syllammo wet and slippery

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.

wet feet start
wet feet start

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.

N Syllamore creek drainage upstream
N Syllamore creek drainage upstream

chunk slippery:

chunky way slipperyThere 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.

Lost text.

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:

Desert dry and open sight lines
Desert dry and open sight lines

to wet dense no view tree cover:


Buffalo Lookout

Last night I slept in the Smokehouse parking lot again which is about 150′ from major 2 lane hwy. Traffic noise is nil after 11, morning rush starts around 6:30 which is  a sleep breaker. I catch one airing of the Bob Edwards show, no longer the time slot I had to make. Now Diane Reem show is an hour after Bob, by then I am out and about missing her show.

At the DR yesterday I was told that I would be contacted by them about tomorrow’s exams. No call by end of business.

I bought my dinner from natural food grocery store and ate it in the parking lot. Laura greeted me as I was facing away from the open door on my balance ball. She will be embarking on a nomadic adventure heading back to outside Pisgah. She wanted to learn answers to her questions. But of course. I drove back to the Smokehouse for another night.

Today right after 8 I called the office. I was told to report for a CT w/ contrast and return to the office for 3:40 followup. No food or liquid for 3 hours prior. I drove out to the MANA facility. I walked in to the office, the woman at the desk entered my name. Shortly I was escorted to the inner workings waiting room. Not an objectionable wait I was summoned into the CT room. Remove metal. Lie down w/ head in cradle, this will be a stick for the IV, plumbed for very warm feeling all over, don’t worry you might feel like you wet your pants but you really didn’t do it. Breathe in & hold the machine’s computer voice. Out in a jiffy. Long wait time after appointment time passed, no status given. DR’s next test was inserting a scope up my nose and out to my big toe on my left foot. He numbed the working right nostril and gave the medicine time to accomplish its effect. He read the CT scan and reported that all is good, nothing of concern. He told me that all was good from his scope view. So now I know that there is nothing medically going to bum me out cause. Perhaps it is from doing situps in the AM. I have been doing 60 a day while lying back on the exercise ball. My neck is strained, perhaps the felt constriction is muscle caused. Straight line says quit the situps.

Yesterday I weighed myself naked after a 60 something minute ride, I weighed 156lbs. To me w/ what I feel on my body would calculate a 150 weight.

Out of the DR’s office relieved w/ results. I stopped again for dash and go dinner then headed to Red Star and the Buffalo Headwaters trails. Red Star ain’t on the map. A bit outside Fayetteville to the East. Back country well maintained 2 lane highway. Several small towns and a few just a sign on the road. I read the sign on the highway for the trails and turned onto the directed dirt road. Rain runoff was flowing down each wheel tract. The dirt was red and the surface appears to be native rock which to me said driving would be just muddy water sprayed up. That was true for the road to the lookout spur road which I took climbing up to Buffalo Lookout looking out over the Buffalo River headwaters, Buffalo was America’s first wild and scenic river designation, yeah, that’s right here in Arkansas. This road was pretty runoff affected, the wheel slipage light flashed. The utensil drawer popped open again and my hydration pack fell to the floor from up on top of refrigerator. The lookout is enclosed in a security fence topped w/ razor wire. The ground appears to be well wetted negating the need of a lookout. I drove by the start of  a trail. I leaned that this part is newly created purpose built trail by Trail Solutions, machine built. The end would connect w/ the trails near How’s place. I downloaded the gps tract from my ride here 2 years ago. Hardly any soil over the rock.

How called me after I parked, he said he saw me heading this way while he was heading the other way. Then the call was dropped. I told the phone to call the last number, the number displayed but no connection.

Jimmy from Bike and Bean texted me for rides around Gallup. I told him the Zunis. He texted me pics of him camped almost where I was. Then he called me. He just read my earlier text to go meet Bill. Jimmy said that they met him last night and drank beers w/ them. He said that several   of the guys in attendance for the Wed evening ride stayed @ Jimmy’s Red Agave in VOC this winter.

