Cold Comfort at French Creek
Well, I survived my overnight camping trip to French Creek State Park. I got off to a late start, so I rode directly to the campsite, 15.5 miles away, instead of riding a scenic route of 26 miles. 1500 feet of climbing in those 15.5 miles. As usual, I took a ton of photos - the leaves peaked a few days ago, but there's still lots of color left, and we might have another full week before the color is gone. The only major problem is that I probably threw my front derailer out of whack after setting the bike down so I could get some photographs. But I was about three miles from home, so I just pedaled on my small ring rather than try to fix it along the highway. I also need to make some small adjustments to the trailer.
The temperature was about 40 degrees overnight, so I wasn't too cold. The air was very damp, however, which makes my joints creak. French Creek State Park is very rocky, so I had to search a bit for a good spot to pitch the tent.
As I mentioned, the ride featured 1500 feet of climbing. Well this morning I had 1500 feet of descending, one two mile stretch out of the park from the campsite, and another two mile stretch on Rt. 23. However, in the park you don't need to worry about 18 wheelers and flatbeds whizzing past you at 45 MPH.
Photos to come later tonight or tomorrow. Meanwhile, I have to shower and get ready for work. I have a nine hour day ahead of me.
Here's the route:
Originally Posted by The Historian
I skipped two side trips, to St. Peter's Village and to Hopewell Furnace, simply to avoid more climbing. I'm very out of shape.
Seminary building, constructed in 1874, located near St. Peter's Village, PA. I love the bell tower.
Like I wrote before, I like the bell tower:
This tree along Rt. 23 can't quite make up its mind:
Ten miles of climbing in, six more to go. Note the wide shoulder - Rt. 23 is PA Bicycle Route "S". The intersecting Rt. 345 is Bicycle Route "L." It's also stuffed with annoying rollers.
Rt. 345 is roller after roller. Fortunately it's not that far to the park when instead of rollers I faced a long, long uphill on Park Road, with a small reprieve as I passed Hopewell Lake. Here's the crest of the worst one, on Pine Swamp Road.
As I entered the long uphill road to the campsite I saw a couple of hot air balloons passing overhead:
Setting up camp. The park rangers required all campers to display their site registration on the dashboard of their vehicle, and so I complied as best I could. I was the only bike tourist in the park that day.
The "no pet, no electric" tent site was far enough away from the loop of campsites that I didn't see any other campers. I woke up and the first thing I would see would be the forest; other campers would wake up and see over RVs. The only drawback for me was lugging the loaded bike back and forth down a rocky slope from the road.
Settled in for the night. On Tom Stormcrowe's advice I wore a cap to bed to help retain heat. The tent was pretty warm, and my sleeping bags even warmer. Again on Tom's advice I used a fleece sleeping bag liner, from Wal-mart, to add to the warmth of my 40 degree bag. The only drawback was that I felt 'tighter' than I normally do in a sleeping bag. Most of my camping has been done in summer months, and I've either slept with the bag unzipped, or on top of the bag.
For sleeping I wore a long sleeved cotton shirt (I don't own any long sleeve synthetics), synthetic long underwear, the cycling cap from Performance, and DeFeet wool "Blaze" socks. Since this was an overnight and I wasn't doing anything after setting up the tent aside from settling in for the night, I didn't bring 'regular' clothes aside for those intended for sleeping.
Since I was a distance from other campers, the only sounds I heard at night were the wind and leaves falling on the tent.
Breaking camp the next morning. Yes, I can get my jersey to close, thank you very much. I was just cooling off. The camp shower facilities were icky, and since I'm 16 miles from home, I decided to skip showering. I regretted my decision later, since I felt, and smelled, awful by the end of the ride.
Hopewell Lake the next morning. No tourists, just me and another camper, a Christian reading the Bible by the lake. We spoke for a few minutes while I was taking photos.
Downtown Spanky Brown
Nice pics Neil, looks like you had a blast!
How did you like the cross tires? They look nice on Roark!
The front one is so big I need to partially deflate it to get it on the fork - the brakes get in the way. Other than that, they are OK tires.
Originally Posted by bautieri
Tilting with windmills
How did the saddle thing work out?
I'm pretty close to doing an overnighter. I can't wait.
I did this little overnight tour for a number of reasons:
1. I need to get miles on the new saddle;
2. I wanted to get more miles in on my bib tights;
3. I need to ride a LOT more to help get my weight back under control - I'm up 30 some pounds from last year, and I don't like it.
4. I need more experience camping in less than ideal conditions - 40 degrees and damp qualifies, I think.
5. I need to spend more time on hills and less on flat roads and trails.
6. I need to test the trailer modifications.
And, most importantly:
7. It's been three months since my last tour. I missed touring.
And responses to those seven reasons:
1. The new saddle is OK, but 31 additional miles isn't enough to tell me if the Bontrager InForm 146 is OK for me. I had a bit of chafing, but much less than the gel saddle I had, and the wider InForm I was riding.
2. padded bib tights ROCK! No more catching material on the saddle nose!
3. I have a lot of work to do.
4. Camping in the cold isn't bad. I, and my achy joints, can do without the dampness. If we get a stretch of dry, cold weather I may camp again this fall and winter. Otherwise, I'm done for the season.
5. I have a LOT of work to do.
6. The Yakima fork and the BOB skewer don't quite fit right. I removed the rubber buffers from the sides of the latches on the Yakima and it fit on then, but even secured with cotter pins the trailer moved on the skewer too much when riding. I'll try putting a piece of tubing on to make it a tighter fit.
7. I want to tour more. All the overnight did was make me want to tour again.