions.
With Gil in the lead, we pulled off the pavement into the clearing to allow for time to air down, disconnect and lock hubs for those folks who do that sort of thing. I offered to assist as the others aired down but was declined by all. I guess my efficiency at that task from Potts Jeep Road the previous weekend had folks intimidated. 😉
I took the lead position as I was the only one who had remembered camera for this trip and wanted to make sure that a record made it to electrons. Chad and Dawn were next which gave Chad a good position for GM bashing, for good measure Mike V. followed them, then Bob Jaeger and bringing up the rear was Gil in the only winch-equipped vehicle. (For the record, although Dawn drives a Blazer and we originally met Chad through the S10 group, he’s not their biggest fan. Unlike some of our members though, he figures his potshots have more potency when he’s actually on the trail sniping instead of behind a keyboard!) [That one’s for Mike K. When you gonna get off the pavement there fellow?]
As we rode along, our first difficulties were encountered by Mike who required a bit of extra effort to climb a loose dirt and rock incline but worked his way on up. Bob then seemed to be having an uncharacteristic amount of trouble climbing the same spot.
The second similar incline just proved to be too much for Bob’s Ranger so all came back to watch and provide assistance. After a fair amount of troubleshooting and education of all in the intricacies of the Ranger 4wd system, the conclusion was reached that his Ranger was only pulling halfway, in other words, the front axle was not pulling. Bob weighed parking and riding with someone else as the trail would get rougher from there but decided he was better off heading back out to pavement. So we said goodbye to Bob as he headed back. (By the way, he called to us on the CB to let us know he had reached pavement uneventfully.)
Realizing how far downhill we had all walked to where Bob’s truck was diagnosed, we found that it’s not just age and smoking that make guys huff and puff when climbing a hill on foot. I think I’ll stay in the truck next time!
Occasionally lifting a tire on the two IFS vehicles, we proceeded on. The power line crossing was gorgeous with a clear view into both VA and WV, but if you’re ever run it before, you know it can be a bit unnerving as the land jsut drops away on BOTH sides of the mountain. Mike called for a spot but drove through without any assistance other than two folks standing on either side of the trail to give some anchors to the great sky view.
Just past that, Chad and Dawn found the line stopping to put them in a spot laoded with bees. No stings for either but we were more careful after that as to where folks got stopped.
A little further down the trail, we were reminiscing about various spots where someone had gotten body damage by sliding off the trail to one side or the other. The off camber aspects of the trail added a little adrenaline to any obstacle we encountered. In general, going in, you tend to be off camber and leaning to the right. Obviously, that changes on the way out.
We continued along to the turnaround spot with more stories of what had happened here or there on prior trips. At the turnaround, we all ate lunch. (By the way, Bob, Chad says thanks for the sandwich!) We walked on from there to see why this spot was the turnaround. Chad and Gil debated the feasibility fo goingin further but both decided to save those attempts for another day.
The trip back shifted all the off camber spots in the opposite direction. Somehow, leaning into the vehicle is a very different ride than leaning out. A few of the spots where there had been some bumping on the way in were a bit more challenging in this direction.
We carefully avoided the spot with the bees and the power line crossing was a little easier the second time through.
We stopped just shy of the highway to reconnect and unlock and for Gil to remount the doors. One more stop at the West End Market along with a generous invite from Gil and Sherrie to come eat at their place in the woods and we were all on our way for other placesand other people.
Another good weekend…but then any day wheelin’ is better than a good day on pavement.
Trail report written by Keith Holman. Pictures courtesy of Keith Holman.