Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Local Bike Camping Weekend

We had a weird three-day weekend that most people didn't get last weekend, thanks to a teacher in-service day on Monday.  Naturally, this was an excuse to get out of the house.

Given that the travel budget was (deliberately) blown earlier this year on the France trip, we decided to go camping.  This isn't as easy at the last minute as it should be, since in the era of web-reservable campsites, everything nice is often booked up months in advance.   We could have headed inland, but it was going to be hot, and this time of year is generally really gorgeous on the coast, so it was finally time to check out some of the local bike-in campsites.

In theory, you ride up, pay your $5 or $6 a person, and they squeeze everyone in.  There are campgrounds offering this at Big Basin State Park and at New Brighton State Beach near Capitola, leading to a nice 30-to-40-mile-a-day loop from home. 

I'm happy to say that this actually works :)  The first day we rode up and over Route 9 to Big Basin, where we had the bike area in the redwoods completely to ourselves.  The second day we headed over to the beach, where we were one of more than a dozen tents squeezed into the bike area.  The rangers here were pretty picky about check-in and out times here, and it rained caterpillars out of the oak trees, but other than that, it was a lovely campground up on a bluff above the ocean.

Chad took most of the camping gear on his bike: a load of about 50 lb.  Nimue and I had it fairly easy with about 10 lb of snacks and extra clothes in the rack trunk.  Somehow, strong Chad still climbs faster, especially if Nimue is feeling tired and isn't putting out much power (as was the case going up Route 9 the first day).  When she is feeling strong, we can take off on the flat sections, especially when there is a headwind, given the amount of extra drag on Chad's relatively bulky load.

I still think he had the harder physical job (the extra weight on my bike sometimes put out quite a bit of power!), but of course, my load involved psychological games and cheerleading.  And much patience with nonsensical jokes about bunnies with chainsaws.

Why did the bunny cross the road?
To get to his chainsaw.

Why did the other bunny cross the road?  
To get away from the bunny with the chainsaw.

And so on, up to the top of this hill...

Final total: Three days, 107 miles, 8000 feet of climbing
One ice cream stop, two bakeries, one dinner in camp, and one dinner out.
Six stowaway caterpillars (and counting)
Three happy people.

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