In the last blog post, I said there would be a next time because I had to do it right (well, left actually). Today I did just that!
This time I rode Stella instead of subjecting Star to the dirt and gravel. Stella is much more capable of "off-road" riding.
I was really only interested in doing the Fort Lewis property part, so I didn't ride to Yelm first. I just rode from home out Yelm Hwy to 510, and then to the "pothole" road. It's maybe 10 miles to get to the turn (just past the "Military Crossing Ahead" sign (yes, that sign is for the road I was going to go on).
Once I was on the road (a term used somewhat loosely in places), I went the same way I went before, until I came to the "T". This time at the "T" I turned left. The road was similar to the other way--more potholes, some packed dirt, a variety of gravel and rocks. There were more longer and steeper hills (one I even got down to Super Granny--that's saying something on Stella--probably would have had to walk Star). There was also a pretty steep downhill. Again I went VERY SLOW. I was down in the drops and had the brakes pulled as hard as possible. If the hill had been any steeper, I would have had to walk down.
This went on for, seemingly, a long time. I came to another "T". This time I did not trust my instinct. I pulled out my phone and looked at Google Maps. I determined which direction led to Rainier Rd. (this time right was correct). The road even had a name--Johnson Rd.!
I continued on. Again I came to an intersection--this time a "Y". Out came the phone--this time, left was the correct way. I was still on Johnson Rd. In some places the road was pretty good--not too many water-filled holes and just the right amount of gravel.
Finally I came out of the forest, out into sunshine, and a grassy prairie. Oh, and a big sign that said, "STOP!". It also said, "NO-vehicles, NO-horseback riding", and a bunch of other "NO"s. Hmmm...what to do? Since I was at another intersection, I looked at the map on my phone. Yeah...the option with the big "NO" sign was the way to Rainier Rd. Had there been no one around, I would not have thought twice (I would just hope for no camouflaged soldiers lying low in the grass waiting for some unsuspecting intruder, such as myself, to pass by). As it was, there was someone on a tractor off to my left. I decided to just go for it, and beg forgiveness (or ignorance) if I got stopped. I knew I didn't have far to go to make it to Rainer Rd.
There was an oncoming vehicle (didn't appear to be military), but it turned before it got to me. I kept going. It didn't come back to me. I saw the vehicle that the tractor came on, but didn't see any people. I came around one last corner and there was Rainier Rd. I made it! I rode the rest of the way home on the road.
This loop was only 25.8 miles, but it took me 2 hours to do it. The pothole/dirt/gravel section was only about 8 miles, but it was a slow 8 miles. Now I can say I've done the road from Hwy 510 to Rainier Rd. I don't need to do it again!