The Sippo Valley Trail

Dalton Trail Head – a very nice little park
At the beginning of the trail – you can tell because Sandy is dry
The crushed limestone part of the trail – not bad now but a mess of mud later
Is this the fun part?
My mud-spattered legs
I couldn’t see my back, but I’m sure it looked similar to Eric and Sandy’s
Back in Dalton – soaking wet
Sandy – muddy but happy

We have been enjoying rain almost every day, which makes us more thankful than ever that we don’t have a yard to mow.  Saturday we scheduled a bike ride with our friends Sandy and Eric Shaw.  We got to their house at 10 and the radar showed a certainty of rain within the next couple of hours.  But Sandy works long hours and wanted to get a ride in while she was able, so we decided to proceed with our plans to ride the Sippo Valley Trail.

The Sippo Valley Trail is 10 miles and runs from Dalton to Massillon.  Seven miles of the trail is asphalt and three miles, through farmland, is crushed limestone.  Even though we could hear some rumbles of thunder in the distance, we stayed dry during the first half of our ride.  The trail was lovely, although bridge crossings were very rough with large bumps at the transition points.  Even the crushed limestone section was okay – going toward Massillon.  I’ve never ridden in the middle of a cornfield before!

About a mile before we reached Massillon it started to rain, and by the time we reached the end of the trail it was raining harder.  You can connect to the Towpath Trail in Massillon but you have to ride on the road for a mile to do it.  We weren’t interested in extending the ride.

We turned around and headed back and it started raining in earnest with the rain running through the bike helmet and down my face to drip off my chin.  I was the only one who wore a rain jacket, and I’m glad I did.  The temperature dropped quickly and hovered around 64 degrees.  The asphalt section of the trail wasn’t too bad but when we got back to the crushed limestone it was a muddy mess.  Riding on the back of the tandem, my legs were soon covered in mud and everyone had a muddy backside.

When the thunder and lightning came we rode a little faster but we didn’t stop.  There wasn’t anywhere to get under shelter so it was safest to keep going.  By the time we reached Dalton there were huge puddles everywhere and the rain had even soaked our socks inside our shoes.  Fortunately Tom had some towels and blankets in the truck so we dried off a bit (my shirt was dry and I had a change of shorts with me – but I was certainly the driest of the four of us) and headed to Old Carolina Barbeque in Orville for lunch.

We looked like drowned rats, and huddled in jackets and blankets while we ate.  When I placed my order, the cashier looked at me and asked if it was raining outside.  YES!  The food was delicious, as always, and we gradually warmed up a bit.  But we were glad to come home and take warm showers after a very cold and wet ride.

The Sippo Valley Trail was nice and would have been even better on a dry day.  Tom and I agreed that we would try to avoid rainy rides from now on.