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Cloudcroft 14 - UFO's & Area 51

Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
Home Sweet Home

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Yard sale on the Rim trail :doh:

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Philosophical lessons along the Sunspot highway... :zen:

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More to come as time permits :rider:
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
OH Heavens NO! The KTM wasn't a real UFO...this was :shock:

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Yep, a wee small silver dot way up in the sky. Picture was taken with a 400mm lense plus digital mag. OK, we could pretty much throw a rock into White Sands. Go figure... :ponder:


But...now back to those fluffy groomed forest trails and some leisurly two wheeled sight seeing. :rider:

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Just a tad of bushwhackin to connect some remote dots

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Our gracious organizers for this adventure are Lulu7404 and LucyD. Truly, two great camping neighbors and riding mates. :thumb:

Lulu7404 cheerfully tolerating our harsh surroundings

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Here's the gentle and kind LucyD with her hounds out for a quiet walk in the woods.

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She has another not-so-gentle hobby too... the girl can ride motorcycles and goes looking for the rough stuff to play on. Did not back down from nuthin. :hail:

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We'll meet the rest of the crew as we go along. Time to explore. :dude:

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Joined
Dec 20, 2008
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368
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granbury, tx
looks like yall had great time rg love your report .nice stunt show james who taught you that soo i can stay clear of them LOL see ya tony d :rider:
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
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681
Location
Denton, TX
I love it! Keep up the good work RG and James... I will add my pics as soon as I can. We had to deal with a little mess today...but I should be able to start tomorrow.
Had a really good time riding and camping with everyone.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
Courtney mine?

Great stuff!
Yep, this is a fun trail. I wouldn't try it alone since it takes several folks to help pick me and the 530 up off the ground along the way. :flip:

This is the TH on Westside rd. - where we came out. We rode from east to west. It's not a long trail but it takes a while to get from one end to the other. Number 64 is my friend Joel. He and Johnf3 were leading the ride. They know these trails - well - like they were in their own back yard...cause they are. :thumb:


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Monsoon came early - with ice. We stayed just to the edge of it until it passed. :storm:


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This is the same TH a little later after the rain. That wonderful dirt I so enjoyed earlier turned into slick red goo. :nono:


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Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
We certainly wouldn't want our gentle readers to mistake us for a group of undisciplined dirt-crazed roughians who show little regard for the subtleties of nature. :angel: So, in that effort I'd like to take a moment to share some softer images of the Lincoln National Forest as we enjoyed our time there. :photo:

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Bluff Springs waterfall

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Most Cloudcroft panoramas we see are looking west toward White Sands. This is looking south to east from high on the Scott Able trail. The image just doesn't do justice to the real thing. There are huge mountains to the south that are bleached out by sky light in the picture. Pretty sorry photography...I took it. What can you expect?

ScottAble.jpg



Oh, alright! Truth is - I had nothing to do with taking most of these. My dear wife got her a camera and went walking in the woods while I was out riding. For all I know the cute little chipmunk thing could have been one of the bumps I felt going down a hill. Now, back to our story... :duck:
 
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Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
Destiny finds a way to make things right. :zen:

No cell signal, no internet, not even any smoke signals to communicate with our folks near CC. :giveup:

So...First morning, we took off into the woods on the Willie White trail. Chilly air and the scent of pine...ahhh Cloudcroft. :pirate:

Trail's rough. Mucho rocks - like somebody's been hauling them in. Softball size and up with the regular assortment of cross trail roots, random gulleys, tight switchbacks and tighter trees. Good stuff but takes a little while to get acclimated to hanging onto the bars and letting the rear bounce and slide around.

No initial carnage and everyone was clearly up to the terrain. Tech51 soon discovered oil seeping from a fork. If a seal ever had ambitions to leak, this is a grand place for it to happen. Lulu7404 just happened to have a seal cleaner in his pack so all was good. :clap:


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We'd just gotten down a few trails when we ran across a couple fellers waiting in the shade for us at a trail intersection. Yep, Conner and his Pop, Johnf3. The very folks we hoped to hook up with but had no way to communicate to. Cool! :dude:

Off we go toward the Rim trail. 8-)


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Turns out, trail 105 was a little soggy in places. JBay and I got caught going up a slight hill and couldn't get moving again. Not loose or silty - just slick rocks and black clay. Finally had to bushwhack level across the hill to gain some speed and then turn up...never letting up on the gas. Wasn't pretty and thank goodness everyone (and their cameras) were already up the hill. Nope, never happened. :shrug:

The Rim trail is such great all around stuff. Truly a gem for off-roaders. :rider::rider::rider:


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This is Johnf3's son, Conner.


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He can ride a motorcycle with a young man's legs and abilities. He's also an unusually intelligent and respectful young man. If you ever meet him, you'll know the world still stands a chance after-all. His Dad is a blessed man. Nuff said. :thumb:

With daylight fading, the Bluff Springs crew beat it on back to camp. No major bleeding and the bikes still ran so it was good day's ride. :chug:
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
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West Texas
Destiny finds a way to make things right. :zen:

:





This is Johnf3's son, Conner.


Coner-1.jpg



He can ride a motorcycle with a young man's legs and abilities. He's also an unusually intelligent and respectful young man. If you ever meet him, you'll know the world still stands a chance after-all. His Dad is a blessed man. Nuff said. :thumb:


If RG doesn't mind, I'll add some comments here and there as this report progresses. Connor took quite the shine to RG and pretty much peppered him with a million questions for two days, to which RG patiently answered every one. Connor has been off at college for the last four years and I have only seen him a few times, even though he was going to school within a few hundred miles. He really has kept a crazy schedule, so this was a nice break for him.

So, spending three days with him really was a blessing, and considering those three days were riding together, that was even better. Even though he has had little time to ride, he truly loves riding dirt bikes and I am very lucky to have a riding buddy who is also a son.

If you notice no visor on his blue helmet, that is because he crashed hard the first morning. I turned around looking for him and found him laid out across the trail knocked goofy. We talked about riding under control, he said he would, and 20 feet after we started again he launched off a water bar, landed sideways, and barely saved it. I should have gave up trying to give advice at that time, 'cause it was the same all weekend. Actually I was grinning under my helmet watching most of it.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
1,096
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West Texas
my advice on the Rim Trail...

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do not fall off the Rim Trail
Well to be fair most of our issues were from slipping off, then falling. :giveup: There were a couple roots at that one particular place that just got muddier and more slippery with each bike.

By the time we got situated, the downhill side of that mountain looked like a farmer plowed it. You could have sowed a couple of rows of cotton up there.:rider:
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
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Heartland, Tx
Number 64 is my friend Joel. He and Johnf3 were leading the ride.
If you went with those two you got the true Cloudcroft Experience. I'd not what to give Joel a big head, but those guys can ride with the best of them. You might want to learn to feed them drinks at camp the night before so you can keep up! :giveup: Even if it does not slow them down the stories will be fun anyway!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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2,302
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
Next morning some of the Bluff Springs crew were moving a little slow. :yawn:

A full day's hammering on these trails takes its toll on body and bike. :tears: JBay and I went on over to meet Johnf3, Joel and Conner for an early romp up the northern part of the Rim trail. We all agreed, this section is just spectacular. :drool:


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Changing topography takes the trail from deep forest loam to narrow rock shelf and back to shaded woods.


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After meeting up with the rest of the crew we headed off to the Courtney Mine tr. You've seen the videos and a few pix of this. It's a short trail but surely takes a while to cover. With steep elevation changes and constant loose rocks, it's probably about as technical as most folks care to tinker with. :giveup: This goes over to Westside rd. and travels into more arrid terrain on the Whitesands side of the mountains. Just as I was wondering how my arms were going to last to the end of this thing - there goes Johnf3 up the next hill riding his back wheel. :shock: They say the way to get better is to ride with folks who are talented riders. Sure hope some of it rubbed off on me. :mrgreen:


Here's Conner making the tough stuff look easy.

[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPJZW0c74ow"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPJZW0c74ow[/ame]


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Then the rains came. :storm: We were lucky, though. We managed to beat around and stay out of the downpour until it had passed by. Gets pretty cool around those clouds. By then the trails were soaked. You've seen the pix of our attempt on one after the rain - wasn't happening. Traveling up Westside rd., we made it to Highrolls to get on a forest road heading back toward camp. I parted with the group and went for pie and hot coffee at the Apple Barn before heading back. :eat3:

Another great day of riding with folks who could hold their own and didn't hesitate to lend each other a hand. :thumb:

That evening was a pretty special deal. Johnf3 cranked up the grill :bbq: and everyone threw in what they had. After a fantastic dinner we gathered round the fire ring and life just doesn't get any better. :-)
 
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If you went with those two you got the true Cloudcroft Experience. I'd not what to give Joel a big head, but those guys can ride with the best of them. You might want to learn to feed them drinks at camp the night before so you can keep up! :giveup: Even if it does not slow them down the stories will be fun anyway!
You know...now that you mention it - they did seem to have this motorcycle riding thing down remarkably well. :rofl:

If you ever have a chance, ride with them when they're on their 990's. Pure art in motion.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
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West Texas
The trails to the west (Alamogordo) side of Westside Rd are very different, but still lots of fun. They are rarely ridden by other motorcycles. Most of the traffic (almost all four wheelers) actually comes up from Alamogordo or near there.

