Category Archives: Luke didn’t get to go
This past September I found myself with the opportunity to cross yet another item off of my ever-growing bucket list. I had the opportunity to paddle part of the Colorado River. You see, paddling the Colorado has been something that I had always dreamed of doing. The stretch of river that I have often dreamed of paddling is the epic stretch of the Colorado River that runs through the Grand Canyon. Such a trip would afford me the chance to experience some serious world-class white water and take in the beauty of the Grand Canyon from the floor looking up to the rim. I have never seen the Grand Canyon from this view-point. I wish this was the story of that paddle but it isn’t. I’ll have to paddle that stretch another time. However, I was not disappointed. My trip took me through the beautiful Black Canyon on the Colorado River. This is the stretch of river that flows from Lake Mead, created by the Hoover Dam, south towards Lake Mojave which was created by the Davis Dam. We would put in literally at the base of the Hoover Dam on the Nevada side of the river and paddle down river to our take out at Willow Beach on the Arizona side of the river. As we paddled, Arizona would be river left and Nevada river right for the length of the paddle.
This stretch of the river is slow-moving but still pretty big water. It reminded me of stretches of the Missouri River or Mississippi River that I paddled only moving a little slower, with less under current, and the scenery was a little bit different. Here is one of my favorite photos from the trip…
The water flowing between these two dams maintains a frigid year round temperature in the lower to mid 50° F. This is due to the depth of Lake Mead and the fact that the water the dams releases is released from the bottom of the lake into the river. I would be making this trip with my beautiful wife, Lauren and one of my best friends Manny Garcia and his wife Shauna. My wife has limited canoe and kayak experience but I am pretty sure my friend and his wife had never been in a canoe or a kayak. We decided it was best to join a guided trip down the river with Evolution Expeditions. They would be providing the boats, the paddles, life jackets, lunch, snacks, beverages, guides, and the local knowledge of the river.
The guides picked us up outside our hotel at 5:30 in the morning. From there we had a 45 minute drive through Vegas to the Hacienda Hotel near the Hoover Dam to meet up with the other guide and the rest of our party. We met everybody else on the tour and it seemed like a good group. We all piled into one of the vans and headed to the Hoover Dam to our put in. We talked with the knowledgeable guides and each other and soon had built a sense of camaraderie and knew the day would be a great one.
On the way to the river we saw a big horned sheep on a mountain side up from the road. This was the first time I saw one in the wild and was excited but unable to get a picture due to the speed of travel on a bumpy road we were on. I was assured by the guides that we’d see plenty of them along the river as they regularly came down to water on the Colorado River since we are surrounded by desert. They told us we might get see bald eagles, peregrine falcons, big horn sheep, maybe a rattle snake, and much other wildlife since they rely on the Colorado River for water in this arid region.
We carried the boats down a ramp and over some rocks and into the river. We got a quick how to paddle and what not to do lecture and then we launched our crafts into the Colorado. We took a few minutes to paddle around and familiarize ourselves with the Prion Kayaks. Manny and Shauna were in a tandem as were Lauren and I. Everybody else had opted for solo kayaks. As we paddle around, the guides informed us that our marriages would be tested today since we chose to paddle in tandem or “divorce boats” as they are known in the business. We laughed and made a vow to get along at all costs. We posed for a couple of “dam photos” and soon were headed down river.
Shortly after heading downriver we saw a precariously thin plank walkway that clung to the cliff faces. It was only two planks wide with a little cable hand rail. It was very sketchy, even when it was first built. The planks were constructed in the early 1900′s when a future dam employee walked the planks, crossed the river in a hand basket suspended from a cable, and then walk more planks to check the flow rate and height of the river several times every day to help determine the location of the Hoover Dam. Check out these pictures…
Here are a couple of pictures that I found online but didn’t actually take myself. The first one shows a longer stretch of the walkway and the second one shows the actual gondola that the dude used to cross the river.
We continued down river a bit when we were directed to beach the boats on the right side of the river. We had arrived at our first stop of the trip, the Sauna Cave. This is a man-made cave that was drilled out back when the Hoover Dam was being built. They hit a natural hot spring and the cave is now full of hot water and has a temperature of around 130°F. We stripped down to our bathing suits and got ready to climb up to the cave. As we disrobed I made the joke about going in the cave naked. The people we were with seemed all for it and ready to participate. I quickly backtracked and announced I was keeping my suit on.
