Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Dry Run

With less than a week to go before my bikepacking trip, it seemed like a good idea to air out my camping gear and try a dry run in my home city.  The idea was that I would spend the day on my bike and then set up camp in the backyard.
Home sweet camp
The day started out in the rain which was a good thing.  What better way to train?  If you're out in the wilds on your bike and the weather turns bad, you have not many choices but to ride.  By the time I got downtown, the rain had eased up and in fact the sun began to burn off the damp.

After six hours of saddle time, I made it to my "camp" in the backyard.  My bike was covered in road splash which also meant that all its components were covered in a thick layer of sand.  Where the sand came from I have no idea but it was necessary to remove it before I rode any farther.  Being home, it was simply a matter of uncoiling the garden hose rather than dumping the bike in a creek if I was on the trail.
Bikey wash

Where we bikepack, it is not always possible to have a campfire, so it was a luxury to open up the woodshed and haul out dry fuel which I split using a survival shovel that my son had given me for Father's Day.  There was no need to find kindling since I could simply use my wife's blowtorch (yes she has better tools than me) to get a blaze going.
That's the way uh huh!

When we're bikepacking, most of our meals come from packages of dehydrated foods that we supplement with fresh vegetables bought from a local grocery store or roadside stand.  Camping in the backyard with a fridge full of food just steps away, it felt luxurious to have a meal served by my daughter and all I had to do was to cook the burgers over the fire.
It wasn't until 2:30 in the morning that the down - side of camping in the backyard presented itself.  The constant noise of traffic from the nearby ring road prevented me from enjoying the new Hubba Hubba tent I had been given for my birthday.  As well, I wasn't able to get a full night's sleep testing out a sleeping bag that I was considering buying.  But I would have had to get up anyway since my Thermarest mattress was flatter than a pancake - reminding me of one more thing to add to my growing list of tasks and errands that needed doing before the real trip begins.

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