The terrain is steep and almost completely rock-covered, and good line choice decisions pay nice premiums. This is where we, a loooong time ago, coined the term "Cloudcroft 90". It refers to an unintended change of direction, 90 degrees or more, and usually because of a nasty rock or root. As in, you are cruising up a tough climb, feeling good, when all of a sudden you are pointed the other direction, usually off the trail. That's a Cloudcroft 90.:eek2:

So we made a little dip into the desert mountains and the climb out was a solid mile uphill with bowling ball rocks, with some much bigger that that. Deb made it out, and had a few choice words about the whole deal. Let's just say it was right to the point, and at that time I made a note to myself that she fit right in with the rest of us. Turns out she jammed her foot pretty bad and had a nasty purple bruise to show for it.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2010
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681
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Denton, TX
The trails to the west (Alamogordo) side of Westside Rd are very different, but still lots of fun. They are rarely ridden by other motorcycles. Most of the traffic (almost all four wheelers) actually comes up from Alamogordo or near there.

The terrain is steep and almost completely rock-covered, and good line choice decisions pay nice premiums. This is where we, a loooong time ago, coined the term "Cloudcroft 90". It refers to an unintended change of direction, 90 degrees or more, and usually because of a nasty rock or root. As in, you are cruising up a tough climb, feeling good, when all of a sudden you are pointed the other direction, usually off the trail. That's a Cloudcroft 90.:eek2:

Snip... Deb made it out, and had a few choice words about the whole deal. Let's just say it was right to the point, and at that time I made a note to myself that she fit right in with the rest of us. Turns out she jammed her foot pretty bad and had a nasty purple bruise to show for it.
Thats my gal!
Which reminds me, I've got to edit and post up the video of her climbing the rocks and looping her ttr at Hidden Falls... now where is that gopro...
 
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Hangin' out at the "bars"
The trails to the west (Alamogordo) side of Westside Rd are very different, but still lots of fun. They are rarely ridden by other motorcycles. Most of the traffic (almost all four wheelers) actually comes up from Alamogordo or near there.
I've done some "bike fishing" on that trail over there that follows the pipeline down to Alamo. Buddy busted a case cover on our way back up (probably a Cloudcroft 90 caused it. Nice to have a name for the move) and I tried to tow him back up to Westside and burned out my clutch.

Had to go to the forest service and get a key for the gate at the road to take the Jeep down and tow the bikes back up. Fun, fun, fun.

Riding down to the Hang Glider launch near the Space Museum and back up to Westside is a rocky trail like no other I've ridden.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
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West Texas
I've done some "bike fishing" on that trail over there that follows the pipeline down to Alamo. Buddy busted a case cover on our way back up (probably a Cloudcroft 90 caused it. Nice to have a name for the move) and I tried to tow him back up to Westside and burned out my clutch.

Had to go to the forest service and get a key for the gate at the road to take the Jeep down and tow the bikes back up. Fun, fun, fun.

Riding down to the Hang Glider launch near the Space Museum and back up to Westside is a rocky trail like no other I've ridden.
You went down T104, which has now been rerouted to more or less follow the service road down. You are right, it used to follow the pipeline down the fall line of the mountain and it was nasty. This fall when it gets cooler I am going to spend some time exploring down there, but you can't go alone, and there aren't many that want to venture that way (and only a few I trust going with).
 
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Hangin' out at the "bars"
Over about ten years of riding Cloudcroft the week of Memorial and Labor Day holidays I only rode out that way three or four times. Mostly just to "collect the whole set" of Cloudcroft trails. It was always an adventure riding all the gnar down there. Good to have if you've ridden everything else and just wanted something different. It would deliver different, that's for sure.
 
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Waco
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thanks for Brad putting this together, and RG for carrying me as a stow away and John for the hospitality and showing us some new trails

now where is Brad's report?
 
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Farmers Branch
Great report RG!! Had a great time...ready for the next riding adventure.

Yes, I did have a few choice words after the rock climb that seemed to never end. Oops.

I have some pics I need to post as well...we hit the ground running when we got home. Work and working on the house.

Again, great group! :clap:
 
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Next morning was one of those tentative days when plans have to get really flexible. :confused: Two of the crew had planned to head home, three of the CC group had civic duty with their community organization and my tailbone was getting perilously sore. :uhoh: However...we still hadn't explored the southeastern area from camp down to Weed nor had a green chili burger at the cafe and there was also the issue of a 75 mile loop that needed some attention. So, saddle up and let's ride! :rider:

Just the four Bluff Spring hombres and a shaky gps track through some lesser known trails - and some not so much trails. :trust:

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Some of the trails were standard fare and lots of fun. Some were pretty good trails right up to the sign saying "Don't even think about going through this gate." :shame: Luckily, there was always a way around these that kept the ride going and the locals tolerant. :hack: :nana:

Many of the trails appeared to be rarely used and no longer maintained. They made for some great riding though. :flip:

