This was my first attempt at loading up my little bike, and it worked out very well (tire trouble was unrelated). My large camping duffel bag (with sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, and a change of clothes) strapped to the luggage rack, and I strapped my small trail bag (with tire tubes, tire irons, tire pump, tool kit, folding saw, rope, and first aid kit) on top of that. It didn't take up any seat space, and was hardly noticeable when riding. The bike had no issue taking the major roads, and cruising between 65 and 70 miles per hour.
I met Chaz at Begley's Campground in New Straitsville around 1pm. He rode a Suzuki DRZ400 with almost the exact same packing setup. We threw our tents together, strapped our trail bags back on the bikes, and hit the trails at 2pm.
The Monday Creek section of Wayne National Forest has around 75 miles of marked trails. It differs from Perry State Forest Trail System in two significant ways:
- Perry is more of chopped up sections of trails, and is much more technical (with steep hills, mud pits, and some tighter trails). Wayne has 'flow'; longer and wider sections of trail, that are much less technical. Perry uses almost exclusively first gear... Wayne utilizes almost all second and third gear. There were not many sections I would be hesitant to take my big bike on.
- Perry is free with a Ohio License Plate, whereas you must purchase a permit to ride Wayne, whether you have a license plate or not. Our two day trip was going to cost half as much as a year pass, and because the year pass is per person (not per bike) I decided to buy in. Now I can take either bike whenever I want... and the closest sections are only an hour from my house.
We headed 2 miles north of our campground to Shawnee to fill up our gas tanks, pickup some campground snacks (of the alcoholic variety), and grab some dinner. We ate at Desperado's bar a grill, where we enjoyed inexpensive happy hour beverages and a fantastic pizza. We highly recommend this place! Shawnee is a very neat historic looking town. It reminded me of gold mining towns out west. Unfortunately, it appears mostly vacant and is aging rapidly.
Back to the campground, we finished a few beers, and hit the sack around 10:30. It was a cool night (low was supposedly in the mid thirties, but I was never uncomfortable. It warmed up quick in the morning, which was welcome. At 10am, we hit the trails once more!
This time we quickly blasted down the Main Corridor to the Dorr Run Loop. Things got a little confusing as we played in this area. In an attempt to keep track of where we've been, I tried to pull the map out and figure out where we'd been at about every other intersection. Unfortunately, I didn't carry a writing utensil, so our exact route will forever be lost in the dust. I can say, we rode about 65 miles of trails this day, and landed back at the campground just before 3:30. We hit small bits of Door Run, the Timber Road Trail, the Bowl Trail, the Paramount Loop South, the Purdum Loop, the Deer Stand Loop, a couple dead end legs and these:
The 1985 Loop starts wide and graded, but ends with the best hills we found. Fantastically rocky, and just the right amount of challenging. It also has nice views of the new US-33 Nelsonville Outerbelt. It is a difficult to explain feeling; riding a trail along a hillside, looking down at the traffic flying by on an interstate.
The Mine Shaft Trail was muddy, tight, and technical. This trail reminded me of Perry... All first gear, and tacking one obstacle after another. A day of this type of riding is taxing and difficult, but mix some of this in with the rest of the wider flowing Wayne, and it's great!
In the end, we made it back up to Shawnee for gas with around 80 miles on our bikes, and my low fuel light had been on for about 17 miles. Interestingly, both our bikes took almost the exact same amount of gas... I'm talking, within .004 gallons of the same exact amount. I only netted about 42 MPG on this tank... which is the worst mileage I've ever recorded on this bike... but it was 70 some miles of 6000-9000 RPM in second and third gear, constantly abusing it.
I 'went down' once, but it was early in the second day and I was riding sloppy. I locked up the front wheel in an area that I had no business being on the front brake. A simple low side... All good... No bike damage, and only a small bruise on my left hip (about the only un-armored part of me). We both dropped the bikes a couple times when negotiating mud holes and/or logs.
Honestly, I know of more difficult 'trails' (abandoned roads) in both southern and northern Ohio, than what exists at Wayne... but Wayne allows you to ride seemingly endless dirt for as long as you can stand it. At only 1 hour and 5 minutes (riding the speed limit) from my garage door, I will be back soon.