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Ohio to Erie Trail - elevation, grades, daily mileage, and stealth camping?

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Ohio to Erie Trail - elevation, grades, daily mileage, and stealth camping?

Old 03-27-20, 09:57 PM
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KC8QVO
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Ohio to Erie Trail - elevation, grades, daily mileage, and stealth camping?

For those that have done the Ohio to Erie Trail (whole trip) -

I assume the easiest run would be south to north? I ran the section between Columbus and Spring Valley last Fall and had a head wind. The elevation does go up w of Columbus, but I'd say the head wind was the bigger slow-down that particular trip.

It looks like the section through and just E of Centerburg is the highest point of the trip, but the grade doesn't appear too terrible.

Fredericksburg to Massillon shows some tough up and down going through several hills.

Akron shows what appears to be a pretty steep drop off going north.

Aside from the Fredericksburg to Massillon section of up and down - are there any note-worthy slow-down areas for one reason or another?

Does anyone have a run-down of their daily mileage? I have the 3-8 day runs from the website as a reference already.

Has anyone stealth-camped the whole trip? Any tips, suggestions, or stay-away-from's?
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Old 03-28-20, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
It looks like the section through and just E of Centerburg is the highest point of the trip, but the grade doesn't appear too terrible.
See A below

Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Fredericksburg to Massillon shows some tough up and down going through several hills.
See B below

Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Akron shows what appears to be a pretty steep drop off going north.
See C below

Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Aside from the Fredericksburg to Massillon section of up and down - are there any note-worthy slow-down areas for one reason or another?
See B below again - the bigger hill at the start of that marked section is about 22 trail miles E of Mt Vernon/3 trail miles west of Glenmont. Fredericksburg is near the high point of the segment of up/down on the east side of that marked section.

Here is a visualization:


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Old 03-28-20, 08:46 AM
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no personal experience, but a suggestion if you can, to try to find the elevation gain you had on a given day on your overly ambitious daily expected mileage trip last year, to hopefully have a reference of what you recall how X ft of climbing per day felt like--so you can conservatively judge a more reasonable daily distance for this trip, taking into account some climbing.
I think in meters, so I know that for a given rough estimate of climbing that google maps or whatever can sort of calculate for a days ride, it gives me a reasonable idea of how hard a day will be , as well as being realistic of a reasonable distance I can do in kilometers.

and as you know now, headwinds can be a real bugger and so leave some leeway for this.
oh, and try taking less stuff this time. Like when this came up last time, taking off 5 or 10lbs off what you had (I seem to remember you never weighed all your stuff) can make a real feelable difference.

good luck getting a feel for elevation gain vs comfortable distance.

ulimately the only way to learn is to do some loaded rides as test days where a google maps route can give you a pretty good idea of gain, and see how you feel, and go from there.

good luck with this and especially the virus situation in your country, and all the side effects of store availability etc
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Old 03-28-20, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
no personal experience, but a suggestion if you can, to try to find the elevation gain you had on a given day on your overly ambitious daily expected mileage trip last year, to hopefully have a reference of what you recall how X ft of climbing per day felt like--so you can conservatively judge a more reasonable daily distance for this trip, taking into account some climbing.
You have a good memory.

Although, I must say that trek was an outliar on multiple fronts.

For reference, here is the elevation across the trip mileage for that trip.

A = the elevation gain on the 2nd day.
B = the hills in the higher elevation and about in the middle of that section is where I got blown off the road.





The first 71 miles of this graph were day 1. The wind was the biggest factor, but riding wise on the trail I was fine. The 71 miles, with the conditions on that trip was too much - which I am taking that in to account thinking about another trip. I'd like to stay in the 40 mile range, but that gets in to the elevation analysis. I know I'll be slower in the hills. However, I want to spread the mileage out anyway because I want to keep it slow and enjoy it. I want to spend more time seeing things I rode past on the section I rode last time, for example.

Also of note - miles ~20-80 on this graph are the same as miles ~50.5-110.5 on the elevation graph before, just the other direction.

I suppose the elevation gain is a good number to keep in mind. There is a route I do fairly regularly that is a bit over 50 miles that has some up and down. I can check my numbers on that and see what the elevation gain is to compare. That would be a better gauge. Though, I'd still like to tone the mileage down even still to give that headroom for checking out sights along the way and not riding past things.
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Old 03-28-20, 12:01 PM
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if possible to get even a rough elevation gain of a day, it really helps in knowing how hard the day will be. Around 1000m of gain, so 3000something feet, is a fairly good day, but of course every person is diff in how strong a rider they are, and we are stronger as the season goes along, and as a long trip pedalling a heavy bike we get stronger too after a week, after 2 weeks....
2000 metres of climbing 6000something feet is a real bugger and I can only go about 50 or 60kms, 30 miles maybe
but of course there are days that we climb 300 or 500 meters and feel like crap....we arent machines

depends on how much weight your bike is
depends on your gearing, if your bike is geared too high, then you bust your ass, your knees and leg muscles really, and this takes a lot out of you...

