Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cudos for Cuddo

So, I had a chance to visit the Cuddo Unit of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge a few weeks back.  It's sort of a drive through "nature fix" if you will.  It's quite lovely though.  Established in 1941, the SNWR is a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife.  It's managed well, kept clean, and the roads are in good order.  Beyond that, the birding is excellent, it's filled with native plants and offers much to the outdoor enthusiast, including hiking, cycling, canoeing/kayaking and of course dual-sport fun. 
The entrance is clean, if not lack luster.

 I rode in and was greeted by a massive field.  Perfect secessional habitat for birds and neat animals and insects that need that kind of thing. I saw blue birds, morning doves, Turkey vultures and a black racer. It just kept getting better after that.  Forested wetlands, vernal ponds, lakes, streams, wildlife galore!  I'll head back soon, with my bicycles wildlife lens, and family. There is plenty left to explore!

massive field just inside the entrance gate. Forested wetlands in the background.
lovely field and wooded habitat

small pond and fresh water marsh

The beautiful Lake Marion

Grassy field with Lake Marion in the background

Peaceful little trutle
The local wildlife Star on display for the tourist

Good nite Cuddo Unit

Sunday, April 1, 2012

On the way home Friday, I decided to take a little diversion.  Traffic was terrible.  Cross winds were gusting. I was tired form a long week.  I know a back road that leads to a nice long dirt road and eventually home.  No camera, only my cell phone to take pictures with. Why not.

Stopped here to air down the tires
This little path was gated... damn looks like fun too!
After a boring ride down a long straight paved road, I arrived.  Dirt, relaxing dirt, savior of my sanity.  About a quarter mile in, I stopped on a small bridge to air down the tires.  I didn't document any of the trash here, but there was plenty.  I'll never understand why people think they can trash land they don't own.  Selfish bastards.

This road is known for ruts, potholes, mud and sand. Exactly what I needed to blow off steam from the work week!  I'll let the pictures do the talking from here.

Native grasses under a transmission line right-of-way

A rare example of a "Low Country Hill"
Sparrows and sand
The Mighty Edisto River

Unleashing the HO-CAT

So, I've been working on a Duel-Sport route for a while.  Or should I say, I've been wanting a Duel-Sport route for a while.   When I have a chance, say, on the way home from work or an hour here and there I like to explore the area around me.  I've ridden some really nice dirt roads and consider myself lucky to have them.  Yeah, it's not the Rockies, not even the Blue ridge.  But It's what I've got and I'm going the make the best of it!

Recently, at an ADV monthly dinner, someone called for a ride.  I volunteered, and the Heart of Colleton Adventure Trail was born.  (I thought HO-CAT was a funny acronym too!)   I pieced the trail together practically at the last minute.  I had an idea mind you, it wasn't totally haphazard.  But I hadn't ridden the trail as a loop yet.

Kickstands up! Time to ride the HO-CAT
Here we are getting ready to go. Let's see, we have two KLR650's, one Wee Strom,  one DR650, one GS1200, my Tiger. Oh yeah, a Bandit 1200 and a SV650.  This is gonna be good!

The HO-CAT proved itself to be a formidable adventure trail indeed.  Incorporating all of the necessary ingredients for adventure riding, the HO-CAT supplied us with sand, deep sand, mud and wet clay.  Those guys on street bikes were not happy!

Intermixed with the treacherous trail   of  the HO-CAT were stunning views of South Carolina ecology.  Most of the HO-CAT navigates Pine plantations (you know, timber production) but intermixed with the silviculture is beautiful bottomland hardwoods, swamps, creeks, basic agriculture and some unique home sites.  Sorry, I didn't have time to stop and take many pictures while leading the group. There's plenty of photographic opportunities still so I'm planning another expedition of the trail soon.  You haven't heard the last of the HO-CAT!

Waiting for the rest of the crowd...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It Was a Dirty Day...

I had an excellent ride this weekend. I spent 257miles on the road, all over South Carolina.  It got a little dirty...

