Field Test-- Fanno Bull Saw

I don't know what's nerdier, using a hand saw to cut out deadfall, or writing an article about it. Anyway, most people probably never give much thought to how those trees laying across the trail magically disappear. There are several ways: trail users remove smaller ones that can be moved by one or more people, or cut with a pack saw;  staff in many parks remove them once they are notified of the location;  or GORC sawyers, with the park's permission, cut them out. There are 5 or 6 active sawyers right now, so the same guys keep getting called on.

After spending a long evening recently dealing with Stinkbait's finicky Poulan to remove a couple of trees on Dogwood and DeClue, I decided chainsaws were a real pain. Not having any desire to own one, got me looking for alternatives, and I came across the Fanno Bull Saw, which is billed as a one-man crosscut saw.

I figured that if I could cut out these trees on Deer Run shown in the pictures, I could probably do anything because:
--the tree was green
--the crown was caught up in another tree putting it in compression
--the diameter was ~10-14"
-- the tree was high  off the ground and couldn't be supported it until it got lower
--it was hot
--my assistant had a short attention span

To make a short story short, it took about 45 minutes to make 4+ cuts. I think it would have been much faster had I used wedges, and all of the above stuff hadn't been against me. A chainsaw would have probably been done with everything in about 10 minutes or less, assuming everything went as expected. Overall, the time getting ready + time spent cutting probably balanced out.

This saw works pretty smoothly, but was certainly more work than a chainsaw. The good things: much smaller investment; no time loading up bob-trailer and necessary equipment; no need for all the chainsaw safety equipment (chaps, earplugs); quiet, no smelly exhaust. I'll use it again for uncomplicated ones, but will probably leave the more difficult ones for a chainsaw.

Edit 3/30/11: Since I wrote the original post last fall, I've used the saw again at Greensfelder and SIUE. It really makes pretty quick work of trees up to about 10", and usually only takes a short time to get through, depending on how fit I am at the time... I've run into a few problems with trees that were lying flat on the ground, but as long as they're elevated enough to get the saw underneath as well, it hasn't been that big a deal.

Indian Camp Creek Workday- Saturday, March 26th 9am-1pm

When: Saturday, March 26th, from 9:00 til 1:00.

Where: Indian Camp Creek Park. It's approx 7 miles North of I-70 on 40/61. (Turn left on Dietrich Rd roughly .6 miles after passing W.) The Google Map link (click this for link, then click the Green bike) will take you to the Park. Follow the road around to the back of the Park, and look for signage that will direct you to Saturday's meeting location. (This'll have to do until Google updates their map from early 2006. )

What to bring: Gloves, Sturdy shoes, eye protection, and something to drink on the trail. Please read through pilznr’s “What to expect at a workday” post. It will also give you some hints on how to prepare for a workday.

Please RSVP via ONE of the following (to make sure we bring enough food):
The St. Charles County Park's (SCCP) office [636-949-7535],
through the WebTrac registration system on the parks website, or on this thread.

GORC & St. Charles County Parks will provide: Trail building tools, instructions on trail building, safety guidelines, and lunch.

NOTICE: In case of bad weather, please call the St. Charles County Parks (SCCP's) Trail Hotline (636-949-7475, option #2). SCCP's will only leave a message about the workday if it's canceled.

We've got ~ 40 Scouts and their parents coming out, so we could use some experienced workers. There's a reroute, plus a couple armoring projects on the list of things to do, so we've got something for everyone.

Lunch will be provided by Off The Front, so thank one of the team riders the next time you see them on the trails.

Don't forget this is another chance to enter the 2011 GORC Workday Season Raffle for a GT Peace 9r!

Ride Report: On the Middle Fork in the Middle of March

Lisa and I rode the Middle Fork Saturday in an effort to purge some early season non-riding weaknesses such as ... non-riding. Being that Ouachita is two weeks away or something it seemed wise to at least see if we could competently ride half of it by running the 'Middle Fork-xc loop' implemented by the Team Seagal troops.

Stats (mfxc loop version):
+31 miles total broken down as / 18.5 singletrack (part I) / 10 miles gravel (part II) / 2.5 miles singletrack (part III - you re-ride the first singletrack segment back to the trailhead)
+ 3,200 ft elevation more or less
+ guaranteed awesome trail or your money back
+ seems to be dry when you assume it would be wet like everything in metro STL
+ your feet will get wet at Barton Fen and thereafter

There is a longer full loop that takes you to the end of the Middle Fork section but I have yet to ride it. That loop would make the mileage top out at 38, the extra 7 evenly split between trail and gravel/road.

There's water running down the first major falls. Camping can be had just across the mini-gorge. It's an interesting geological oddity because the terrain near the creek drainage breaks away revealing the water cut rock and opens into an expansive, but relatively shallow valley.

Closeup of the falls in action. Later in the year it is just a trickle.

Burning sensation: The forestry service is currently burning 4,000 acres in the area and riding through this large patch on the Middle Fork is both alien and awesome at the same time. It's cool to easily see the singletrack flow ahead on the contours.

Another shot of the burned berms.

The Middle Fork section of the Ozark Trail is the newest segment to be built within the last eight years. Since its opening in 2005, the trail has grown close to the hearts of mountain bikers and hikers with terrific views, geological features, creeks and sustainable, lengthy climbs and descents. This trail allows contiguous access to North Trace/South Trace, Council Bluff and the Berryman Trail. You could destroy your bike and body before you rode everything offered at the corner of HWY 32 and DD.

Ride it and love it.

The Middle Fork section is to be renamed in honor of the Ozark Trail Association founder and volunteer, John Roth who passed away far too early, for his dedication to the Ozark Trail. Without his leadership and planning, the Middle Fork section would not have been possible. This section was completed in November of 2005 making the Ozark Trail the longest multi-use trail in Missouri. The Middle Fork section connects with the Trace Creek section just northeast of Highway 32 and runs south to the Karkaghne section at Highway J.

Wet-Weather Adventure I: When Ya Gotta Go, Ya Gotta Go: Taking a Dump on the Trail

In late February the thaw and wet weather cycle forced me to ride my road and cross bikes more than I desired but here I was, forced yet again to get some 'long-steady-miles' whether I wanted them or not.

Let's start by showing you what I wouldn't see on this trip...

That's the Greensfelder, for the record. Not anywhere close to the location of this episode.

With a goal of 50 miles on a early Thursday or Tuesday afternoon - I don't know - the wind carried me down into a Soulard preparing for Mardi Gras. Hookers at Johnny's set up tents and frat truckers quaffed Bud Light Lime.

Skipping 7th Street, I headed North on 3rd St. - the hell of the East. Broken and severely buckled pavement kept me alert while a headwind increased its volume. Shooting past the Arch, skimming by Hopeville, I settled into a nice rhythmn. I waved to the Hazmat crew that has been diligently working at the radioactive site between the trail and river bank for the past two weeks. I know it's radioactive because they have the radiation symbol... and the guys are in white suits. And big wigs seem to be watching from massive F-350s at all times. This is news that will never make it to air.

Anyway, I said I settled in, right? I did for about 15 minutes until I glimpsed a green minivan rounding just out of site. The flood wall curved to his benefit.

Normally, this is just what we call traffic on the Riverfront bike trail. Fish traffic, heavy machinery traffic, crack traffic, whores-for-crack traffic, rush hour overflow traffic, the trail sees it all.

I found out this was traffic fell under the dumping category.

On top of the levee just past the homes on barges, just far enough ahead the driver kept starting and stopping, obviously trying to set some distance between us. I looked down, grabbed some water and stopped to look at the supreme massive crane at the Alberici yard that must be building the piece parts for the oil refinery up the river.

Well, holy crap, I look up the trail after resuming a steady pace and I see the guy dumping his entire van out on either side of the trail.

Like a small apartment amount.

I rode up to the van and glanced over to him while he sat inside. Smoking a cigarette and looking directly at me, I'm pretty sure he questioned the 'hassle' it would be to throw me in the river.

I think it was going to be too much work.

I rode swiftly on, hoping that he didn't want to ask for directions to the nearest license center so he could get his plates renewed. When I turned around for a look, he has making a U on the levee and headed back to who knows where.

Story Shrink: ..., rode up to the Chain of Rocks, rode past 270 to Columbia Bottoms to check out the Confluence. Checked it out and headed back the way I came, past the Chain of Rocks, past the pimped out Mexican truck with every stick-on accessory AutoZone sold (stick on air scoops??) Rode past some abandoned cycling clothes and helmet by the creek drainage (la la la, I'm not thinking about what happened - they got hot ... and ran the other way.)

Came back upon the mini-landfill and attempted to find out 'who' this guy was so I could turn the info in.

I didn't know this was a new landfill. Otherwise, I would've pulled the BOB trailer with the ground plastic and leachate cleaning system. Now it's just going to drain into the river.

It's not in the picture but there's a box of canned food right over there. Corn, spinach, Chef Boyardee, Rice, Cupcakes (open), all with a light sheen of fry grease on the tops.

He has it on blu-ray now.

Because this is a public site with standards of sorts, I am self-censored from showing the pile of wicky-wicky tapes.

I did find several denied unemployment claim statements that had the same name on it. Riding on for about two miles I saw another vehicle approaching. ugh.

Miraculously, it was a CONSERVATION truck. The female agent took the letter and I told her all I knew. Of course, she asked for details. "Uh, green minivan, don't know the plates, black guy, smokin' a cigarette, didn't stop to ask." Case closed, unfortunately.

The story sounds like it should end bad. But that's just not true. Whenever you get on your bike, if you look around, you can best be assured there is an adventure somewhere looking to stir your interest... or drag you into the river.

Until next time, remember kids, recycle all you can and give the rest to the san man.

Matson Hill Workday- Saturday, March 12th

New trail construction at Matson Hill continues this Sat. March 12th from 9am-1pm. We'll be working on the next phase which is shown in green on the map.
Sign up and details are available here.

Forest City Trail

Route 66 Bicycles down in Rolla is finishing up the last loop of a trail which will give it a total mileage of 7.5 miles. The trail is located near St. James, MO, between St. Louis, and Rolla.
This is about 25 miles beyond the Bourbon exit heading to Berryman, so next time you're headed that way, or coming back from Syllamo and points west, you might want to stop and check it out. A map and description will be up on the trails page.