Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LOST! - The Men, not the TV Show

It was a GREAT weekend of mountain biking, no matter how you look at it. Even after all was said and done, "the lost" Craig and I agreed that it was better that taking the highway back. I mean really, who mountain bikes on the highway when there are perfectly good gravel/mud roads to go on?

Let's back up and start from the beginning shall we? Craig D., Craig T., Joe P., and I all met and drove over to Maskell, NE where we met up with Kary G. from the Yankton club. A few of us had ridden the back roads to some extent around there, but not towards the river and we had been told that was a great ride.

Off we went south out of Maskell and a little over a mile later was our first "minimum maintenance road" of the day. It's a clay/dirt mixture that gets some pretty gaping cracks in it when it rains, like it has lately. For the most part everybody traversed the road well and had a good time. We hooked back up to the gravel that we normally would go back to Obert on, but went south towards the river instead of back to Obert. As we were biking along and following the river, I had noticed about how far we had gone and mentioned that I bet we could end up in Wynot, NE. Another minimum maintenance road later that basically popped out right on somebody's farm and I could see Wynot actually slightly southeast of us. We rode on into town and enjoyed a barley pop and a bag of chips before mounting up on the way home.

Kary G., Craig D., and Joe P. WUSSED OUT and took Hwy 12 back to Maskell to their vehicles while Craig T. and I decided to try to backtrack the way we had just come. Really, who takes paved roads on a mountain bike where there are perfectly good gravel/dirt roads to be traversed? One catch, it was starting to rain. Not hard and it was actually not bad to ride in at all. Even the first dirt/clay road wasn't too bad to maneuver through although it is a pretty good climb and descent. We made our way back along the river and as we were turning back towards Maskell there was more and more lightening and the rain started coming down heavier.

I was looking for the "Y" in the road that we needed to turn on and I'm not sure if it was the rain or just the fact I thought it looked familiar, but we turned about 2 miles short of where we should have. The road started out fine, but then it started looking more and more like a long field approach. I told Craig that I thought we made a wrong turn, but he was actually quite reassuring that we were going right. That lasted about another mile when the semi-gravel turned into pure dirt, which now had turned to pure mud. It was only about 10 pedal strokes before the breaks were caked with mud and the wheels were locking up. We had to ride on the edge of the grass to keep the wheels clean. In about a 1/2 mile we went south between two corn fields hoping to find a road that led back over the bluff. No such luck. We started going back east again and I noticed that I was having trouble steering. I thought it was due to the mud. No such luck. TWO flat tires. It was about this same time that I noticed something that made me hopeful: I could see the bridge going back to South Dakota. It was probably 1.5-2 miles away. PROBLEM: There was a couple more fields between us and that bridge and no more roads, just muddy fields. It wasn't going to happen. We were going to have to back track.

Strangely enough, as we were back tracking out of our situation, we ran into a pickup. A young guy and two girls were waiting for the guys buddy who was "checking a tree stand". They didn't offer to help but did tell us the best way out. I didn't want to back track as far as they were explaining so Craig and I hugged the fence line of a cornfield for probably a half mile and we got back on the initial gravel road that had taken us astray. As we were making our way out the pickup went by and offered us a ride into town, which was lucky for us as it was already about 6:00 and we were a couple hours from being finished. It was getting cold, we were tired, and getting hungry.

As we pulled into Maskell, I noticed that Craig D. was behind us in a pickup. It seems that he was sent on behalf of our wives to try to hunt us down as Craig T's wife was very worried. So much so that she had called the Vermillion police who in turned called the Dixon Co. (NE) Sheriff to look for us. This isn't the first time Craig T has been lost you see. The first time included a search and rescue mission team in the Black Hills. SO...I suppose it's acceptable for Craig's wife to be a little worried. Mine, of course, just laughed at me.

We drove back into town, grabbed my camera and headed to the car wash to clean off the bikes. Even after a good power washing, I had to clean out the inside of the tires thoroughly before replacing tubes. It was an absolute mess.

It may have been an absolutely crappy situation, but Craig and I made the best of it. After all, what is biking without biking stories to tell? Do those who rode the highway home have these stories? I THINK NOT!

Here are a couple of pictures before the washing of the bikes with the high pressure hose.

This is the best reproduction of the trip I can make from memory. Of ALL the trips to forget my Garmin on, I really wish I had it for this one! Somewhere straight south of Obert between the river to the east is where we were. I really can't reproduce it on here, but I bet I can take you there on bike. Just tell me when you want to go. I'll make sure it's raining and cold.

1 comment:

thE_kErnEl said...

i've some dead relatives in Maskell