We froze our butts off at night
Three days was nice here but again we froze our butts off at night. During the day the temperatures were perfect, upper seventies and mostly sunny but as soon as the sun set it started to cool down seriously. We played gin on the picnic table until we couldnít see our cards. Then we got a campfire going but this site is kind of primitive. There isnít any good place to get comfortable close to the fire. We ended up retreating to the tent. In the tent we have small LED lights great for reading.
Before starting this trip Heidi and I saw a show on PBS about meditation and how it can activate large sections of a human brain that are normally dormant with most people. Sounds good, I ordered a couple of used books off amazon.com, Insight Meditation. Reading is a big thing on long rides and finding reading material is sometimes difficult. Anyway Iím talking more insightful now trying to be real deep. Heidi thinks Iím full of S. I think Iím well on my way already to becoming a ĎMotorcycle Zen Masterí Haa! Heidi and I always have fun trying to tease each other. ĎWhen I ride I rideí I do everything to keep my attention on the road. Meditation trains to focus and control the mind. On marathon rides everyone has moments when their mind wanders. You think of this and that and go over scenarios with people in your mind. Number one: recognize your mind is wandering. Number two: bring it back to riding or back to whatever. This Is a good thing.
To survive the cold nights we got more serious, thicker socks, more layers, more padding underneath. It got better every night but I have never had such a hard time staying comfortable camping. I know this canít be good for Heidi.
Heidi and I are constantly talking about what is working and what is not working and what we should do different. We thought we would share a short list of ĎWhatís workingĒ and ĎWhatís not workingí
Whatís not working:
> My first sleeping pad was some old one inch thick sponge rubber. Thatís all Iíve used in the past. Itís not working now.
> The light weight sleeping bags we bought at the last minute suck. They zip together but the bags have one heavy half and one
thin half. When zipped together one person has the heavy cover on top, the other person has the light cover on top. Not good.
> Weíre not following the rule: Provision for food before we get the camp site. In Colorado we needed to drive over 60 miles round trip down a steep canyon road just for some food and drink. Da!
> The right pannier is leaking bad when the bike is parked in the rain. I think itís because of the angle the bike sits when itís on the kickstand. The high bag has a smaller lip on the outside. I think thatís where itís leaking. Iím hopping a strip of tape will cure that.
> I didnít have my first-aid kit handy enough. It was buried on the bottom of the backpack. I cut both hands on separate occasions and didnít want to bother digging for the kit, where of course I have everything. The cuts were small and I thought it was no biggie. Well the my right thumb got real sore and I had difficulty with the throttle. Soap and water, antibiotic salve and band aids for a couple of days. Now, every cut, every time.
> Not following Grant and Susan Johnsonís advice: If you need it and you see it, buy it. Donít think you will find it later at another place.
> Pillow case. Heidi says this is the best idea. Thanks Grant and Susan Johnson.
> Thermorest sleeping pads. We have the short one inch version. These pads are working well but in pay campsites we could use a thicker version. I hate gravel tent sites. In the mountains they retains the cold and are uncomfortable. A good quality bed roll is important.
> We are happy with our fresh water carrying capability. Plastic 750 ml vodka bottles fit perfect into the tank panniers. We carry 6 liters no problem. Plus we can strap on a gallon jug to the backpack anytime.
> All the binerís we have attached to the backpack and the tank panniers are working great. We strap our helmets to them when parked, water jugs, garbage bags, shoes.
> World camp stove. We have a Wisper-lite world camp stove. This thing runs on white gas, unleaded gas, kerosene or jet fuel. Once I learned how to work the thing I love it.
> 3 person tent. The REI TAJ-3 tent has been nothing but good for us. It has lots of room for two people with enough space for a lot of gear. It goes up in a flash and the rain tarp is even easier to deploy. It has 5 pockets altogether including one huge packet on the ceiling.
> The backpacking clothes we picked out have been working great. The main thing is they fold up and pack small and appear to be made with a lot of quality. Columbia is one of the higher grade clothing brands we have.
Iíll add to this list or modify it from time to time as a kind of a check list for us. I hope it may be of some use to others also.