Under the moon, in the dark, playing with the camera.
Riding the bike with the gear of one on the track of single is starting to pay off. Did a short ride on the go fast bike this weekend – pavement our of Richmond then up Wes White Hill and Pond Rd. looping to Mayo and Dugway before enjoying post ride coffee and fritter at the Parkside Kitchen. ~16 or so miles, but I worked them hard to test the legs on Wes White and the follow on up Mayo.
Its been a long while since I felt this good climbing… Wes White peaks out at 14%, and while the steepest parts are in the first mile, it carries on for another mile before settling down at the pond. Much more work to do, but I’m glad I re-discovered the Krampus as a single speed rig, its starting to pay off with my overall fitness.
Quick overnight with the girls. Dinner in Middlebury, then up the mountain to Silver Lake NF campground. Walk in at dusk, setup camp, snack, sleep.
In the morning we ate some snacks (I needed coffee) and then explored around the campground and the dam, then hiked out. The girls carried their bags in ~3/4 mile. Lina wasn’t interested in carrying out on the second day, so dad carried her bag up the trail. We had proper, second breakfast in Middlebury, before heading home.
Good fun, and we have another trip planned before it gets too cold.
I’ve been fussing with the cargo bike in anticipation of some family adventures – the stock Yuba Mundo is a great town bike – but we needed more cargo capacity – so I swapped the front fork for a Surly Big Dummy Fork, and mounted their Nice Rack so I could carry my old Ortlieb panniers on the front low rider mounts. The rack is wide – so we had a platform for other gear, and in the future will strap an Ice Mule cooler backpack there. Nothing goes completely according to plan – so I had to fabricate a small aluminum bracket to get the fork and the rack to play nicely – but after some hand fabrication everything went together nicely.
We needed a tent to fit 4 (for when Jen makes a trip with us) – but I didn’t want to get a car camping anchor. After plenty of reviews and research I settled on the Black Diamond Mega Light with the Mega Bug liner. This is a pyramid style tent, with 1 pole, room for 2 adults and 2 kids and gear, or 4 adults – and the outer tent can be used for winter camping or as a kitchen / tarp stand alone. Under 8 pounds for a family tent. And it packs reasonably small for what it is.
After Lina moved out of the pea-pod baby seat we had some concerns that she could fall off the bike (if she falls asleep, or we hit a rough spot on the road) – so I added the Yuba monkey bars. These work great… although they make towing Ava’s bike more difficult, and the bike is really tippy when the girls climb over the bars getting on and off. We made a little step out of some rope and random aluminum pipe we found at the hardware store to ease getting on and off.
In order to carry all our gear I acquired a second Go Getter bag… these bags are huge – go on and off easily, and can expand and contract to adjust to the load. We’ve been using them for around town. I have been using one as messenger bag when we shop or head into lunch or swim lessons.
Loading up I gave each girl 1 Ortlieb rear pannier that carried their clothes, swim suit, sleeping bag, rain coat, and sweater. We strapped their sleeping pad through the Ortlieb straps on top of the bag. We brought Lina’s life jacket that fit in her bag, and Ava’s bag held the common toiletry stuff of the girls – toothbrushes, soap, sunscreen, medicine, etc. And the Uno cards. Both girls brought their headlamps.
I used my Revelate Sweetroll for my sleeping bag, pad and clothes. This mounts to the handlebar. The pouch held things we might have needed on the bike – sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, some snacks, etc., as well as my personal items. On the front rack I had my Crazy Creek camp chair strapped, and my Quickshot folding tripod (never used it). On a longer trip we would have brought the IceMule cooler and strapped it here as well. In the Revelate Tangle bag I had my camp knife, pump, and a water bladder with hose strapped to a retractable line on the bars.
The big Yuba GoGetter bags on the back held tent, bug net, beach towels, blanket, food, small cooler, cook kit, bike kit (lock, tools, spares), and Nalgene canteen.
On the MonkeyBars I mounted each girl a Revelate Feed bag for their water bottles and snacks.
All in I think we had 440 pounds or more rolling down the road – dad + girls + bike + gear + food + water…
I’ve wanted to share my bikepacking / camping experiences with the girls for some time… and we finally made that happen last weekend. We planned a 2 night trip, but Ava was keen on not skipping out of her theater camp a couple of days early – so we did a 1 night trip to a nearby state park. We covered ~20 miles the first day from home to the state park. Most of the trip was on the Island Line trail, which is our local lakefront multi use path. The balance was on quiet dirt roads, with a couple sections of pavement.
We took the Local Motion Bike Ferry to continue on to Grand Isle, and stayed in Grand Isle State Park. Its a typical tent / lean to / camper / RV style park on Lake Champlain – so this was a ‘suburban’ style camping excursion. I picked a lean to / tent site that was isolated from the other sites. We used the lean to for cooking and hanging out, and slept in our tent.
We played in the park a bit before dinner, and while I cooked the girls ran back and forth to the drinking water spigot to top off our water and fill up the Sea to Summit Kitchen Sink (which worked great!!).
