Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Bike Overnighter (S24O) to Jefferson County Park

I left my house at 4:30 PM, the Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend, figuring that I'd beat the rush. Well, that was partially true. I found a campsite, but most were already taken.

As a guy with a 5th-wheeler across the way explained, "Some folks pay for a space starting on Monday, even though they show up on Friday. I got here Wednesday this year, and my usual spot was already taken."

So much for my forward-thinking plan! I did find a spot, though. The ride along the loop trail was fun, all loaded up with my panniers and drybag. I saw a neighbor walking his dog and gave a nonchalant nod.

The ride through the park set the mood. The trees shaded the lime chip trail, and the immediate mood was "outdoors and away from the bustle." That was somewhat dampened when I reached the campsite, already 75%  filled with RV's. I soldiered on, though, setting up my one-person tent, my bike leaning against the campground table. I wondered if some RV would pull in and tell me my little tent and bike didn't really count so hit the road.

I did get some looks from the folks who sat watching me in their lawn chairs beneath awnings extended from their 5th-wheel trailers. One guy came over and asked if I was from town.

"Yes," I said. "I'm just having fun and checking out how the equipment works."

"Looks to me like you could just take off with that rig."

"That's the idea."

Equipment Tests
  • Tent: My little $50 tent worked fine. Not much room in the outer vestibule for equipment . . . and not much room inside, either! One of those weight vs size things. For $50, I'm careful with this item. Not sure how it will hold up.
  • Toaks titanium cooking pot: It has a lid, handles, and is 550ml, a touch less than 2 cups volume. Nice for quickly heating water. Cools quickly so can be used as a mug. A touch small for real cooking.
  • Emberlit wood stove: Works great. Focuses heat upward and I just used sticks/twigs from the trees around. It could be a challenge on a wet day! Very light, packs flat. I brought along lint from the clothes dryer and a fire starter cube that I shaved pieces from as the fire base.
  • Topeak bike rack: My panniers mounted well, and the lower mount gave me room on top for the drybag. Also allows for sliding on the Topeak top bag for day rides (or an Amtrak journey).
I packed up the next morning and was only 10 minutes late to work. I would have easily made it on time, but I was playing with my stove, making hot tea, and I waited longer than I needed for the tent to dry.

I was pedaling home, though, and had the thought, "Maybe I should just ride straight to work and show up early." I opted for home, a quick shower, and work clothes, though.

A real shame, actually. My loaded bike leaning against my desk. . . The faint smell of woodsmoke in the air. . .  Tee shirt and black baggy bike shorts. . . It would have been a hoot!

Copyright 2015 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

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