So last night at dinner, about half of the guys expressed interest in getting over to Petit Jean somewhat early in the morning so that they could get home in time for various reasons. The other half of us wanted to sleep in and let the temperatures get out of the 30s before we got started with our ride.
This morning (after a short hike), we started looking at how long it would take to drive to Petit Jean State Park, and, after realizing that it was nearly a 2 hour drive, decided that we’d just do some more riding around Magazine. At first we talked about an out & back to Paris, but after some searching on Google Maps, came up with a route that had us descending to Havana and circling the side of the mountain opposite of where we’d gone the day before and ending up at the bottom near Cove Lake. We were also well aware that our route could contain some gravel roads, but most of us felt pretty adventurous.
I was secretly hoping for gravel… and lots of it. I probably wasn’t the only one.
We headed out a little after 10:00. After a chilly descent, we hung a left before reaching Hwy 10 in Havana. My wishes came true, because not more than 1/2 a mile after leaving the main road, the pavement ended. Of course, within the next 1/2 mile, two people had flat tires. Jared had flat #1 (of an eventual 3), and Tim Moore had a torn sidewall. He decided that it was too risky to continue, booted the tire, and headed back accompanied by Steve Pavlovic, who was wary of taking the nicer of his bikes into such territory.
The six of us that remained (Ryan, Jared, Susan, Todd, Frogge, and myself) continued on. We had more fun than I think ANY of us have ever had on two wheels- the road climbed, descended, and even crossed a few small streams (Todd rode across while the rest of us dismounted and hopped rocks). Of course, there were several more flat tires, but hey, we were asking for it, right?!
Because we were starting to run short on supplies (mainly rubber and CO2), we decided to cut the ride a little short when we reached a fork in the road that would take us back toÃ‚ the main road. It was fun nonetheless. We rode about 16 miles until we reached the main road for a windy climb back up the Paris side of the mountain. Next time, we’ll come more prepared with tougher tires, a few more tubes, and a frame pump or two…
Here’s Ryan’s GPS tracing of the route: