Saturday morning, we decided to go to Miguel’s for breakfast. We suited up and hit the road, but when we got to Miguel’s the lot was absolutely packed and we both agreed we didn’t want to wait, so we decided to find another place to eat. I found a place on Google Maps that said it was open, so we turned back out onto the road. As we were pulling out I saw Jamie and Melanie waving at us from the front porch of Miguel’s and waved back at them. We would have stayed to eat with them had we seen them when we pulled in, but by that point we had already committed to moving on to the next place.
After a 10 minute ride, we pulled up at the other place to find that it was permanently closed. It would have been nice if they had notified Google Maps of their closure and taken their sign down on the main road, but hey, I’m just the person who rode 10 minutes out of my way to not be rewarded with breakfast.
I once again consulted Google Maps and found a spot in the next town that looked like it might have good, country cookin’ breakfast food, so we rode another 10 minutes over to it. Thankfully, this place was open and it appeared to be the meeting place for the local Liars Club (old guy breakfast spot), so we figured that was a good sign. Imagine my surprise, and confusion, when the menu had “Campton Country Kitchen & Hibachi” written on it…
That’s right, they not only served down home, country breakfast… but they also served Asian cuisine. I could not wrap my mind around this, those two things do not go together. Dwayne ended up asking the waitress about it, and it turns out an Asian couple bought the restaurant a few years ago and now they serve both types of cuisine. Now, I can’t speak to the hibachi portion of their business, but I can confirm that breakfast was at least decent. I wouldn’t say my eggs, bacon, or sausage were anything spectacular, they were a little overdone for my personal tastes, but the biscuits and gravy reminded me of my uncle’s that he used to make me when I would stay with he and my aunt at their home in Tennessee when I was young, and I’ve never had gravy like his anywhere else until now. It was nostalgic for me, and I loved every bite of it.
Once we were pleasantly full from breakfast, we decided to ride one of the intermediate off-road loops, so I loaded it up on my phone and we hit the road. We quickly found some of the Kentucky clay and mud that Drew had promised, as well as some interesting creek crossings. Because we hadn’t started the route in Slade like Drew had when he’d recorded the GPX tracks, we ended up riding the route in the opposite direction.
It took a little getting used to, trusting my well-worn TKC80 front and Shinko 805 rear tires on the slippery mud, but I quickly realized it wasn’t as scary as I had imagined. We certainly weren’t attacking the terrain with great speed, I think we stayed under 25mph most of the day aside from a few fast, drier sections, but we were having a blast pushing ourselves outside of our usual comfort zone. A mile or so into our first muddy section we came across two guys heading in the opposite direction and we stopped to talk to them. They warned that there was a rather deep water crossing and a really steep hill climb up ahead of us.
As we went to pull away to continue on, my bike decided that she didn’t want to start. I’ve been having issues with her ever since I got her back from the dealership a couple of weeks ago from having her cam chain tensioner replaced, but I haven’t been able to dig into the issue or take it back to the dealer yet. I had a moment of panic thinking, “Oh hell, we are in the middle of nowhere and getting this bike out of here is not going to be easy or cheap.” but after a few attempts, I finally got her to start and stay running and we continued on our way.
Shortly after that we were going through a section with some pretty deep ruts, when I slid into one of the ruts and crashed. Of course, I crashed onto the left side of the bike, as usual. I hit the ground hard enough to leave a small bruise on my hip the next day and to break one of the mounts on my upper fairing which left it sticking out about an inch from where it would usually rest against the tank, but it wasn’t anything noticeable while riding. It also cracked the lower fairing, but all of these things were merely cosmetic. My folding shift lever did it’s job and kept my engine case and the lever itself unharmed, so that has proven to be a worthy expense.
I picked her up, and surprisingly she started pretty easily this time. I think she just likes to embarrass me when people are watching, perhaps that’s my punishment for abusing her the way I do. We continued on, crossing a wide, but relatively shallow creek, and then I found another rut to crash in. This time I managed to also break her left side mirror. I mean, everything else on the left side had already been sacrificed, so why not the mirror too?!
Right after the 2nd rut incident we came up on a creek crossing. It required us to ride down the creek a bit, and then we stopped on the bank on the opposite side before we were supposed to cross a deep section.
We tried to figure out the best line to take, but it was hard to see the rocks in the deepest part. Eventually Dwayne decided to just go for it, and I pulled out my phone to record his attempt. He made it right into the deepest part when he hit a rock and stalled the bike. Tigers have a really tall first gear, which has been addressed a little in the newest models, but our 2016’s still suffer from that issue, and it makes it hard to try to lug them at super low speeds without stalling the bike. His only choice was to put his feet down, in water that went well over the top of his Sidi Adventure boots, hop off the bike, and walk it the rest of the way across the creek.
It took some effort to get the bike up the rocky embankment on the other side, and he stalled the bike a few times before he finally made it all the way out. Meanwhile I’m on the other bank thinking to myself, how the hell am I getting across that, because if that happens to me, there’s always a chance I’ll end up dropping the bike and that could be catastrophic if it takes on water and hydro-locks. Luckily for me, Dwayne is quite the gentleman and he volunteered to walk my bike across to minimize the chances of it taking a very unnecessary bath or me also ending up with wet feet. Normally I wouldn’t shy away from a challenge such as this, but I’m also not stupid, I knew I had to be able to ride that bike out of there and 4 hours back home, so I made the smart decision and let my ego take a back seat this time.
