Sunday, March 01, 2015

Mission: Fail

 After an exploratory trip last weekend, and a ton of looking at maps, I though it would be really cool to map out a mostly gravel road route, that would link both ends of the Palmetto Trail in The Enoree District of The Sumter National Forest. 

I headed down again to explore some of those roads that I had linked together on the map.  I was excited when I turned left on the first bit of gravel about 2 miles from the Sedalia Campground and the northern trailhead of the PT.  I headed down excited about the day, then came to a gate. 
 No signs, so I followed the map and went around.  A couple of miles went by and then the nice firm gravel turned into freshly plowed mud. 
 I paused for a moment and decided to continue on.  Maybe it would improve, or maybe it wouldn't but I would still come out on the other side.  About 5 more minutes of caked mud and the road dead ended near a creek.  Looking at the map, I thought I could follow the creek to the river which would in turn take me to the road and back on route.  But,  if I was looking at the wrong creek on the map,  I would be in for a long hike....  I decided to turn around and eliminate this road from the route. 

 On to the next section of "unimproved" road,  and it turned out to be paved.  I continued following my planned route looking forward to the next road which would take me through a ford across a tributary of the Tyger River.  I crossed SC 176 from Eaves Rd to Mikes Rd and dropped down.  200yards later, I was in what looked like someone's driveway: clicke here for the Google Streetview image.  There were dogs barking and 2 guys standing near the single wide looking down at something.  As far as I know, they didn't see me, and I decided that I didn't want to be here, or cross this property.  Again, I turned around and rerouted.  After several more miles of pavement, I decided to scrap the plan for the route.  Even if I was able to find some gravel, it would not be worth all of the pedaling on pavement to get there. 
 I kept riding though, because another goal was to ride more than 4 hrs.  I was glad that I would be able to make the trip worth my while.  I readjusted my route and meandered through the back roads around Whitmire.  Stopping in a gas station to refill water bottles and listen to the local tell his story about his lost lottery ticket. 

Back on the road, and pedaling, I formulated another plan.  Why not just park at the northern trailhead at Sadalia Campground, ride the shortest pavement route to the southern trailhead and then follow the Palmetto Trail back to Sadalia?  35 miles of pavement, and 36 miles of back country single track.  Sounds like a fun challenge. 

 3 miles from Sadalia, I felt that sickening soft feeling in the rear tire.....  a slow leak.  I pedaled until it was really low, then I managed to get some air into it.  I pedaled again for a mile the stopped to pump it up.  I could not get air into the tube.  I didn't feel like taking the time to change the flat, and with my pump not functioning, I just road the flat tire back to the parking lot.  That's a nice thing about 38's,   easy to ride on when flat.... 

Overall, it was a fun and challenging day,  longest day on the bike this year. 

Enoree Challenge anyone?

1 comment:

Emilio Ancaya said...

Hey there. I am in AVL too. Looking to link gravel and single track for 1-2 night loop in Sumter. Buncombe Multiuse trails and Palmetto Trail look good for a loop but maybe there is more to add. Can you share a map of what you have ridden? google map or other? We can exchange info. Thanks. -emilio