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New Straitsville AMA-National Trail Ride

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Men’s Weekend: 2005 New Straitsville AMA-National Dual Sport Trail Ride

Labor Day Weekend 2005

This weekend was in the planning for over a month, but the time came to finalize the plan only G-Dog, Dave, and myself were man enough to commit. Initially we had planned to take Dave’s V-10 motor home, but in the wake of Katrina, fuel was a $3.50/gallon, so we decided to tow Dave’s mobile command center with his truck. We all took Friday off from work and headed for Columbus, Ohio in the morning. Our initial destination was the AMA Museum for the history of moto-cross display. If you are interested at all in moto-cross and its heritage and will be in the Columbus area, make some time to visit this display before it is over.

After we were pried out of the museum by the AMA staff that wanted to go home, we made a short drive over to Speeds ( http://www.speeds.cc ). Speeds is a high-speed indoor go-kart track with a restaurant and a bar. The track is very long, has more twists and turns then I can remember, and the carts easily exceed 35 MPH. The cars and track are equipped with sensor and readers, so at the end of each race you receive a print-out reporting individual lap times, top speed, and overall placement. Very cool. After 3 races and a few interim beverages, we desired a menu that a better culinary selection for our discriminating palettes than Speeds’ restaurant offered.

So naturally we visited the Columbus Hooter’s for the food, of course. When we arrived at Hooter’s, we were pleased to find out that Mustang nuts were in town for the Ford National had decided to gather at the Hooter’s parking lot. So we got to peruse the parking lot and check out some serious American muscle cars. Our waitress convinced me to try an order of fried pickles for an appetizer, but Dave said that she could have convinced me to taste dog crap. He was right, but the fried pickles very good and enjoyed by all.

After our fine meal, we set off into the darkness to find New Straitsville. After wandering through the Southeast Ohio countryside aimlessly, we stopped at a local mini-mart and asked for the directions. The kind local woman gave us directions and stated that the campground / event start local was between Route 595 and 216. We used her directions and sure enough there was the campground right between the signs for Routes 595 and 216.

We set up camp. Gary and Dave slept in tents, and I slept in Dave’s enclosed trailer. A local barking canine serenaded us to sleep. We all missed the motor-home and cursed Katrina.

Morning came and we ate some juice, bananas, and peanut butter on wheat bread. At the rider’s meeting the New Straitsville Enduro Riders explained the course. None of the course shared trails with the other regional Dual Sport Rides, the Hanging Rock and the Baby Burr. About an hour into the ride all we could say was "WOW"! They were right this was all new and virgin trail, with the majority of it being single-track. Having personally worked on course layout for my club’s enduro for the last 10 years or so, I know how much work it is to layout this much single track. The 2-days of trail laid out for this event was a lot of work.

The campground that hosted the event was brand new, so new that the showers and toilets were not functional, yet. But port-a-potties were available and a shower could be had right down the street at the New Straitsville Fire Department. The residents of New Straitsville were the salt of the earth and very hospitable.

Saturday night we struck up some fire side banter with Lumpy Summer. Lumpy is a friendly guy, featuring a ZZ-Top beard and riding an ancient Honda XL600. He’ll tackle any trail and always has a good story. 6-months a year he is a ski slope groomer at Salt Lake, Utah. Each morning after finishing his shift, he lashes on his skis and does a few runs down the mountain. Then some breakfast and off to bed. He takes the summer off, residing and touring the Allegheny National Forest on his Dual Sport bike. Ah, the life of a bachelor.

Sunday morning started off with a pancake breakfast at the historic New Straitsville Masonic Lodge. Sunday’s trail ride was a repeat of Saturday … single track heaven. For the New Straitsville Enduro Riders’ first attempt at an AMA National Dual Sport Trail Ride, I rate them a 10 out of 10. And I hope to return someday and hope you give their event a try. If you like rolling hills, hospitality, and miles and miles of single track, this is not an event to miss. The 2006 New Straitsville’s Dual Sport will be September 2nd and 3rd. GO to it if you can.


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