Once both bikes were across and I’d found a shallow spot to walk across, we saddled back up and away we went. We were quickly confronted with the steep hill climb the guys had warned us about. We sized it up for a moment, picking our lines, before Dwayne started up the hill. I let him get a ways up before starting my own ascent, as I have a tendency to go too fast and end up right on his tail if I don’t give him some initial space. The climb ended up taking over a minute and a half from bottom to top, and I had a smile a mile wide the entire time. It’s no secret, other than creek crossings, hill climbs are one of my favorite parts of off-road riding. I much prefer going up a steep incline than going down a steep decline on my 500lb bike. I love the thrill of just cranking the throttle back and holding on until I make it to the top. Of course, you also have to make smart maneuvers, and constantly look ahead for any obstacles, but it definitely gets my adrenaline going trying to keep up my momentum to keep the bike pushing on up the hill.
After we made it up the hill, we found a shady spot to stop so Dwayne could pull his boots off and pour the water out of them while I took a video and laughed at him. He was such a good sport about it, but I knew it wasn’t fun for him having wet feet, so we decided to head on back to the cabin so he could try to dry his boots out and change into some dry socks.
We noticed when looking at the map that we were close to the fun little section we had hit with Jami and Melanie the day before though, so we decided to go ahead and make another run through that along the way.
We had just started down the fun part of that road when Dwayne said, “I think there’s a Jeep or something up ahead of us, I just saw a glimpse of it going around the curve.” A couple of minutes later he said, “What the hell?! Surely I didn’t just see that… it’s a Honda Minivan, not a 4×4!” We already knew from our experience the day before that we were coming up on a steep, rutted up decline that would then be followed by a decent creek crossing. I caught up to him just in time to see the top of the minivan, complete with a luggage carrier on the roof, going over the hill and down the decline. Dwayne asked me, “You did see that, right?!” to which I replied that I had and that I was pretty sure I got it on GoPro so we would have proof if no one believed us. Unfortunately when I got home and played it back, you could just barely see the top of the luggage carrier going over the hill and you can’t really make out what it is. Trust me, though, it was definitely a Honda Odyssey.
We hurried up to continue over the hill behind it, because I really wanted to see it cross that creek, but once we got down the hill and around the corner, the van was no where in sight. The road split off right before the creek crossing, so I’m assuming that they had went the other direction, because we never did catch up to them again, and there’s no way they would have made it across the creek and up the hill faster than we did. Just goes to show, any vehicle can be an outlet for adventure if you’re just willing to take risks!
When we eventually got back to the cabin at Lago Linda, Dwayne poured even more water out of his boots, and then sat them upside down on the deck to try to drain out as much water as possible while we took a break for a bit. The heat had started to set in again for the day at that point, and we needed a little bit of a rest. I took the time to map out the rest of the route so we could hit it before having a late lunch.
The next part of the route included Fixer-Leeco road, which Drew and Curley had both mentioned to me multiple times, so I was excited to check it out. There was a lot of mud and standing puddles to blast through, and creeks to cross. At one point, the road just goes right down the creek, which I thought was pretty awesome.
I very nearly made it through everything Fixer-Leeco road had in store for me unscathed, but then I got cocky and failed to look far enough ahead of me on a particularly rutted out section, and the next thing I knew I was once again in a rut, dropping my bike to the left. This time the throttle stuck a bit and the rear tire was spinning in the air off the ground and I had to hurry up and hit the kill switch. The wheels were higher than the handlebars, so I ended up needing Dwayne’s help to get enough leverage to pick it up. That’s something I’ll need to work on in the future, because I need to be able to pick it up regardless of how it lands.
We finished out Fixer-Leeco and decided that it was time for lunch. We decided to go back to the Red River Smokehouse and split some delicious BBQ and a peach cobbler. Splitting the food turned out to be the perfect amount to leave us satisfied but not over-full.
After we finished, we slabbed it back to Lago Linda so we could both shower up and get ready for the get together at the pavilion where Drew was giving away awards to the scavenger hunt winners and door prize drawings. Of course, Dwayne and I both forgot our door prize tickets back at the cabin, so I have no idea what we would have won had we remembered to bring them up to the pavilion with us. Drew had a lot of great prizes to offer everyone, and I think most everyone who had remembered to bring their tickets with them ended up going home with something.
Once all the prizes had been given away and we finished chatting with everyone we decided to head back to the cabin and start getting things ready so we could head home in the morning. There was a possibility of severe storms around Noon, and we knew we wanted to get an early start so that we could beat them home.
As I was getting things settled, I got a message from Deanna, a girl I had been chatting with online from the Women’s Off-Road Motorcycle group out of Cincinnati, letting me know that she and the women she had been out riding with had gotten back to camp and that she was available if I wanted to finally meet in person. I told her to come on down to the cabin, so she and her friends Penny and Gail drove down to the cabin to hang out on the deck with us for a while. I absolutely loved all 3 of them, they were so kind and excited about riding, and they were all absolutely hilarious! I laughed so hard at their stories, Gail’s especially. I’m not sure how long they stayed, it was at least an hour or so, and Dwayne and I both really enjoyed their company. I look forward to hanging out with them again and riding with them in the future.
Once they decided to call it a night, we picked up around the cabin a bit and hit the bed to get some sleep before the early morning. The next day was fairly uneventful, we took state and county roads home, and other than the fact that it was quite windy, we didn’t end up getting caught up in any storms.
So in conclusion, I would just like to say that it really showed how much hard work and effort Drew put into this event, and he did a fantastic job. It was such a fun weekend, and the people were all really great. I enjoyed everyone I met, and the riding was some of the most fun I’ve had. I can’t wait to get back down there to explore more in the future, and I highly recommend Red Rivers Scramble to anyone who likes to ride ADV or DS and who likes to meet new people and have a good time. I also recommend the Lago Linda Hideaway as a home base to anyone wanting to explore that area, especially the Writers Cabin. I didn’t see inside any of the others, and I didn’t explore the campground to speak on the amenities there, but we were very happy with our accommodations at the Writers Cabin and will definitely look forward to staying there again in the future.