Yesterday I drove from Red Star to Blanchard Springs caverns to start a Syllamo ride. I dropped down to the campground right on Syllamore creek. The first campsites are closed by the FS as they are in a flashflood zone. I continued on up the road which crossed the creek @ a ford, sign posted informing anyone if the h20 is above 12″ turn around don’t drown.
I drove across and picked a camp spot right above the creek in dense tree cover. Nearby was a campsite occupied by no description here, playing loudly from a boom box & talking loudly, stoking a smoking fire. I could have moved, I stayed, fortunately the music was turned off b4 dark. No XM reception for me.
I geared up and pedaled off, getting my feet wet right @ the start which I did not know was to be a harbinger of wet to come. A steep hiker trail lead to a junction w/ Jacks branch yellow trail. This trail must be park of a race course. I pedaled away on a 14 mile looping trail. Not long after I made the trail the clouds opened up for a short lasting high intensity dump. I stopped under trees and put on my rain jacket wearing it over my Wingnut pack and forcing the zipper to grab @ the first teeth to keep the jacket closed. The rain weighted branches lower over the trail. In short while I was drenched from top to bottom. I was sweating in the warm air. Then the trail worked over into the rocks high above the creek. The rocks became very slippery that I chose to walk striving for shoe traction.
There are several loops in the system, several share a common tread until separating, they are each color coded. At 1 place the yellow marker I was following did not share the blue trail. Shit, I struggled to orient myself. It had to go the way I was going. Sure enough after several anxious minutes of pedaling did I see the yellow blaze. I walked most of the rocks. Amazing 14 miles took 2 hours, I was above my anaerobic for 1 hour 20 mins. Real push.
I rejoined the hiker trail back down to the camp ground. I rolled around a corner right onto a rock garden consisting of off camber slab rocks. Shit, this could be ugly. Somehow i slithered over several then slid to a stop sideways to the hill. Whew.
My bike was woods muddy. The pedals were packed. I jammed a small rock blocking the cleat to clip in. The chain sounded like the crepitous in my right shoulder. It seems the chain saw bar oil is not heavy enough to with stand water and mud. I shuddered listening to the chain clearing itself till it spun quietly until the next puddle that I could not avoid. I applied oil b4 starting. I am discarding the bar oil solution which works pretty well in dry sandy conditions.
Rain was falling as I returned to the XG. I grabbed my tree sprayer and headed to the restroom building and a near by water spigot. The building had eaves blocking the rain. I cleaned off the bike. I walked back to my campsite and gathered up shower stuff and dry clothes. Clean and dry. Fixed dinner. No XM or cell reception.
No rain fell during the night.
Today I drove into Mountain View hoping for strawberries @ a farmers’ market. Too early. I sat in town cogitating over plans. Forecast was still for wet. Do I ride another slippery trail or move on? Instead I am writing this. I checked the radar which shows no rain here. Going to do another ride then prolly go back to same XG as there are hot showers and only costs $5 per night w/ my senior card.
I paid to have my mail forwarded to Bentonville b4 I left. Inside was this:
In 3 weeks I have gone from this:
to wet dense no view tree cover: