Communications Towers

Distance = 46 Miles
Ben and I got an early start today, we set out on our ride at about 10:00 AM. It was a beautiful day, in the high 60s, with the sun shinning. We started out at Hawkinberry Hollow today, which is on the other side of Rivesville, to the Southeast. There doesn’t seem to be quite as many trails there, but we wanted to explore more of the area, and had only been there once or twice before. At the top of the very first hill, there is a radio or cell phone tower. Some of it is gated off, and a trail the splits off to the left and behind it is gated off with some old highway construction barrels, and a steel cable. I will talk more about that later. We continued over to the other side of this hill, riding on some of the trails we had been on in the past. Finding some small offshoot trails here and there to check out. It wasn’t long before we found a fun trail that was weaving its way up through the middle of the woods, that eventually popped out on a grass field on a hillside. Up alittle further we spotted another huge Tower and some satellite dishes on the next hill over.

     Needless to say, we had to check it out. There was a fence around the entire setup, but you could ride around to the other side of it, and we could see where others have don’t this before, since there was a slight trail forming. There was a pretty nice view from the other side, so we decided to kick back here for a while taking in the view and sun.

     After our break, we explored down this side of the hill also, but it ended up leading into what looked like someone farm land, so we decided to head back the way we came. Once we got back the other hilltop from which we first saw the Tower, we noticed that there was another lightly formed trail back off in the other direction, so we followed it out a ways. Now, I must admit, that at this point, we went through a section of a fence that was just big enough for the ATVs to fit through. But, I had still not seen any posted signed, which is rather odd, we see them just about everywhere we ride. We make it completely up over this hill to the other side, which starts to turn into a dirt road. We then realized that it lead straight back to the first tower that we had seen. We were now on the other side of that makeshift gate made of highway construction barrels. We rode on up closer to it to check it out, we didn’t want to circle all the way back around, so we were going to see if we could take it down temporarily to get though. Well, Ben is slightly ahead of me and to my right. Right after he stops in front of the gate, I noticed that he had just ran over a piece of 2×4 that had at least 15 large nails sticking up out of it! I was quite worried at this point, that he may have punctured his tires. Then, I look behind me, and noticed that I had also ran completely over one that was on my side !!! They were quite well hidden by dirt and leaves, but I was still pissed that I had not seen them sooner. We jumped off the ATVs to take a look at our tires, and to both of our amazement, neither of us had a single puncture. I think it was sort of like laying on a bed of nails, there were so many nails in the boards, that the weight was evenly distributed over a larger number of nails, combined with the low air pressure in our tires, saved us from a long walk back. Now, i can somewhat understand this guy doing this, but what made me mad was, we had ridden up to this side of the fence from the back side, and there were no posted signs etc. anywhere on this side of the gate. Even though we went through that one section of gate, there were quite a few others ways you could have gotten to the back of this gate, without passing through that fence. I figure he had this nails setup, for people that may take the gate down from the tower side, and ride on through, since there was a posted sign on the tower side of the gate. Still I was not happy with this at all, we tossed the nail filled boards off to the side, and sent on through the gate, back toward Rivesville.    
     Ben wasn’t sure how long his dad was gonna want him out of his ATV, so we stopped back by the house so Ben could talk to his dad. Well, that didn’t go well, and Bens riding was over for the day. It was only about 2:00 PM so I headed back out on my own to the Hells Hollow area.
I spent a good bit of time here just sitting back and taking in the view. Here is a panorama shot I made of the area.

