Pre Hurricane Adventure – Dan Lehmann

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Pre Hurricane Adventure, Miles from the Big Water, Stream of Consciousness Notes

September 18, 2003 – Thursday 6:51pm Helvetia

So, this storm is supposed to hit the NC coast sometime Thursday afternoon/evening and WV is several miles west of all that commotion and I have this deadline to maybe revise the Highlands Sky course around part of the “big muddy” and I need to get this done soon in order to get the application in to the Forest Service by 9/30/03 AND my work scheduled allowed a day off today…so today was the day to run and GPS the proposed alternate route.

All my stuff was ready; maps, flagging, water and gel, trail shoes etc….. 8am, jumped on the motorcycle and off to Dolly Sods I head. The skies are mixed gray-streaked, a bit of sun and 50 degrees…..good running or riding weather provided you have the right gear, I do. At 9:45 I’m heading across the Sods “road “ section that everyone hates toward aid station #6 near Bear Rocks. The weather now has turned decidedly Dolly Sods-like, misty and medium fog….hmmmm not the best scouting conditions. I proceed. About half way across the Sods the BMW sputters, backfires and stalls, very unBMW-like. A quick mental review indicates electrical problem in the ignition system. I determine the battery has reached the end of its’ life, the bike will not go on alternator power alone any longer and I’m a fair distance from civilization. So I think that if I can just push the old GSPD a mile or so I can coast down the 3 mile hill to Laneville, a reasonable location to walk from. Tough going. A car pulls over and offers help. We hook up some cables and the bike starts. Down the hill I go, but it stalls again and again because the dead battery “just says no”. I eventually coast into the DNR cabin park lot. It is only 10:30, I figure I can get to Elkins, find a battery, get back and get er running, maybe even do the course work….yeah right.

Start hoofing, first car gives me a lift all the way to Cole’s Motorcycles in Elkins. After some ciphering, it’s a Harley shop after all, we find something that will fit the BMW. Cole was great. Charge the new battery, while grabbing a sandwich and head out to thumb back to Laneville. Maybe it was the motorcycle helmet I was carrying, or the pack, or the battery in the plastic bag, or my red and black riding overalls…I’m stubborn and say to myself “damnit, I can run this distance easy….I’ll just walk the 25 miles back to Laneville. It took a long time of walking and thumbing before I finally got a ride (not like the 1960’s). Anyway, the weather is turning way nastier, a nice fellow, named Dan, with his 2 year old daughter finally stop. I hear of the State of Emergency, school is off tomorrow. This Dan goes way out of his way and takes me be back to Laneville.

A bit of simple mechanic work and I running. Rain and fog now by 3pm. Pull in to home in Helvetia at 5pm. The storm is imminent. Glad to be here. A warm drink and hot shower and all is good.

So maybe I’ll get the course revised….and maybe I won’t.

Dan Lehmann

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