S24O, Michaux State Forest, 05.19-20.12

We managed to do it.  I’m pretty out of shape from lack of riding, but I was able to team up with Scott for a much needed therapeutic epic ride and a night in the woods.

The plan was for me to leave Lewisberry and Scott to leave Camp Hill about the same time, each ride 20 miles and rendezvous in Boiling Springs.  I had it in my head all week to pack light, since this was just an S24O, keep it simple, move fast, etc…  Then I read the chapter in Grant’s book about evil carbs, lamented about the pizza I shared with my son the night before, and decided I needed to grab some sausage and eggs for breakfast, which meant swapping the Esbit kit out for the Primus Packlite.  Then things just seemed to snowball and I found myself throwing this and that on the bike for “just in case.”

Ready to roll.

Scott could not have picked a nicer weekend for this adventure.  The weather was a balmy-ish 80F something out through Lisburn, grinding up the climbs outside Grantham, breezing past Ashcombes, and stopping to watch the fly fishermen in the Yellow Breeches outside of Williams Grove.

Lying in the grass next to a mill along the creek.

The creek.

Our destination: cutting through the pass just to the left of that center peak, then climbing the road westward that runs between the two ridges.

I rolled into Boiling Springs a little early, so I checked out this Outfitter Shop.  It specializes in high end fly fishing kit.  It’s amazing the similarities between fly fishing and country biking: the gear, the clothing, the lingo, the opinions, and the cost!Afterwards, I picked out a comfortable spot, rested my legs, and partook of one of my favorite activities: people watching.  Boiling Springs seems to be the apex of roadies, real Harley riders, wannabe Harley riders, families with strollers galore, classic car enthusiasts, and yes; the occasional AT through hiker.

The best spot in town.

Before long Scott and his riding partner crested the hill.  After a bit, Scott and I took off for the mountains, with a steady climb to Mount Holly and then into Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  Riding into the park using the old rail trail, we got the idea to stop at the park store and order some burgers.  Unfortunately, we got there just before closing, so we settled for some ice cream and set up the kitchen on a picnic table on the patio.The bikes and all of this activity caught the attention of the hikers that were hanging out and led to some good conversation.  I think they were a little disappointed that we weren’t riding cross country, but they appreciated the whole overnight camping vibe as it was.  They seemed like a nice bunch.

After dinner, we had some major work cut out for us: climbing the mountain to the meadow campsite.  We made it about 3/4 of the way before I had to start walking.  My legs had pretty much had it for the day.  The walk did me good, and we crested the rise before too long.

At the top. I had to restrain my lusting for Scott’s rSogn. It’s one sweet machine.

On to the meadow, where we found a couple in a van grilling and partying.  We went about setting up our gear for the night and building a fire.  After some snacks and conversation, we turned in around 10 to a clear, starlit night.  Fortunately our partying friends broke camp around 11:00.

We must have fire!

Having the meadow to ourselves.

We slept well and started  moving around 6:00.  After coffee and breakfast, we broke camp and enjoyed going down the mountain much quicker than climbing.  We stopped for showers at the bath house, and then enjoyed the gentle downhill cruise into Boiling Springs.

There we stopped for second breakfast at the coffee house on the square.  More eggs – this time a feta and asparagus omelette…pretty good.

It sure sounded healthy.

With plenty of stares from the roadies and Scott regaling some neighbors with our exploits, we took of with full stomachs.

Coming into Williams Grove we actually ran into a traffic jam for the steam engine fair that was going on.  We parted ways at Ashcombes, and I had another 10 very slow miles to go.  It wasn’t long that my butt completely gave out from the two days mileage and I rode out of the saddle every chance I got.  ‘pulled into the garage right around 1:00pm, just hitting it under the official S24o mark.

Great trip overall, although quite ambitious given my lack of riding so far this year.  I used both the BA Seedhouse and the Montbell bag for the first time.  The Seedhouse is not free standing, so I was a little concerned about setting up on the rocky ground.  Fortunately it worked out.  The Montbell kept me warm for what I’m guessing was low 50s – high 40s.  Actually, I was a little warm in the night with just a tee shirt and shorts, keeping the rainfly door open so I could admire the stars.  My head got a little cold, but cinching the hood down took care of that.

The only challenge that I see is that the bag slides around on the pad a good deal, as well as the pillow.  I’ll need to play around with some ideas and check out what others are doing.  It’s not a big problem unless the ground is not quite level.

I’m also guilty of overpacking again, but I’m getting better.  I had some extra clothes along that weren’t used, as well as some “just in case” gear for which I should have known better.

At this point I’m pretty sore, mostly on my butt where I just plain overdid it.  Both days I wore Andiamo skins under street shorts.  The thinner pad worked well, but perhaps a slathering of butt butter would have helped.

The Trucker and bags worked perfectly.

Misc. Miles: 2.3

Distance: 76.5 miles  2012: 186.1


8 responses to “S24O, Michaux State Forest, 05.19-20.12

  1. Looks like a nice trip. Wish I could have made it.

    • Yep. We missed you. I had all kinds of excuses not to go, but I figured there’s always going to be reasons to put it off. My legs are still toast!

  2. We are getting ready for our Eric Canal tour in July. We may do an S24O for our new touring partner Dave. Like your ride, any S24O absolutely must include a tavern.

    • John, it would probably be a good idea just to let Dave get the hang of the whole bike camping thing. Cheers!

  3. Nice work, and you had a beautiful weekend for it! I was knee deep in chores for most of the weekend and am supremely jealous.

    • Thanks Dave. There were times on the hills that I wished it would have been a tad cooler, but given the overall balmy temps and great sunshine, we’ll mark the weather up on the plus side. We’re hoping to get out for another one before the summer disappears on us.

  4. Pingback: 2012 Microtour Plans | Pedalling Along

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