Yep, that's Stewart. He was riding at Chadwick on his honeymoon the day after he got married in April. He was out by himself and snagged a rock with his foot. He didn't crash but he knew it was bad. He rode back to camp and took the blood soaked boot off. After being mis-diagnosed with just broken toes for several days, they realized he'd burst his veins and his toes were not getting any blood supply.
They had to take his large toe and the one next to it back to the ball of his foot. I forget which side it was on. He had to spend a lot of time in the hospital and they had to spend large on special anti-biotics. He's doing pretty well know but the larger hole was still not quite healed over when I talked to him a couple of weeks ago.
He is committed to riding again at his old level but probably not this year. He will have to somewhat learn to walk again, too. He's kept a good sense of humor about it and changed his email address to firstname.lastname@example.org . He signs his posts on RMD "ttg". I don't know if I'd have handled it that well.
Thanks. Stewart -emailed me today and gave me the story. It seems his computer is fouled up and he can read but not post. I never did hear how your spring ride came out. I think it rained (dumped) that weekend.
Here's my rather long winded write up from the spring ride.
Steve, Jason "Chainsaw", and I all took off on Thursday, 2/15 at about 7:30am from Minnesota. We drove down in my 29' Class C motorhome hauling my 8.5'x19' enclosed trailer loaded with my 99 KTM 250E, my 01 KTM 400E, Steve's 99 WR400 and Chainsaw's 01 YZ250f along with lots of beer and other less important things. We stopped in KC for a bit over an hour to shop at Sam's club and puruse Freedom Cycle's dirtbike shop. We ran into the expected rain about when we got into Arkansas and it stayed with us on and off through the next day.
Even though it was dark by the time we hit Ark, we could see areas where lots of trees were down and barely cut back from the road. Sure made us appreciate in advance the work the ADR (Arkansas Dirt Riders) club did to clear the trails for us. Thanks a million, guys!
We pulled into Lost Creek MX park near Hot Springs, ARK. about 11:30PM and we were the only ones there. We tried to find a high and somewhat firm
area to park the rig but picked poorly and dug one set of dually's in. We
worked for about an hour trying to get it out but to no avail. We drank
some beer, watched a video and slept at an angle.
It rained all night and that always sounds worse in an RV. It stopped raining
about 10am which was shortly after I'd finished cooking breakfast for the boys (omelets were the common breakfast theme). One of the kids that works at the track showed up at with a full size 4wd chevy pickup and pulled out the RV and then the trailer. Thanks! Opie and MXPhlipper pulled up as we were getting jerked off, er, pulled out. ;) Great guys and the Opie designed WW3 sticker sure dressed up my new bike. Thanks Opie.
This cool day was spent working on bikes (shortening chains, changing tires and tubes) and greeting all comers. Bob pulled up in his RV with a flatbed trailer with some sweet bikes. An older Husky, a newer CR, a 4 wheeler and one other older bike. Stewart Hall pulled in in his new hauler/live in trailer. Custom paint and all. Looks really cool and sounds great with a heavy breathing 429 Cobra Jet engine in it. We were banging on the Cookie door before he got stopped and Christine provided the, as usual, worlds best cookies. They were very much anticipated and welcomed. Thanks Christine! The Missouri airstream bike hauler showed up with Travis "Skidplate/KCGroundhog", Mike and Mike. They
rode with us last year and are great company on the trail and in camp. The
Rhode Islanders showed up, too. Mike, Bob and Scrappydog. 25 hrs of straight driving. Also a great bunch of guys. Bently Wolfe showed up with his borrowed CR and his Beta trials bike. It was a really fun although a bit chilly and wet day. WAY better than being MN, though, even if I didn't pull the bike out of the trailer.
Ev and Keith showed up somewhere in the day and it was true pleasure meeting them. Both class guys and really fun to talk to. It's always cool to meet RMD/DRNer's and see what they're really like. HarVEE, much missed at this years event, still has "the least like I expected" award locked up. BTW, did anyone leave your 'Stars' gloves in the RV? Email me an address and I'll
mail them out.
Steve and Chainsaw took their bikes for short rides in the light rain and Steve
even ventured out onto the MX track. He said it wasn't bad. Carrol from the
ADR's showed up during the afternoon with a trail report. Nice guy. He hung
around and helped us benchrace. The woods trail at lost creek had not been
cleared yet so no woods riding there. Nighttime found us benchracing and
watching videos in the RV.