     It wasn’t long before I spotted a group of about 6 other riders. I could see where they were headed, so I headed off that way also to meet up with them. I have found that some groups are very friendly, and some are rather none social, and want to keep to themselves. But, I was by myself and figured I would see what this group was like, maybe I would get lucky. Turns out that one of the riders was a guy I had just met earlier that day at the gas station. He had an old 89 Honda with a brand new set of Maxxis Bighorn tires on it. I had been looking into these tires for mine, so I asked him about them at the gas station. He stopped as he was passing by me and said hi. I asked if he would mind if I tagged along with them, since I had no one else to ride with. He was very friendly and invited me along. The only rode for about 5 minutes when they stopped and took a break. The guy I had meet at the gas station walked over and properly introduced himself, and explained that they were a laid back group, and that they actually stood around BSing and drinking as much, or more than they rode. I didn’t mind though, I was just happy to have some company. I spent some time playing around on some hills and small jumps in the surrounding area. After a while they headed off again, they were covering alot of the areas that I have been in before, but were getting there alittle different way then I normally do, so that made it more interesting. This was definitely a laid back crowd though. None of them wore helmets, which wasn’t all that bad, they were lucky to hit 20 mph. Many of them had their girlfriends of wives on the back with them, one couple also had their young boy with them, he was about 5 or 6 years old. He was hilarious, his dad would go through a small patch of mud and stop on the other side, and the kid would look back at him with a disgusted look on his face and say things like, “well, you didn’t hit that very hard dad”.
    I spent quite a few hours with this group, taking short rides to other areas, then taking long breaks. But it will still better than riding around by myself. We circled our way back around to Indian Creek, and on the main path in, we ran into another group of rider. There was at least 20 more ATVs here, parked up on the path blocking the way through, the rest over the bank, playing in a huge swampy section. We stopped here to talk to some of them, and watch the others playing in the mud. This was an entirely different crowd here. Everyone had a helmet on, and were riding much more aggressively. Some even bashing through small bushes and trees like it was nothing. Clumps of mud flying every direction. The group I was in finally started to head on through, slowly working their way through the ATVs. I noticed that Jeff, the guy me and Ben have met many times riding out here, was up at the end of the pack. I was working my way through the crowd when I saw quite a few other ATVs that also had the Bighorn tires that I was looking at. So I stopped next to one guy, and asked him what he thought of them. He had very good things to say about them. He had not even finished telling me about them, when one of his buddies comes over and says, “what’s this, your damn hook ordainment?” I had my helmet laying on my front rack, since I was just putting my way past these guys to talk to Jeff. Before I knew it, 3 of them were giving me hell about not wearing it. One guy grabs it, and hands it to me. “Here let me help you out, it goes like this…” These are about the only people out here you will see wearing helmets every time they ride. Mainly because they are the more hardcore riders and have reason to wear them. I ride rather fast, so I always have mine on also. I tried to explain to them I was just working my way through the pack to a friend.
I made my way up to Jeff, and we sat and talked for a while. Everyone ended up riding away a few at a time, until it was just Jeff and I. I am not sure where the group I was with rode off to, I kinda felt bad for not saying goodbye to them, but we all just sorta dispersed. We decided to go see if we could find where the hardcore group had went, we could hear some of them, but its hard to tell where they are, and especially hard to catch up with them. We went up to an area called Table Top, where we thought they were playing in a mud hole there. I think we had just missed them though, there were just a couple guys sitting up there that Jeff knew. We talked to them for a while, when a couple more guys showed up. They were older guys that looked like they’d had a few drinks. One went down into a mud hole, the same one the family went through in the video above, and was stuck smack dab in the middle of it is a matter of seconds. Most of us had winches though, including a guy he had rode in with, that went down to pull him out. Its not a very deep hole, so they didn’t have too much trouble.

     Most of those guys had left, when Jeff got a call from his nephew Drew. We had ran into him a few times with Jeff also. Well, apparently his dad had just bought him an old racing quad, and he wanted to come up and show it to Jeff. i think he said it was a late 80s Honda 350, with a 450 motor swapped into it. Drew came down Table Top road toward us, with a huge cloud of smoke trailing behind him. It was quite a sight, as he pulled next to us, completely splattered with mud, as the cloud of smoke engulfed us all. The quad has no fenders what so ever, so every little bit of mud he hit slung right on him. The quad had been stripped of everything that wasn’t needed, since it was used to race with by the previous owner. It needs a good bit of work though, the breaks weren’t working properly, not to mention needing new pistons and rings, as the smoke clearly shown. He was quite excited to get it, though I think Jeff was less excited, and more worried about Drew’s safety.
We started to head back toward home through Indian Creek, and saw a few riders down where I had previously done the stream riding. I think they were calling this area The Island. There is one particular mud hole here that is very very deep, and has very steep sides going in and out of it. A couple of them tried to go through it a couple times, without any luck. The deeps ruts on each end make them ground out really bad.

     Even with winches, it was fairly tough to get one guy out the last time. They ended up hooking one ATV with a winch to him, and then another ATV with a winch hooked to the back of the first ATV that was winching him. They finally got him out though, and it was entertaining to watch.

     After that, they crossed back over the stream and started doing doughnuts and fishtails in a muddy patch. Drew had to get back home, so he took off shortly after the other guys left. Once again, with a huge cloud of smoke behind him. It was like a smoke screen and Jeff dubbed it the James Bond bike.
Jeff and I hung around and talked for a while after those guys left. But it was getting kinda late, it was about 8:00 pm, and I have been out for about 10 hours straight. Plus it was about to get dark, so we headed back home. There is supposed to he a poker run for ATVs in this area next weekend, but Jeff isn’t sure if he can ride in it, his ATV steering has been acting up, and has locked up on him a few times. I figure I will at go out for a small ride, at least to check out all the commotion. I hear that they can get rather wild, but that’s what happens when you get over 100 people together on ATVs at once, with most of them drinking. I think I will just keep my distance, and take some photos.