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berner's and Sharon and Jim's Big Adventure

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berner's and Sharon and Jim's Big Adventure

Old 07-22-12, 06:40 PM
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berner's and Sharon and Jim's Big Adventure

A one-night camping trip from our house to Harold Parker State Forest, distance about 40 miles by our chosen route. BF member berner drove up from Rhode Island and we left Saturday morning. The weather was predicted to be spectacular and the meteorologists were spot on. It was our first attempt on the tandem, and our first such trip for decades.

Some pics

The bike loaded, waiting for berner to arrive:



Ready to start:



Taking a break at Faulker Mills:



Checking the map in Ballardvale (where the heck is Ballardvale??):


While we were reading maps a train came through...

Bikes and riders at rest in Andover. I swear, the elevation here must be 8000ft!



Sharon and berner eating strawberries before dinner:



Time to leave. Okay Sharon, pick up the bike!



Back home again, exhausted



91.67 miles. 41 miles the first day. Then after we set up camp Sharon and I did a 6 miles round trip to a local farm stand. Ah, fresh veggies and fruit.

One of the rangers was a cyclists and vintage bike enthusiast. He came through to announce a movie showing (one of two this summer) for the children, and ended up talking bikes with us for 20 minutes.

We got lots of nice comments from folks we met on the route. Tandems generate smiles anyway, and the sight of one loaded was over the top, I guess. Other campers had to ask about it too.

The bike weighed about 95lbs loaded, more than I would have liked but light for two people backpacking in the old days. It handled surprisingly well once I got the feel for it. (We'd taken it out for a test spin a few days earlier.) We have to re-think a few things, what to eat for lunch, how to organize things, etc. But all in all it was a great trip! The bike didn't break! We came through mostly unscathed too. Berner had no trouble either. We all had fun.

We just kept rolling except that sometimes we just couldn't.

More pics can be found here:

http://users.rcn.com/jimmuller/pics/tour_7.21-22.12/
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Old 07-22-12, 07:00 PM
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Was this on the tandem? And if so, how did you care your gear?
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Old 07-22-12, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemore View Post
Was this on the tandem? And if so, how did you care your gear?
I just edited the opening post to add some pics. (I had clicked the Start Thread button instead of Go Advanced. Duh.)
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Old 07-22-12, 07:10 PM
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Great pics, looks like great fun. Very familiar with Harold Parker as it is in my hometown. Ballardvale is a subdistrict in Andover.
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Old 07-22-12, 07:36 PM
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Jim, you got a good few pictures from the trip that's for sure and it looks like y'all had a great time on the camping trip besides!

How long did it take to get from your home to the campground while on the tandem? Also, did you employ the routes that minimized the hills using the lessons learned from your last bike trip up near Harold Parker? I'm hoping to get some good advice from you.
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Old 07-22-12, 07:54 PM
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Great post, Jim. Definitely generated some smiles from me!
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Old 07-22-12, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
Jim, you got a good few pictures from the trip that's for sure and it looks like y'all had a great time on the camping trip besides!
Thanks!

Originally Posted by photogravity View Post
How long did it take to get from your home to the campground while on the tandem? Also, did you employ the routes that minimized the hills using the lessons learned from your last bike trip up near Harold Parker? I'm hoping to get some good advice from you.
How long did it take, he asks. About 5hrs, 30min on Saturday. The return today was about EDIT: 6hrs, 45min. We took a different route home for parts of it, stopped a lot, got sort of lost a few times, but found our way eventually.

We did avoid the two super hills I had found on my original route. Discussing the options was the reason we stopped in Ballardvale. But we still ended up going up one hill that berner estimated at 11%. Fortunately it wasn't too long. That hill and the fact that Andover is way up in the air is why we took that break on the lawn. I had run out of gas.

The cyclist ranger gave us some directions for the return which did help us avoid the tough ones which could have been dangerous to descend! But following his route from memory and reading the large-scale Rubels map led us astray for part of it and my guess at how to correct didn't work out quite as planned. Still, it was a good alternative. For the next time we make that trip we can avoid all the tough stuff.
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Last edited by jimmuller; 07-23-12 at 08:03 AM. Reason: Couldn't count. Tired brain, I guess.
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Old 07-22-12, 07:55 PM
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Nice, Jim! Looks very fun. You guys sure look prepared Can't wait to do one of these myself.
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Old 07-22-12, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post


That. Beard.

GLORIOUS!







(sounds like a great tour)
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Old 07-23-12, 07:11 AM
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That was an excellent adventure Sharon and Jim and we certainly should do a similar ride again. The campground was beautiful and serene nestled under a pine forest with well spaced out sites and ground cover of pine needles. Just as important to enjoyment, campground staff was welcoming, pleasant with plenty of hot water for showers.

There are so many fine country roads in the area I think the campground would made a good base camp for day rides in the surrounding area. I would think local bike shops or college outing club would have routes mapped out.

I feel surprisingly good today but I'm going to do a very slow, lazy and short ride around town and our local state park to keep the legs loose and ready to go again. Thanks guys.
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Old 07-23-12, 07:40 AM
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Nice!
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Old 07-23-12, 08:44 AM
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Great pics Jim! Only thing missing is a trailer hooked up to your tandem toting tour banjo and Sharon's bass fiddle.
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Old 07-23-12, 08:57 AM
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Great trip, Jim, Sharon and Berner, I'd be in for an overnight sometime once it cools off.

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Old 07-29-12, 04:44 PM
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Yipes . . what a hefty load on a tandem!
When we tandem toured in northern AZ from the Grand Canyon (7,000'+ elevation) to Mexico we choose the credit card/motel/restaurants route and hauled only 22 lbs of stuff for the 2-of-us.
Six days of riding and 500+ miles of ever-changing scenery from the largest Ponderosa forest down to the Sonoran desert.
Stoker gained 5 lbs in 6 days!
We had been told " . . . but you can't do that on a tandem!" . . . so we did 3 more times in the ensuing years.
Tandem touring is twice the fun!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 07-29-12, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Yipes . . what a hefty load on a tandem!
When we tandem toured in northern AZ from the Grand Canyon (7,000'+ elevation) to Mexico we choose the credit card/motel/restaurants route and hauled only 22 lbs of stuff for the 2-of-us...
Don't I wish we could carry only 22 lbs! Sharon has some food allergies so we can't go into just any random restaurant. That means we carry our own food and cooking utensils. Which means we need a stove. Which means we must stay at places where we can actually cook. So camping is the only way to go.

Yeah, it was a load when we were going uphill. But we are a pretty light team, total about 270 lbs. So an extra 50 lbs didn't faze the bike one bit. Okay, it did faze my muscles a bit, and my bodily salt, blood sugar, and water content.

We're going to do it again soon!
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Old 07-29-12, 05:04 PM
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What's it like handling all that weight with your handlebars and hips? I imagine it's a lot of work.

Nice pictures. Looks like loads of fun.
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Old 07-29-12, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
What's it like handling all that weight with your handlebars and hips? I imagine it's a lot of work.

Nice pictures. Looks like loads of fun.
Thanks, Tom. Handling? What handling?

Actually, it wasn't too bad. It took more upper-body effort than it does unloaded. Balance wasn't hard, didn't seem to be affected; in fact this bike likes to stay upright anyway and we can ride it at near walking pace easily. But maintaining a straight line took more arm strength with the weight. That was the biggest thing I noticed after the greater effort at going uphill.

Our first packing and experimental spin around the neighborhood suggested lowering and reducing the weight in front. So for the trip if something heavy had to go up front we packed it in the bottom of the panniers. Also we put as much light stuff as possible in the canister. (The canister was to keep rodents like raccoons and mice out of the food. We didn't really expect bears to be a problem in Andover. The reflective cover to keep the sun off the cansiter is a food storage bag Sharon dug up somewhere and it fit the canister perfectly.)
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