My front gear (everything for camping) weighed in at around 5 pounds. My rear gear (including my Asus Flip Chromebook and a scad of charging accessories for electronics) was about 12 pounds. That's a couple pounds more than I'd normally take, but I brought along a couple of things I was just trying out. Of course, there was also the stuff like tubes, tools, CO2 cartridges, and locks that are always on the bike in the seat and stem bags.
Needless to say, I took my trusty newly updated vintage slow bike. If you're going to be slow, be stylish.
When I set off the first morning it felt a bit like I was pedaling the Queen Mary down the road. I remembered pedaling bikes with way more gear than this, but that was a lot of years ago. I'm on a carbon fiber road bike mostly these days. It took about 10 miles of pedaling to get used to the feel of the loaded (if lightly loaded) bike.
I made a brief stop and changed the display on my Garmin. I pay attention to the numbers there, so only the ones I need should be there:
- Time of day,
- Battery level, and
Pennekamp State Park is about 60 miles from home. You have to have reservations, but they always keep a couple of sites available for cyclists on a first come first get basis. I called ahead and told them I was arriving by bicycle and needed a campsite. They said they would fit me in. A regular site was a possibility. The youth camping area was the backup plan. But no problem with having a place to stay.
When I arrived they put me in a regular campsite so I had an electrical outlet for charging stuff right on the site. And there was another bonus: Over 65-year-old Florida residents pay half price. (That's $23 a night. I'm a motel kind of traveler, but I can see the virtue in this kind of thing.)
|The bike gets to sleep in the tent, too!|
It was interesting camping again after so many years. Wind in the trees. Birds. One night I watched the full moon's glow through the walls of the tent. The next night I opened the tent flap so I could enjoy both the full moon and the stars.
The bug bivy performed beautifully. I was surprised that I was reasonably comfortable sleeping on the ground. Which means the sleeping pad was doing its job. There was a brief pop-up rain storm one afternoon while I was out on a ride. I was delighted on my return to the campsite to see the interior of the tent, with all my stuff, was nice and dry.
The bike worked out just fine. It is slow compared to my road bike, but, on the other hand, much easier since we rolled right through patches of sand, light gravel, and unpaved surfaces without a bit of concern. I had no problems with the bridges in the Keys. (It was the first time I tried the single chainring setup on a bigger bridge.)
And to my surprise, I hadn't forgotten how to break camp. I took down the camp and packed the bike in the dark no less!
Traveling by bicycle is all about ambience. If I just want to get somewhere, I can take a car at 60 miles an hour. If I want to really see the route and talk to people, I travel by bicycle at 60 miles a day.