What could possibly go wrong?
Everything was all smiles at the start:
Well, that's not exactly true. There was some frustration even before the start.
I knew the trail to our camping spot was too rugged for a trailer, so I had to carry everything on our two bikes. Tying the tent, one sleeping bag, and one pad to the trail-a-bike's beam worked well, but I still had to use a backpack, and also ended up with a big load for my front basket:
The high, heavy front load didn't do any favors for the bike's steering, which has never been the Breezer's strong point. Possibly because I'm running a 29er fork on a 26er frame. It didn't help in this case that I was also running 700c wheels front and rear.
After my frustrating incident with the P clamps, I knew the Breezer's life as a town bike was limited. In that case, I may end up selling the 26" Compass tires that I had just purchased, and haven't been so impressed with. I knew the trail would be muddy, and I didn't want to ruin the clean, perfect sidewalls of the Compasses. I didn't have any other 26" street tires on hand (without stripping them from Jodi's bike), but the Breezer's disc brakes and generous clearances would allow me to fit the fattish 700c road tires. Also, I wanted to compare the Compass's ride quality to my Paselas, a known benchmark tire that I've liked for a quite a while (so far, I like the Pasela a bit better--they seem to be a bit more plush at a slightly higher pressure than the Compass tires)
Unfortunately, I found this on my front Pasela:
Which made me a little cautious on the downhills. These tires are landfill bound once I get a bit more back to back riding with the Compass tires done.
After dinner, and after nearly forgetting all of our water, Sam and I hit the road. Our first stop was Amberleigh Park, because, well, we always have to hit a playground on our trips. Amberleigh has two unique points:
and the little village with fire truck:
From Amberleigh, we headed north and stopped for a
milkshake frozen dairy dessert:
Suitably fortified, we continued on to our not-to-be-named stealth spot. "We" had to lift the bike over several fallen logs (Sam hefted the rear fender on the Giant), then across a small creek, and up a rough hill:
Which, to our credit, is both steeper and rougher than this picture shows.
We were getting close:
And then finally found a suitably clear spot:
It looked to be a clear evening, so I left off the rain fly. Surprisingly, Sam wasn't very bothered by this. On my last trip, both Henry and Kate pestered me to zip up the rain fly so they could hide in the tent from the dangers of nature. In the event, Sam and I had a clear, warm night and it was a pleasure to wake up and see this above me:
It was a pleasure to see this as well:
It was even a pleasure when a light rain came through around 5:30 and I could hear it patter off the leaves above us while we remained dry. The rain spattered off and on until about 6:45, when it decided to get more serious. At the point, we had to roll up our wet gear and get moving. Sam stayed under a tree, eating his breakfast bar, while I broke camp. The rain had mostly stopped by the time we hit the road, and it was only puddles for the five or six miles to get home.
When we pulled in, Henry's first words were, "where are the donuts?" But a bigger question is what I will ride for next Friday's camping trip, where I've promised to take all three kids.