After a few minutes of thought, it hit me…the rest of our group was made up of free loving hippies; seriously cool hippies from Alaska. Not the fake hippies you see nowadays but grownup hippies from back in the day. I couldn’t believe I didn’t pick up on it earlier. They were laid back and really cool, down to earth people. Luckily for all, everybody kept their clothes on. We left our lights off and climbed through the hot water to the cave mouth. You could see steam flowing from the cave and feel its hot, moist breath on your skin. We walked single file through the cave, our sense of touch our only guide. The cave bent a bit to the left and soon we were in total darkness. Wet, Hot, Darkness…With a bunch of cool, free-loving hippies. We sat ourselves along the back of the cave and enjoyed the experience.
Soon the rest of our group started to “ouhmmm” all together and chant like a bunch of Tibetan monks. At first it was cool and I even joined in for a bit. But they kept on and on and on with the chanting. I could feel their chants reverberating throughout my entire body. The chants seemed to grow louder the longer it went on. It was cumulative and growing in intensity….Louder, Louder, Louder. My insides were vibrating and I was tingling all over. I get that they were enjoying it and possibly they felt something spiritual by doing this but after 5 or 10 minutes of chanting I was ready to experience the cave in silence. The silence never came and finally it was time to head back to the river. After our sweaty visit to the cave we jumped into the frigid river to cool off. It felt so good and we enjoyed our quick swim before loading back into the kayaks and continuing down river.
Our next stop was going to be at the natural hot springs. Being very excited about the trip, I did extensive research on what we would be seeing and doing on the river that day. During my research, I found that you had to be careful at these specific hot springs because of a rare type of hot water amoeba that lived in the waters. I found this warning:
Warning – Naegleria fowleria, an amoeba common to thermal pools, may be present and could enter through the nose causing a rare infection and death. Do not dive into pools, splash water, or submerge your head.
I was surprised the guides hadn’t mentioned this fact earlier in the trip. There had been a couple of deaths caused by this amoeba already in 2011 (not in Las Vegas but down south in hot, stagnant ponds). As we prepared to hike up the canyon to the hot springs I asked them about the amoeba thing. They played it off and said it was very rare and not likely to happen. But we probably should not dive or submerge our heads in the water. I then asked about the warm waterfall I was just sitting under.
And found out that this was the runoff from the hot springs and it probably wasn’t a good idea to get the water in or around your nose or ears. Seriously? I was just sitting under the falls and letting it cascade down my head and shoulders. Well, too late now. The damage had already been done. (For the next 3 or 4 weeks I constantly blew my nose and thought I was going to die from amoeba infection, but the fact that you’re reading this proves I did, in fact, survive. Whew!) We hiked up the canyon and waded and sat in numerous hot springs. This was my first time in a hot spring in nature and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The guide told us how the Native Americans used to come here for the healing abilities of the springs and how they were sacred to them hundreds of years ago. I haven’t researched their claims, but the hot springs were surrounded by desert. I am sure the Indians came to the river for water, but to sit in the hot springs when it was 100°F or higher? Maybe? I enjoyed their story and decided not to ruin it by possibly disproving it with some research. To me, it is probable that people once came here for the healing properties of these magical hot springs. Did it heal all of my aliments? No, I am afraid not. But it did feel pretty damn good to sit in the hot springs and relax. If you haven’t enjoyed a natural hot spring, do yourself a favor and visit one.
We hiked back to the river and headed down stream in our “yaks”. We paddled leisurely and enjoyed the spectacular weather and the breath-taking views. Our next stop was at the cliff jump. We had some granola bars for a snack and climbed along a cliff face and out on a ledge. We took turns jumping off of a 30 foot cliff into 50° F water. I’ve cliff-jumped plenty but never into the Colorado RIver. It was a great time. The ice-cold water literally took your breath away on the first jump. It was every bit as cold, if not colder than, the Mississippi in early April.
