Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mexico and Bust

We visited the in-laws in Maysville and the wife gave me a free pass to do some exploring yesterday morning. Yesterday's route was an extension of an effort I did in April, '10 on the Quickbeam. I can't imagine how much I walked, because it's a sawblade of sharp hills and creek valleys.  I woke up typically early, got my nasty McDonalds coffee and drove the 25min to Blue Licks Battlefield SP, all while being entertained with some nice morning light.

Stupid smudge on lens.

Sogn along closed Old 68 bridge in morning light.

This is listed as Stoney Creek Rd. among others, but for all intensive purposes, it's a closed road that still exists. The forest rats use it more than any car.

Stoney Creek at the top because a mostly impassible tractor road.

The day took the second of its many twists at this intersection, as best as I can tell, actually,  I don't know what this intersection is. The first gaffe of the day was having my newish Garmin eTrex30 without my previously loaded track. Mr. Crowell had helped me load some additional maps, and in that process the track disappeared. Gaffe#1. Therefore, I'm doing my route from memory and map usage. At this intersection, gaffe#2 took place when the batteries died. It was my fault for not ensuring I had sufficiently charged batteries and extras. I own it, but it still put me deep in the boonies without navigation. Because I'm (overly) confident of my skillz, I decided to venture on.

I had seen this store one time while doing some research, so I stopped at Myers and spent my requisite $5 (for my card) on batteries, chocomilk, and assorted sugar. Thanks to Myers for improving my day.

After the initially hilly out, the day then segued into the mixed terrain portion with a second trip along Mexico Rd. Even cold, this is a great, rough gravel road along the Licking River. I was very good at this point.

Interesting that WMA don't allow bikes, but do allow hiking. Enter at your own risk.

The texture of Mexico reminded me of scenes from DBNF, of rough roads with short, steep portions that I sometimes rode and sometimes walked.

BOOM!!!!! Did you hear that? I thought at first some hunter shot me. Then I noticed my bike wasn't moving anymore. I've done other rides on the Soma Cazaaderos, but for some reason, the rear just BLEW off the rim, quite suddently. BOOM!!! I was only marginally prepared in that instead of a 27.5" tube, all I had was a 29x2.2. Not optimal. Not. After quick snack I changed the tube somewhat slowly, and not easily with temps below 30F at this point. From this point on the rear wheel made me nervous. This blowout on a downhill would create some problems. And I had no more tubes. Patchkit? Ha! Please.

Let's see...I was well onto Gaffe#3 (track, batteries, flat) when I happened upon this creek crossing on Tea Run Rd. It looked like a decent surface, but I imagined my luck having me fall over into the rushing water, all with temps below freezing. I was having a good time, but wasn't the most optimistic at this point. I cross with a couple damp toes but no damage. Neat feature actually. And TeaRun ended up being a highlight of the day, with its smoother surface along a creek valley. It would be doable (with current conditions) with a variety of bike tires; Mexico requires some meat.

I found KY32 and headed towards the barn. The decent along there was *cold*. At the base, in "Pleasant Valley", I found a great proliferation of chasing dogs and then a steepie to get the heart racing. I was feeling the effects of the numerous climbs on the day, but the pavement allowed me to enjoy Abner Mill Rd, again along the opposite side of the Licking River.

I've never seen anything like this. It appears to be a normal house, but it's second floor balcony abuts the railroad. I really don't know what it is. Way station? Resupply? Weird. Just like "Pleasant Valley".

Abner Mill Rd. after a half-mile, 10% climb. At this point I was tired.

Gaffe #4. At the site of this abandoned house, my first set of purchased batteries died. I don't know if they were old it it was cold or the eTrex has a issue, but fortunately I had one more set. Abner Mill seemed reasonable straightforward, but had many little turns off of it. I stayed the course, experiencing a couple more steepies before returning to one more sharp, short climb to the car. It was a fun day, but not the smoothest nor the fittest. I returned safe-and-sound, which I guess is the goal.

Happy New Year and I hope your 2014 was blessed in whatever way you see fit.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fatbike Fest

Dave and I went fat-biking a few weekends ago and I forgot to finish the post. Suffice to say fun was had, especially by me. My Mukluk and Dave's Fargo were quite equal to many tasks, but once down along the river, the extra 1.5" of footprint made a difference. Fatbikes were made for such riding, although Dave was able to clear most obstacles.  The pics below tell of a really nice morning spent rambling.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: