Recap: Tar Hollow Gravel Explorer
2 cyclists. 28 miles. 2000 ft climbing. Hot, hot, hot and humid. Sunny for most of the ride. Our ride started at Pine Point shelter at Tar Hollow State Park but I adjusted the start to the dam parking lot. I ran out of water about 3/4 of the way through the ride after downing three bottles. Thanks to Mark for joining me on this explorer ride where he got to throw everything at his new Fargo.
Exploration Road #1 - Albright Road
The first gravel road of the route is Albright Road. The road ends at a bridge with a private, no trespassing sign, but if you look to the left you will see that road continues across the stream and parallels it for a short distance before squeezing between two properties and becomes a stream again. We chose to cross the bridge onto the property and ended up talking to a nice man who allowed us to ride on his property back onto the real road, bypassing the stream and mucky section. The owner did say that the stream is actually the road to be followed, so rider beware. By the way, the road is a public right of way since it is part of the Buckeye Trail system.
A good portion of Albright Road should be rideable, albeit stronger riders, but it is doable. We chose to walk the steepest sections due to the heat/humidity and sloppiness of the road. On the east side of the hill we walked some and rode parts.
Exploration Road #2 - Tatman Road
After some hot pavement on Macedonia we looked forward to a gravel road and Tatman Road did not disappoint. The road drops into a stream less than 50 feet from Macedonia and follows the stream bed for at least 2/3 mile before crossing a power line cut and heading back into the woods. The stream bed varies but the most striking section is the solid rock bed with the gently flowing stream rolling toward you. The road turns left and up into a rock canyon. When I say up, I mean up. At the top the road levels out and comes to a cross roads. You can choose to stay straight on Lady Run Rd or turn left onto Dry Branch. We headed straight to continue on our route and stopped to talk with two men on ATVs. They turned out to be Sheriff officers and were stationed in the woods to warn overlanders, ATV and motorcyclists to stay on the right of way. They explained that a lot of trespassing is taking place on private land but reassured us that we were on public access so we continued along. At the next cross roads we had three choices; gravel road, muddy trail #1, muddy trail #2. We reviewed the route and decided to nix the two muddy trails and hedge our bets on the gravel road. After passing through the power cut with magnificent views we dropped down on Riddle Road and retraced our route on Pretty Run to Narrows Road. As we headed up Narrows Road to Carmel we approximated where the two muddy trails would connect with Narrows Road. At least one of the options turned out to require a river crossing so we felt confident in our choice.
Carmel Road (Classic Stream Road) + Pleasant Ridge Rd.
Carmel Road has been on our Conkles Hollow GG route for years and is a great challenge any time of the year. With all the rain we have had recently this classic stream road lived up to its name! The lower section was an actual stream and a tree fell across the road recently just high enough to clear. In the middle section there was a tree down that was partially cut out and we passed through with little issue. The upper section has some ruts and larger gravel and was a bear with the heat and humidity. We stopped at the church for a breather and continued along the ridge until we hit Pleasant Ridge Road. Pleasant Ridge Road is an unmaintained road which features mud puddle, nice gravel and tree coverage to stay cool. The road turns back to pavement and ends at 327.