After having a great time on the cliffs we headed to our next stop and one I was looking forward to all day… lunch. As we paddled to our lunch spot we kept our eyes open for a Big Horn Sheep. They are often sighted along this area as they come down to the river to get water. Due to recent rain and the high availability of water, there were no sheep in this area. I guess I wasn’t going to see a sheep along the river…and then, up ahead in the distance we saw something. Our luck improved, we saw a big horn sheep…
We saw a whole wake of vultures in this horaltic pose. As we neared the beach with the dead sheep, we looked at the hillside and saw 7 or 8 vultures in this pose. It is believed the pose is to dry their wings, heat their bodies, or bake off bacteria. Scientists are still studying the reasons for this pose. I have some thoughts on it…It was in the 90′s so I think the vultures were warm, they had to be dry (we were in the desert), so I guess maybe they decided to bake off bacteria as we got close to the beach where they were feeding. My theory is maybe, just maybe they use this pose to look larger than they are in an attempt to scare off predators or other scavengers (or in this case the big ugly creatures in the kayaks). Whatever the reason it was really neat to see. One started the pose and then they all copied the pose as it spread across the hillside like dominoes being knocked over. I have never seen more than 1 vulture in this pose at a time. It was really cool.
After lunch, we paddled down the river. I think some of our group was ready to get off the river. We had a long stretch of very slow-moving water to paddle before reaching our takeout. We broke this long stretch of paddling up by having water fights with water tubes and our paddles. I literally almost sank Manny and Shauna’s kayak by scooping water with the blade of my paddle and throwing it into their boat. Their inexperience in a kayak and using a kayak paddle was my savior. I had a definite unfair advantage as I threw gallons upon gallons of icy water into their boat. Eventually, Manny called a truce and the Lamb kayak was declared the winner. He then spent the next 10 minutes sucking water out of his boat with his water tube. It was a good time and made this stretch go a little faster for those ready to call it a day (I could have paddled all day and into the night, I was truly enjoying the experience).
Soon we came to a spot that one of the guides pointed out to us. It was the exact spot a famous picture was taken back in 1871 way before either dam was built. He pointed out the top of what once was a large rock in the picture. I remembered seeing the picture online, it was a cool picture, but I figured it would all be underwater now. With the guide’s guidance we tried to capture a photo from the same angle of that old photo. I think we did a pretty good job from memory, check them out…
As we continued down river we saw many interesting caves. This one looks like a monster’s mouth or some creature’s jaw with teeth…
Our last stop happened to be inside a cool cave named, “Emerald Cave”. It got its name because with the right lighting conditions the water is a fabulous, deep, emerald-green color.
The sunlight wasn’t hitting just right for the perfect emerald conditions during our visit. We had a few moments of green and then the sunlight went away and refused to cooperate. I still thought it was really cool looking. We packed all of the tours’ kayaks into the cave (I feared we were in for more “ouhmmming”, but thankfully they refrained) and sat there for a couple of minutes. As we were talking Shauna dropped her fancy designer sunglasses into the emerald abyss. Luckily our guides were prepared. One of them pulled his goggles on and jumped out of his boat and into the cold water. It was crystal clear and we could see all the way to the bottom. After a few dives and some directions from the surface, our guide broke the surface with a huge grin on his face…
Here is one more picture of Emerald Cave as we left…
We continued downriver and enjoyed the scenes. We saw double-crested cormorants, a pair of peregrine falcons, and blue herons. As we neared Willow Beach, we passed Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery. They raise and stock trout in the rivers and lakes in the region. They also raise razorback suckers and bony tail chubs and restock thousands of these fish each summer into their native waters, the Colorado River. We continued down river and spotted our takeout in the distance. We really dug in and sprinted to our takeout. It was a yet another competition that the Lamb boat would win.
We had finished our trip and had a great time on the river. An experience that we will never forget. We had a great time with great guides. They were experienced, knowledgeable, and had great personalities. If you are ever in the area, even just for a short visit you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make time for this trip. If you are in Las Vegas for business or pleasure take a break from town and head to the river. You will not regret it, and you’ll create memories that will live forever.
Here are a few more pictures that I couldn’t fit into the report. Check them out.
Sunday’s scouting ride was supposed to be 40-ish miles long…more on that later. Adam and I rolled out from Dos Primos at around 9am, and it wasn’t long before we were riding North on County Road 363.
The weather was absolutely magnificent. Seriously, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the high-temp was only going to be around 80 degrees. Perfect weather for anything, except working or cleaning the house. Laundry be damned, we had more important things to do.