We all caravaned out to the Train Robbers area early on Saturday. The rain had stopped the evening before but the area was still quite wet. We worked our way back to the main camping area and decided we were staying right there the rest of the Ark leg despite the no Talfire, er, campfire rule there. Turns out Tal is banned from being able to rent cars in Ark now so it didn't matter anyway. :)
There were lots of people there by mid-morning. Tal, GR (Ghost Rider/Jeff)
and Tal's bro showed. Scot Shepard with his Cannondale. Scott Wilson with
his KTM 520MXC and his family. Jim Cook and entourage. Andre Ming, who I
missed meeting as he chickened out the 2nd day. ;-) More guys from our
dirtbike club in MN that came down. Way more folks than I had time to
visit with. Sorry if I forgot to mention anyone. It was a pleasure meeting and riding with everyone. I was kind of bummed that Scot, Scott and I never traded rides. I'd have really liked to ride the Cannondale and the 520MXC. There were about 40-50 riders there but the total body count was well above that with family and support crews.
Jim Hallock (sp?) held a riders meeting and gave us the ground rules and time
schedule. We all rode as one big group in the morning as not too many of the
ADR guys could make it that day. I took out pretty near the front, 2nd or 3rd
back, and off we went. I fell in love with my new KTM 400EXC right away and we had a runaway great time together. After some water work, we were up on the ridge tops and hills where it was great riding and traction. I heard there were a lot of rocks but I can't say I noticed them. Must have been images of Chadwick upcoming and the great suspension on the new bike that made the rocks seem insignificant.
I was having a BLAST! Everything was clicking and I had no problem staying with the leaders that day. Carrol, however, is damn fast and he'd be gone when he wanted to be. We waited at the intersections for the group to catch up. Sometimes not too long but a fair wait at other times. I heard Chainsaw was struggling with flame outs and starting issues so I had to quit teasing him
with my happy button. The weather was great that day. Sunny and maybe in the 50's.
After many miles of great trails, we got back to camp for lunch. I took 2 clicks of compression off each fork and that was the last suspension adjustment
I made. IMO, the suspension is very good out of the box for my ~205 lb street weight. Well, I did install a PDS3 shock spring before the trip.
We did the 2nd loop in the afternoon. There were a couple of interesting stream crossings and I think that was our first trip up the autobahn. I followed Jim up the correct way and was surprised to see all the bikes stuck on the hill going up the hard way. Way fun riding with a great group of guys. Some of the lower areas were getting some pretty deep mud ruts. I had to lean back and gas it hard through a few of them. Like sand riding, sort of.
GR got by me at some point and that was a fun run. I was trying to work on my ability to pick different lines to pass guys in the woods so I was showing him a wheel here and there. He finally whimped out and let me by on a downhill. ;) Thanks GR, that was cool.
We put on about 50 miles that day and I felt great about the bike. The new
softer seat foam on the 01 KTM's was a pleasent and very welcome surprise. 6 straight days of riding produced no MB. Whoo Hoo! The stock exhaust note is just perfect, IMO. Loud enough to be cool but easily drowned out by the Yam 4xx's. I couldn't even hear it when I was riding behind Stewart.
The starter on my Onan 4kw RV generator, which I was suspicious of before the trip, crapped out so we had to run the RV for videos that night to keep the battery charged. Much beer was drunk and we all got much faster and smoother. :) The guys who stayed in town were great about asking us if we needed anything but not one of the jerks brought back any of the requested dancing girls!
At the riders meeting the next day, Jim H. was able to split us into more and
smaller groups as more of the great ADR guys showed up. He also said that the club would rather not have us ride there on Monday as we'd originally planned. He said it was a working forest so they were worried about logging equipt, etc. Our group huddled and decided to take out for Chadwick after lunch and ride there all day Monday. Stewart was of the same mind.
The ride was again great. We did the afternoon loop from the day before. Up the autobahn, down the powerline hill, etc. Like GR, I was having fun gassing it down the hill. That G out is a little scary, though, so I was hard on the
brakes just before it and then back on the gas for some great air time. I kept
trying to talk the club experts into jumping a wide creek at the bottom of the
hill but they were too smart for me. :D
Chainsaw continued to struggle with his 250f. He dumped in bodily into a deeper creek crossing and it was a multiman effort to get it relit. He changed oil every day the rest of the trip as some water got into the crankcase. He was starting to get better at starting it with much advise from seasoned riders.
I had a great time at TR. The terrain was friendly and the guides were great. Bob, with the other RV, got stuck getting out of the parking lot but Scot Shepard pulled him out with his awesome white 1 ton, 4wd, dual cab diesel RV hauler. It seemed he was making lots of friends hauling people out of the mud. I gunned it through the mud with my rig and barely slithered on out.
