I might be in New York, but the desire to ride my EXC continues.
It’s not the deserts of the Mohave or Anza-Borrego, theforests of Big Bear Lake or the mountains of southern Utah/Nevada, but I didfound riding in the northeast.
Last weekend I hooked-up with 2 guys and showed them a tourof NJ, the STEVE HEINRICH way. One guy was an ex-motocrosser, a good rider andfast but had no concept of cross-country riding, navigating, desert survival or what a GPS does. The other guy was afriend at work, also a good rider. I would gladly liketo take them both up and down The John Bulltrail, Gold Mountain or Redondo Ridge, then see what riding skills they have ordon’t have.
Anyway our ride started in East Windsor NJ about 30 milessouth of Staten Island. I picked East Windsor since it’s the start of the NJpine barrens. NJ has 4 pine barrens. Each pine barren is a national forest. Itis legal to ride street-legal vehicles in these forests, much likeCalifornia. We rode them all with the tracks I developed. Our finaldestination was Cape May, which is the southernmost portion of NJ.
Our journey began thru Assunpink Wildlife Management Area. Idon’t know the legality of the riding, but the single track started off good.It’s been 15 years since I rode the dense single track, so getting a rhythm wastough. The trail we rode was overgrown and getting thru the dense brush wastough. After making it thru we had several miles of pavementL. Unfortunately pavement cannot beavoided in the northeast. The quality of the ride will probably be measured byhow much pavement we ride.
We then hit 15 miles of dirt roads. These are similar incomplexity and difficulty to 3N16 (for myBig Bear friends). They were 45-50 mph roads, could have gone faster, butneeded to keep the newbie’s in check. We then went thru Colliers Mills WildlifeManagement Area(WMA).
This is where it got interesting. We had to cross LakehurstAir Force Base, & Fort Dix. For some reason we were able to get intoLakehurst AFB, but we could not get out. We were fenced in. We traveled 1steast and made it to a large training facility. The facility was vacant, as theywere still building it, but it was near completion. This facility was huge andso was the parking lot. I now know where my taxes are going. Ok no Obama jokesin this story. We then traveled west for miles & miles. We firstended up upon a catapult station. Next to the catapult station there were hugeblocks of concrete about 10’ long and 4-5’ high (I guess for practice).Lucky for us the catapult station was vacant. We then turned around and headedsouth along a runway. We were about ¼ mile from parked F-14’s or 16. Holy shit,I said to myself we are getting arrested. I remember seeing the air trafficcontrol/observation tower was so close, they must have spotted us on groundradar. Well we took off very, very quickly. Any minute I was expecting aHum-vee with a mounted 50 caliber sub-machinegun heading towards us.
Our only hope was the thick forest. The entire AFB wassurrounded by a thick forest and a 6 foot high fence with nicely spaced barbedwire on top. Of course there were large trespassing signs posted were severalhundred feet. We did not see any of these signs as we entered thru the woods.So we first ducked into the woods and stopped and rested. If they had somereally cool infrared goggles(yea maybe it’s more movie-like), we would havebeen caught, but visually we were hidden. So Johnny (the motocrosser) headed into the thick woods to find an out. MY GPStold me we would hit a trail about .25 miles so Johnny took off. This was thetrail that circled the AFB, which we wanted to be on. Unfortunately, he did notmake it to far as it was un-ride able do to the thorns and heavy brush.
We then said to ourselves, let’s just admit that we got lostand take a road out. Hopefully the gate will be open. So we traveled maybe 3-4miles and came upon a “Checkpoint Ahead” sign. O’shit we are going to getstopped. As we got the checkpoint we noticed it was closed, empty, deserted,but so was the gate. Again there was no way to get around. Well at least wehaven’t been arrested yet. Finally we rode along the fence for quite some timeand before finding an opening. The AFB is huge, so totally encapsulating with afence would have been expensive.
Well we then crossed 2 additional WMA’s then to LebanonState forest. Lebanon was nice. Beautiful fall foliage, some sand and somewhoops, but not too bad. Lots of fire roads. I can see a lot of single track. Aclub was marking a race for the next weekend called the “Scrub Pine Enduro”.Years back I rode the Scrub Pine with friend of mine, John, who is copied onthis e-mail. I had a 1994 Husqvarna 250 2-stroke enduro. I still have thepicture of jumping over quite a large log for the picture. I’m glad to seethese events still exist and riding in Lebanon is legal.
We then went thru Wharton State Forest which is also quitelarge. Wharton is further south so we hit quite a few mud bogs. As the leader Iwent into a mug bog and my front wheel stopped and I went over the handlesbars. I boot was nearly knee deep in black disgusting mud. The stench of themud bog nearly made me throw-up. Both Sean & Johnny helped me back the bikeout of the bog. Lucky for us only my first wheel was 50% buried in the mud.Needless to say, we needed to turn around as the track I had was againun-passable. We came to several dead ends and then found a fire road toget out. My bike slightly overheated, and so did Sean’s(he also has an EXC530). Next trip I’ll try that purple ice coolant.
We then rode thru Peaslee Fish & Wildlife Managementarea and then Belleplain State Forest. Both were quite uneventful. Sean got aflat which we fixed quickly. The people were quite friendly as even the parkranger offered to help. We finally made it Cape May travelling an additional 16pavement miles to our motel. The total riding for the day was about 200 miles,of which 40 were pavement. The tracks totaled 180, so we got lost or had to re-route for ~20 miles.
The next day was shorter about 140 miles and was moredirect. We passed the main entrance to the AFB on the road. The 2ndday had lots and lots of whoops. Carrying a 50 pound backpack with a jacket onand a chest protector, was no fun. I was over-prepared. To many tools andsurvival equipment. Lots of damage to the KTM: broken oil seal, broke off therear blinker, cracked the rear fender and broke off my rear view mirror. I tookoff my rear trials tire, since it’s much more sandy. Also I will need to makeadjustments to my suspension. Much more whoops in NJ, my rear suspension wasbottoming quite frequently, maybe a stiffer rear spring, I was set-up more forthe rocks of BB. In the dense woods the GPS did not update as needed asthe GPS needs direct line-of sight to the Low-Earth-Orbiting(LEO’s) satellite system. We would ride and many times we wouldmake a turn, only to have to reverse when the GPS finally updated. Thisdid not happen in the deserts of California.
Well that’s it.
My next trip is Connecticut or upstate NY in theAdirondack’s. I’m still looking for friends and people to ride with. I surelymiss the Big Bear trail riders, and everything the club members &camaraderie has to offer. I will see to it that I make the Big Bear trailrun every year, the weekend before July 4th. Big Bear is so special, I can only now really appreciate it and miss it. Alsothe BB Trail riders: the Nicholson Christmas parties, the Bar-Ten Ranchand the Grand Canyon, sweep riding with Frank, Miguel’s amazing cooking,getting stickers/goodies/discounts from the BB run, Barrie’s accent, “heymate”, Jim N changing tires in 5 minutes or less, and Jackie’sencouraging words, Kevin’s KTM motorized chair, Jimmy N “oh it’s not tohard, mostly everyone should make it”, Tom’s backyard bar-be-que’s, the BBnight ride and staying up all night, camping at Ocotillo and ffffreezing andthe oh so famous Avi rides.
Below is the route we took and I attached a few pictures.Good well to all, good luck, you haven’t seen the last of me, see you all onthe trail, faithfully yours, Steve…