40mi 60km is a good amount to be able to enjoy oneself for me, especially if I havent ridden fully loaded for a long time.

so yup, get some real world comparison for you to judge by, you pick up pretty quickly what x feet of climbing equates to how bagged you are, and how your gearing is for diff gradients
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Old 03-28-20, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
if possible to get even a rough elevation gain of a day, it really helps in knowing how hard the day will be.

depends on your gearing, if your bike is geared too high, then you bust your ass, your knees and leg muscles really, and this takes a lot out of you...
Good thoughts. That's why I am looking at things. Although, there could be other slow-downs besides just elevation - which is also why I started the thread. I recall there being a portion of trail in the last 100 miles or so that floods easy, for example.

As to the gearing - I have a Mountain Tamer Triple adapter set up for a quad chain ring giving me extremely low gearing. Looking at the last elevation graph at A (not the whole Ohio to Erie graph before) - I had to walk that ascent. Even with the ridiculously low gearing on the bike I didn't have it in me to pedal that. I got up a little bit but there was no way I could keep my momentum up and stay upright on the bike. Once I stopped there was no way to get back on the bike and start going again. So I just walked it.

The more regular 50 mile ride I referenced before is around 1100ft of elevation gain. That is doable. However, thinking about multiple days back to back of riding that isn't an ideal amount - at least right now. As the riding season progresses that may ease up so that will be a decent benchmark ride.

On a side note - I just swapped out my Mountain Tamer chain ring this afternoon. I had the 17t ring on there and replaced it with a 20. I don't use it very often. The jump down to the 17t ring is giant. We'll see how the 20 does.
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Old 03-28-20, 03:05 PM
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I see about 6000 feet of climbing over a 6 day ride for us. That ain't nuttin' : )
I do hope we're back to near normal by the end of May so we can make that ride.
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Old 03-28-20, 04:06 PM
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KC, from memory your bike looked it was awfully friggin heavy. The most Ive carried is maybe 50-55lbs filled to the gills with extra water food etc, I honestly dont know the weight, just guessing that it was 10 or 15lbs more than my base stuff for a long trip.

entertain yourself and put all your stuff together and weigh it. I seem to recall that you took a giant golf umbrella, all the junk like that adds up--so I suggest taking less stuff, although hey, its your ride--but less weight really really makes it easier for you on hills.
There's a reason we get very good at reducing to a minimum.
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Old 03-28-20, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
KC, from memory your bike looked it was awfully friggin heavy.

entertain yourself and put all your stuff together and weigh it.
I'm not discounting the point you are making. I've been backpacking since I was in college. Weight is even more important when you are on foot. To that point - there are some extras that I carry that 99.9% of people wouldn't consider, but thats just me.

As to the previous trek you are recalling - that wasn't just a riding trip and it was also during cold weather. So to my point earlier about that trek being an outlier on multiple fronts - there are a couple more "fronts" in that point - weather and why I was riding/where I was going. In planning a longer trip I can tune things differently.

As to your point about weighing gear - that is quite irrelevant to the same point. That trip was an outlier so the metrics within it (specifically weight here) don't have any bearing on what I am thinking about in the future. If I organize what I take based on backpacking then the gear simplifies quite a bit. That is what will relate here, not the previous trip you are recalling. I won't be packing light, though. I like to be comfortable and not running on the bare necessities. What that equation leads to for the trip is way too early to know. I also don't know exactly what I would take for a cook set, shelter, insulation options, etc, etc just yet. I have lotsa options - but narrowing it down will take some thought.

What I suspect will add up in weight even more on a long trip (more than a couple days) is food and water. I don't expect to be doing the ride for quite some time, so hopefully the panic buying is over with store inventory. Right now I couldn't rely on going in to a store to get supplies. If that continues I would have to load up at the start to be safe.
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Old 03-28-20, 09:10 PM
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That's right, I had forgotten it was cold. I've never done a trip in cold, but do ride all Canadian winter so am aware of needing different clothes.
I'm not a minimalist, certain things are worth having for comfort etc. As I'm a light guy, I do however try to keep it to a certain point though.
as you say, it's a long way off.
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Old 03-29-20, 06:23 AM
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I did the trip Cincinnati to Cleveland in 2018. I did the trip in 3 and half days. First night I camped in London- there are free trailside campsites for cyclists. Next night I camped in Glemont at a public park. My last night I slept at a scenic rail station in the Cuyahoga National recreation area near Cleveland. The entire trip is 326 miles so I probably averaged close to 90 miles per day. For the most part any grade changes are not discernible because most of the route following rail trail or canal towpath. The off trail section between Fredericksburg and Dalton is hilly but not difficult. There are several camping areas along the way- i.e. state parks- but you may have to travel several miles from the trail. If you don't mind stealth camping, there are a lot of possibilities.
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Old 03-29-20, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
For those that have done the Ohio to Erie Trail (whole trip) -

Has anyone stealth-camped the whole trip? Any tips, suggestions, or stay-away-from's?
Currently, might not be a good idea. I live out in the country in southern Illinois, and if I found someone stealth camping on my property during this pandemic, I might consider exercising my 2nd amendment rights. I'm a reasonable person, my neighbors, not so much. Southern Ohio is probably about the same
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Old 03-30-20, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
Currently, might not be a good idea. I live out in the country in southern Illinois, and if I found someone stealth camping on my property during this pandemic, I might consider exercising my 2nd amendment rights. I'm a reasonable person, my neighbors, not so much. Southern Ohio is probably about the same
What about trail side, known regular camp spots, known stealth camp spots, known bike tourer-friendly places that allow popping a tent for the night?

I've stealth camped on the bottom third before - trail side - and would be OK with that theory all the way through if it came down to it, but flat ground would be nice

I'm itching to get my hammock back. I made it all the way home last summer from the cabins and realized I left it. At this point it looks like we'll need to get up there and dig for it. I don't think I can get anyone over there locally to find it and mail it. And I don't know where it is right off hand... I have ideas, but would prefer to dig myself or have someone that knows the places it might be do the digging... So its ground dwelling until I can o that. I haven't done much ground dwelling since about 2011-2012. I've always used the hammock - even in winter.
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Old 03-30-20, 10:08 AM
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I think trail side stealth could work in these uncertain days. The up side is that everyone else is staying home and you probably won't be bothered sleeping at a bench along the trail or just off trail in a patch of trees. I wasn't trying to discourage your plans, just be careful, these aren't normal days. We'll know more in the weeks and months to come. All of my touring plans are on hold. I just hope I can get out and travel this summer.
I got bored yesterday and set up a sweet jump for my mountain bike. My wife didn't even try to talk me out of it. I took that sweet jump, should of wore my helmet. Well, 8 stitches later. I'm just chillin'. I let boredom and my Y chromosome make me do something stupid. There's never a good day to go to the ER, but this is an especially bad time.

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Old 03-30-20, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by smudgy View Post
I think trail side stealth could work in these uncertain days. The up side is that everyone else is staying home and you probably won't be bothered sleeping at a bench along the trail or just off trail in a patch of trees. I wasn't trying to discourage your plans, just be careful, these aren't normal days. We'll know more in the weeks and months to come. All of my touring plans are on hold. I just hope I can get out and travel this summer.
I got bored yesterday and set up a sweet jump for my mountain bike. My wife didn't even try to talk me out of it. I took that sweet jump, should of wore my helmet. Well, 8 stitches later. I'm just chillin'. I let boredom and my Y chromosome make me do something stupid. There's never a good day to go to the ER, but this is an especially bad time.
Thanks for the thoughts.

Sorry to hear of the wreck. That is never a good thing.

I used to be in to BMX/freestyle riding. When I was 18 I was at an indoor skate park with a buddy of mine. I went up a vert wall and ended up coming off of the vertical portion too far. I essentially nose-dived in to the floor. Not only did I get stitches I knocked a tooth out and I am pretty sure I broke my jaw. I was on a soup through a straw diet for weeks. I had the tooth jammed back in at the ER. It lasted until a year and a half ago. The root canal that was done on the tooth let go when I was eating a Ruben sandwich. That root canal material was all that was left. The tooth dissolved inside the gum line over the years. Now I have an implant in its place.

Back on topic - I did some more work on my A frame tent idea today. I made a ground cover for it. Then I weighed it. The tent, trekking poles, ground cover, stakes, an the ground cover is right at 8lbs. My Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 2 tent complete, minus ground cover (I always used tarps back in the day) is 7.4lbs. For the size and robustness of the Hammerhead I am thinking it is the best option - much bigger inside. However, it is a bigger tent and more complicated to set up. I suppose the other upshot is it is self-supporting with the pole structure.

