Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How does a 45 mile ride turn into 65?

(Panorama of Centralia Steam Plant and mining)

Stubbornness! Planned to do a mapped out 45 mile ride down Johnson Creek Rd. Skookumchuck Rd. to Tyrell Rd. Then to Tono Rd and back home via 507 and Hwy. 99. Mapped it out and everything. Got down to Skookumchuck and started looking for Tyrell Rd. (even though the map I had printed gave directions to turn on Goebel Rd.). Rode along until I saw Tyrell Rd. which had a sign that said, "No Outlet". So, I thought that must not be the right road. I kept going until I had ridden all the way to Northcraft Rd. Since I had done
Skookumchuck/Johnson Creek loop the day before, I knew what I was looking for was between Northcraft and Johnson Creek. The wind was in my face so I decided to turn around and go back to a street with no name (wait, isn't that a U2 song?). After backtracking about 6 miles (with a tailwind though), I came to the street with no name. As I headed up, I thought maybe this is Goebel Rd. After about 1/4 mile, the road turned to packed dirt/gravel. Stella was handling it fine so I kept going. After going up and down for a couple of miles, I saw a sign on a tree that said Thompson Creek Rd. Well, that was certainly not Goebel Rd., but I had seen Thompson Creek Rd. on the map. I just didn't know where it came out at. No matter... I continued on (starting to see the stubborn part?). Afterall, I told myself I could always turn around and go back the way I had come. So, I rode on until I came to a driveway where a guy in a pickup was puling out. I slowed down and he rolled down his window and asked me if I was lost. I told him not really, but did he know if this road went through? He said no that it deadended a little ways further and I would need to go back to Skookumchuck Rd. I must have sounded disappointed because he asked where I was trying to go. I told him I was trying to get to Tono Rd. He said the road did go to Tono Rd., but it was "gnarly gravel" and Weyerhaeuser land. He then said it was like Thompson Creek Rd. Well, I had already been riding on this road and doing fine. So he said to follow the road until it came to a Y then go right and it would take me down to Tono Rd. Again, I figured I could always turn around. Off I went up into the woods. And up and up and up somemore. I came to a Y, but it didn't look promising so I kept going. After going past another unpromising Y, I came to a major Y in the road (major being relative on a Forest Service road). I turned right and came down a fairly steep hill where my tail light on my trunk bag fell off. Amidst all the rattling and bumping down the hill, I actually heard it fall off. I went back and retrieved it and through it in the bag. After a couple more ups, I came to a clearing where I could see for miles. I could see the Centralia Steam Plant and all the Trans Alta mining area. The sky was blue and the sun was shining! It was quite nice. Watched an eagle (or hawk) flying around then got back on and headed on down the hill. It was such a long steep hill that I had to grab the breaks from the drops because my hands were too tired from pulling the breaks from the hoods. Letting her fly on a gravel road is not something even I would do!

Got to the bottom of the hill and popped out onto Tono Rd. (or so I thought). I turned right because that's what my instinct told me. As I'm riding along I start to wonder if I am going the right way. Everything in my head told me I was, but I wasn't seeing anything familiar and I had done Tono Rd back in January with Leandra. I was getting closer to the Steam Plant. I decided I was not going to turn around. If I ended up at the Steam Plant I would just go to Schaeffer Park and back up 507 (it just would have added a boat load of miles). As I came up over a hill I saw the turn onto Tono Rd. Yea! I knew where I was (turns out I had been on Big Hanaford Rd. past where Leandra and I had gone)! From there on the ride was uneventful. I knew where I had to go and approximately how many miles. The weather was great so no worries (anymore)! So, what was supposed to be a 45 mile ride became 60 because I was too stubborn to give up (shades of my father)!