It’s a Fun and Challenging Ride

I built a temporary bridge out of a 2×12 plus some bracing for the erosional ditch. It’s about 10 feet long and maybe 50 lbs, more than I wanted to carry through the woods. David volunteered to help me haul it so I strapped it on the roof of the 4Runner, grabbed the bike, picked up David and headed to Blackwater. Luck was on our side since I knew the combination to the first gate and the second gate was unlocked. We managed to drive within maybe 100 yards of the ditch. We dragged it through the woods and had it installed within an hour. I didn’t stake it in the ground because I don’t know if it will pass the safety test. Then David did some hole filling while I debated on whether to cut out the little oak tree or leave it. I left it and cut a small trail around it. The tree is a little to high for me to hop over but I bet someone could. We were back at the truck and doing laps by 11:00. We did a lap just to check out the trail, then 2 consecutive laps at a good pace. Then we had a quick lunch followed by another slow lap. I was tired by the end of the day. David and I got in 2 hours each.

When we were getting ready to eat lunch, a tractor came driving down the dirt road followed by four dogs. When the lady saw us, she whipped it around like she was running away but she stopped. She was just out collecting pine straw for her garden. She came by to talk to us and it turns out she works with Mike G. She also owns the donkey I’ve heard braying along with an alpaca. She seemed nice but it wouldn’t surprise me to find donkey and alpaca footprints on the trail soon. Some signs will be posted shortly after.

The phase 1 section of trail has gotten much faster, even the sections I was going to work on are now doable. The leaf litter makes it slightly slippery but I was able to keep my speed almost the whole 1.5 miles. The phase 2 portion is not so easy which is what I wanted. It’s up hill for quite a ways with several momentum killers thrown in. It flattens out a little but then after the bridge it’s back up hill again. I had to stand to climb due to the roughness killing my speed. There’s one more uphill section that winds through a pine forest that’s also kinda tough but once it flattens out, it’s fast. There’s one log crossing then it’s a shortcut back to the dirt road. It’s on this shortcut that I built a skinny out of a fallen pine tree. That was my project for today along with smoothing a bad section on phase 1. The shortcut is only temporary so the skinny wasn’t built to last and it probably won’t since it was mostly rotten but I think it will work for a few months. When I got done smoothing the rough spots, I collected pin flags along the established sections of phase 1. These I used to pin flag the trail along Redrock Road. I got about 2000 feet flagged but I need to go back through it to check some tortoise holes.

Something that’s amazing to me is that here in town, everything is starting to leaf out and the dogwoods are in full bloom. Up there in the forest, it’s still stark and leafless an the dogwoods are just starting to bloom. It’s hard to believe there is that much difference in climate. The schnauzer and I got 4 hours.

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

First Ride

I finally got to ride the loop yesterday. I had a meeting scheduled with Woody at 3:00 so my plan was to get there an hour early to do a couple of loops. I also had to attend a meeting at noon that my friend Christian was giving. Christian wanted to ride the trail also so it was going to work out good. Well, the meeting ran a little late so we only got to do one lap but the cool thing was that Christian has met Woody in the past and they knew a lot of the same people. That kinda helped break the ice. I guess over in Point Washington near Destin they have a bike trail that the forestry people built and maintain and Woody was one of those guys. So we talked about the trail some and he was ok with us bridging over the little ditch although he forgot to check if the pile o’ timbers was still available for our use. He also suggested we start thinking about blazing the trail and building kiosks. I think paint for the blazing would be the best so he was going to check on the specifications and color suggestions and I would do the labor. The kiosk might take a while but he definitely wants to start using the Juniper Creek parking area as the spot to park instead of the gate where I have been parking. That just means I have to build that northern section of the trail next. Out of the blue he started talking about day use fees. He said it would only be $1 to use the area but it kinda caught me off guard. I suggested that the club, having built the trail and are going to be maintaining it, would be exempt from the fee and he thought that was fair but he would have to run it by the bosses. That might also help with club membership. I think now is the time we need to create an MOU just to define some responsibilities and such. Anyway, we had a nice ride and I think the trail will be fun to ride although it’s still a little rough. I need to spend a few hours riding the loop and working out some lines. Hopefully next weekend.

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

3.2 Mile Loop

The Schnauzer and I got the loop done except for a couple of obstacles that I plan on building in the next few weeks. There are still some holes that need to be filled and maybe a few banked turns built. I haven’t gotten it approved by the people in charge but I don’t think they will have any issues. 5 hours.

3.2 Mile Loop

Published in: on March 9, 2008 at 8:15 am  Comments (2)  

It’s Getting Warmer

I’ve missed two weekends for various reasons I can’t remember but I finally made it up today. Yesterday was taken up with the Lumberjack Festival in Milton. Barbara and I were in the tree give away booth from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm. I was whooped when I got home but it was worth it. We probably gave away 6000-7000 trees. If half the people who got trees plant them and half of those trees survive, that’s quite a few trees being introduced to the environment. At the Festival I ran into Lesley who helped out on the trail back in the fall. She had her friend Jackson with her who I met at a party several weekends ago. They both wanted to help on the trail so I gave them my number. This morning as I was getting off the Interstate, Jackson gives me a call so I stopped by to pick him up and we headed for the woods. We started at 2050 with me flagging and him lopping. I flagged to 2064 and we cleared several hundred feet and rough cut several hundred more. It’s nice and open so it should go quickly next weekend. Once I get this small loop done, I want to hit 2335 to 2357 which parallels Redrock Road. That would make a nice addition if you parked at the wooden bridges on Redrock. That would be pretty close to a six mile ride and maybe four miles of single track. Maybe I can get that done before it gets to hot. It was 70 degerees today so I may not have much time. We got in 4 hours each so 8 hours total.

Published in: on March 2, 2008 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment