Brent goes to the Ash Dump

Distance = 52 Miles
I had plans of riding today, even though I had not got in touch with Jeff yet. I would have rode alone if I had to, but Ben’s dad (Brent) called me up this morning and asked if I wanted to go riding. Brent had just bought some new tires for his ATV, and I think that revived his interest to ride again. I don’t think he has rode much lately, being busy with things at work and at home. I ended up getting a hold of Jeff on my way up to Brent’s, and he was up for a ride also. Brent and I met Jeff at his place, and wasted no time heading out on the trails.     Brent had never been to the Ash Dumps, or through the Interstate Tunnel, so we decided that would be a great place to go today. I was happy to have Brent out riding again, so I wanted to keep him out as long as I could.
We made pretty good time getting out to the Tunnel. This was the third time that Jeff and I had been out there, so we were starting to remember the way easily now. I have everything marked as waypoints on the GPS, but its better once you know what trails are best to get there. We took a slightly different way to get to the Tunnel. There is a very steep downhill trail that we usually go down, that connects onto a main road. Jeff was still have a bit of brake trouble on the 3 wheeler, so we continued out a section of road that ended up connecting to the main road that the steep hill meets. It was a bit of road riding, but not that bad, and was probably alittle quicker overall.
I think Brent was alittle surprised when we arrived at the Interstate Tunnel. I don’t think he quite knew what to expect, and didn’t think it was actually right at the Interstate. You can throw a rock and hit a car from the ends of the Tunnel.
     The Ash Dump is not too far from the tunnel, you have to do alittle road riding through the small town of Osage, and then up a power line ride of way that’s right off the road. That leads you to the top of what we call Morgantown Lookout 2. Which is basically a couple hill tops over from the first lookout. From here you can see the Ash Dumps. We took a break here for a while telling Brent about the area, and where we had explored so far. We also warned him to stay way from the water areas, as we learned the hard way.
We headed down the the As Dump to play around for a while. There’s just something about the place that I like, and I cant help opening the throttle up all the way, and just flying.
The landscape looked a bit different from the last time we were there. Rain can change the dusty surface very quickly. The area that Jeff and I got stuck was completely covered in about 2 inches of water. This would explain why we got stuck so easy there. Seems that’s a spot that stays fairly wet, and we must have got stuck right after the water level soaked down into it.

     One of the fun things about this area, are the short but very steep hill climbs. You have to use your momentum to make it up them, and if they were any taller, I would not attempt them. But being as short as they are, you can just rocket up them.
There was one climb that we took a look at, and tried to get Jeff to do on his 3 wheeler. We didn’t expect him to, as it was way to steep toward that top, and would probably have flipped him right over. But he did take a good look at it, I think he was considering it for a while.

     There are quite a few trails that extend off the Ash Dump, and we had only explored one with JJ the previous week. So we headed out another trail that was running the same direction, and went back down to the coal load out along the river.

     This time we went all the way down to the rail road tracks, and followed them down for a while. I thought it was really neat, there ware alot of rail cars there that looked like portable job site trailers.

      There were also a couple locomotives there, and I realized as I was taking photos of them, that this was the closest I have ever been to one. Sure, I have been around them as they pass through town and such, but you really get a feel for how massive they are when you are standing right beside one.

     There was also a piece of machinery on one of the tracks, that looked like it was used to either lay down new track, or repair existing track, or perhaps both. I had never seen one before, it was an awkward looking contraption.

     We had planned on riding along the tracks, at least back into Osage, but the tracks looked like they were going to weave in and out of town too much, and we didn’t want to take the chance of getting pulled over by the local cop. So we headed back the way we came, till we reached a fork in the trail, one lead back up over the hill to the Ash Dump, the other seemed to head off toward town. We had not been that was before, so we thought we would try that. It did pop right out into town, not sure if it was Osage or not, but it was at least right next to it. We were in a small community, with alot of small side street, and not sure which way to go. We saw a couple locals, one on an ATV, so we figured we would ask them. They were very friendly and helpful, and gave us great directions back into Osage.
Drew had called Jeff on our way up to the Ash Dumps, and said he wanted to ride with us. He has not been to the Ash Dump, so he couldn’t meet up with us out there, he said that he would meet us back at Dead Cow Lake. We pretty much headed straight back from the Ash Dumps, stopping at Donny’s convenience store for a few beers, then went to meet Drew. We hung out at Dead Cow Lake, while Drew worked on his loose chain for a while. He seems to always have chain trouble, no matter what he is riding.

     Brent was ready to call it a day, and Drew needed to get back to Jeff’s house to work on his chain some more. So we headed back to Jeff’s, and Brent continued on home.
We took a link out of Drew’s chain, and barely got it back on the quad. It was very tight, and felt like a piece of solid steel. I am sure that wasn’t too good for it, but at least it wasn’t going to be popping off anymore.
I took a quick ride on “Smokie” around Jeff’s yard. It was the first time I had ridden a standard shift bike in years. Was easier than I remembered it actually. The thing had virtually no suspension at all, and jarred you to death. But, it was rather peppy, and had good acceleration. It weighs practically nothing, and has a bored out 400cc motor. It will bring the front end up if you look at it wrong, that is, if you can get traction. Seemed like a fun quad, but felt so small and stiff compared to my Rubicon.
Drew wanted to go out to the Rivesville Slate Dumps and ride, so we headed out that way. There are a few jumps setup here, looks like a motor cross track. I don’t like jumping the larger jumps on my Rubicon though, the utility quads just aren’t meant to fly, and land like a ton of bricks. I tend to “hop” mine more than jumping it.
It didn’t take long before we all started playing in the mud there. A couple of the holes are very deep, but for the most part, the left side just has a large water area about 2 inches deep. There was a truck sized hole there though, that looked very innocent, until Jeff went throw it on his 3 wheeler. The look on his face, as his 3 wheeler sank in seat deep in muddy water, was hilarious. He wasn’t expecting it to be deep at all.
     After that, we hit just about every mud hole there, except one, that I knew was very very bad. I was getting muddy enough, and didn’t feel like swimming in it today. Drew even took Jeff’s 3 wheeler through a couple of the holes.
     Here is a video I made of us playing around in the mud holes.     slatedump_mudhole_playing.wmv
     As you can see, Drew didn’t make it far on his 2 wheel drive sport quad. We made fun of him for at least ten minutes. I even spun out and through some more mud on him while he was stuck.
     Here is a video of Drew doing some doughnuts on Smokie.     drew_playing_on_smokie.wmv

     Just seconds after that photo was taken, the little SOB went flying past me, slinging a ton of mud all over me, my ATV, and my new CAMERA ! I didn’t know whether to laugh, or beat his ass. He said he was just getting me back for earlier, but I considered us even. After all, I pulled him out of the mud, eventually.
That was about it for today’s ride, they headed back home, and I went to Ben’s to load up the ATV. I cleaned it up real good the next day, since I was taking it in for a tune-up at the Honda shop. You are supposed to have them looked over, and have the valves adjusted after about 600 miles. I have around 750 miles on mine so far, shouldn’t have hurt it though. They said it would be between $150 and $170. its worth it though, they will be checking everything. Adjusting valves, changing oil and filter, checking all fluids, brakes, alignment, etc.