Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Attempting the Perimeter, But Being Thwarted By Lakes

Since KITT (my rain road bike) is still at the spa getting a new derailleur and hanger, I decided it would be foolish of me to try to keep up with the guys on tonight's night ride whilst riding Hal (my gravel/cross bike). I can barely keep up when I'm riding KITT! 40mm tires would not make me faster! So, it was either a ride on the trainer, or gravel on JBLM. Luckily, Area 20 is still open.

Now that I have this awesome map on my phone, I looked at it closely, and could see a possibility of doing a ride that was mostly around the perimeter of Area 20. That could be interesting...

I called in my plans to Range Control and set out at about 11:00. It was raining, but the temps were a balmy 43 degrees (I didn't even wear liners in my lobster gloves!). I got out to the gate at the end of Johnson Rd (side note: the road onto JBLM continues to be called Johnson Rd). I let some air out of the tires because I had inflated them almost to the max pressure to lead last night's Joy Ride sponsored Beginning Night Ride. When I got to the first intersection, I went left. Not much further, I came to another intersection. Going left again would keep me close to the perimeter. I've been on this road before. It has some steep little climbs, but they're not too long. According to the map, there was another left I could take that would bring me even closer to the edge of JBLM. When I got to that road, I went for a short way, but it was pretty gnarly and overgrown, so I turned around. I continued along the main road. I came to a junction where I needed to go right. Then I would be on the road that borders 19 and 20. Except there was this.
Yes, that's an icy lake with no end in sight. Hmmm...thwarted! I turned around and went back. When I got back to where I had started this road, I turned left. I was missing a good chunk of the perimeter. This is the road Jan and I were on last Sunday. This took us up to where we could see the helicopter. About halfway up there's a road that goes to Fiander Lake. I decided to go check out the lake. I knew it would be out and back. 
Fiander Lake. Not much of a photo, but it wasn't much of a lake either. More of a big pond.

I made my way back, and continued to the top near the Pinnacle HTA. Just for fun, I rode up to the Pinnacle. Actually, I didn't go quite to the top because there was this.
If I had been able to come to it from the other direction, I would have ridden through the HTA. There were no helicopters today, and it's just a short distance to the other side (in fact, you can see the back of the other sign).

On a clear day, there is a good view. This is looking back toward the road that is the border of 19 and 20.

When I looked at the map, I could see that the border road continued after crossing the paved road. So now I was back on my perimeter quest. I rode along a decent road until I came to a big intersection. I looked at the map, and assumed I would go left. So, I did. Before long, I came to this gate.
Cool thing--I knew what that road was! I looked again at the map because there wasn't really an option except to go back. Turns out, I was no longer in Area 20. I was in 19. Oops...I turned around. I went back and went the other way at the intersection.

There has been a lot of logging in this area. Before long, I came to these.
Fortunately, there was no one around. I followed the road to the right. When I came to another junction, I looked and could see on the map that I could go to the left, and then ride along the fence line of the JBLM boundary (and still Area 20). 
See the fence?

This road was quite the muddy roller coaster. I came to where the road curved to the right, but also went straight. Wanting to continue along the perimeter, I went straight. Up, down, up, down. I had to walk around an icy muddy puddle. I even had to walk up one of the hills. But, hey, I was still following my plan! I was, however, getting a little weary of the crappiness of the road. I figured I didn't have too much farther to go before I would come out to the prairie. But, then I came to this.
Another lake thwarting my quest to ride the perimeter of Area 20! This time, I had to go back through the crappy stuff I'd just ridden through. Now I was really weary of this road! But, back I went, as far as the last turn. That was a much better road. When I came to another option, I turned right. It kind of looked familiar. I think it was one of the roads Jan and I had been on. However, somehow (even looking at the map now, I can't figure out what I did), I managed to circle back to where I had mistakenly turned and ended up on 19. At that intersection, at least I knew where I was. So, from there, I just rode back toward the Pinnacle, and came back down, past the turn to Fiander Lake, and eventually back out to the gate at Johnson Rd. 

I no way managed to ride the perimeter (the Strava map looks rather strange), but I did see some places I don't think I've been before! Also, it was 30 miles by the time I got home. So, it's all good!

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