My plan of the day was to ride in the city in the morning, and in the evening go out on the Montour Trail for an overnight campout to shakedown my gear.
|05/19/12 243# 36m|
Started 0900 at the Bastille with M, who's been working out of town and it was a welcome reunion. Rode around the northside, stopped at some sort of health-walk at the stadia, went out to the 31st STreet bridge and then back through the Strip District. Stopped at Point State Park which was hosting a Venture Outdoors celebration.
Saw some tri-types in a sort of bicycle urban orienteering competition, it looked like they were really working hard at it. Saw a bicycle skills course being laid out and another vendor was queing up electric-assist and electric-shift bikes for demo rides.
Rode out on Blvd of the Allies to Grant Street, took the Jail Trail and Hot Metal Bridge. Cruised the newly opened AEO-HBH plaza, checked out the OTB bike corral, went to Big Dog Coffee for the coffeeneuring phase of the ride (photo). Biancha mochas and elephant ear pastries, very nice. A young couple had just become engaged and asked us to take a photo. Rode to Keystone Metals (wish they'd open that mini-segment), reversed to Station Square, crossed Ft. Pitt bridge, crowded Point State Park, Ft. Duquesne bridge, rode back to the Bastille, 27 miles. It was great to see Mark and get to talk with him, and doubly so on bicycles.
In the afternoon I tried to re-assemble my bike kit, which is actually about a hundred different items that may or may not remain in formation. Last week I took geat out of their normal places to gather my TOSRV supplies, and then on the return it was hither and yon for drying and cleaning, and it became scattered.
I stopped at REI for some MRE-type meals, bought a pouch of mandarin orange chicken and another of spicy sausage pasta, by Natural High. There really isn't a place for overnight parking along the Montour, so I parked in McDonald and hoped for the best (it was fine). I spent at least a half-hour sorted gear into panniers and trying to get my stuff together.
I was unsure of water availability, so I carried an extra half-gallon container from a convenience store. Between the four panniers, bedroll, and the water jug it was a pretty heavy bicycle when I started out on the trail.
After a few miles my front fender support failed. I'm guessing the weight on the bicycle flexed it a bit too much. No damage and I consider it part of the reason to do a shakedown, and I'm glad it happened now and not when I'm halfway between DC and Pittsburgh.
Crossing Route50, my cellphone range and my friend K was on the trail behind me and had seen my car, so we agreed that he'd catch up to me which was no great leap of faith given my speed.
I reached the Montour Trail's Kurnick campground around MP25.5 at almost the same time that D. arrived from the other direction, he was doing the same thing - checking out his gear for a DC-Pgh ride.
All five campgrounds were unoccupied so I started checking for a site with optimally spaced trees and chose Site2. D chose Site1 to set up his REI tent. My friend K came up the trail on his mountain bike and I got the hammock up pretty quickly, it really does only take about three minutes. That was pretty cool, established for a few minutes and hosting guests.
We had a nice visit, I hadn't seen K for a few weeks, and then he had to go as he had miles to make before it got dark. I continued setting up camp, rigged the stove, arranged some gear etc when my friend R. stopped by on his Rivendell. He lives a few miles out on the trail and came bearing gifts of bug spray and a water jug, both of which were very thoughtful.
I "made" coffee (which means, I boiled water and invoked the Starbucks Via ritual) and it was pretty good. I "cooked" the spicy sausage pasta; it was pretty good for an MRE, it certainly had a variety of tastes for the palate and probably better for morale than a PB&J, but nothing you'd ever be happy to have at a restaurant. As darkness began R. departed and I did a bit of camp clean up.
I climbed into the hammock and it was immediately obvious that the trees I'd used weren't far enough apart, the hammock had way too much of a bend in the middle. I thought, give it a few minutes but it didn't get any better it just got darker, so I got out of it and searched for another spot.
I was using a Petzl headlight, several years old and dim by contemporary standards but quite workable, and it was an awesome tool. I found two trees on a slope, took down and re-rigged the hammock. I realized I had the entry side of the hammock on the wrong side of the slope so that it was five feet up into the air, so I took it down and hung it the other way, and it all went well and I feel a bit more proficient at hanging the hammock in the dark.
|May 19, 2012 Week 19 |
|243#||2nd Qtr 861 miles|
2012: 1877 miles