We ventured out after dark to take in the blue moon over the lake… and then tucked into bed for the night, where we had a good rain storm (my seam sealing worked!).
I attempted to make pancakes for breakfast while the girls played cards (hard to make pancakes in a tiny Ti pan… next time I’ll bring my older, larger cook kit). We then packed everything up, took a short swim in the lake, and headed home.
The trip home turned into a mini adventure. At our snack spot we heard thunder, and the girls asked me to ‘drop the hammer’ to get us home. I rode as hard as I could muster with 440 pounds of bike, gear, kids and dad rolling down the road… and we outran the storm by the time we got to the ferry….
…only to get stuck waiting for the next boat as the next wave of lightning and thunder rolled over us.
The girls were nervous and a bit scared, but we got away from the docks and few trees on the causeway, sat on our sleeping pads and hugged while snacking. The boat finally made it back and we all got on to sit out the wall of water and the front that blew through. Once the weather settled the ferry disembarked the original passengers, and we loaded up our bike for the final ~6 miles home. We were dry in our rain coats, but got splashed by the wind driven waves and lingering showers for a bit. After about 20 minutes the sun came out and I ditched my coat to cool off.
I’ll add another post with all the gear and bike geek stuff…
I snuck out on the IF for an overnight last weekend. Burlington to Shelburne and Charlotte on Spear, then dropping down to Vergennes and off to Middlebury on the backside route, staying to pavement most of the way down to Middlebury then up to Moosamaloo. Return route included Steam Mill and Natural Turnpike and some new (to me) dirt roads near Monkton.
I had a late lunch in Middlebury and then connected the TAM to skip some busy roads, only to find a construction detour that put me right back on Rt. 7 south out of town. In East Middlebury I hunted for a decent beer at the gas station / convenience store but nothing sounded good – so I topped off on a snack or two and water and headed up up up VT 125. The climb up 125 took forever. I was pretty cooked from the ride, and I walked the first steep pitch just out of town, pushing the bike uphill until I reached a pull off where I collected myself, hydrated, and then pushed on for camp.
At FR32, Goshen Ripton Rd. I turned onto dirt. This was about ~52 miles into my ride, and I found myself off the bike and pushing for a stretch to give the quads and lungs a break. FR32 is one of my move favorite places to get to on a bike.
My plan was to arrive around dinner time, setup camp, then make dinner while shooting a time-lapse sunset from the Voter Brook Overlook. I pulled into the Moosamaloo Campground at about 6:30, found an open site, dropped some $$ into the deposit box, and setup my Tarptent Moment.
The Voter Brook Overlook is a 5 minute ride further down the access road. It was a bit underwhelming with regards to getting a good sunset time-lapse – but I tried out the GoPro and made dinner.
After dinner I rolled back to camp, did some bike and gear adjustments, bear bagged my food and kitchen, and planned to turn in for the night. After I played with the long exposure settings on my Canon G12.
Morning found me up early, with the other campers still sound asleep. I made breakfast and broke camp, and headed for Steam Mill and Natural turnpike, 2 of my other favorite places to be in VT on a bicycle. Both of these roads are up up up… so I started the day with a good deal of climbing.
I stopped at the Robert Frost trail to adjust some clothing, and take advantage of the restrooms at the trailhead, from there I found Steam Mill Rd.
From high up on the Natural Turnpike I dropped into Lincoln, then Bristol for an early lunch / second breakfast at the Bristol Cafe and Bakery. A large group of GMBC cyclists congregated while I was enjoying my food. They were on a Sunday ‘touring’ ride. I chatted with a few before they left, then rolled out myself for home.
I picked a few new roads on the run back from Bristol… and the route pretty much did me in. I struggled from Monkton to home, but the roads I did choose are sure to be additions to future routes… especially if I route them to be downhill. Piney Woods Rd. is a lovely lane and a half (at most) of dirt… and it is steep as it follows the creek. Plank Rd., North Rd., Parks-Hurburt Rd. and Old Stage Rd. are also nice alternative routes (dirt) for going north / south and connecting into Bristol from Chittenden County.
From Monkton I followed familiar roads back into town, struggling with the heat, and feeling a bit dehydrated. I returned home about 30 hours after I left.
Pavement with a bit of dirt and trail
Dirt with pavement
Wil attempted the not quite ready for prime time XVT – a 300+ mile single track and dirt road route from Canada to Massachusetts a few weeks ago. He was carrying my SPOT and GPS, so Justin and I SPOT stalked him down in the Moosamaloo area…
I brought a thermos of coffee and a bagel for a very glad to see us Wil. Was fun riding with him – we met up with him on a trail above Goshen Dam and then rode with him into Silver Lake.
Wil headed south on Chandler Ridge and I took off down the Falls of Lana trail to find some food near Lake Dunmore. I rounded out my ride by having to ride back up VT 125 – I parked up at the Broadleaf Campus… so I had a long slog of a climb back to the car.