Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mountain Fork Bridge Adventure Ride


We set out in search of iron truss bridges, a tunnel under RR tracks, an old fire tower and the ultimate cheeseburger. A quick stop for gas and a PayDay (Darel calls them the original PowerBar) and we were gone. It was a brisk 58 degrees with fall in the air, it even smelled different being out in it. 
We ride 12 miles when Greg pulls up next to me at a stop sign and says "I'm hungry". Holy cow, are you kidding me? We've just got started!  We stop at a well known hole in the wall, down the road, for a burger and get back out on the road. I have to admit, I was more hungry than I realized by the time we ate. Good, now that lunch is out of the way, that will free up the rest of the day to ride. 
We head south and finally climb up on top of Talimena Drive. Talimena Drive is 55 miles of sheer excitement on a bike with overlooks to stop and enjoy the view along the way. We don't have time for that today, besides, we've both been on it numerous times. We turn off of Talimena Drive onto PCR 100 and start our descent down the mountain. With all of the floods this year, the road was in treacherous condition. Wash outs left harsh square edged deep cuts across the road and the dirt had been washed away leaving sharp jagged rocks exposed just waiting to puncture a tire if you hit them wrong. I have rode miles of trail that was not as rough as this dirt road. We finally make it through the 11 miles down to Highway 8. Run up the highway for 1.5 miles then turn onto more county dirt roads. The condition was much better than the last dirt road we were on.  We rode miles and miles of dirt road, taking in the beauty of the country, right up against the mountains before finding the Mountain Fork Bridge. Man, she was a beauty too ...110 years old! Greg pulls his helmet off and says, "you drag me out in the middle of (censored) nowhere ... for this?? I replied, no, I am looking for a tunnel under the RR tracks ... this is just on the way. He looks at me and says "oh ... cool". 





We spent quite a while there admiring and photographing the bridge and enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of the river and its surroundings. Next we ride across the bridge and I stop to get a couple of photos. It was cool looking through the decking to see the river below. Next up we stop at the Two Mile Creek bridge built in 1920. From there we ride back out to asphalt and ride Highway 71 for four miles before catching another county road. I knew we must be getting close to the tunnel, I have been following the train tracks next to the highway and they bent off just before we turned onto the dirt road. After losing the tracks altogether, we were twisting and turning going through the country side and I was about ready to say, lets turn around ... we make one more hard bend and there is the tunnel. We rode through it, took some pictures, played with a friendly dog that found us then started back towards the house. 





We stopped by the Rich Mountain Fire Tower ... a lot of history with that little place on top of the mountain. On the way back, Greg pulls up and says (no ... he doesn't say I'm hungry again. You're getting ahead of me here!), "I'm low on gas, I have 31 miles to empty". I look at my mileage and I'm about 29 miles from hitting reserve myself. We drop back down to Highway 59 and run into a little town for gas, I had just hit reserve and Greg had 6 miles to empty. Nice ride today, 255 miles, saw some cool stuff, made a new friend and in general had the time of our life today. I love fall days.

255 miles exceeds my mileage (a lot) that I normally try to stick to but I have to say I am feeling great for the day after.  My RA has been well behaved and didn't even complain too much throuhout the longer ride yesterday.  I hope everyone feels up to getting out and enjoying the fall weather this year.

11 comments:

mary said...

Really nice, felt like I was along for the ride.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great ride on a day where most everyone else back at work. I was on Talimena Drive a couple of years ago while on vacation. It is a good ride. Love the old bridge pictures and the tunnel is cool. Keep on riding!

Jim

Terry said...

Mary, it was a great day! Glad you felt you were along for the ride.

Jim, I work a weird schedule where I have every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and every other Saturday off. But yes, most normal people are at work while I was having fun this week. Glad to hear you made it out my way and enjoyed Talimena drive while here. I have a thing for old iron bridges. We have a ride planned next month that will be 2 or 3 days. Hope you check back for the ride report on that one.

Lana said...

I am getting jealous of your adventures. I need to get me a bike. I have definitely thought about but I just don’t see myself on one. :-) Fall is my favorite season and I really enjoy the sights but it gets cooler up here earlier than it does for you and my RA is already started to act up. It was 44 degrees this morning and my joints were not having it. I am glad that you are out there enjoying fall. I am going to try to enjoy the outdoors this weekend, hopefully my joints cooperate.

Terry said...

Lana, not trying to make anyone jealous. :) You need a bike! I love fall weather but truthfully our fall doesn't really hit til October. It's back up in the low 90's again today. It does get down to 60 at night though and it feels so good riding home from work at 7am. I hope you can get outside and enjoy the weekend!

Anonymous said...

Nice looking ride with the old bridges. I ride but not with RA, 255 miles is respectable mileage for someone healthy. Best of luck.

Randy

Terry said...

Thanks Randy, on a good day I can ride over 200 miles with limited pain. Most days I try to hold it to around 150. It's a challenge trying to ride with RA but I'd go crazy if I couldn't ride.

Shauna said...

Terry,
I enjoyed my ride just now! :). Thank you for taking me along...your pictures are lovely and the scenery is amazing. You can't imagine how much I'd love to be out in that beauty...solitude, peace, tranquility...and I wouldn't mind a greasy burger about now from a hole in the wall. You have a way of writing that gives the feeling of being right there with you. Good for you Terry, getting past your pain to enjoy what you love the most. Life is definitely too short to do anything else.

Stay safe out there & Gentle hugs.....

Terry said...

Thank you Shauna, how have you been doing? I wish everyone could experience the thrill we get from adventure riding. I think you would love it, even the occasional rattlesnake or bear we see! And we always find a cafe that serves up some good food (not sure if the food is that good or if we're so hungry that anything tastes good). You're right about life is too short to do anything else. Hope you can get out and enjoy the fall weather!

Stephen in Alabama said...

Really enjoyed the description of this ride! As I think someone had described before, it helped paint a nice picture of what this adventure could have been like. Albeit sitting at the computer is a little less exciting than feeling the real thrill out on the road.

Terry said...

Thank you Stephen! You're right about that, reading about it on the computer isn't nearly as fun as living it. We have a good long ride in 2 weeks, hope you will drop back by.