Monday, January 09, 2006

Gumbo George

When I lived in central and eastern Montana we had a tire globbing mud termed "gumbo" for it's nature of turning any tire into a growing rotational mass of mud-yuk. The stuff would turn any 4-wheeldrive into a useless pile of metal with a motor that couldn't go anywhere. Walking in gumbo had the same effect - it would glob on until you had so much mud-yuk on the shoe that you couldn't lift it or you would walk right out of your shoe. When it dried it was like someone glued it onto your vehicle. I hated the stuff and I thought I was forever free of it after moving here to the reaches of hell in SE Washington.

Well some time ago I found that there were long patches of gumbo-like mud-yuk up on the George Creek Grade and Meyers Ridge Road. On that fateful day of discovery after spending more time cleaning the stuff off my bike than riding I decided I would never do this route again when it was wet.

So yesterday, Jan 8th, I decided to try George Creek so I could do a loop over Meyers Ridge and Weissenfels Ridge for a 60ish mile ride on another nice day (a day predicted to be raining - hah!). The road was a slight bit damp so I was hoping I could get through without hitting any of George's gumbo. Almost to the top of the grade I ran into a small patch of it though. My tires were instantly slick with half-inch of mud-yuk on them and that was enough for me to stop and decide on an alternate ride. The view from near the top was rather nice -
After an anti-bonking snack I headed down and turned up Cloverland Grade for a few miles of (yawn) pavement riding before hitting some more dirt on a road called Back Road (ingenious name as usual). This road got me off the pave and eventually onto Campbell Grade. Campbell Grade is a favorite to climb, but I was going down this time - it's a 1000 foot drop in 1-mile so it's a steep little hill to say the least. Here's a nice view from the top of Campbell grade of Lick Creek (center), Asotin Creek (left) and S. Fork Asotin Creek (left and just below) - The single track in Asotin Creek canyon was tempting for me to go and check out, but it was still 20+ miles home and getting late so home it was. The ride today was 5o miles and I took my sweet time doing it in 3 hr 30 min.

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