DOODE! I’m still physiologically digesting this weekend. It. Was. Amazing!! Although I would have loved other folks to participate; getting out by myself in nature on a camp overnight like this is something I will do more often. It’s freeing on all levels.
I wouldn’t have picked this weekend for a bike overnight if it wasn’t for Swift Industries, their worldwide coordination, and support with gear/info sharing. I’ve only rode out in William B. Bankhead National Forest twice before this “event”. I have a new found love of the area and the gravel road riding/camping environments it offers. Look forward to more rides this fall out in similar areas.
One thing that was mind blowingly sad is the amount of trash at prime locations in the Forest. How people can choose to trash such beautiful places makes no damn sense to me. On my list of things to do is contact the US Forest Service and coordinating a site clean-up. It is needed.
The final destination was Kinlock Falls. I’d never been there but figured what better place to go after a solid ride?! The water was cold and refreshing. Perfect after a fun hot ride. Now… when I say hot it really wasn’t bad at all. I started at 5 in the afternoon. Most of the route is covered in shade and I knew that whatever amount of heat I was about to endure would immediately be diminished by the cooling waters of Kinlock Falls. I was absolutely correct! Got to Kinlock, found a beautifully perfect rock overlook, set up the tent and jumped in!
The next morning I got up, made coffee, took a deep breath, and started the day. To get down to the rock over look I had to hikeabike down a pretty steep rooted section. It was sketchy going down and took a He-Man effort to get back up. Nevertheless, I grunted up the trail and away I went!
The morning was WAY hotter than the evening. By 7 it was not all that pleasant. Really it wasn’t bad until I stopped for a breather and checked the map. Instant downpour of sweat. This wouldn’t be that bad but all I kept thinking was the limited water supply I brought with me.
In my lack of route knowledge I ended up taking a wrong turn on the way back out of the Forest. It ended up being a good detour; took me to some solid paved country roads where I found Hand’s Grocery. This place is legit! I originally stopped because I spotted some shade. Hand’s looked abandoned. I stop, look at the map, and hear voices inside the grocery. I look in the window and see some fresh goods to purchase. Walk up to the door, turn the handle, and am greeted by an old man sitting behind a dilapidated counter with a very small older television showing the news. It feels hotter in the “grocery” than it does out in the shade. Stale air with flies freely flying around the older gentleman was the scene. I politely ask if he had water on tap. “There’s water from the sink over yonder”. I walk to the back to find an old woman washing dishes. She moves aside to let me fill my bidon. As I’m walking back to the front of the store I spot a small glass bottle of cold Coca-Cola. Bring it to the counter, “That’ll be a dollar”, hand the man a $5 and he pulls out a wod of cash from his pocket, licking his finger and counting out $4. Normally this wouldn’t be a strange thing, but the entire vibe was so amazing that I noticed everything that was going on. One of the coolest experiences of the trip. I love diving into other cultures and experiencing something very different from my day to day life.
BIG thank you to Swift Industries for hosting a worldwide bike and camp event! Without their invite, gear, and cycling comRADery, this weekend wouldn’t have happened. Cheers to that and cheers to rad folks everywhere!
RIDE x CREATE