For those unfamiliar with the Cedar Creek trail system, do yourself a favor and print this map. (It’s a friggin’ nightmare to find online.) A combination of singletrack and gravel roads, the trail system is largely unused. When you’re out there you almost never run into another person. The trails are pretty nice, save for a few sections that have been horse-trampled. From 363, we turned left onto 364 and followed it all the way to the National Forest entrance. Once you’re through the gate, you get ride through stuff like this:
Follow those tracks for a while and you’ll eventually come to this opening:
From that hill, it’s only a short ride until a steep piece of downhill singletrack drops you onto the gravel of Burnett School road. Burnett School road becomes Shelton road as it snakes Northward. This section is almost all uphill, but the view on either side of the road is a welcome distraction from the effort you’re putting forth to get up the climb.
About 100 yards before you get to Hwy Y, theres’ an area on the right that has been mown down. This is actually a part of Cedar Creek trail, which was put there to keep people from having to ride on Hwy Y. Very thoughtful, in my opinion.
That connector will put you straight across the street from Bob Veach road. Bob Veach Road is a relatively flat piece of gravel with a few rolling hills. It goes almost straight North for several miles.
There are a few nice houses and a couple of families who are really into horses. It’s not uncommon to see people out here just riding around on horseback.
Eventually you’ll see a sign for Clinkenbeard rd. This is where you wanna hang a left.
Clinkenbeard has a few more climbs, but nothing too earth-shattering. Eventually, you intersect Engelwood road, where you turn right and immediately turn left onto Johnson Cemetry rd. At this time you will be promptly attacked by two asshole dogs. Bring your dog spray or a pistol, I know I will next time.
Johnson Cemetery rd runs into Ginn Lane, where you take a left. Ginn Lane has got some nasty climbs and a twisty downhill that’ll streak your chamois if you don’t tap the brakes. This is a fun road.
Barnes Chapel road leads you to the Moon Loop Trailhead, and this is where Monstercross truly begins.
***A little bit of history on the Moon Loop: When the US Forest Service took ownership of this area in the 1930′s, the area was so eroded that it looked like the surface of the Moon. Hence the name “Moon Loop” . ****
Anyhow, Adam and I made our way into the woods and commenced the taint-bashing experience that is riding a cross bike on singletrack. The first 100 yards or so is pretty bumpy, but then it opens up.
The “open-air” type of trail soon ends and you find yourself riding through a very nice piece of our National Forest.
Every good cyclocross course has barriers, and this one will be no exception. There are a number of “barriers” out there, and when this race finally happens you will come to love each and every one of them.
A run-up is a staple item for any decent cross course, so it’s only natural that a Monstercross course has one or two of them. We crossed a dry creek, and on the other side is a steep “run-up” past the old Mill Site.
Towards the end of the trail, Adam smacked a hidden log and went for a little trip over the handlebars. It was awesome, and I made him stay in the thorns until I got this picture.
Truly great race-courses don’t happen on accident. It takes a lot of careful planning and scouting….and getting lost. Somehow, we wound up back at the trailhead, having done the entire loop instead of only the first 3 miles like we’d planned. To say I was frustrated would be a serious understatement.
We were both running pretty short on water at this point, but we got lucky when we found the water spigot in front of Barnes Chapel Church.
By now we were both feeling a bit drained, so we opted to alter the route. There would be no more scouting of virgin trail today, the smart thing to do was take our candy asses back to the gravel and head for Highway J. Along the way, we stopped to take a leak, (read: I had to walk the hill) and Adam found a McDonald’s cup with 2 Monopoly stickers still on it. He was rewarded with a coupon for a free 1/4 pounder with cheese.
After crossing Rutherford Bridge, we took a left and headed up county rd 354. This is a super-shitty piece of road that we will not likely include on raceday. The one highlight to this piece of road is when you get to ride past the home of a very “Shrek-like” guy who REALLY doesn’t want you trespassing on his land. Check out the sign in his front yard.
I’d really like to get a closer shot of that sign, but I’m pretty sure this asshole is just dying for an excuse to shoot someone. Just in case you’re curious, this is how it reads:
Property owner will shoot to kill any man woman or child dispensing weaponry toward this property
Said owner will engage and subdue anyone dispensing weaponry within 150 yards of said property
Unwelcome domestic animals are killed
No aid now available to distressed National Forest visitors
Someone must have really pissed that guy off. The funny thing is that I’m pretty sure he spent more time working on the sign than he did on his house. One whole side of his house doesn’t even have siding on it, just plastic-wrap.
