Perfect Strangers: Two Veterans, Two Bikes, and a Back Country Discovery Route. Part Two

In part one of my adventure on the Mid Atlantic Back Country Discovery Route I went over the riding in sections 1, 2, and the beginning of 3. Due to safety and time considerations I decided to bypass some difficult areas on section 3 since I was riding by myself and I wouldn’t link up with my riding buddy Nathan until section 4 in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Up to this point I had covered roughly 225 miles on the MABDR and everything was going pretty well.

Heading into West Virginia

My second day on the MABDR started off a little later then I wanted to as I pulled out of Hidden Valley. I jumped on US Hwy 220 outside of Warm Springs, Virginia and followed it north before crossing into West Virginia and heading west into the Germany Valley. Since I was bypassing a considerable portion of section 3 I decided to play tourist and check out the Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. The Seneca Rocks are a series of 900 foot cliffs in West Virginia that provide some of the toughest rock climbing in the eastern United States. After a half hour of checking out the exhibits at the visitors center and stretching my legs I jumped back on the Tiger and pushed north where I jumped back on the MABDR in the Smoke Hole Canyon.

At Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

After being on the road for a little over two hours I finished section 3 and pulled into Moorefield, West Virginia for fuel and lunch. It was here that I finally regained cell phone contact with Nathan and at this point we discovered that we were only 50 miles apart. Since Nathan had gotten off to a slow start that morning and section 4 was mostly pavement we decided to meet up in Harpers Ferry a few miles inside section 5. Looking back on the entire route, sections 4 and 5 were by far the shortest and probably the most boring. This was primarily due to it being mostly paved as it wound its way through West Virginia, Maryland, and back into Virginia.

What most of the riding on section’s 4 and 5 was like

In Harper’s Ferry, I finally met up with Nathan and his KLR. Now I’m going to deviate from the MABDR for a little bit and talk about my new riding buddy. Nathan grew up in the backwoods of central Maine near Bangor and decided that he wanted some adventure in his life so he enlisted in the United States Navy. For most of his Navy service Nathan served aboard nuclear attack submarines in the technical field of nuclear engineering. After spending most of his time in the fleet, Nathan was sent to the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power School in Charleston, South Carolina to be an instructor. It was here, that him and the KLR went on a series of overnight trips into the southern Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee which planted the seed for a trip on the Mid Atlantic Back Country Discovery Route.

Nathan’s KLR in West Virginia

As we left Harper’s Ferry and continued on section 5 the riding was mostly on pavement as the MABDR pushed north back into Maryland. We rode through several small farming communities until we decided to stop for the night at Greenbriar State Park. After we set up camp we relaxed next to a campfire and got to know each other. It was interesting to discuss and hear about each others military service during the Global War on Terror. While mine was on the ground and in the fight, Nathan’s was under the sea doing things that most of us can’t fathom or will never know about. We also discussed previous adventures and places that we have ridden to and after a while we realized how much we had in common. Camping at Greenbriar State Park was a great experience and it was by far the nicest area that I camped on the entire trip. Our site cost $25 dollars and for an additional $10 dollars we picked up two stacks of firewood. Greenbriar had an amazing beach and swimming area along with a clean bath house that provided much needed showers with hot water.

Nathan and his KLR

The next morning we were off to an early start and wrapped up section 5 rather quickly since it was mostly pavement. As we crossed into Pennsylvania we were rewarded with our first off pavement riding in what seemed like forever. After a quick fuel stop in Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania we started our push back into the mountains and into section 6. This was where the MABDR in my opinion really made a name for itself. The route took us through the dense Michaux State Forest as it climbed up and over several mountains with some great overlooks. As the route progressed north we noticed how remote and undeveloped Pennsylvania really was, this was true Appalachian back country of coal mining towns and hunting camps. It was also in this area that we had our first and really only mechanical issue on the entire trip.

Riding through Michaux State Forest

Towards the end of section 6 near McVeytown, Pennsylvania I picked up a large piece of flint that pierced a knob on my rear tire. Since the Tiger has tubeless tires I was able to plug it however, I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the tire plug that I put in it. With daylight fading we made the decision to push towards the town of State College and stop at Best Line Powersports to see if they could patch my rear tire or even replace it. The guys at Best Line went above and beyond by staying late and installed a heavy duty plug in my tire. Sensing that it was almost dark they also recommended a near by hotel and pizza restaurant for us to unwind which was greatly appreciated. With 230 miles to go we would be entering an area with some of the most technical riding on the MABDR and we would also contend with something that we previously didn’t deal with, the weather.

Towards the end of section 6

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