Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

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Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby JonnyC » Mon May 11, 2015 9:25 am

I've always been curious, Google Maps shows Bald Rock Fork wrapping around and meeting up With Fixer Rd. How passable is this section of road? Not at all? 4x4 truck necessary? Just wondering.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby Catawaba » Mon May 11, 2015 10:16 am

Well before the storm it was passable with a vehicle with some clearance, 4x4 isn't really necessary but i have not been back through there since.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby MurphMan » Mon May 11, 2015 10:31 am

The storm didn't do too much damage along that route. You'll definitely want some clearance since there's a couple of stream crossings but its all gravel so getting stuck isn't a concern.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby whatahutch » Tue May 12, 2015 6:51 pm

I did it a bunch of times in a two-wheel drive Explorer. (It had a little more clearance than your average Subaru). You drive through sections of the creek, which, you know, means you could be washing oil off your vehicle and killing all the fish in the stream, but it is damn fun if you have never done that kind of stuff before, but a little bit of a letdown if you grew up where muddin' was a weekend activity.

Also, remember there are all kinds of oil wells in those hollows, so you probably won't actually be doing any where near the harm to the creeks that the wells have done in the past.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby EricDorsey » Wed May 13, 2015 11:30 am

Its a fun drive. Doable in a Subaru but I always end up bottoming out and have ripped my skid plate off several times from that road. Something with a little more clearance like an SUV is fine though, you don't really need 4x4 just the extra clearance.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby clif » Wed May 13, 2015 12:22 pm

good question. i'm not confident I was going the right way but there didn't seem to be many other options but when I tried it years (and years) ago very quickly there was a 'hole' in the stream bed that looked to be at least 4 feet deep with prohibitive rocks and banks... anywhere else but the Red and I would have sworn it wasn't nor ever had been a 'road'. I was in a Forrester.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby krampus » Wed May 13, 2015 1:25 pm

I'd be curious what the oil content of that creak is regardless of whether vehicles are crossing it.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby JonnyC » Wed May 13, 2015 7:40 pm

Thanks for the replies. I guess I'll have to give it a go next time we're down there, if for nothing more than the experience.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby @@@ » Wed May 13, 2015 9:18 pm

Talking about oil content, there are some natural springs slightly west of the southern region at the end of New Virginia Ridge Rd that smell so bad it is hard to breathe around them.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby whatahutch » Sun May 17, 2015 10:35 pm

I worked with a guy for about three years that had worked for Ashland Oil back in the 70s/80s. he worked the hollows around the PMRP, and he knew every hollow that the climbers use. He was from Lee/Owsley Counties.He told me all kinds of history of the hollows, lore, and stories.things like how Fixer got its name, about a wagon load of nitro blowing a crater in the hollow, and which tree they used to hang people from back in the day. The story he told of the creeks were that they're so full of oil then that the re were no fish in them, no frogs, no nothing. He said now things are better, and it is, but I wouldn't want to just go swimming in any of the holes down there, or drink the water ever.
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Re: Driving from Motherload/Sore Heel to Solar/Gold Coast

Postby Ascentionist » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:42 am

My paternal grandfather worked in the Big Sinking area his whole life. He died in '89 ate up with cancer. I'm sure there's a connection.

He used to knock around in a VW bug. That was his car of choice for work. He and his car always smelled of that goopy hand cleaner.

My mom grew up in the oil fields. Her family lived in a house near the mouth of Coalbank Hollow when she was really young. When the oil boom hit in the '70s my grandparents "moved to town" and bought a nice brick house in Stanton, but we spent a lot of time down in there exploring when I was a kid.

My wife and I paddled Big Sinking once after a torrential rain. She got out of her kayak to portage around a downed log and when she pulled her foot out of the mud it was coated in about three inches of oil-based sludge. And yeah, there's usually a strong smell along Big Sinking.

I also would never drink the water from Bald Rock or Big Sinking or any of the tributaries in the area or downstream. At the mtb trail day a few weeks ago a guy put two Ale-8s in Flat Hollow to keep them cool and I cautioned him against it. He asked why, and I was able to show him an unnaturally orange pool of water upstream a little ways up the trail. He said it was probably okay as long as the tops of the bottles didn't get in the water. He was probably right.
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