Once we hit Highway J, we rode pavement all the way back to New Bloomfield. I dont know about Adam, but my ass was dragging pretty bad at this point. I must’ve eaten a bad snack or something, because my stomach was all kinds of messed up. When we finally made it t0 a gas station, I got some beef jerky and Coca Cola. I thought the sugar would calm my stomach down…I was wrong. I walked out of the gas station and promptly vomited 2 cans of coke and a bag of beef jerky. And while that was disgusting, it was even more disgusting that Adam took no pictures. I think you know what that means.
After I got all the puking handled, we were back on the road…headed for that glorious plate of shrimp nachos at the end of the rainbow. At the end of the day the cyclometer showed 56 miles, but that doesn’t account for any of the hike-a-biking or tree-hurdling we did out there.
It was a day full of triumph and failure, but the greatest shock didn’t happen for me until we got to Dos Primos. I ordered a pitcher of beer and my beloved shrimp nachos….then couldn’t eat or drink any of it. After barfing jerky and coke, the prospect of a followup performance with shrimp and beer was too much, even for me. Luckily, Adam fell short on the photo-taking once again..thus saving me years of embarrassment.
The next day, I went out there and figured out where we went wrong. We missed the connector, but if the trail were better marked, we wouldn’t have had any problems. I have since “re-marked” the connector, and am looking forward to scouting/pre-riding this course again very soon. When this race-course finally comes to fruition, you better be there and you better pack a lunch.
This week’s Virtuesday ride was one for the ages, but Luke will never know why… because he wasn’t there. Technically he’ll know since I’m posting about it, but I’m really trying to lay on the guilt here, so work with me.
Things started out innocently enough. Robby was kind enough to bring his extra cross bike so Rusty woud have something a little more gravel-suited than his regular steed. And believe it or not, Adam loaned him a pair of bike shoes. Now, don’t let yourself get to thinking Adam is any less of an asshole, because I also brought Rusty a pair of shoes. Clearly, Adam loaned his shoes out first to make himself look like a better friend than me. What a dick.
Robby informd me that Luke would not be joining us this evening, and panic washed over me. We were going to be riding off into the great unknown without our leader, and that was some scary shit. What if someone bonked or didn’t have an extra tube or something? Luke always saves our ass when things go bad. This was adulthood at its most terrifying. All we could do was hope for the best.
Tonight’s ride saw us riding in 60 degree-ish temps on dry gravel and zero wind. Everyone was in good spirits, so the ride got off to a fairly brisk start. There were very few cars, no dogs and it looked like the ride just might be a success. Then it happened.. we stopped to take a leak and noone said, “Quit playin’ with your dinghy.” Luke always says that. It felt really weird to urinate in total silence, especially with the horses staring at us…..judging.
And there you have it. Another Virtuesday ride is in the books and we all made it home alive. Hopefully you and Luke can make it to the next one:)
Thanks to a dying camera battery, Adam and I weren’t able to get a lot of photos from our Monstercross trip on the Cedar Creek Trail last friday. Even so, it was great training for upcoming adventure races, and a great way to add to our ever-growing collection of tick bites. If you want to follow our route, a copy of the Cedar Creek Trail map can be found here.
We began our voyage at the Dry fork campground, proceeding North along a gravel road in 90+degree heat. The riding was difficult at first, but after a few minutes we were in the woods and somewhat shaded. For the first mile or so, the trail was in good shape with a few creek crossings.
After that, it pretty much turned to crap. My only complaint with the Cedar Creek trail system is that horseback riding is allowed there. At the risk of sounding like a crybaby, those horses absolutely ruin a good trail. There are unavoidable patches of mud out there so deep your entire foot goes underwater. I’m not even going to elaborate on the gargantuan-sized piles of horseshit littering the trail.
Eventually, the hike-a-biking got so frequent we decided to hide the bikes along the trail and set out for the rest of our journey on foot. It was easier to take in the scenery while on foot anyway. On this section, there is a steep cliff just to the right of the trail.
Once the trail joins up with the Smith Creek section, there are some quad-busting climbs and very nice scenery. The rock outcroppings lining the trails are a sight to see, but of course you can’t tell by photos. It’s almost sickening when you compare photos to reality.
Along our descent into the creek, Adam noticed a very unfortunate cicada and a very fortunate spider.
