It was a cloudy and grey morning threatening rain... and I couldn't wait to get on the road.
Since moving to Pensacola I have been to the beach almost every single day, but have yet to really find anything shall we say 'motivating' in terms of areas to ride. I have heard about Blackwater River State Park quite a bit, however, so I thought I'd give it a shot and head out there on the last day of my two-week vacation from work.
Rain started falling on the uneventful ride there. I decided to push on and hope for the best.
The famed Blackwater River State Park. The park itself charges $4 for entrance, but my trusty map showed plenty of nice windy roads all throughout the area, so I decided to wander around a bit and look for some 'adventure.'
It didn't take long before I was winding my way through beautiful forest-covered roads and enjoying the scenery. And it wasn't long after that that I decided to venture off the beaten trail a bit further.
Most of the trails were decent hard pack dirt. The rain had already stopped (thankfully) so I was left to navigate my way through this beautiful area one trail at a time.
Some of the roads were absolutely beautiful red. For a while I pretended I was in Africa...
A few miles later the road started to get a little looser on the edges. I'm not particularly fond of walking through loose sand, let alone riding a 550lb bike through it. Pretty soon I found myself looking for alternative routes and wondering if I stopped would I be able to turn around...
And then this happened.
The road just sort of collapsed underneath me and I sank into foot-deep sand.
It was so thick I simply stepped off the bike and it stood up without any assistance.
I tried pushing it forward and backward; I tried rocking it; I tried walking it under power... nothing. I knew that if I bothered trying to give it any more gas the back tire would just bury itself deeper, so after a few minutes of brainstorming I figured the only thing I could do was to push the bike onto its side and drag the rear end around 180 until the bike was pointing back in the direction I had come.
I have the SW-MOTECH rack, which has nice handles which made it a bit easier... but only a bit.
The hardest part was getting the bike out of this two-foot hole it had created. I would plant my feet, grip the bike tightly, pull, slip on my butt, stand back up, and repeat.
But with some diligence and sweat I managed to get her turned around.
There was a sort of ditch along this side of the road that had channeled water, so I took a gamble and navigated toward it. I figured I already knew what the middle of the road was made of, and I really didn't want to wrestle this beast through half a mile of soft sand. I started off by walking it using clutch control in second gear. That was just enough to give me traction but not too much to start throwing sand and burying the rear end again.
After a few tense moments I was in the ditch and moving along nicely. I climbed back on the bike and crossed my fingers that I'd be able to make it back to where the trail descended into this soupy mess.
As I moseyed on down a few more trails, pretending like the last 40 minutes had been just a bad dream, I reflected on the irony that just this morning I had complained about the gas mileage I get with these Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. I can only imagine what the trails would have been like with touring tires...
I wandered around for about an hour more, stopping now and then to make sure that everything was still on my bike where I had left it this morning, nothing was leaking, etc.
And to snap a few more sexy pictures of my bike, of course.
I eventually found my way out of this beautiful forest and back onto the tarmac as I headed for home. My lust for adventure had been sufficiently satisfied, and I got a decent workout as an added bonus!
The weather never cleared, and the ride home looked much like it had on the way in, but for my first trip through this region, I had a blast.