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Not touring during the pandemic?

Old 09-03-21, 08:37 AM
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Not touring during the pandemic?

I hope this isn't too far off topic... Just curious what others who like me aren't touring during the pandemic are doing with their time and how they are getting exercise. I haven't even been riding much during the Tallahassee summer heat and have been working out on my Concept 2 rowing machine since it allows me st stay in the AC. I recently got interested in foraging for edible mushrooms and since there are good foraging locations a short distance from home I started riding to them in the cooler early morning hours. It is short mileage, but at least I get on the bike a little.

My wife and I typically walked the dog three times a day in the past, but the dog is getting old and lazy especially since she had her spleen removed early this year. She used to think it was her job to be sure we all got exercise, but not so much these days since her arthritis and heart condition hold her back. I find myself lacking motivation as well, afterall I am getting old and lazy too. So her walks don't provide us much exercise especially in the hot weather, maybe when it gets cooler she/we will have more energy.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:04 AM
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Touring is socially distancing. Why would you stop? The only issues I've had were being surprised by different restrictions in different states.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Touring is socially distancing. Why would you stop? The only issues I've had were being surprised by different restrictions in different states.
Campground availability, if that's you thing (It is for me), has also been tight in many places.

I have only done an overnight and a three-day this year, but not because of pandemic-related reasons. I am scheduled to take the train to northern Vermont on 9/11 and then ride home to Philly over the following 12 or so days, with an extra day in Burlington to visit some peeps. Hope to get in a couple more long weekends this fall.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:31 AM
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I thought state parks weren't allowed to turn away bicyclists even when they are "full". Most of the time I roll into camp after the attendants have left and am gone before they get there the next morning.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I hope this isn't too far off topic... Just curious what others who like me aren't touring during the pandemic are doing with their time and how they are getting exercise. ....
Since I assume you usually tour solo, do a lot of wild camping, I would have assumed you would be touring, so I am a little surprised. But since you try to buy groceries every day, predominantly travel in well populated areas, I can see why you saw risks.

I had a plan to do a tour in summer 2020 with a friend, but we canceled that when the lockdown hit.

Last winter I had an old Nordic Track that I blew the dust off of and used quite a bit. Also blew the dust of a vintage hybrid that I use on an indoor trainer, but the trainer got a lot less use than the Nordic Track.

And last winter we had unusually good snow conditions here in Madison WI, I did more cross country skiing last year than I have done in decades.

I had plans this year for:
- Backpacking in Northern Minnesota, trip was to start a week ago.
- Canoeing in Northern Minnesota in Oct.
- Bike tour in fall with a friend.

Backpacking got canceled when the national forest and Minnesota DNR closed all lands they had authority over to dispersed camping due to the existing forest fires and high fire risk. My pack was packed, my food was packed, had been hiking up and down a nearby hill with the loaded pack on (6 pound brick to simulate food weight), had post office scheduled to hold my mail and ... boom, trip ended two days before I left home. So, I am typing on the internet instead of hiking to my next campsite right now. If they re-open soon, I may still go, the pack is still packed.

Canoeing may still happen. The part of the Boundary Waters I was going to is still closed due to fires, but I expect it to open in a month. They re-opened the rest of the Boundary Waters as of tomorrow.

BIke tour, our plans were to take Amtrak to New Orleans and start there. We had it mapped out, part of the trip would be Natchez Trace. Hurricane Ida canceled that plan. Or we canceled it due to Ida.

I have done more solo longer day rides last year and this year than I recall ever doing before.

Quit going to the gym in Feb 2020, started again in Apr 2021, but quit again in Jul due to rising Covid numbers and the gym stopped following CDC guidance.

Just rolling with the punches and playing it as it comes.

Basement is better organized than it has been in decades, garage is getting that way too.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
I thought state parks weren't allowed to turn away bicyclists even when they are "full".
I have actually been in touch with Adventure Cycling about this in connection with trying to get a specific state park in NJ with a good amount of "dead space" to adopt a no-turn-away policy for hikers and bikers. The place in along ACA's Atlantic Coast route ad near the AT. It's very popular outside of winter and is basically impossible to get into on the weekends during certain times of year. Only a handful of states have no-turn-away policies applicable to cyclists, and they vary a bit. E.g., IIRC, at least one state only allows a cyclist to stay one night if all the regular sites are full.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:22 PM
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I've cycled across Canada this summer because of the pandemic. I live in Quebec and preferred not to travel internationally.

