S24O: 04.10-11.10, Pinchot

I think I got started around 2:00 or so with leaving the house, and missed the e-mails from Scott that they were heading out a little later than planned.  Given the challenging route that they had, I figured on arriving well before them anyway.

I opted to avoid the steep hills on my usual ride to Pinchot and went a little out of my way over to Rt. 177.  I was also thinking that I might run into the rest of the guys since they were probably coming in that way.

While the bike handled great, I have to admit that the extra 30 pounds makes a difference on the hills. It took some practice to find the right gear and settle in for a steady grind.

I arrived at the park a little after 3:00 and was surprised at the number of other campers.  It wasn’t crowded, but certainly more than I would have guessed.  Coming in on a bike, I seemed to draw a lot of attention.  I guess they were thinking I was a tourer and had stories to tell of distant adventures.

It was a great afternoon and I knew I had time to waste, so I gathered some wood for the pit, walked around to snap some shots, and got a general lay of the land. 

Even though there was fresh water nearby, I used this trip to test some new gear, including this Steripen setup.  I scooped up lake water using the milk tub, then poured it through a filter on top of the Nalgene bottle which removes any big stuff, then used this ultraviolet pen to sterilize any organisms.  It worked great, the water tasted fine, and it was convenient having plenty of water on hand for cooking and cleaning up.

Despite the pleasant setting, there were some reminders that we weren’t too far from civilization. These blossoms are unique to this area and make for quite a site when they are in full bloom.After some time I started to get a little concerned about the rest of the party, but didn’t want to call and come across as a wuss; so I jumped on the bike and backtracked a bit.  As soon as I turned out of the park I spotted the guys coming down the road.  I snapped a few off the back.  Here’s Jeff, Adam, and Scott making their way to the campsite:

As we were setting up, some kayakers floated by on the flat water.Dinner.  It was interesting seeing the different gear each of us had: Esbits, Multi-fuel, and canister.  I had dehydrated lasagna that wasn’t bad, but I was envious of Scott’s home-made beans and rice.Jeff’s fiance Bre joined us later while we solved a host of world problems around the fire.  I enjoyed the observation that our campsite pretty much represented all of the bike campers in Central Pennsylvania.  We’ll need to start a club.  and we never figured out how they get the salt inside of peanut shells.

We turned in not long after, and our neighbor in the site next door started to serenade us with snoring that would put most chainsaws to shame.  I found it relaxing, but Bre quickly bailed since she had a car.  We’ll need to put some special provisions in the by-laws of our club about women.

Through the night it got cold, and we all got cold, but we toughed it out.  My Big Agnes bag was warm enough, but I could feel the cold coming up through the mattress bag even though it is insulated.  I’m going to have to look into this and come up with a solution – maybe a pad underneath the mattress.  A wool cap, heavy merino sweater, and a pair of tights really helped.

Sunrise.  Despite the temperatures, it was a beautiful morning.First coffee, then breakfast.  I opted for a hot shower which loosened up my tired bones got me moving.While the rest of the crew opted for freeze dried granola and add-water type faire, I chose a heartier breakfast of eggs and spam.  Real eggs, and if there is such a thing, real spam.  Now Bone has some serious issues with spam, so this photo is dedicated to him:I had to head back in time for church since son #2 was doing a cello solo, so Bre, who had returned once our neighbor woke up, was kind enough to take a portrait of our intrepid group:  Jeff, Scott, me, and Adam, doing a fine job of holding in our stomachs.

I got home after lunch, unpacked, cleaned up some gear, and proceeded to crash for about an hour.  Although I rode only a little over 20 miles, my legs feel the load.  I can only imagine how the rest of the crew feels.

What worked: Steripen, Kelty tent, Primus stove, my homemade coffee-drip setup, Big Agnes Skinny Fish bag, and bike packing arrangement.  Like I said before, I purposefully overpacked so I could try out some gear, so if anything, other trips will have a lighter load and more room.

What didn’t work: the Big Agnes insulated air mattress.  I’m not sure if it was an inflation issue or whether it was just too cold for its rating, but I need to take a look at it if I’m going to be warm.

Good times had by all.  I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Misc. miles: 6.1

Distance: 21.1 miles  2010: 225.6

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11 responses to “S24O: 04.10-11.10, Pinchot

  1. The red beans and rice are a secret family recipe, but I suppose I can share it with you. http://www.zatarains.com/Recipes/Red-Beans-and-Rice.aspx Put them in the bottle about 12 hours before you plan to eat them so they can soak. Then heat ’em up.

    Nice write-up. And please, no more profile shots.

  2. Great writeup! It looks like a good time was had by all. I have got to find a campsite right on a lake around here. Hmm, now that I think about it, I have a couple of ideas. I need to get out and go camping!

  3. yeah, I’m still smiling about it. As soon as I figure out the pad/warmth situation, I’m off for the next one.

  4. Hooked another one.

  5. Pingback: The Blasphemous Bicycler » Blog Archive » Gifford Pinchot S24O

  6. I’m a year round camper. I camp in temps down to -20F. I use the same pad for those temps as I do for 80 degrees. An old thermarest pad. I use different bags for different temperature ranges. So you may want to look at your bag choice rather than your pad choice.

  7. Congrats on the s240, Looks like it was a great trip!

  8. It was. I’m already mentally planning out a trip to Codorus SP. It’s a fairly level route of around 33 miles.
    Doug, thanks for the advice.

  9. You want some company? I think I could hack a 45 mile ride.

  10. If you’ll have a wayward traveler from Maryland in the Central PA Bike Campers Club, I could probably hack the trip to Codorus SP. Actually rode a few miles in April…

  11. I have to work out my schedule with my son’s baseball season, but right now May 22-23rd is shaping up as a possibility. Scott – I don’t think it would violate the by-laws if you drove down to my place to avoid the hills.

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