At the bottom of the descent, we found ourselves standing in Cedar Creek. We had expected the water to be cool and refreshing..we were wrong. It was warm and disenchantingly murky. Our plan had been to hike North, (in the creek), until we found ourselves at Rutherford Cave. By my estimates we would only be hiking in the creek for 1/2 a mile. We would later learn that I haven’t learned much about navigation.
The water ranged from ankle to chest deep, and we were fighting the current. Forward progress was slow and hard earned. Slugging along, we talked about how much harder this would be if we were 20+ hours into an adventure race. We also discussed the fact that we had left all of our food back at the bikes. Who could guess how many calories we were burning trying to walk in chest-deep water. Too bad Luke wasn’t with us, he would have never let that happen.
I’d say we sloshed along for about an hour before I saw what could only be Smith Creek, and that meant I’d made a pretty serious navigational blunder. Thanks to my mistake, we’d been wading in the creek parallel to a dry trail about 50 yards off the bank. Passing Smith Creek also meant we were close to the cave, and the thought of being in a 60 degree environment was very motivating.
We hid our packs near the cave entrance and went in with helmets and headlamps. The cave was cold indeed, and the water running past our feet was absolutely frigid. About 30 yards into the cave there’s a place where you can go either left or right, but you eventually end up in the same spot. The only difference is that if you go left, you have to walk in ice-cold water up to your thighs. Needless to say, I watched Adam go left as I went right. It was very entertaining.
It would have been fun to climb completely out of the cave, but it looked pretty dangerous and we knew nobody had a clue where we were. Dying in a cave isn’t really something either of us wanted to do, so we turned around and headed back out.
I think it’s worth mentioning that the above photo was taken in complete darkness. I guess this is one scenario where a camera captures better recorded detail than the human eye.
After making our way out of the cave, we both started to really feel like crap. We could only surmise it was from all of the temperature changes we had experienced. Either way, we decided to float around in the creek to relax before we left. As luck would have it, we encountered a couple of guys toting a cooler full of ice-cold beer. Talk about a lifesaver, that was the best can of Stag I’ve ever had. It was also the FIRST can of Stag Adam had ever enjoyed. I guess dreams really can come true on these little adventures.
It was a long hike back to the bikes, but we both got our second wind when the sun started to set. A large amount of horse destruction lead to and even larger amount of profanity, but we made good time. After one epic crash, and quite possibly the biggest bruise I’ve had in my adult life, we finally made it back to gravel roads and then to the Dry Fork Campground.
We’ll be doing this trip again quite soon. In fact, I plan on doing something very similar to this on wednesday or thursday this week if anyone is interested.
The trail was mushy from all the rain, but it’s not like you have to worry about tearing up the Katy Trail. We were just excited to be outside doing something, and it seemed like we had only just begun when we rolled into Tebbetts.
I’ve ridden past this shelter several times, but never checked it out. Adam and I did a little investigating and found out that it’s open to anyone for only $5 per night. There are bunkbeds inside, along with a bathroom and refrigerator. Very cool stuff, and it’s good to know places like this still exist and aren’t completely vandalized.
Right across the street from the shelter is this fine establishment:
Well, I guess if I can’t bring my own soda, beer or “whisky” in the store, I’ll just go somewhere else. Seriously tho, if you were staying in the shelter, this would be a perfect place to grab some hot-dogs or something for the bbq grill. Hopefully, they’ll be open next time we roll through.
Back on the bikes and and moving westward, Mokane was our next stop. Anytime we’re in Mokane, it’s a rule that we have to stop at this place and get a sandwich. It’s just one of those cool little stores that’s been around for a long time, and has never been re-furnished.. When you walk inside, you get a sense of history. Order a roast-beef sammitch with pepperjack on wheat. (No onions) It’s pure awesome.
Everyone in the store seemed quite surprised we hadn’t been injured in “the hail-storm that came through town 5 minutes ago.” We would’ve hung out longer to talk about the weather, but I had just bombed the restroom and we needed to get out of there fast.
Back on the bikes, the humidity was really starting to kick some ass. We took a few bridge photos, but the lens was foggy.
I’ve never been on the Katy after or during a hard-rain before, so I’d never gotten to see how much runoff passes along and/or underneath the trail. At one of the bridges, we stopped to get a few shots of the fast-moving water. It was very cool.
