Sunday, June 23, 2013

First S24O

I've been slowly assembling a bicycle touring kit, one doesn't need much - a tent, a sleeping bag...a bike I guess (have enough of those)...and a little gumption. I finally bought a little 1-2 person tent (2 if you are cozy) that would fit on a bike, and picked up a down bag a few weeks before that. With nothing really to keep me from going I just decided a pick a date and GO. I had been thinking of going mid-week, and while a camping adventure might not seem like the best idea for middle-of-the-work-week it had some attractive features as well. I could just leave an extra change of work clothes there and my office has a full locker room with showers. The plan was to bring my camping kit to work with me on my bike, work the day, then take off for the Thursday night, return early the next morning and shower for work (Friday), then take my time getting home after work that night. Once the plan was set, just had do it, no excuses not to, right?

Ugh, from the moment I left work on Thursday afternoon until well after I got back to the office Friday morning, it rained. It Poured.

I figured I was well prepared enough so I didn't deviate from the plan. I left the office around 4pm, picked up a couple banh mi from my favorite lunch spot near the office (I wasn't planning on cooking on this trip) and took off. My destination was Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, about a 30 mile ride from the office. I didn't reserve a spot but I figured it wouldn't be a problem on a deary Thursday (it wasn't, plenty of room at the campground) but this way I wouldn't have to locate a never-before-visited stealth camping spot. The ride there was fairly uneventful, the bike nav app on my phone got me there just fine, even along some unpaved trails that I wouldn't have found otherwise (pic).

About 8mi out of camp I stopped at a Freddies for a couple 22s. Picked up some new-to-me beers from Harmon Brewing (Tacoma, I think?). It was still raining pretty hard and starting to get dusky so I pressed on to camp. Once there a quick loop around the campground to pick the least puddle-ridden spot. The tent pads were all demarked with a wooden retaining edge, in most empty spots creating a fine lake to camp on. I found one that looked a little higher and dryer than the rest (but still very very wet) and quickly set up camp. My tent goes up in about 5min and I unpacked the rest of my gear and threw it inside as quickly as I could. Snapped a quick picture of my campsite then dove inside myself. I changed into some slightly drier clothes and cowered inside for the rest of my stay. Ate a couple sandwiches, drank a lot of beer, read a little, monitored the perimeter of the tent for leaks (it's a decidedly 3-season tent and this was pushing the envelope into the 4th season) and eventually turned it. I slept fairly well (drunk) but awoke at around 4:30 (normal wake up time for me) and It Was Still Pouring. Ugh.

Ok. Tear down camp in record time, put my wet cycling gear back on. Oh great. The dry pair of sock I had saved wound up stored in a leaky part of the tent and were water logged. Well, at least they are wool and On they go. Tearing down camp goes smoothly enough, though I hate putting away so much kit this wet and muddy. Just means that I have to pull everything back out later to dry out, oh well. I snapped one more picture (with my apparently blurry-lensed phone - looks sad, no?).

Back on the road the return trip is actually quite a bit quicker. It's a lot more downhill, though very gradual. There is one half-mile section of very steep (10%+ grade) where my loaded bike pace slows to a crawl, but otherwise is a nice return trip. Snapped another pic (blurry-lensed again) on the trail. I arrived back at the office before 8am and was able to slosh and trudge to my cubicle before most of the office arrived. Grabbed my dry Corporates and headed down to the showers. As miserable as my camping trip was, its better than a day at the office! and it was nice to break up the work week, I regret nothing. Though I'll certainly wait for a better forecast for next time. Next time will be soon though - Can't waste these long summer days!


  1. Awesome! BTW, what's an S240?

    PS - Avoid the rain, move to Utah

  2. Oh, I should have mentioned. S24o = Sub 24hr Overnight. It's a term famed retrogrouch Grant Petersen coined years ago. It's just what it sounds like, a short overnight bike camping trip - but not quite touring. You can get away with a fairly minimal kit, especially if you don't plan on cooking. Next time I go I'll photo and detail my kit, if there is interest.

    My tent is a Tarptent Double Rainbow, though. This is my third time using it, really liking it so far.

  3. A midweek S24O no less. Sweet! Nice taste of being off the grid if only for a short time.