Tiger on the loose!
 I stopped on the side of Friendship Dr. for a few images.  The wild mustard was in bloom and the light was beautiful for photography.

My entire ride was in the country.  Areas similar to those I grew up in.  It was wonderful. I challenge all of you to explore those places you may have forgotten.
Looking forward to more dirt.

The Dream of the open dirty road

The southern 'green' of choice

I'm not 100% on what this place is...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Little Diversion

Dang it's been a while since I've made time for this... There's been a lot going on though.  You know, the holidays, a kitchen remodel, oh yeah and my daughter was born. 

Webb Avenue
I've struck out a few times for short rides.  One place I visited and was totally surprised by was the Webb Wildlife Center, WMA.  I spent about an hour or so driving through.  I was just awe struck by the beauty of the property, and enjoyed the dirt roads.  I hear the birding is excellent here.  Plant geeks will find plenty of interest too.  I'll have to plan a return visit when I can spend some real time, and do some serious photography.  You should plan to visit too.

Horse Pasture Road

I've been working on the bike some too.  I've figured out the storage thing.  The Tiger and I are well acquainted at this point.  I've found many new roads to explore.  Look for more soon, until then here's a sample of some local dirt.

Middle of Nowhere, SC

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Changing faces, my new bike and photographic evolution.

 Triumph tigris, var. XC
     I've got a few miles on my new motorcycle now.  I'm well past the  first service and the break in period.  It's everything I wanted in the KLR.  Smooth, vibration free, enough power to haul my stuff.  I actually want to ride it, not just commute on it.  I'll be getting some luggage for it soon.  Something large with adventure bike styling,  you know, for getting groceries and other tasks I would normally roll a cage to complete.  After three years on a KLR, you either love motorcycles or you don't.  I guess I do.  Enough about the bike, let's go for a ride!

     I haven't had much time for a real trip lately.  Family concerns will keep me near home for the foreseeable future.  Nothing bad, quite the opposite, my family is growing!  Day trips only for a while, and lucky me, there's plenty to see here in the low country.  I live in a small town and commute to a big town.  There's plenty to see in between.  Near my home, there are plenty of dirt roads.  Lucky me, I ride an adventure bike!

...too wet, nah, go for it!
   I spent a couple hours riding the morning after I brought home the Tiger.  Exploring some favorite areas close to home.   Maybe a half mile from my house, there is a sweet little dirt road.  All the trouble you could want in 2.3 miles.  Clay, sand, hard pack, and even a little hill, not a big hill, just a little hill. It was only wet here, dang, this was the clay section!  I made it, the Tiger need a little dirt on it to look good anyway.

Warm early morning sun self portrait.

Lovely, pine forest and hard pack road, great combo.
      I left town after this and found a few more dirt roads.  It's fall here and the light is getting right for landscape photography.  That harsh summer sun, has been supplanted by lovely, warm and angular light.  I love this time of the year.   

The early Tiger get's the chicken!
    The landscape here in the low country is always in a state of change.  I find it completely beautiful and deeply inspiring. If you are into the nature thing, you will too.  The diversity of habitat  means many interesting flora and fauna call this place home.  There is no shortage of subjects to photograph. 
     I've always been a 'Grand Landscape' kind of photographer.  I studied Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and the like.  I worked hard on my photographic craft, and was successful.  But lately, I find myself leaning more towards the earlier Pictorialist styles.  Wanting to convey more the feelings of the place I'm inspired, than the reality.  I played with Pinhole cameras for a while.  It's fun to build your own camera.  I liked alternative printing methods too.  But,  ultimately, I hated the darkroom.  It's stinky, dark, and I can't help but wonder what I'm doing to myself and the environment with all of those chemicals.  Now I've found digital!  I love it as much as my new Tiger.  I've made a pinhole 'lens' and found a funky plastic lens that matches my old Holga pretty well.  I'm as excited as ever about photography again!  We'll see where this goes, now that I have a motorcycle I feel comfortable taking the expensive camera's out on.
Digital Pinhole image, "Spring Marsh"