WI Rustic Roads: Pierce County, R51, R92

Published Wednesday, February 14, 2024 by Bryan

Today's video starts with the other road I mentioned in this season's introduction: Rustic Road 51 in Pierce county. The ADVRider forum has a thread dedicated to discussing the Rustic Roads, and R51 is frequently mentioned as a cherished accomplishment, and occasionally as a ride-ender.

The challenge of R51 comes from the Pine Creek, which it crosses four times. No, it doesn't cross over, it crosses through. Depending on the time of year and the weather, that might mean a significant amount of water to ride through.

I finally got up the nerve to attempt R51 in mid-October. That put the spring thaw safely behind me. I only had to contend with chilly temperatures, and scattered precipitation. It worked out - the crossings were only a few inches deep and a few feet across.

You'll see me approach, stop, and assess the situation before each crossing anyway. It was very hard to tell from the saddle exactly how deep each crossing was, or what the "road" under the moving water looked like. I was riding alone, as I generally do, so it would have been me, alone, tugging the bike out and/or getting it upright again if I got stuck. Better to be safe.

Conditions were favorable, though. The edge of the water, where gravel had collected, had worse traction than the stream bed. The bike and I both got wet (check out the splash at 3:32!), but we motored through without trouble.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is R92. It's honestly a lovely ride - curvy, elevation changes, decent quality pavement. But it's still jarring to ride through a stream on one Rustic Road, and then pop out across from a new housing development on the edge of town on the next.

Categories: Motorcycle Travel WIRR