Conditions varied across provinces and over time. The more annoying issue was in Ontario where restaurants would sell exclusively take-out food. No restroom access, no shelter if it rained.

I didn't have difficulty finding a camping spot. I don't recall being unable to find a room in a motel. No problem in grocery stores either.

Now, things will probably get more complicated with this vaccination passport thing. Starting September 1st in Quebec, you need to show proof of full vaccination + photo ID to be able to eat in a restaurant. And the word is that other provinces will follow. A large survey firm says that 80% of the Canadian population is in favor of such a thing. In France, a vaccine passport is also required. And the word seems to be that other European countries are exploring the idea. OTOH Denmark, the first country to use such passport, has recently announced that it will ditch it (perhaps already a thing of the past).

So... touring in a different country will perhaps involve an additional layer of bureaucracy.
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Old 09-03-21, 02:11 PM
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I had plans for 2 tours (Italy - Montenegro - Bosnia - Italy and a circumpedal of Ireland) cancelled in 2020. I was fully trained for the Montenegro trip when it was cancelled. So, I just kept on training. I kept the panniers and all the weight on the bike and managed to ride more miles in 2020 then in any previous year. Riding on a totally empty Golden Gate Bridge is one of those hard to forget memories.

I still have a faint hope of doing either or both of these tours on day. So, I still do my local rides carrying all the gear. Last month, I managed to ride over 400 miles, a reasonably high mileage for me.I feel like I am close to "touring shape." It is a bit frustrating, though riding a bike around San Francisco and Marin counties has its benefits.

But, since I don't camp, the idea of finding and staying in rooms/houses each night just seems too risky for me to tour. Much less, getting on an airplane and flying to Europe. Even though I am fully vaxed.
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Old 09-03-21, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post

But, since I don't camp, the idea of finding and staying in rooms/houses each night just seems too risky for me to tour. Much less, getting on an airplane and flying to Europe. Even though I am fully vaxed.
You may want to read this official CDC document and explore a bit further to get bits of data on risk of the loss of life (which was zero for vaccinated people prior to the Delta wave).
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Old 09-03-21, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Touring is socially distancing. Why would you stop? The only issues I've had were being surprised by different restrictions in different states.
For a while I figured the risk of flying or other public transportation was higher than I was willing to risk. A more local tour across my current home state was filled with folks who refuse the vaccine and resist wearing masks, The ignore social distancing rules. For me a big part of touring is meeting local people and eating local food. Even today with every day seeming to set a new record for covid deaths, our governer is suing to protect his ban on school mask requirements.

Then other places I wanted to go were dealing with closures, fires, or smoke from fires.

I have a wife who is in a higher risk group who I don't want to leave home while I go on another long tour while she is stuck mostly at home.

Also while I figure risk of death is very low for those of us who are vaccinated, I am not comforted by all that I read about possible long term problems after having even a silent covid case.

Basically, I just keep pushing it off until things settle down more and they never seem to.
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Old 09-03-21, 04:36 PM
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One of the reasons I tour is meeting people, with the occasional serendipitous home stay. And the Warmshowers network has added more opportunity to do that. Until last year. Who's going to invite strangers into their home now? I'm a fairly active Warmshowers host in a busy town for touring, but I've have had zero hosting requests the last two years.

The only tour I'd consider would be a completely self-contained, unsupported trip, which would mean a short one. Even my day trips have changed--I carry more food and water and no longer stop at restaurants or gas stations.

