|RPP Schoolhouse at campground|
The third Sunday in March 2015 was unseasonably warm, the next day even hotter, highs of 70 and 83. I was looking for a date for an overnighter, and on Saturday my wife said, "Why don't you go tomorrow afternoon and come back Monday morning?"
"Yeah," I said, "It's only 14 miles to the Round Prairie Park campground. I can pack up and get back in time for work."
It all worked out pretty well. The camping was nice. I had the little county campground to myself. My new wood-burning Emberlite "rocket" stove worked great. There were some details, though, some things I didn't realize . . .
- I had just gotten past a cold, so even though I felt fine, I didn't have any stamina.
- I had not ridden all winter, and "a 14-mile jaunt" was more than my body expected.
- Seeing how my Travoy bicycle trailer handled by loading it up immensely was probably not the best way to begin the touring season.
- Headwind! I had thought, It'll be okay because I'll have a tailwind coming back the next morning. How foolish was that? Headwind both ways!
Sleeping in temperatures of the 40's was comfortable with my sleeping bag. Wussy that I am, I'd never slept out in the cold. (And some hardy souls would say temps in the 40's is not cold.) About 4 in the morning, I could feel the ground chill creeping up through the pad and bag, but nothing excessive, even though the ground gets cold over Iowa winters. I took my heavy North Face tent--less netting and more solid covering than my other tent.
My ride to the campground was a battle with headwind the whole way, but I made it, tired but satisfied. The next morning I was more tired than expected, so with the headwinds back it actually took longer to return. I walked the bigger hills. I walked sections of the 2 miles of county road gravel just before the park. The family was considering sending out a search party. I was late to work. I picked up a cold again, no doubt my depletion of energies contributing.
However, it was ultimately a good experience. I learned. I enjoyed (pretty much). I returned.
And today I write about my experience and look forward to my next.
Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved