Thursday, March 24, 2016

Overnighter to Round Prairie Park

A pleasant evening at Round Prairie Park
A twenty-five percent chance of .015 inches of rain in a thunderstorm seemed like pretty good odds of having a pleasant overnight bike experience in March.

The possibility of a thunderstorm meant warmer temperatures from the south, and the 25% chance was a reasonable risk, especially since just a trace of rain was predicted.

And there I was the next day, 5:30 AM, in my tent at Round Prairie Park, having just experienced an hour of lightning, thunder, and drenching rain. The good news? My new Big Agnes Copper Spur one-person tent didn't leak! The bad news? None, really, just some in-the-moment concern when the lightning flashes and concurrent ka-booms were close.

A damp morning but a dry night
Knowing the possibility of thunderstorms from the south, I had erected the tent on a north-south axis to align it with possible winds. I had also guyed out the tent to keep the rainfly away from the netting. Worked well! Instead of the tent blowing down or leaking, I was able to check for rain for an hour while flinching at the sudden bursts of sound and light.

Last year in March I had taken the same trip, but it had not been so successful. Packing too much weight, still being weak from the flu, and the bike needing a tune-up, the overnighter had been a “well, I survived that” experience.

This year the 12-mile ride had the wind with me both ways, the night was warmer (low fifties), and all my equipment worked well. My Trangia alcohol stove rather than the Emberlite wood stove was a good choice, considering the dampness.

12 miles of travel, 10 on Glasgow Road
The two miles of gravel was smooth and packed from the winter, so the 10 miles on Glasgow Road and the gravel went quickly.

This is becoming one of my favorite overnighters. The prairie campground has trees and is on a crown of hill. It is clean with lots of sky. Close to town, it's not a long ride.

The sleep at night is quiet (excluding lightning strikes). It's a peaceful little county park clos to town.

Any time I feel the need to get out of town and stargaze, this is the place to go. 

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