Sunday, May 12, 2013
This past Saturday was the inaugural run of the rejuvenated VAXC- Virginia Xterra Club. As we all know, I roll with Xterras because it seems that my fellow Frontier owners can't get it together enough to have any regional clubs. We'll coast along on someone else's coat tails, I guess.
This first picture is from the meetup for the Richmond crew. Although the organizer provided coordinates for the trail head and there was another meetup close to the trail head, I decided to meet the first rendezvous point at the Wawa in Richmond.
So there was, of course, an accident on 95 South which threatened to make me late. I left the house at 615 for an 845 meetup and fortunately made it with about 10 minutes to spare. It was a single car crash where some chick hit the guard rail. All the truckers were talking about it because 1) it was annoying to be held up first thing in the morning; and 2) because apparently she had a smoking hot body. It was just my luck though, that by the time I passed the mile marker (152 I believe), the authorities had removed her and what was left of her vehicle. So the rest of the 6 prior miles were really backed up for no reason as there was only a state trooper cruiser that remained and he was parked on the median.
I thought it was funny that sometimes my GPS didn't know what road was ahead. "Umm...Road Ahead". Thanks, Liza. (I think the voice is named Liza).
We were passing through to an area just south of Charlottesville. Below are some miscellaneous shots of the convoy.
Alright, so Dave and his girlfriend met us at the meetup spot that was about 20 miles out from the trail head. And then I got trumped by Mike's even more extensively built up Frontier. Not that I ever feel self-conscious about being the only one to tag along, but it generally is good to have another vehicle of comparable wheelbase and platform against which to gauge various lines that can be taken to navigate through, around. over obstacles.
I'm far from being any sort of 'expert', but the moment the @ss end started to lift up, I knew what was happening and why. I didn't panic, I just let the weight shift and positioned the front wheel in such a way to control the balance. Then I handed Mike the camera out the window as he saw that I inadvertently took the harder of the two and was wondering if I needed a spot. There was a sizeable rock beneath my nerf bar which he was concerned was going to push them up into the rocker. I said to him, "Not worried about the nerfs, just keep me off that boulder that'll dent the door in. Oh, and take a few pics for me, because if this ends badly, I want to remember how she looked for posterity".
I say first/last because somewhere we made a wrong turn which looped us back through and out the bottom of the trail where we entered. We had intended to exit at the top of the trail which would have put us a bit closer to Devils Backbone Brewery.
That little calamity earned Josh the nickname of Magellan as christened by Tom.
Overall everyone made it out unscathed. Mike was having issues with his Frontier overheating and shutting off. So although we were trying to expedite our progression through and off of the trail, on the return leg, that seemed to not deter him from taking two of the more difficult paths into some of the 'play areas'. At that point, I relinquished tailgunner duties stating, "If that guy stalls again, I'm not staying to babysit anymore with these antics!".
Fortunately he made it out ok and everyone had a good time.
The pictures here are a bit reversed. In a few down, you'll see what I observed from the road. Folks were playing corn hole out on the lawn and it really looked like a really big picnic in front of a wealthy socialite's home. It was, in fact, Blue Mountain Brewery which is definitely a destination in this area. All walks of life were here. This place was so bustling, that there were several parking lot attendants to help guide people onto and off of the premises. And everyone was friendly. The waitstaff were all relatively young folks, with bright and energetic faces greeting folks warmly as they all bustled about bedecked in their royal blue t-shirts sporting the company logo. I really wanted to hang out here for a long time.
Well, in keeping with my theme of Never Missing a Genuine Opportunity, I thought, "How often does one happen upon a Professional Bull Riding event?!" I bust another highway U-turn and doubled back to poke my head in here.
"Hey, I'm just passing through and was wondering if I could poke my head in as I've never in my life been to a real live rodeo"
"Well, you'll have to buy a ticket"
"How much are they?"
"Well that's a fair price for an evening full of entertainment. But like I said, I'm just going to be here in town for like 10 minutes. Could I just stop in?"
She wasn't having any of it :)
She did tell me it was for charity, and while I'll never be able to write it off for tax purposes, I think that there is a sort of karma you collect when you do things for the right reasons. I also bought a raffle ticket knowing I wouldn't be there to collect. The kindly older gentleman who sold it to me nonetheless took the time to engage me in conversation and extended some genuine hospitality. Now you'd think, maybe an old-timer wouldn't warm up to an outsider, especially not one who resembled me, but I find more and more in my travels that this seemingly couldn't be any further from the truth. As I left and offered my departing salutations, he genuinely was trying to encourage me to stay a while. Even offered to talk to my wife to vouch for my whereabouts and that I wasn't up to any shenanigans while there. Very nice fellow indeed.
In a few minutes, I'll post the video. This post is already pretty graphic-heavy. At one point, I was taking more video than photos.. So there's some of that to look forward to.