Exploring SW VA with Mountain State Overland

Discussion in 'Overlanding / Off-Road' started by R Stowe, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    A couple of weekends ago my buddy Steve and I headed up into Virginia to join Mountain State Overland on one of their Discovery Routes. I've traveled with them on several of their seasons, and I was curious to see how these "guest" trips compared. Honestly, it was pretty much the same, maybe a little more relaxed pace versus their regular seasons. On those trips, there's lots of rushing to set up shots and always a tight schedule. We still did plenty of filming, as you'll see below we got some great photos, but it wasn't as content focused.

    We covered a little over 100 miles in 3 days. It was a good mix of tame forest roads, some cool public roads, and some legit trails at the end. George Washinton and Jefferson National Forests offer some great camping and it's definitely on my list of places to explore more. I was surprised at two of the public roads we covered on this trip. They had plenty of water crossings, some decent rocks, and really reminded me of some of the class IV roads in New Hampshire.

    We spent the first night camping outside of this awesome primitive cabin. The owner has done a great job restoring it. The inside is fully furnished, it has a small modern bathroom off the side, there's a creek just out of frame, and the national forest is just up the road. If it was mine I would be spending a lot of time there.

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    Even though the first day was mostly forest roads it was worth airing down. We ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 20psi. It helps with the washboard.

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    We put down some miles and ended up getting stopped at a huge washout on a county road. It was probably 4 feet deep, and easily just as wide. The culvert had totally rusted out and the recent roads put the final nail the coffin. We made the best of it with a roadside lunch and detoured to pick up the route.

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    I'll save you the less exciting photos, but essentially we hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway, picked up another forest road, and headed south towards the James River. We camped at a campground that's geared towards canoe campers on the James. It poured the rain and we parked the trucks and deployed awnings. We had dinner, shared some drinks, and crashed. The only problem with this camp was the train tracks just on the other side of the tree line. At one point I thought the train was going to take a mirror off the truck.

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    The next day we explored some public roads that were new to even the MSO crew. One tracked a dry creek bed for several miles and was oddly bone dry. The general consensus was the water disappeared into a cave somewhere in the higher parts of the creek. We only saw a trickle of water even though it rained inches the night before. As we headed down the back of the ridge we started seeing frequent small water crossings.

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    These made for some good shots. As we continued down the route the creeks grew wider, and every mile or so we find the crossing a bit larger. Finally we came upon the final one, and as soon as the lead truck saw it the radio chatter lit up. The drop off was steep, the water was high, and the crossing was wide. This was definitely the deepest my Tacoma had seen, and the photos tell it better than I can. Remember to maintain speed and push that bow wake.

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    Unfortunately, the 4runner wasn't in good shape just on the other side of the crossing. An extra large fan and a large radiator had a meeting and didn't agree. Fortunately, we only had to tow him about 3 miles into town.

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    We continued on the trip after his tow truck arrived and headed back up into the mountains. We cleared a few trees along the way. It definitely pays for at least one truck in the group to pack a saw.

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    The work was worth it though. We topped out on the ridge to some unforgettable views.

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    Cont.
     
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  2. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    We continued down the two track and had a quick team meeting. Jason had arranged for us to camp at another private spot. The kicker to this site were the trails that accessed it were for ATVs and UTVs. They were tight, muddy, and it was getting dark. This drop didn't seem that bad when I was in the truck, but judging by the rear flex it was a little steeper than I imagined.

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    It got dark well before we made it to camp. This section was pretty rutted and even aired down to 18 in 4 low I thought I was going to have some problems, but I came out on the other end. A rear locker and throttle control go a long way. I was stopped twice, but a second go at it got me through it. I didn't need traction platforms and no one had to pull cable, so I called that a win. I don't have any pics of my truck in it, but I know they got some video. Plus, this FJ60 is better looking.

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    After that muddy section we had two long rocky climbs, but they went without incident. We made it to the top of the ridge and the campsite. Steve got the fire going and Jason and Gaby got to work on dinner. Mini pizzas on the skottle are hard to beat.

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    The next morning we enjoyed the view and I got to work on some breakfast. Sausage, hashbrowns, and dozen eggs to start the day.

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    With several hours of interstate ahead of us we headed back down the ridge and up the other side. We made it back to the ATV park campground and as we aired up and said our goodbyes this fellow came over to visit. If his owners hadn't been far behind he would have came home with me. The Old English Bulldogs are awesome.

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    Thanks for reading along. This trip will be featured in an upcoming issue of OutdoorX4. The photos are a mix of mine, Stephen's, and the guys from MSO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
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  3. shaneadams90

    shaneadams90 ESEE Knives Marketing Director Staff Member

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    Awesome photos and trip report @R Stowe

    That looks like a great trip...not sure the GXer would make it on that one....
     
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  4. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    @shaneadams90 thanks. It was a good time and we couldn’t have caught the leaves at their peak any better if we had tried.

    There were a few spots I winced, but the old Taco with AT tires pulled through.
     
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  5. Menace

    Menace Member

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    That looks like an awesome trip. One of these days I'd love to get an overland rig.

    I believe that cabin is Corbin cabin. At one point in time it was open to the public for any hikers to stop while passing through.

    You're not far from my neck of the woods out there.
     
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  6. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    @Menace my friend didn’t mention that but it’s cool to hear. Did they move it? There weren’t any foot trails nearby, at least that I saw.
     
  7. Menace

    Menace Member

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    The more I look at your pictures, I do believe I'm mistaken. This is the most current pic of Corbin cabin I could find
    corbin0807.jpg
    Slightly different, so that's my mistake. If you are ever in the area though, this cabin open to backcountry hikers, kind of on a first come basis.
     
  8. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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  9. Hoover77

    Hoover77 Member

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    @R Stowe what brand of sliders are you running on your Tacoma? Getting ready to purchase a set for mine. Also would love to see more of your camper setup.

    Thanks!
     
  10. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    Those are from SOS Concepts. They’re great, and I’ve had the truck on them a lot. At one point they started rubbing but was able to pull them down pretty easily.
     
  11. Hoover77

    Hoover77 Member

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    Cool, did you get the bolt on or weld on option?
     
  12. R Stowe

    R Stowe Moderator Staff Member

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    Weld on. I didn’t find any bolt ons for my 1st gen.
     
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