Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riding a Grassy Trail to the Lake

Beautiful weather today for riding, temps in the low 50s and sunny. A fitting end to a short spell of good riding weather after the last snow storm. We've got another cold front moving in the next four days and I fear the snow will remain longer than usual due to the expected highs to be only in the upper teens!

I went out after lunch on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer and into a nearby housing development where the streets are in but no houses yet. I practiced for about 30 minutes doing U-Turns and Figure 8 Turns on my R80. Getting a feel for how she feels while leaned over at slow speed. Finally got to the point where I could do both left and right hand U-turns with very little trouble, not great, but that will come with practice.

I then rode down Smoky Hill Road and kept going straight where I usually turn right on Powhaton Road. The pavement ends onto a graveled road bordering a metal fence line for the development being built to the South.

I spied a set of faint wheel marks heading off the gravel road and onto the prairie to the North. Needless to say, that's where Brigitta went. The objective? To get as close to the man-made lake nearby.

The terrain was packed dirt with prairie grass on the sides and down the middle between the tire tracks. I figure it's construction workers and their trucks who've worn these tracks onto the undeveloped prairie. Someday, I am sure, this dirt trail I rode will be a paved entryway into yet another housing development.

The going was pretty easy, the only parts being iffy was low points in the terrain where the melting snow had created muddy spots. When there was no easy way to dodge the mud, I put out my feet and using the as outriggers negotiated the slippery muddy spots.

There were a couple of moments when I felt the back wheel start to slide out on me, most of the time to the right by the way. A quick dab of the foot and some rolling off of the throttle would steady things and get me past the mud. Only one instance where I had to put the right foot down hard to keep from falling! Interesting.

The objective as seen from just past the first hill

A Familiar Landmark to the NW

You can see this prairie trail is not far from civilization

There's the lake, further on was long stretches of mud so I turned around at this point

The pictures above were taken in different spots as I wandered about wherever the existing trails took me. One set of trails kept getting muddier and muddier while developing a left-downward slant. I turned back on that one, after a careful turn around.

I retraced my steps along the grassy trails, somehow managed to hit more muddy spots on the return trip. My boots reach the ground easier when on Brigitta, that and the fact she's almost 200 pounds lighter than Maria kept both of us from crashing when slipping on mud. Nice ride. I can imagine the fun experienced by guys on dirt bikes who would have been able to go faster than the 10mph I did. Never got out of first gear!

Got back on pavement with no incident, got home and hosed off the mud from Brigitta. She's dry and clean, now to see how much snow we get tomorrow.

Update: Turns out, the man made lake is actually the Aurora Reservoir.

1 comment:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

Once again. some very interesting pictures. I realized the lake was man-made, and somewhat out of place in the middle of the plains. But it will be a slightly sadder place surrounded by houses.

Fondest regards.
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads
West Chester, Pa