The weather reports were conflicting all week between occasional showers and thunderstorms, but by Saturday things were looking up. We met at my place, loaded the bikes on the Pig, and drove to the HRT trailhead in York.
Here is my rig as I’m getting ready – 2 33 liter panniers, a Carradice Super C, BA bag, and a BA Dual Core pad:
The level and laid back ride on the HRT was a good way to warm up, check the loads, and just get settled in. Here is the obligatory tunnel shot taken right after I discovered I had bumped the settings dial. That’s Adam and Scott up ahead:
We stopped at Serenity Station for lunch and then back on the trail for a few miles further. Before long we exited and headed west on some windy back roads with phenomenal scenery. Everything from 300 year old farms, to alpacas, to deer, to lush forests. At one point, we were stopped by a kid on a motorcycle who wanted to know all about bike camping. Satisfied, he took off down the road pulling a wheelie for 100 ft.
We stopped a few times to admire some of the old houses, especially the ones that had been restored. All agreed that we would like to have homes like these, as long as there was an adjoining workshop for bikes.
The route had a fair amount of hills, so we found ourselves doing a little walking. It was nice to break up the afternoon. At first I thought the pace was a bit slow, but it turned out to be perfect for that distance with loaded bikes. I felt good while riding, but noticed the fatigue at the end of the day. The rain held off right until we entered the park, then there were some intermittent showers. There was a break just long enough for us to set up the tents and make dinner.
Ever the camp chef, here is Scott making chicken and dumplings. Adam and I opted for dehydrated dinners.
The rain started in earnest right after we turned in for the night and continued until 8:00 this morning. We got up around 6:00, got cleaned up, made coffee and breakfast, and then broke camp. The ride back wasn’t bad at all, and we even managed a short cut that saved us from climbing a fairly big hill. The weather varied from drizzle to misty, and eventual clearing.
We stopped again at Serenity Station for an early lunch, and then made the final push for York, arriving just before 1:00pm, making it a true S24O.
What worked: The route. Adam had mapped out a good one, and between he and Scott with their smart phones we knew where the turns were and any alternates. While there were a fair amount of hills, they were entirely manageable and paid off with wonderful views. My BA bag and the new Dual Core pad. It wasn’t nearly as cold as our trip in April so I can’t make a fair comparison; but I was warm and dry all night wearing just a tee and cotton shorts. The Kelty Gunnison tent: like I said, I was dry all night. The Skechers Journeyman sandals I bought last week: they were super comfortable as is on Saturday, and perfect with a pair of wool socks on today.
Questionable: the Exped pillow – better than the Alps, but I still would like something a little thicker.
Distance: 54.6 miles 2010: 439.6