Saturday, March 20, 2010

Springtime Hop on the Mule Pop

The signs of spring have arrived in eastern NC. The pungent scent of blooming Bradford Pear trees, the tangy taste of sunblock mixed with perspiration, and the gritty feel of dirt blown into your eyes by lawn mowers. It seems like only yesterday I was worrying about ice and snow on the roads, and already I am thinking about an ice-filled sock to cool my neck. Ah, the joy of changing seasons.

Jayjay and I rode the new Benson Mule Pull populaire today, a 105km (65 mile) jaunt between Garner and Benson, NC. The scenery was beautiful, weather was incredible, and Jayjay entertained only one dog. The ride is flat for the last few miles into Benson, but otherwise raises your spirits off the saddle often. Mike D called it 'surprisingly hilly', so we were ready. It's a great short ride, and I look forward to doing it again. Many thanks to Dean for creating the ride and for preparing a perfect cue sheet which overcomes the best obfuscation efforts by the NC DOT (click the photo and read the sign).


dean furbish said...

Nice report, Andy. Funny how I always seem to manage at least one "center of the universe" intersection in each of my rides. And your compass always finds them. With pictures to prove! Good work!

skiffrun said...

You don't have to go all the way to Benson, or even to Garner to find such interesting road signs.

Closer is the Old Weaver / Old Weaver corner.

And near Stem there is the Tally Ho / Tally Ho / Saunders corner(s). Hint: do NOT trust the electronic maps to have the same names as the road signs. (Continuing on that line, on the west side of US-1, in Franklin County, near Youngsville, there is the Sid Mitchell / Green road signage vs electronic maps situation - although at least some of the electronic maps now match the real world signage.)

Near the Western Wear Store on Suitt's Store and NC-96, there is the Evans / Evans corner -- all roads at that intersection are named Evans. One becomes Suitt Rd; the other becomes Old Franklinton or Tom Wright Rd, depending on which way one goes.

Not to mention that one has to get on Old Franklinton Rd to stay on Suitt's Store Rd.

Also, don't be confused by the Old Franklinton / Evans / Suitts Store corner. There are only two roads meeting there - but there are three names.

Don't confuse Suitts Store Rd with the nearby Suitts Rd, which becomes Evans Rd - one of them, anyway.

Don't forget the Bud Smith / Woodland Church / Jonah Davis corner. Don't confuse Bud Smith with Thompson Mill Rd.

Not too far from the four above examples is the Grove Hill / Grove Hill / Wes Sandling / John Sandling corner. Turn to stay on Grove Hill -- but don't turn the wrong way.

Nearby is also Flat Rock Rd which appears to the uninitiated to go from Grove Hill Rd to Grove Hill Rd. But actually goes from Philo White to Grove Hill, crossing Grove hill en route.

And for someone that may live on Raven Ridge, the Six Forks / Six Forks / Possum Track corner is pretty close to home.


skiffrun said...

I probably should have included the following: next time you do MikeD's Kerr Lake Loop, try counting the number of times you turn onto or off of "Mountain Rd" to get from the middle of Stovall to the top of Peace Mtn. The look at google-maps and count the inconsistencies between the electronic map and the real world signage.

I introduced Mike to "Stovall Mountain", and I gave up trying to figure what the roads were actually called at the various locations in that on three-quarter mile stretch. I just know where to turn.

That may not be the best strategy for navigating if one does not already know where one is.