I'm glad I live in a temperate area with great cycling year round. Today I rode 72 miles to and on the Highline Canal Trail through Denver. My cycling has doubled during the pandemic, with several volunteer activities almost at nil. Last year the traffic was decimated which made it even nicer for cycling and opened up some road routes I normally don't consider. My hiking has decreased a little, because the trails around here have gotten very crowded since the gyms closed a year and a half ago.
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Old 09-03-21, 05:22 PM
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I did a six week tour in May and June. Didnít have any problems with restrictions or campground closures. Just wore a mask indoors. I also got the second Moderna vaccination during the trip in Milwaukee. Also went to Finland for three weeks in August, and didnít have any restrictions. Again, just wore a mask indoors.
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Old 09-03-21, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I have actually been in touch with Adventure Cycling about this in connection with trying to get a specific state park in NJ with a good amount of "dead space" to adopt a no-turn-away policy for hikers and bikers. The place in along ACA's Atlantic Coast route ad near the AT. It's very popular outside of winter and is basically impossible to get into on the weekends during certain times of year. Only a handful of states have no-turn-away policies applicable to cyclists, and they vary a bit. E.g., IIRC, at least one state only allows a cyclist to stay one night if all the regular sites are full.
When I rode the Pacific Coast in 2014, one of the Oregon park staff proudly stated that no biker will be turned away from a hiker biker site, they will find room. And she commented that was not the case in California. We never had a problem in California, but I gave a minor suggestion for campground improvement to one of the California campground staff, and she replied that we were lucky that they let us camp there because we were low revenue.

We were turned away from a state park campground in Florida Keys. Another State Park in the Keys let us camp in a picnic area provided that we set up camp after 6pm and be packed up and out by some early time in the morning, I think it was 8am.

But I really think it depends on how helpful the particular staff person you talk to is and whether or not his or her boss has given any instruction on that.
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Old 09-04-21, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

But I really think it depends on how helpful the particular staff person you talk to is and whether or not his or her boss has given any instruction on that.
Education is definitely necessary. The NJ park I mentioned above actually has extra space for people arriving by bike, foot or human powered boat (it's on a big river) if all the regular sites are full. I did not know it at the time when I was turned away for one night during a Columbus Day weekend. After I wrote the state with examples of policies from other states that I received from ACA I got a response. Apparently, the worker I spoke with when I arrived at the park did not know about accommodating human powered people. She was young, and I had never seen her working there before, so I can believe that. Wouldn't be surprised if she was an intern. Fortunately, I had a Plan B down the road that worked out well.
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Old 09-04-21, 06:22 AM
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I wanted to respond sooner -
But I had to finish the bag of Doritos
And the carton of Haagen Daz.

Yep - I've put off two long tours - in 2020 & 2021.
After two serires of treatments, I have very low white blood counts.
So, I have no desire to play Russian roulette.

I've hosted quite a few Warmshowers cyclists.
Most said that Yellowstone was a total zoo this year.
Heard similar comments about Glacier.
Limited facilities combined with a record number of visitors.
Not the best of cycling conditions.

Also, in case you did get really sick -
So you really want to be in a tent out in the parking garage -
in some small town hospital in Mississippi?
Or worse, two weeks in the Pine Breeze Motel?

Another question -
Where would you stay if you got moderately sick?
Not sick enough to be in the hosptal,
but too sick to be riding.
Would a motel even let you stay?
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Old 09-04-21, 06:42 AM
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Hey there jama, was planning to say, hey there lardass ;-) but then read about two treatments, sorry to hear that.
I get all your concerns, have always been mine. Luckily in my province from the get go, people have been very responsible and educated on behavior, so things have been very good all in all. Even last summer I bike camped in farther off regions in small towns and folks were as responsible there as here.

the vast majority of our population is doubly vaccinated, so at least our rising Delta cases are nearly all with those remaining percentage of the population that have been drinking the wacky koolaid, but again, for local traveling and more, everyone respects the mask and distancing rules as we all know this is the only way.
I personally just have a lot of work and family obligations (older parents) that have kept me from touring this summer (alas!)