If I had my hammock I would have no issue - no worry of needing flat ground and it weighs less than any of the ground dwelling options I have. It does require trees or other supports, but that is not much of an issue.
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Old 03-30-20, 06:21 PM
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I walk away with no broken bones, that was good.
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Old 03-30-20, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
Thanks for the thoughts.

Sorry to hear of the wreck. That is never a good thing.

I used to be in to BMX/freestyle riding. When I was 18 I was at an indoor skate park with a buddy of mine. I went up a vert wall and ended up coming off of the vertical portion too far. I essentially nose-dived in to the floor. Not only did I get stitches I knocked a tooth out and I am pretty sure I broke my jaw. I was on a soup through a straw diet for weeks. I had the tooth jammed back in at the ER. It lasted until a year and a half ago. The root canal that was done on the tooth let go when I was eating a Ruben sandwich. That root canal material was all that was left. The tooth dissolved inside the gum line over the years. Now I have an implant in its place.

Back on topic - I did some more work on my A frame tent idea today. I made a ground cover for it. Then I weighed it. The tent, trekking poles, ground cover, stakes, an the ground cover is right at 8lbs. My Mountain Hardwear Hammerhead 2 tent complete, minus ground cover (I always used tarps back in the day) is 7.4lbs. For the size and robustness of the Hammerhead I am thinking it is the best option - much bigger inside. However, it is a bigger tent and more complicated to set up. I suppose the other upshot is it is self-supporting with the pole structure.

If I had my hammock I would have no issue - no worry of needing flat ground and it weighs less than any of the ground dwelling options I have. It does require trees or other supports, but that is not much of an issue.
For times when i know for certain that I'll be stealth camping or going on a short tour in an area where campsites will have lots of trees, I use and old 2-man pup-tent. I pitch it by tying one end rope to one tree and the other end rope to another tree. If needed I'll put my tarp up over it. the tarp is longer than the tent by a fair bit and thus makes a great vestibule and/or place to park my bike if inclement weather threatens. Here's an image of the tent with the tarp over it.



Cheers
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Old 03-30-20, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
For times when i know for certain that I'll be stealth camping or going on a short tour in an area where campsites will have lots of trees, I use and old 2-man pup-tent. I pitch it by tying one end rope to one tree and the other end rope to another tree. If needed I'll put my tarp up over it. the tarp is longer than the tent by a fair bit and thus makes a great vestibule and/or place to park my bike if inclement weather threatens.
Thanks for the info. How do you deal with the open ends of the tarp?

Here are some pictures of the A frame tent. Width-wise you could put 2 pads in there and call it a "2 person tent", but it is awfully small. I've camped in it on several occasions but it only made it on one backpacking trip before I replaced it. For getting horizontal its one thing, but it doesn't allow sitting up in. I'm thinking more and more it isn't the right thing to try and take on a trip more than a night.

In the second picture without the tarp fly you can see the guy system and ridge line. All lines use Bowlien knots (that is my favorite, most versatile, and easily undone knot) except for where two lines are tied together to extend. The guy lines to the 4 stakes are anchored first. The ridge line is 2 lines with one of them (the short side) set up with a bowline loop midway through that acts as a force multiplier, just like a block and tackle. So with the 4 point guy line system in place the ridge line tensioning process pushes the trekking poles down hard, adds a ton of force to the guy lines, and gives a taught ridge line (in theory). I need better stakes that will hold up to the force and not pull out. It didn't help that I set it all up in a swamp after several inches of rain, but its what the weather had in store that day.

The tarp is an 8x10 (actual dimensions are less - 93"x117"). With the tarp and a trash bag ground cover the set up weighs in at 8lbs.

Also of note - the 4 guy lines are glow chord. That has become a necessity for me at night when I get up to take a leak. That makes a world of difference, yet somehow I still manage to snag them and swipe my crocs off...





When I stealth camped last time I took just the tarp and some gear as a "just in case" option. That was a good call as I ended up needing it. You can see the glow chord lit up here. I just used the tarp folded over like a hotdog bun with the rear panniers at the head end. The set up was adequate, but if there was any rain it would have been a pain in the butt for anything other than strictly staying horizontal.



I have a 10x14 tarp, I think.... The larger size would certainly give a lot more cover - but at the expense of more weight and bulk.

One nice thing about the tarp idea is it could be set up by itself relatively easily (with supports) for a get-out-of-the-weather-quick option if there was a round of rain hitting. That and it would provide a dry place to cook.

The dome tent I have has 2 vestibules. It has dual entry - side entry - and vestibules on each side. They aren't big enough for a bike, but it would be conceivable to cook there if I had to. The fly doesn't lend itself to a quick set up on the go shelter, however, like a tarp along a ridge line. Lotsa ideas.
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Old 03-30-20, 10:21 PM
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For KC8QVO in response to a question posed in Post #18 .

