Last week I downloaded the maps for JBLM. I was interested in seeing just exactly which area, and where in that area, I was riding. Through the app, using gps, it shows exactly where I am. Jan was okay with me stopping to check the map. This was her first time on JBLM since she got her Access Permit.
We rode up the gravel to the first intersection. I checked the map. I had intended to continue straight, then go right just before this one big hill. Oops, the right would put us onto Area 22. Instead, we went left. When we got to the next intersection, I knew exactly where I was, and knew we needed to go straight. At this point, the road starts climbing. I knew this was the way to get up to one of the highest points on JBLM. I was thinking maybe we would go up there, as we were coming out of the fog and into the sun. Maybe there would be a good view.
As we were climbing, I could hear a helicopter. As we came to the next intersection (go left to go to the view), we could hear the helicopter approaching. I knew we were still in Area 20, actually the road that borders 19 and 20. On the map, the high point is listed as the Pinnacle HTA (helicopter training area). And...it is in Area 19. So, we would not be checking out the view! We did, however, watch the big Chinook helicopter for awhile. We even took pictures (probably a no no).
See the heli at the top of the road?
A little further down the road, we looked back and could see it hovering over the Pinnacle.
We came out to the "paved" road. I say, "paved" because some time ago they laid down a layer of smaller than pea gravel rock on the whole paved stretch (runs from Hwy 510 to Rainier Rd). I used to ride my road bike on that road, but not now. However, it is getting better. I think a roadie could make it now if they were careful, and had puncture resistant tires.
We looked, again, at the map. I didn't want to just ride the paved road. Besides, getting to Rainier Rd would involve going between areas 21 and 22. I saw where we could get off the pavement and still be on 20. We did that, and eventually came back to the paved road, but we were able to go back a bit, and get on another dirt road that took us back over to Johnson Rd (the part on JBLM). Once we got back to Johnson, we rode out to the prairie at the junction of Areas 20, 21, and 22 so Jan could see the prairie.
Looking across Area 21. This particular spot is the Merrill DZ (drop zone).
We turned around and followed Johnson Rd. back to the gate where we started. Along the way we came to this.
I'd say there hasn't been much vehicle traffic along here.
When we came down the big hill, I stopped at the bottom to show Jan where I had originally planned to turn (onto Area 22). As I looked back, I noticed this.
We made it back to the gate. We had done about 10 miles on JBLM. It was a good ride, and all on Area 20! We are such good rule followers!