Over the last couple of days,going stir-crazy where I haven’t been riding after the finger mishap (that’s just about over,after yesterday,the not riding to give it time to heal thing…read on),I’ve spent lots of time out in the workshop,just tinkering with things. I bet I’ve cleaned the shop up and out about “50 million 11 times” (a common expression the Wife says when being funny…inside joke,LOL :P ),hahaha!
So the latest thing I piddled around with was to gather all of the Boy’s and my camping gear,get it out for inspection,and prep the (Surly) Troll up for the first upcoming bike-packing (for those unfamiliar with the term,it’s like backpacking,but with a bike-I didn’t coin the term),so I removed the pair of water bottle cages from the fork and re-installed the low-rider front rack. I noted to remember,this isn’t a quick-add-on rack,it takes a few minutes to get it on and off,and requires a wider axle going through the wheel than the standard mtn wheel size (which I purchased when I got the rack…being thankful the LBS had one in stock).
After setting up our old tent (and letting it air out a couple of hours) and packing it back,rolling out sleeping bags and such,I packed it all up and decided to throw it on the bike,see how it all packs on a smaller setup (remember,I formerly used the Trek/Xtracycle for our S24O’s,bike-packing trips/mini-tours,LOTS more room. I tend to over pack/take too much stuff,and our gear isn’t the most expensive…it doesn’t pack small ;) ).
I want to note that I have some more gear on order currently (I really should hide my Amazon account info from myself,hahaha :P ),including a nicer sleeping bag for the Boy (as his current one is cheesy-cheap and really only suited for indoor sleepovers-his new one on order is from a well known brand name,well made,and suitable for camping out down to 40 degrees),a new pair of panniers (a bit larger than the ones I currently have,so the old ones will ride the front rack now),a new cooking stove and canister of fuel and a small-but-decent looking LED lantern (lighting in the campsite/inside the tent is something I almost always…don’t think about,so…). The next round of order will be nice inflatable sleeping pads and some dry-bags/compression sacks I suppose. The pads I’m looking at roll up neatly to about the size of a nice thermos (note the size of the one roll on the rear rack in the pics above…plus it’s none-too-comfy either). I’ll do mini-reviews of the new gear when it comes in next week.
Those who know me well,already knew this bit of the week’s story was coming,especially with decent weather and no school today…
With the Surly all loaded up,gear checked and prepped for the year’s first camp-out,I got the hair brained scheme to head out for a S24O last evening,heeheehee! With expected temps in the upper 30′s-low 40′s at night last night,the Boy opted to not go with (which I would have recommended anyways had he not,despite that these trips are infinitely nicer/more enjoyable and more memorable with my son along with…),so I headed out from home,the Jeep loaded with everything inside at around 4pm to the Virginia Creeper (rail) trail,intent on making it south of Damascus VA (from Abingdon) into National Forest areas for a bit of stealth camping by dark (about 20 miles,+ or – a few yards). Actually,I had my mind set on a specific a tent site I know of. Imagine my surprise when I get there a few hours later (after sunset,mind you) and a Forrest Service employee was out and about,and informed me that no camping was permitted yet (though stealth camping anywhere inside of the Forrest area is legal,I didn’t really feel like hike-a-biking into the woods and setting up a site),sigh. So with temps quickly dropping,interest in staying waning just as quickly,I did a 180 degree turn and pedaled fast back towards the Jeep,not quite making it back before it was pitch dark (I might mention that I forgot ANY type of lighting,including headlight,hahaha!).
Ah well…I got a good ride in anyways (around 35-37 miles). A funny ending to the trip-the Wife,knowing that south of Damascus there’s no cell service,had turned off and put to charge her cell,and the daughter must have had hers on vibrate and couldn’t hear it ringing when I tried to call while driving home,because I couldn’t get hold of either,so I just drove on home unannounced. When I got home,I backed the Jeep into it’s spot,grabbed a few things out of the passenger’s side floor and walked up the porch and knocked (knowing my key won’t unlock the deadbolt that I knew would be locked for the night ;) ). The dog didn’t bark (of course not,she most assuredly heard and recognized the Jeep’s engine when I parked),and I heard a shuffle of activity as 2 kids scrambled to their rooms (mind you,it was now around 11pm,so a guest was unexpected),and then nothing. So I knocked again…3 times,LOL,before the Wife finally said barely loud enough to hear “Who is it?”. “Who it is!” I said quickly,laughing out loud as I did,and she opened the door for me,and laid my .357 Magnum on the TV stand before throwing her arms around me,LOL! Well…reading it as I typed it,it doesn’t sound all that funny….but it was humorous last night and we all laughed about it :P Anyways,I can’t wait to get back out with the Boy for the year’s first S24O (Sub 24 hour Outing ;) ),and longer trips as scheduling allows :D
I’d like to wish everyone a great weekend coming,and a happy Easter holiday :)