We had a good drive up to Chadwick and got there not too long after dark. The Missouri gang of Travis, Mike and Mike showed up a bit later and we had a nice campfire that night to tell lies around. I think we decided we were all pro a long time ago. ;-) Stewart had very kindly loaned me the use of his standalone Honda generator for the duration. Thanks again Stewart!
Monday we were a bit slow getting started or, I should say, most of the guys
were. Anyone that knows me knows I'm a 5am riser and then I snore around the campfire. Travis wasn't moving too good after his much described road rash incident in Ark. Still, he was moving and did ride all day. He wins the "Iron
Man" award this year, going away. The Rhode Island crew showed up. The rest of the MN group showed up after we took off. We had to go into town and get permits but we took care of that before 8am.
Stewart led us on a really fun loop in the morning. He always puts together a great loop for us that mixes a lot of the fun single tracks with some of the nicer ATV trails. He didn't lead us into the bad rocky areas on that ride. The weather was damn nice and it was just a good day to be alive and riding. The trails weren't too wet in the bottoms and were near perfect in the woods. I as
able to keep up pretty well with Stewart in the woods. A bit more so than in the past. I have to lay the credit for that on the new bike. I swapped bikes with Stewart (GG250) and with Bob (GG200 or 250) at different points. I still
like the GG's but the smaller frame is noticeable for my 6' 2" frame. I was happy to find my way back to the 400 each time.
When we got back to camp, the rest of the MN group was ready to go but they waited for and joined us in eating a great sloppy joe lunch provided by the always smiling Christine. Very good stuff, of course. We took off with the
enlarged group after lunch for another nice long loop. This was my bad luck loop, though.
We had not gotten very far when I discovered a flat front tire. Stewart came
back and helped my try to fix it on the trail but the holes were too big. He pointed me back to camp and I limped back and changed the tube. They came back for a quick stop and we all headed to the famous waterfall climb. I caught a small tree across my bars that knocked my braided steel clutch line banjo bolt loose. No clutch and nothing we could do about it. I started it in neutral, shifted into first and climbed the falls. Stewart directed me back to camp again. This time I decided someone was trying to tell me something and I'd better not try to ride anymore that day. Sort of the 3rd strike rule for
dirtbiking. I "bought" Christine a beer and we had a nice conversation with
Scrappydog while we worked on the bike. Scrappydog had caught a rock with his toe and was sitting out the afternoon ride. I started drinking beer right away so as to not be tempted to ride again. Yeah, that's it. ;-) Travis and Mike(s) took a smaller group out for a fun ride later on, too. I guess it was a blast. Those guys ride at Chadwick quite often so they know the trails well.
More campfire tales that evening after Steve cooked us some great venison and pork chops. Travis and Mike gathered firewood with their bikes. They'd run on down the trail, wrap a tie down around a fallen tree and drag it back. Cool. I brought along a chainsaw to make that duty a little easier.
The RI guys had taken off for home after riding on Monday. It was great riding with those guys! I hope the trip back was okay.
We got a little more timely start the next day. We did a little more rock climbing this loop but all fun stuff. Knobby shredding is mandatory at Chadwick and I thought nothing of finding whole knobs missing at the end of the day. If you want to go fast at Chadwick, you just have to pay the price in tires. We got to DQ hill and took the obligatory pictures. Quite a view from up there. The ride down was 'easy' according to Stewart but had us non-rock lizards puckered up pretty good. ;-)
The 400 was occasionally not starting with the happy button. I later found out it was just a loose battery connection. The bike has no drill to start with a
kickstarter, though. It started easily each time I had to kick it. Overall, it was very reliable and ran very well. I changed oil after the first 120 miles but not filters. I changed it again at the end of the trip and put new filters in then.
We met up with another MN guy, Smitty, that afternoon. He was from a seperate group that was just coming to Chadwick for the weekend. He was the front guard, so to speak. Nice guy with a new KX250. He went out with us for the 2nd loop that day after another great meal at Chez Christine. Beef stew and brats where the menu this time with chips, etc. And, of course, COOKIES!!! I swear her cookies have so much real butter in them you could almost spread them on toast. Yummy!
Smitty fit right into our merry little band and kept up really well. He kept
pace behind Stewart and I and was never far back. We tackled a big rock uphill on this run. It was nice to be right behind Stewart on these climbs as I could follow his always great lines and make it right up most of the time. Stewart told us the forecast for the rest of the week was not great. He agreed to guide us through Thursday but we decided we'd cut out early on Thursday so Wednesday was to be our last day of guided riding.
Travis and Mike(s) were pulling out Wednesday morning and the other part of our MN group were headed out after riding Tuesday. So our group was down to just 5 for the Wednesday ride. We had our last campfire that night as the weather was still good.
