To our bike camping contingent around these parts, if I mention “The Meadow”, they pretty much know where I’m headed. It does have an official name, and its actually considered a parking area, but the parking takes place for the most part in an adjacent lot. So this gets called the Meadow.
In typical S24O fashion, this came about at the last minute. Earlier in the week my schedule opened up, the forecast looked promising, and I started some bike modifications that I had been thinking about. By Friday morning the forecast had turned, with a 60% chance of rain starting that night. I thought about it for a bit, and decided I would take my chances with the 40% chance of it not raining; plus all the fancy gear I carry is made for dealing with rain. I said goodbye to Red as I was walking out the door, much to her surprise.
Pretty much the standard kit, although I realized this would be the first time using the new titanium cookset. I packed some extra food for a nice breakfast, but also packed a minimal breakfast (oatmeal), if things got really ugly.
These are Velo Orange Casey’s Crazy Bars. The setup is not final as I’ve already changed the stem and have plans for the cockpit, but my initial impressions are very favorable. The main position is just at the correct angle, and the additional positions make for a comfortable ride. The Luxos U is also back on the Trucker.
I avoid riding on Fridays, but the traffic was unusually light because of the holiday and probably the forecast. At 20 miles I stopped to stretch a bit. I was also getting used to the shifting pods now on the bike and the whole world of indexed shifting.
The park store had the usual band of Appalachian Trail hikers congregated around a table. They seem like a nice lot, but they always appear a little standoffish. I enjoyed an ice cream, filled up my water bottles, and started up the mountain. There were a few four wheelers running the trails and parked in the lot, but the meadow was completely empty. I picked a spot under some trees and camp went up quickly.
Some new bio-toilets. Next we’ll have running water and hot showers.
Dinner consisted of heating up some leftovers from the fridge and then reading “Treasure Island” by the fire. A decent breeze kept the bugs to a minimum.
Things were quiet until around midnight when a pack of very loud four wheelers came into the entrance to the meadow and were taking a break. One of them was upset over something – I was more concerned over their rowdyness and being outnumbered – I was probably a little paranoid.
I actually was out of the tent and behind a bush when they spotted my campsite (probably the reflective tent cords). Since there were no cars in the lot, and my bike was hidden from view, they pretty much freaked and took off like they had discovered an axe murderer’s hideout. Admittedly, I was a little skittish, but I think they took the worst of it, and I can laugh about it now.
The clouds opened up around 1:00am and didn’t let up all night. Around 7:30 there was a break, so I was able to make coffee and oatmeal in a nearby pavillion and break camp.
Fresh beans = aeropress heaven
The rain got heavy again, but the temps were in the mid-60’s, and I had a cheap plastic poncho that worked out fine. Coming down the mountain, water was everywhere.
Twenty miles from home and back where there is cell service I get a text from Red that she wants to leave for the in-laws, so my leisurely pace and plans for second breakfast are out the window. I pulled in well below the 24 hour mark, but my legs are toast and I’m soaked to the bone. Still, I’m smiling.
I figured that I could have cancelled and been a bit frustrated, or I could take a chance and at the very least, have a challenging adventure. The rain proved a challenge, but not overwhelming. Life needs some adventure.