That’s Giff-ord Pin-chot Ess-two Four-oh. Clap along. It’s fun.
We’ll be at Gifford Pinchot State Park the afternoon of April 10th at site 116. So far it’s Bone, Doc and yers truly. The Engineer and MissBreeGoLightly have expressed some interest, too. Throw in a few maybes from Facebook and we may very well be over the 5 person limit on the camp site. In that case we’ll try to reserve another site or two. If you’d like to tag along, let me know in the comments, or here, if you have a Facebook account.
I set out yesterday to try out the less hilly of the two potential routes from Casa de Sloth to Pinchot. The first one I plotted was straight over Moore’s Mountain. Moore’s Mountain is a mile of pure hell, with the easy part at about 13% and the steep part, which is always just before the top, at 19%. More on Moore’s Mountain later. The second route adds a mile or so and goes around that damn hill.
As you can probably see, I’ve put a nav point (or whatever it’s called) right on the top of Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill is a bit of a climb, but the road is wide and there’s very little traffic. The alternate is Limekiln Rd., which is shorter, but it’s steep, there’s no shoulder at all and it carries a lot of traffic. East to west on that little section of Limekiln, IMHO, is not a safe route. I’d rather walk over Beacon Hill.
Limekiln Rd. from the west end of Beacon Hill to Spangler’s Mill is rolling hills, but nothing too nasty. The shoulder is narrow or non-existent, but I’ve not had any trouble with traffic along this stretch. Once we get to Spangler’s Mill, the route gets interesting. Almost immediately after turning onto Spangler’s Mill, the route turns right onto Schauffnertown Rd. and goes straight freakin’ up. 17 or 18% if you believe the topo. Fortunately, it’s not too long. I rode this hill last fall. I walked it yesterday, which means my fitness level is poop. The next few miles, until we turn off of Lewisberry and onto School House Ln. is mostly up. The word “brutal” comes to mind. I didn’t have to walk anything else, but it wasn’t an easy ride for me.
School House Ln. to the intersection of Moore’s Mountain Rd. and Pinetown and Pinetown and Pinetown Roads is gently rolling and quite scenic. I made a wrong turn at Moore’s Mountain/Pinetown/Pinetown/Pinetown, climbed up that hill from the unsteep side and didn’t realize my mistake until I was screaming down the other side at Mach 2.8. While the descent was much fun (I highly recommend it), crossing Siddonsburg at the bottom was disconcerting. A few minutes later, back at Seitz Rd., I called the wife. It was time to be at Gifford Pinchot for our picnic and I was only half-way there. Again. So whatever happens between the intersection of Moore’s Mountain and Pinetowns is a mystery. Maybe I’ll try it again next weekend.
I also learned a bit more about my limits. I’ve bonked before, but didn’t hit the wall yesterday until I was off the bike. I should have eaten something at about the half-way point. Next time…
Feel free to take a crack at designing a better route. It may be flatter going around the north end of Moore’s Mountain. I dunno, but I’m open to suggestions.