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.
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