I usully just leave the ends of that tarp open. The tarp is quite a bit longer than what the tent is. Whenever I think it might rain the night I pitch camp, I use a 2" or 3" wood disc on each line that runs from the tent/tarp to the tree. Whenever water runs down those cords it gets stopped by the discs and drips off harmlessly long before getting to the tent.

If i want to close off the tarp a bit or a lot I just partially split some deadfall twigs and use them sort of like old style peg clothespins.

Btw, when I pitch my tent and tarp like in the image I posted there are only two cords coming away from it. Those two cords are the ones that hold the ends of the tent to the trees. That means there are no low cords to snag my feet or to trip over.

I should go set that system up again and then take a few images of it without the tarp on and then closeups showing how the tarp discs work.

Cheers
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Old 03-30-20, 10:46 PM
  #20  
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Of course, this past weekend gave the northern end of your trip over three inches of rain in 30 hours, so the Towpath section is closed and under water! The Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland is at the highest flood in almost 100 years (barring late-winter ice-jams).
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Old 03-31-20, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
When I stealth camped last time I took just the tarp and some gear as a "just in case" option.
My "just in case" alternative is a tube tent. It is light and compact and with a pad/sleeping bag not too much to carry when I mostly expect to find indoor lodging, but want flexibility to go without pinning myself down with reservations. Shown here in Onida SD, when the only hotel in town was full of workers constructing an ethanol plant in town. As color indicates, I'm not necessarily trying to be "stealth" but more have a place away from wind/water and don't expect many bugs.
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Old 03-31-20, 08:23 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Cougrrcj View Post
Of course, this past weekend gave the northern end of your trip over three inches of rain in 30 hours, so the Towpath section is closed and under water! The Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland is at the highest flood in almost 100 years (barring late-winter ice-jams).
Thanks for the note. I recall that from #Smudgy 's trip last year that there was a section up north that could have some water issues.

As to timing - it won't be real soon. Hopefully the water level drops and doesn't come back up. I want to build up my riding shape more before I tackle it. I have a 70 mile trip in the works in the next week or so, just an out/back trip, not an over-nighter. I don't expect any issues, however it is the highest daily mileage this season - since early November.

Mileage target right now on the OTET is around 40 miles/day so if I keep it slow and easy maybe I can keep from over-using my legs. The more I build up before, though, the better shape I'll be in.
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Old 03-31-20, 08:25 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
My "just in case" alternative is a tube tent. It is light and compact and with a pad/sleeping bag not too much to carry when I mostly expect to find indoor lodging, but want flexibility to go without pinning myself down with reservations. Shown here in Onida SD, when the only hotel in town was full of workers constructing an ethanol plant in town. As color indicates, I'm not necessarily trying to be "stealth" but more have a place away from wind/water and don't expect many bugs.
You've got some balls if you're camped right next to a parking lot like that. I hope people left you alone.
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Old 03-31-20, 08:38 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
For KC8QVO in response to a question posed in Post #18 .

I usully just leave the ends of that tarp open. The tarp is quite a bit longer than what the tent is. Whenever I think it might rain the night I pitch camp, I use a 2" or 3" wood disc on each line that runs from the tent/tarp to the tree. Whenever water runs down those cords it gets stopped by the discs and drips off harmlessly long before getting to the tent.
Thanks for the detail.

When I first was using the A frame tent I had a much smaller tarp. I want to say it was a 6x8, so actual dimensions were less. I used it oriented LxW with the tent dimensions. The sides weren't long enough to cover the tent all the way down to the ground so I had to guy the corners and keep the sides elevated. I remember a night or two of light rain in the past. If the rain comes straight down its not a problem, however there is very little protection if the wind blows. With a tarp going all the way down to the ground protection is better, however open ends can create a wind tunnel affect and blow right through - covering the tent. I'd say it would be better than a small tarp "roof only", but still not "storm proof".

With the weight being what it is - anything else I add to the A frame tent is only going to add more weight - such as a bigger tarp and closing in the ends. That isn't what I want to do. The dome tent is less weight already, has more room, and is very storm proof (I've rode out a hurricane force wind storm on a ridge in the appalachians in it). It's downsides here are it is more complex to set up (more time) and has a bigger footprint. Maybe that won't be as much of a concern as I think.
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Old 03-31-20, 08:43 AM
  #25  
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For KC8QVO again.

See how that tent is pitched? That's how i pitch my tent but then I used a separate line above the tent to put the tarp over. That keeps the tarp from touching the tent.

Cheers
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