Wednesday broke quite a bit colder than it had been. Still felt like summer to
us, though. ;-) Stewart showed up and we took off for another fun ride. The single track there is really fun. Up and down hills, off-cambers along the hillsides, up on the ridge tops, etc. Always something coming at you. The single track wasn't as rocky as other areas but you're never far from rocks or gravel at Chadwick. That's why it stands up to the riding so well. Some of the views were really nice since you could see futher with no leaves on the trees.
We were putting on 55-60 miles a day and that was a good number. Not many miles of open running. I never got above 4th or 5th the whole trip with most of my time spent in 2nd and 3rd gears. We saw turkeys and deer at various points but no lurking hillbillies like last year. The bridges they're building there are coming along. Several were done. The plan is to keep the bikes out of the water so they're changing a bunch of the lower trails.
By lunch time, it was looking pretty much like rain. We had another great lunch of real chicken noodle soup which really hit the spot on that day. After lunch, I think it was just Stewart, Smitty and I took off while Chainsaw and Steve stayed back in camp to work on bikes. Steve for sure stayed back. Anyway, we were making great time in the woods but with ever darkening skies. We got back to camp just as a sprinkle turned into a short but hard rain. I sure love those MSR ISDE Gore-tex pants!
After it let off, we got Stewart all loaded up and said our goodbyes. The Hall clan is always so great to be with that I swear half the reason I love Chadwick
is that I get to visit with them. Saying thanks just doesn't seem to cover it but it is heartfelt.
Smitty and I were going to hang it up but Steve and Chainsaw wanted to ride
some more and they roped me into it. Darn guys. ;-) Smitty took off for a warm hot tub and we mounted up. I put the Moose Trask Mt Gore-tex jacket on this time and figured I'd bring up the back as we followed Chainsaw out. He was finally getting used to his bike and was having fun. That was a relief to see. I recognized some single track and led them into that. We started to see some huge lighting bolts over the hills and decided enough was enough. We got hailed on about then, too. We found our way back to camp and put the iced up bikes back in the trailer for the night. We got about 4 little hail storms in amongs the rain. Not big hail stones but enough to coat the ground.
Videos (Caddyshack and ???), pizza and beer passed the evening away. Mike
Kruger from Cycle Zone KTM in Topeka was to come down and ride on Thursday. We were only planning on riding the morning and then going up to Springfield to do Bass Pro, etc.
Mike showed up on time but it was a cold morning. Steve and Chainsaw decided to not ride so I geared up and went out with Mike and his buddy Darin. Mike has a 400SX and Darin was on Mike's old 00 200EXC. We went out and found some of the single track again but I was riding like a huge spode that day. I can list busted up knobbies, slippery conditions, etc. as excuses but this was not a good day on the trail for me. I just didn't feel planted so that shook my confidence, yada, yada. Mike is a very good rider but choose to follow me. For laughs, me thinks. Darin is still getting used to woods riding so we waited for him at the intersections.
We only rode for about 2.5-3 hours and put on about 25 miles. I went down more that day than I had in the entire trip up to then. I smoked one of my radiator shrouds from a side lay down. I didn't peel it back, just broke it around the lower mounting bolt. There goes that new bike look. Mike ended up with a flat rear tire. We called it a day about noon-1pm. I order KTM OEM parts from Mike and he's a great guy to work with. It was great to meet him and ride with him.
The boys had the camp pretty well picked up and ready to go when I got back so it wasn't too long before we were driving out of Chadwick. It was a great week of riding and I was sorry to be putting it behind us. We stopped at a carwash on the way to the highway and dropped lots of quarters washing bikes. That's hard to do up here this time of year so we wanted to do it where the water would run off rather than freeze solid. We spent the night in Bass Pro's parking lot after spending money in the store and across the street at Buckingham's smoke house. Man, I love that smoked brisket! I got 3 pounds of it to take home as my wife loves it, too.
Uneventful drive home except for a stiff sidewind a good part of the day. That RV sure catches those solid. Snow line wass just south of the Iowa border. It was some -10 f out shortly after I got home so I'm depressed now. Darn winter. I need to move to Texas or southern Missouri.
Sorry I rambled on so long but that's my Wudi and I'm sticking to it. ;) It
was really great to ride with and meet all you guys and I hope WW4 is as much fun. Opie says he's already got a design for the sticker.
Thanks for that super report. I was afraid you had been iced out or something, so it was a relief to hear different. We ate at that smokehouse one evening last year, and I was the only one there with a hat on. After every last one of them glared at me, I said I was going to be damned if I took it off now. Great food though. See you later.