The Quaker Express

The Quaker Express

Workout Date:

04/04/2020

QIC:

Quaker

PAX:

Spork, Billboard, Skimmer, Backdraft, Quaker (QIC)

The Thang:

 

AO: HulkyGears

Conditions: 51 degrees, cool

 

YHC got a text the night before that Spork & Skimmer were planning a ride from the Hulk starting at 6:30 and asked if I would be interested. At first I was hesitant and wanted to follow the federal guidelines for social distances but after further reflection, YHC decided to HC. After a few more minutes of contemplation, YHC asked Spork if he would like YHC to lead it. YHC figured that I could take them on a journey through new territory (some on road, some off-road and some places that are in between!!). Spork enthusiastically accepted YHC’s offer!

So YHC loaded up the trusty old (& I do mean old) Rock Hopper, helmet, and headlamp into the truck the night before so as to not wake the family in the morning. YHC had his planned route all mapped out in his head.  Just before bedtime, YHC received a text from Spork stating that Billboard (‘The Godfather of Gears’) and Backdraft (the ‘True Local’) would be joining our adventure! The pressure was on. YHC’s sleep was fretful and all night long I tossed and turned. Would my route live up to rides led by Skimmer & Billboard.  Would there be enough variety: enough dirt, enough puddles, & enough open highway? Could YHC keep the pace up and stay in front of this seasoned bike crew? The hours dragged by and the questions continued to swirl. It felt as if YHC final dosed off but no sooner did the alarm go off and it was time to go!

YHC arrived at the Hulk early to find Billboard prepin’ for the ride and pumping some extra air into each tire in anticipation of another episode of HulkyGears©! After getting his fill, Billboard and YHC reminisced about the Good Ol’ Days and how everything has changed since Covid19 reared its ugly presence. As we talked, Skimmer and Backdrafted came rollin’ in and unloaded their respective rides. But where was Spork? Wasn’t he the HIM who organized this shin-dig??

Billboard checked his Comlink and confirmed that Spork was running 10 minutes late. . . what to do, what to do?

Let’s do some warm-up miles down Frontage Rd past the Battery and onto the dirt road that parallels Route 31. Continue on the dirt service road to the back entrance of Grande Dunes. At this point we turned around and headed back towards the Hulk to pick up our tardy PAX. As we met Spork, Backdraft needed a short pit stop to fiddle with his seat that would not stay in the locked position.

When we official got started, after picking up Spork and fixing Backdraft’s seat, our 10 minute delay in the Gloom turned into 30 minutes and a beautiful sunrise. YHC initial route was scratched and a quick modification put us on a route that Spork dubbed the “Quaker Express”. This is how it happened.

We took the service road straight through the Hulk. At the far end we all pedaled up on over the berm; entering The Bluffs to connect with Boat Landing Road. We traveled east and at the Community Center got on the Avenue of the Palms and rode south until the 1st round-about. We then followed Royal Bluffs Drive to the front gate. Somewhere along this route Vitamin D spotted PAX and gave us a shot out via Twitter. As we drove through The Bluffs, Skimmer reminisced about trips he took to Costa Rica in his youth and riding Enduro Bikes on and off road through the jungle. We may not have been on motorcycles riding through the jungle but  I’m sure Skimmer and the others (all a bit older now) were feeling the same exhilaration this a.m.

Through The Bluff’s Front Gate, we continued to travel a short distance south on River Oaks Drive crossing the Black Creek. On the other side of the Black Creek, we turned east once more along a dirt service road that runs between The Bluffs and Waterway Palms.  As the Black Creek empties into the Intracoastal Waterway, we turned right onto another dirt path that ran high above, but parallel to the Waterway on our left. On our right at least 25 feet down were huge dry holding lakes (Skimmer had a name for them that I have forgot) that are used to collect debris and water during extreme weather events such as hurricanes.  This path eventually brought us out into Waterway Palms just past Handy’s Homestead and onto W. Palms Drive. We stayed on W. Palms Drive as we cruised through the neighborhood ending up at the boat launch on the south end of Waterway Palms.

At the boat ramp, we once again went off road, following a cart path to the next community, Carolina Waterways Plantation. Once in the community, we rode along Waterton Avenue until we reached the community center parking lot. Through the parking lot we connected with Shipmaster Avenue and headed north until it intersected with Biltmore Drive.  Biltmore Drive took us west until we intersected with River Oaks Drive once more.

At the light, we crossed on to Augusta Plantation Drive heading west towards River Oaks Elementary School.  Just before the school entrance, we turned left onto Brentford Place as we entered the community of Berkshire Forest, home of the Hamburglar! We remained on Brentford Place through the entire community then turned left on Baltimore Drive past the Rec Center.  Here we turned left on a gated service road out of Berkshire for a scenic trek along-side Emerald Lake. This paved service road eventually ends and turns into a grassy/dirt path with mud puddles for the biking enthusiast. This dirt path eventually intersects a dirt road that runs along railroad tracks and under Route 31. After going under the Route 31 overpass, we came to the back of Plantation Lakes.

We took Atalay Place Drive until it intersected Woodburn Drive. It was at this point that we realized we lost Billboard somewhere along the railroad tracts. We doubled back and picked up the six. At this point YHC gave the PAX the option of turning around to double back the way we came or continue forward through the neighborhood.

By unanimous consent we stayed in Plantation Lakes and followed Woodburn to Oxbow Drive. We turned left onto Oxbow and followed it past One Calls house, then took a right onto Shoreward Drive. Somewhere along Shoreward YHC ended up as the six. The Ol’ Rock Hopper just couldn’t keep up with the new technology the other PAX were riding (or was it just my legs couldn’t keep up?). YHC tried to speed up and catch the leaders (Billboard & Skimmer) because I wanted to turn on Juxa Drive and go pass the PL. Clubhouse.

YHC kept pedaling faster and yelling louder, “Turn right, turn right!!” As Billboard and Skimmer passed the turn, they finally heard my calls! Skimmer was first to react, unfortunately he was just ahead of Billboard. As Billboard tried to make the turn, he caught the back edge of Skimmer’s rear tire and he went DOWN. From YHC’s vantage point it looked like a soft slide, however, Billboard stated he went down hard. Upon further inspection and after picking up headlamps, batteries, and audio equipment that was tossed about, we all took note of the ¾ inch indentation in the back of Billboard’s helmet. But for the cushion of his helmet, this fall could have been much worse! Moral of the story . . . always wear a helmet! Billboard then took a minute or two to gather himself and off we went up Juxa Drive.

We took Juxa for the next mile to the end of Plantation Lakes. At this point we went through another ‘back’ gate and took a dirt road which eventually became a paved road and passed by Ten Oaks Middle School until it intersected with Carolina Forest Blvd. At the stop light we crossed CF Blvd and onto the new road being constructed. We took this new road which was partly paved and partly gravel for the next few miles or so to the intersection of CF Blvd and River Oaks Drive.

Taking a right on River Oaks Drive we headed south, under Route 31, then left onto Frontage Road 2B. Frontage Road took us back to the Hulk!!

18+ miles completed!

Spork prayed us out.

Moleskin: Another great ride. These PAX bring a lot of passion on and off the trails. It was truly a pleasure to lead. Always wear safety equipment and remember Rule 31, “Safety First”

 

Aye!

Quaker

 

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