Short and light frequent showers. 70% chance of showers tomorrow. I believe the trails will not be damaged by my ride. It will be dripping wet. Poison ivy. I turned off the music. I listened to light rain hitting the leaves. A stiff breeze just came up. Earlier I heard a whipporwill, may this one keep its distance. I wonder where I will see my first lighting bug or firefly.

I did my wash this AM in Fayetteville just off campus. Today, Thurs, was free dry day which packed ’em in. Prolly all were locals. I added 4 gallons of sink water to my tank. 1 gallon at a time ferried in a 1 gallon jug. Filled the propane tank, so great to see the spitter valve spitting.

Fayetteville, AR

Tues night I slept behind the RV repair station in preparation of my 9:00AM appointment to service / fix my clogged spitter valve. I stopped by previously to discuss my issue. Service was still in order. I read some of his shop “humor”, I was concerned that after he read my stuff he would invoke the refusal to serve any customer. A mechanic worked on my van and not the owner. Problem was a clogged valve that took just the right knowledge to open it up. The spitter works and the owner is no wiser.

I then drove down to Fayetteville to ride MT Kessler. I parked @ the Old Smoke house parking lot. T-storms were forecast. I putzed around in my van seeing what nature was going to dump. A guy came over and invited me to check out the company, Fayettechill, that makes clothing. Rain started falling just after I took my bike off the rack. A brief intense shower passed. I rode up to the shop where several young men were working @ computers. One guy offered to show me around. Only later did I learn his name and role in the company. He is the owner, Mo. He volunteered to show me the trails if I wanted. i described my riding  ability. He said he was still cool, we agreed on 9:00 this morning and that I could stay in the parking lot. The facility is owned by Frank whom I met 2 years ago. Rain shifted to steady. I put the bike back on the rack and changed back into street clothes.

I checked out brew pubs in town on line. I found a bike shop that had Formula brake pads. I set off for shopping in town. Seems like all the parking spaces are pay sites. each space has a number, you note the space number then walk to a pay station and deposit $ for expected time , take the receipt, and place it on your dash board. The bike shop, High Roller, had the pads. A fuzzy deja vu occured when I walked into the shop: I visited here first time thru back in ’09. I spent the night parked @ the airport. University of Arkansas, go Hawgs. Downtown is deserted as there are no students on campus. I opened the door of a brew pub and I was the 3rd customer. There menu wasn’t what i wanted. I saw a Table Mesa bistro sign, same restaurant chain in Bentonville. I went there for dinner making  the first paying customer. After dinner I drove back to the Smoke House for the night.

Very humid but in mid 60s, slept w/ the door closed.

Today I waited for Mo to arrive. The ride starts right out climbing a steep paved driveway, no warm up. I’m huffing and puffing and young Mo is ahead talking to me. The trail starts out on steep slippery rocks. I checked a rock face that told me slippery was going to be the norm. I walked when necessary which was better than failing a balancing act. The trail passes between 2 slabs of over my head rocks. Classic pic of Kessler. Previously a biker who was hiking suggested rolling the bike on the rear wheel and slithering the handle bars thru. Worked. Mud packed up my Time pedals.


I stopped by Frank’s house on the way out be he wasn’t in. His son, Alex showed me the pub that they created. MT Kessler has been saved from development by private $ buying the land, Walton’s were involved. I have the large save MT Kessler sticky on my van since my previous visit 2 years ago.

Frank's house
Frank’s house

I bid adieu to Mo and drove to Anytime Fitness for a shower then over to Springdale for my ear, nose, throat appointment. I had a long wait. The PA examined me and noticed swelling on the left side of my neck. She consulted w/ a DR and the decision was made for me to have an ultra sound and a scope to learn the cause. They were hoping to to make it happen tomorrow. I will stay another day here to learn their findings.

Thing about riding here in the deciduous forest is there are no views as the trees block out the sky and the topography doesn’t create openings.