all the best with "stuff"
cheers
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Old 09-04-21, 01:19 PM
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I have a few points to make. A). You live in Florida - the highest bicycle fatality state in the country. I believe that there is a higher chance of you being hit by a car, than getting covid. C) Covid coverage is scaring a lot of people. One of these days they are going to change your favorite news broadcast to simply Covid coverage. D) I do no not know how you run your bike tours, but generally speaking bike touring is in the range of a " a low risk activity". It is not like you are going to a covid spreader event or something. I think that you are using it as an excuse.
B). This is the most luxurious time for humans in world history. I mean when you are out on your bike, you ever noticed all of the people who have to haul a porta pod, bed, shower and kitchen, when they go touring in their motor home. Lets face it bike touring is a fringe activity. I can't tell you how many times people have commented to me about how touring is too much work, and how I should consider a motorcycle, where all you have to do is twist your wrist a little bit, and your going 50-60-70 mph. Maybe you don't like anymore.
To be a bike tourist you have to have a few unique qualities 1) A dreamer. Every tour starts with "where would it be cool to tour." 2) Be willing to live without all of the comforts of home. So, you have obviously spent a huge amount of time to do all of that research (and money) just so you could come up with one of the lightest touring equipment lists, just so it will just collect dust in your garage?
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Old 09-04-21, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
I have a few points to make. A). You live in Florida - the highest bicycle fatality state in the country. I believe that there is a higher chance of you being hit by a car, than getting covid.
I seriously doubt that. Last time I checked there were over 46,000 covid deaths in Florida. I personally know several people who have died this year of covid and others who have been gravely ill. Deaths by bicycle accident here average somewhere around 150 per year and I don't know anyone who has died that way. True that death from covid is unlikely since I am vaccinated, but contracting it is actually quite likely. Passing it on to others is then an issue. It is still rampant here. I have an immune compromised wife that I am concerned about. All of that is reason enough for me.

Edited to add:
My count was out of date a bit. Total Covid deaths in Florida is currently at 47,917 as of 9-5-2021.
Our infection rate seems to be finally dropping, but we don't seem to have quite peaked on the death curve which is at a high daily average of 335 deaths per day the past week. That is 1.56 per100,000 population per day.

So we currently are experiencing more than twice as many covid deaths per day that we typically have bicycle accident deaths per year. Granted cyclists are a small subset of the overall population, but for every covid death there are many covid illnesses many of them serious and some that don't seem serious now may have long term consequences.

BTW, even if you roll all pedestrian and vehicular deaths in with bicycle deaths, the Covid deaths over the past two years still dwarf that number. In the beginning it was easy to say. "Oh those were just old and sick people" (not comfortable for me at 70), but these days the deaths are largely youngish. Some of the folks I know or know of who died of Covid were my junior by about 20 years.
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Old 09-05-21, 09:10 PM
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Hey there, Since Covid I have been exploring bikepacking much more. I actually like it. More like back packing but one moves at a faster rate. I have done a bunch of these tours recently. I often never use local stores, restaurants and hotels only gas stations. The tours are short about 1 week, extremely enjoyable and gets me moving in nature. I just (2 hours ago) returned from a canoe portage tour through the Williams Wilderness in the Adirondacks. Not really bike touring but similar. I think I only bought gas along the way as I organized each meal before hand. I always chat with others but it is outside and in that area there were very few. More loons than humans
I drive to all tours, no plane at this time.

FWIW: I hate not supporting local businesses, though I do at times on some of these adventures. I am just trying to push though this Covid mess we are currently in. I can't stay home anymore.

Safest way to tour, IMHO: dive to tour start, pack all of what you need, keep the tour on the shorter side.
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Old 09-05-21, 09:33 PM
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I developed some medical problems prior to the COVID pandemic that kept me from touring, needed to get medications adjusted to deal with them. Just as I was planning to do a favorite tour along the California coast (for about the 5th time!),, COVID struck and nothing since then. I had 'penciled' in doing it during October this year if the COVID issue died down here in California, but it appears to be sticking around at a 'managed' level. Also, my employer will require me to get a negative test and do a 5-day quarantine followed by a negative COVID test when I get back due to the use of public transportation (Amtrak). until And the California wildfires aren't making it easier either; they're not in Southern California, but we still have a few hot, dry months until the rainy season starts (hopefully!).
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Old 09-06-21, 05:37 AM
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I commented above that I had plans to backpack (not bikepack) this year, but forest fires closed the trail. Trail is re-opened, leaving in a few days to head up there.