We found a trail called the Scott Able trail that started across a dry river bed and went up onto a mountain rim trail. It starts out a little technical and is obviously not used very much - but with some spectacular views for the few who make the climb. :photo: As mentioned before, this picture just doesn't begin to show the actual view. :whatever: The trail looped around the mountain - once upon a time - but at the far point there were unending trees down across the path and steep climbs both above and below. It would take a lot of work - and time - to get past this stuff. I rode far as possible, walked it a ways to see if we could deal with it - things just got progressively worse as I went. Turn around! :shrug:

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One of the really cool things about Cloudcroft is its abundance of great trails. If you get stopped on one trail - it's not going to be far nor difficult to hook up with another one. We did this several times on this ride and it never disappointed. :cool2:

This is where stuff gets Jess Right. :dude:

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This was one of those trails that is splendidly beautiful and fun beyond measure but just hasn't seen much maintenance. Not griping - mind you. This is the real stuff that makes it all worthwhile. Tech51 making it look way too easy.

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I had a blast that day. Tech51 was measuring his gas in teaspoons, :shock: the sun was sinking toward the west and we were out in the woods riding motorcycles through and over whatever nature put in front of us. Outstanding! :-D: :-D

Here's a repeat but I think this picture pretty well sums it up...

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Well, we didn't finish the loop...lots more good stuff left for the next trip. Day was getting late and gas was becoming an issue so it was time to slab it back to camp. Lulu7404 lead the way back and we rolled into camp just as the sun was setting. Tired, dirty, sore and thoroughly wired. 8-)

I can't overstate the pleasure of riding with this crew. Our friends in CC - Johnf3, Conner and Joel made our time there seem like we were part of the community rather than just visitors. :thumb: The crew held their own in every situation and worked together to make it through some challenging stuff. I hope they had time to get some pictures to post up and add to this tale as they lived it. Next time... :rider:
 
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RG,
If you guys took Scott Able and then took a left up the mountain through the burn area, then you were going to an area known as Rodger's Ruins. Did you ever make it to Weed Saturday?

After our water meeting Saturday, Joel, Connor, and myself took off back down the rim trail, then down the switchbacks to West Side Rd, then over to Heart Attack. The conditions up Heart Attack were good from the rain the day before and we roosted up in no time. From there we rode around to Sunspot, took Sacramento Canyon down to the Timberon Highway, then Corral Canyon back up to 64. We then backtracked to the trailhead for Willie White looking for ya'll at your camp. Ya'll were off in search of Weed :mrgreen:, so we took the long way around and meandered up Benson Canyon to Benson Ridge Rd. From there, back down Lucas Canyon and the forest Rd back to the Homestead. I think it was a little over 50 miles, may have been more. It was a nice, easy ride except for the crazy dust on Willie White and Benson Canyon.

We will see everyone next time. We sure enjoyed sharing the trail with everyone this trip.
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
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West Texas
John what's the weather like in late September / early October ?

Should be good. Much past that and it can be dicey once it starts to snow. It will be quite a bit colder in the mornings by that time, but the afternoon rain showers that are common during the last half of the summer are usually gone. If you go toward the latter part of Sept. the Aspens will have turned and it makes the views even better.

That time of year also makes the trails west of West Side Rd. more pleasant and if it does rain in the desert during that time, I would be heading down to Red Sands south of Alamogordo for at least one day of riding. When that place is wet it is about as much fun as you can have, if you like desert riding.
 

Vinny

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Yep, this is a fun trail. I wouldn't try it alone since it takes several folks to help pick me and the 530 up off the ground along the way. :flip:

This is the TH on Westside rd. - where we came out. We rode from east to west. It's not a long trail but it takes a while to get from one end to the other. Number 64 is my friend Joel. He and Johnf3 were leading the ride. They know these trails - well - like they were in their own back yard...cause they are. :thumb:


courtney.jpg



Monsoon came early - with ice. We stayed just to the edge of it until it passed. :storm:


rain.jpg


ice-1.jpg



This is the same TH a little later after the rain. That wonderful dirt I so enjoyed earlier turned into slick red goo. :nono:


Mud.jpg
I've never seen mud like that. Crazy. I'll have to check that trail with JT someday.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
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Bryan-sort of-Texas
That sounds about right...we went through the burn area down to Weed. Had lunch and then the rains came. We stayed there at the cafe till it quit and then headed out into the wild. Ended the loop with 1000 mile trail that was fun stuff. It was getting pretty late (and Tech51 was burning fumes) so we beat it back to camp. Great day of trails.

RG,
If you guys took Scott Able and then took a left up the mountain through the burn area, then you were going to an area known as Rodger's Ruins. Did you ever make it to Weed Saturday?

We will see everyone next time. We sure enjoyed sharing the trail with everyone this trip.
 
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