It looks like Peters Mill Run/Taskers Gap OHV System is open again. I'd love to spend the day next Sat, the 20th (now that Josh doesn't need the truck )abusing the DR off road with an overnight camping at Little Fort campground. I'm going to take the DR in the truck so that I can also bring tools, supplies, and because since this will be the first significant dirt riding I've done in a while I want to be able to being the bike home if I break it (and can also bring back anyone elses that goes). I plan on bringing a cooler, tent, fire supplies, etc since will not have any restrictions on supplies with the truck. Also, wanted someplace to lock up valuables etc while banging around the trails. If any of our riding friends want to join us for the overnight camping and campfire but not the dirt trail riding I will remind all that this is where Fort Valley is and some of our fave VA roads to ride. Others can spend the day riding the roads and we all gather that evening around the camp fire. Just a thought.
This week, I completed the two-day BMW Adventure Bike Enduro Skills Course at their Performance Center in SC. I didn't have any real off-road experience, and this course seemed like a good way to develop some skills for riding my X-Challenge. The course had 10 students and 3 instructors, which proved to be a good ratio. The off-road experience level for students ranged from zero to pretty high (Kansas to Ushuaia adventure). Most of the students opted for the BMW-provided R1200GS, but I requested a G650GS to more closely approximate my X-Challenge. We started with the basics of standing on the pegs and doing low-speed maneuvering in dirt. The building block approach included balancing exercises, railroad ties, small hills, big hills, gravel, sand, braking (with and without ABS), and putting it all together on mini-enduro rides. I also got to experience coming off the bike a number of times in a variety of situations, as did all the other students, and I managed to avoid any major injuries. I think it was important to get past the psychological baggage of these unplanned maneuvers. I had a chance to visit the BMW Zentrum (museum) and took their factory tour, which involved seeing most steps of the X3 construction. The factory tours will be stopped at the end of this month for over a year while they revamp the facility. The museum is free and the factory tour costs $7. All in all, I highly recommend this course. It was pricey (after my session the cost went up to ~$1500 with bike rental), but well worth it. The instructors were very knowledgeable and good at helping a noob like me tackle some tough trails. I feel ready for some real-world opportunities to put my new skills to the test.