As usual, we met at the
Wendy's parking lot in Manassas, VA, at about 8:00 a.m. The rain promised to make
the day interesting, especially since plans involved spending much time outdoors doing
trail and woods-cleaning. All necessary paperwork was completed and the large group
hit the road to Harrisonburg, VA.
The group reassembled at
McDorman's on Route 33 outside Harrisonburg, and met up with others who were waiting
there. We were separated into three groups; one to clean up Old Route 33; one to
clean up the lower part of Old Long Run; and one group that I joined to do some trail work
on the upper part of Old Long Run.
My group, led by Keith
Holman hit the road and drove up Forest Road 72, then down Gauley Ridge to the beginning of Old Long Run. We made our way down the trail,
clearing fallen trees that threatened to cause problems for high vehicles, or later when
they deteriorated enough to fall across the trail.
While conducting this work
we were passed by a small group that appeared to be doing a pre-run of the trail for a
group coming through in June. The trail was in pretty good condition and our work
went smoothly. Some chain-saw fun then we continued down the trail to meet the other
There we stopped to share
updates and eat some lunch.
Old Long Run
Then we turned around and
went back up Old Long Run. Along the way someone came on the CB and said something
about picking up a "roll bar". I thought it was some kind of a joke but we
did stop and sure enough, there it was: A rusted, stinky old roll bar! There
must be an interesting story to this but who knows what? Anyway, it found it's way
to the top of my Jeep where it fit "nicely" on the rack. Then up to Gauley
We stopped at the end of Old Long Run at the power lines. There was a little break
in the weather and we could see a little bit. The power lines were quite literally
crackling from the humidity. We stopped for people to take pictures
Then on to
Clines Hacking where we stopped to hang around and wait for the folks
that had made the dump run. My oldest, Teddy, had fallen asleep on the way up Old
Long Run and slept through our stop at Clines Hacking. Todd's Jeep has seen some
improvements and my youngest, Tomi, kept saying "Drivee Jeep" so I put him up at
the wheel. I think I know what Tomi wants for his 17th Birthday...
When they caught up, we
drove down Second Mountain with a pause to wallow in the mud at the usual spot. On
the way down there are several cuts to control erosion. Some of them are pretty
smooth and some are abrupt. Tomi was really enjoying these whoop-dee-do's so on one
I gave him a little feeling of weightlessness. Of course all I really did was unload
the suspension some but we didn't "get air". I know that it never quite
works the way it does on "Dukes
of Hazard"... Teddy woke up at this point, looking a little
bewildered. Sorry 'bout that, Ted.
After that we stopped at
Route 33. I gave the roll bar away to someone who will plant it in the land fill.
Then we split up again with some folks going on to Dry River and the rest to go
home. We headed for home but stopped along the way so Tomi could "Drivee Big
I took the Jeep to the car
wash just across Route 81 on Route 33, then to McDonalds for some fat and carbohydrate and
caffeine. The we climbed on Route 81 and made our way home.
This was the first trip that
I had a CB. I have to say that I am not someone who would normally have a
CB-Radio. While the idea was always interesting to me, I never really took much
interest. But after a few rides with the groups, and finding that I was always
really out of touch with what was going on, I decided that I should give it a try. I
am here to tell you that I have no regrets. I wanted to get a Cobra 75 WX ST but I
want to save some money and didn't get it done in time for this trip. So on the
night before we left I went and bought a hand-held unit at Wal*Mart for less than $50.
I didn't expect too much
from it because I know that without a good antenna there isn't much range. I went
out to the parking lot and read through the directions, plugged the power converter into
the cigarette lighter and turned it on. Lots of white noise. Well DUH.
Let's see what the SQUELCH does for that. I turned the knob until the white noise
went away. OK, great now nothing but silence...
So I went up on the highway
thinking that there would be big convoys of truckers partying on Channel 9. Lots of
trucks. Nothing on the radio. Well I don't know anybody within my 300 yards
that has a CB so I decide to wait until the trip to see if it works with people around who
ARE using theirs on a known channel. Had I known that I was really supposed to be
listening on Channel 19 I might have actually heard something...
And long story short, when I
got to the Wendy's parking lot and we fired up to hit the road, Channel 4 came alive with
everyone in the group who had a CB. It was a little like having the whole gang
riding shotgun for the rest of the trip. I still plan to get that Cobra so I can
mount it permanently with a proper antenna, but I think I will keep the hand-held for when
I'm not in the Jeep, and for the kids to use. I would advise anyone who wants to be
more informed on these rides to get the CB. It is only recommended equipment, but I
can see that without it, you're really at a disadvantage.
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