Road kill count: 1 lonely squirrel
We arrived at Toledo Bend tonight! The trip was exhausting, but so worth it!
We left Fullerton campgrounds at around 8am, we heard the ride to Toledo Bend was very hilly, so we wanted to give ourselves a lot of time to get here. We had no idea just how hilly it was! We were in for more surprises and road blocks on this ride. "Road blocks" was not a metaphor by the way, there were actual road blocks!
The ride started out in the Kisihatchee National Forest near Fort Polk. We immediately encountered navigation problems, our directions were correct, but there were no road signs! The only reason we could come up with was that the Army must have removed them for training the troops or something. We had to stop at every intersection for both regular roads and dirt roads as well, because we passed a turn assuming that the map didn't account dirt roads.
We pedaled through a large maze of hills and forest for hours. There were a bunch of signs everywhere written in Hebrew. We also found a wrecked car sitting on a rock!
It was 11am and we were almost out of the base, when we ran into a roadblock! The gate was closed and looked like it had been closed for a long time. We had to backtrack a few miles to reach a gravel road. This ended up being at least a 5 mile detour.
The gravel road was very challenging for us. It was almost impossible for us actually. The road was a steep uphill. It was unridable, so we got off our bikes and did the walk of shame. After a bit, even walking our bikes up the hill in the gravel became difficult. Rheann slipped and fell on one of the hills, we had enough of this gravel! Thankfully, some guys came by in a truck just when we had given up. We flagged them down and they gave us a ride to the end of the gravel road. When we told them about what we were doing, one of them said "I ride triathlons and stuff, but I've never done anything that crazy!" Thank you guys! You really pulled us out of a sinkhole there!
While riding on base, we got to talk a a few soldiers while we were taking a break. Rheann got really pumped up when the soldiers thought what we were doing was hardcore. These guys hike with 80 pound backpacks and go through intense training. We really took it as a compliment!
Once we got off the base, we continued on to Leesville. We stopped for lunch at a place called Fatboy Skinnys. They had pretty good burgers!
We continued on the road to Toledo Bend. The road was pretty much a constant uphill ride, that is until we turned onto a road called Buckshot Road. It started out as just a crappy slab of pavement, but then it got worse. It turned into a dirt and sandy hell! Our bikes were not setup for this kind of terrain. We have skinny road tires on them and no shocks. The loose sand presented a constant threat of falling. We were in for a challenge!
This road is where the we got the idea for the title of this blog. We saw so many different kinds of animal feces that we renamed this road the "Trail of Turds". How much feces does it take to warrant such a name? Let me tell you, it was an obscene amount of feces. We lost count of the piles of horse, cow and dog poop at around 50! This trail was a literal minefield! Apparently, this road has a long standing tradition of things pooping on it. It was the toilet of the forest, so we decided to make an addition of our own! (Just kidding, but that would have been funny) It looked like no one had driven a car on it in years, it was overgrown with grass as well.
After pedaling for 12 miles through poo infested dirt hell, we finally had one singular, lonely mile left until we reached the highway. Then we encountered our second road block. I wanted to call it a road block, but it was more like the road just ended! There was a gate with a chain and a lock on it right in our path. On the other side of that gate, there was a horse pasture. We either had to circle back 12 miles through the Trail of Turds, or try to jump the fence somehow. We decided to go for the fence.
We took apart the bob trailers, then we put the bikes over the gate. It wasn't until we had lifted one of the 70 pound trailers over it that I discovered the gate was dummy locked! That's right, we struggled which lifting all of our heavy gear over a gate that had an open lock on the chain!
We rode across the pasture to find it full of horses. There were 10 or 12 of them, and they all wanted to meet us. They came right up to us to say hi. That was a pretty cool experience!
We rode across to the house next to he pasture, and called out for someone to unlock the gate. I guess the lady that came out was confused on how 2 cyclists hauling 140 pounds of gear ended up in her horse pasture in the middle of nowhere. There was no explanation that could have sufficed, so we just said "We're sorry". It must have seemed like we teleported there from the future or something. We can only imagine what she must have thought! She pointed us to the highway and we were on our way again!
The rest of the ride wasn't bad, we were just tired from the whole ordeal we had been through. We limped into Toledo Bend at around 6:45. We took a good bit of breaks, but that came out to over 10 hours on the bikes today!
We got to our campsite, and we were simply blown away by the beauty we saw. The view was incredible! We had just enough daylight left to snap a few pictures.
We will be staying here for the weekend. We need some rest and I want to do some serious fishing! Our next ride takes us into Texas! We can hardly believe we have come this far already!