This is later in the season than original plan, average temps about 5 degrees (F) cooler so adding some cooler weather clothing, will now have one hour less sunlight each day than previous plan, taking a better headlamp. Otherwise still pretty much packed for the trip, as I did not unpack before.
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Old 09-06-21, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Hey there, Since Covid I have been exploring bikepacking much more. I actually like it. More like back packing but one moves at a faster rate. I have done a bunch of these tours recently. I often never use local stores, restaurants and hotels only gas stations. The tours are short about 1 week, extremely enjoyable and gets me moving in nature. I just (2 hours ago) returned from a canoe portage tour through the Williams Wilderness in the Adirondacks. Not really bike touring but similar. I think I only bought gas along the way as I organized each meal before hand. I always chat with others but it is outside and in that area there were very few. More loons than humans
I drive to all tours, no plane at this time.

FWIW: I hate not supporting local businesses, though I do at times on some of these adventures. I am just trying to push though this Covid mess we are currently in. I can't stay home anymore.

Safest way to tour, IMHO: dive to tour start, pack all of what you need, keep the tour on the shorter side.
That all makes a lot of sense. Glad to hear you are getting out. I have considered, but haven't actually done many of those more backpacking like "tours" (I still call them tours and don't draw a hard line between bikepacking and touring). For me most of the places that I consider wind up either being to much like a rail trail (not my cup of tea) or I think maybe I'd rather backpack in that area. Only a few seem to hit the sweet spot where I really want to bikepack vs backpack or go somewhere else. A few tempt me with a mixed bag. The Sisters OR.area for example I could see driving out and doing some of each backpacking and bikepacking or at least mountain biking, but it could wind up just being a base camps with day hikes/rides thing rather than a tour. It is a long drive, but I have driven out west before and slept in the car.

I tend to not like short tours much, a week is the very minimum I will usually do. I have been hesitant to leave my wife home alone during the pandemic. She would be suportive and encourage me to go (she always has), but I feel like she needs the company during the pandemic. Living alone while I go on a long tour is probably a nice break in normal times, but I doubt that would be the case during the pandemic.

For a while there we were on what seemed to be a death watch for our beloved dog, who had her spleen removed in the spring. We figured we had maybe weeks with her. No way was I going away at that point.She was my constant companion for many years and during my trail running days ran about 20k miles with me. She has hiked and generally been by my side since she was a pup. She always did her best to take care of me. These days she lays down and takes a break a couple times going for a walk around the block and often decides it is too hot to even walk around the block. That is notable since she alway took it as her jog to be sure we all got out and got some amount of exercise, but her health seems stable now so I am now feeling less stuck at home at least with regard to her.

The wife and I plan to get out together in a motorised fashion at some point (camping with small trailer or van maybe), but that doesn't necessarily open more time to touring. She'd be willing to drive sag for me, but sagged tours don't especially appeal to me. I may consider it though. I'd like to show her some of the places I have toured and backpacked and she isn't going to bike tour or backpack these days. Years ago she biked, paddled whitewater, and backpacked, but now she won't ride and very easy day hiking and canoeing is her limit.
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Old 09-06-21, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
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The wife and I plan to get out together in a motorised fashion at some point (camping with small trailer or van maybe), but that doesn't necessarily open more time to touring. She'd be willing to drive sag for me, but sagged tours don't especially appeal to me. I may consider it though. I'd like to show her some of the places I have toured and backpacked and she isn't going to bike tour or backpack these days. Years ago she biked, paddled whitewater, and backpacked, but now she won't ride and very easy day hiking and canoeing is her limit.
If I recall correctly, you have a folding bike. If it and helmet, shoes and clothing pack down small enough, bring it along in case you get an urge to get a half day of exercise in.
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Old 09-06-21, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If I recall correctly, you have a folding bike. If it and helmet, shoes and clothing pack down small enough, bring it along in case you get an urge to get a half day of exercise in.
Yes I do and I likely will if I don't have room for a "real" bike. Taking a canoe would be a higher priority if possible since my wife will still paddle on flat water
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Old 09-06-21, 01:33 PM
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Last year I postponed a GAP/C&O ride and instead took the XNHAT to Maine and back over a few days. This year my sister and I did a short tour up through the Champlain islands. Tomorrow, I leave on the postponed trip. Northern New England has had low rates of infectivity, and high rates of vaccination, so touring here has been pretty normal. some campgrounds and motels have been closed.
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