This shot was from the same spot, just looking the other way.
I believe the next town we rolled through was Portland. I just barely missed getting the “Administration photo”, but you can see how happy Adam is after re-applying Chamois Butter. That stuff really does work wonders.
The weather was deteriorating rapidly, as is evident from this photo. This was taken in nearly the exact same spot 5 minutes later.
I believe we’ve mentioned the “Really Big Rock’ on the blog before, but Adam had never seen it. There was a goose nesting on top of it, which was amusing.
By now, we were both pretty hungry. Rhineland was only a few miles away, so I wasn’t too worried about it…til Adam got a flat. It was one of those “ghost-flats” that you patch 3-4 more times until it finally holds air. Very frustrating. I mean, what kind of asshole gets a flat tire during a training ride anyway?
After we got the flat tire squared away, we made a quick telephone call to the microbrewery in Augusta to check on their hours. They were open til 9, so if we had any chance of getting there before they closed, we were going to have to quit dicking around. We decided to ramp up the pace, pushing past Rhineland to fuel up in Hermann instead.
Then I bonked and pretty much ruined everything. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention to my calorie intake and I ran out of gas. In my defense, I was pulling a bob-trailer on the wet Katy Trail..so let’s try to keep the ribbing to a minimum.
The Hermann gas station made money that day. I did my best to breathe while eating 3 blueberry donuts, 2 cinnamon-sugar pop tarts, a Jack link’s jerky stick, Monster drink and a bag of cheddar pretzel Combos. Oh, the glory.
Back to the trail we rode, and it didn’t take long to find more shitty weather and more cool stuff to take pictures of:
I bet I’ve been on the Katy trail a hundred times and had no idea that it was home to so many beautiful waterfalls:
The man-train was back up to speed now, but it was clear we’d be cutting this ride short if we wanted to play it safe. The thunder and lightning wasn’t really on top of us, but it would be soon and the rain was really starting to come down. As luck would have it, we saw a small shelter next to the road, and decided to hide underneath for a bit.
The rain started to die down a bit, so we loaded up and hit the trail once more. As we crossed through a small town called Treloar, we could see a small building with a neon sign in the window. Beer and hot-wings were only a short distance away, but we decided to push through to the next town. It would only be a few more miles and we figured we could outrun the storm.
I’d say we were about a 1,000 yards past Treloar when a bolt of lightning struck in the field right in front of us. That was all the convincing we needed to turn our asses around and go back to Treloar. There was a bar called Murph’s Place, or something like that. The menu revealed $1.50 draught beers, hot wings, cheeseburgers and more. It was time to get down to business.
After inhaling several beers, we took turns changing into dry clothes and ordered some food. The final pic of the evening was just as the sun was starting to set and ANOTHER storm was moving in:
I think we met every person in Treloar that night, and they were all very cool people. The cheeseburgers in that place were phenomenal, and the hotwings were pretty badass as well. Adam couldn’t finish his cheeseburger, so he was once again fired from the team. Leave no trace, Adam. Leave no trace. Adam would later violate the no-trace ethic once more, but that’s later in the story.
The fine folks of Treloar spent the evening buying us shots, draught beer and teaching us how to find morel mushrooms. There are some really nice people in that town. I don’t know how late it was when we finally left there, but I know we were both shit-hammered. We bade farewell to our new friends and got back on the trail. We found a suitable place to make camp and set-up the hammocks for the evening.
I know I slept well, but judging from the pile of vomit on the ground the next morning, I’d say Adam had a rough night.
The only hitch we ran into during the night was that we had unknowingly camped reeeally close to the highway. We were basically forced to wake up early the next morning when people were roaring by on their way to work. At least we didn’t get pelted with empty beer-bottles.
And so it was with wet clothes and pounding headaches that we re-mounted our trusty steeds and pedaled about 16 miles back to Hermann. I think we were both ready to be done with riding in the rain on a mushy Katy-trail, and we were definitely ready for some dry clothes. The miles ticked by slowly, and we eventually cruised into Hermann. from there, we made a bee-line for “Wings-a-Blazin” for some more hotwings and microbrewed beer. It was the perfect finale for a really great ride.
We had an epic weekend and we’ll be doing it again, (weather permitting), on the weekend of May 21st. Make plans to be there so we don’t have to drink alone with this guy again.