My first bike-camping trip since 1988

September 4, 2022 by Joshua
in Fitness, Nature, Stories, Visualization

Longtime readers know one of the highlights of my summer is visiting the farm providing my summer and fall CSA vegetables, Stoneledge Farm. Since the pandemic, they haven’t chartered a bus for us in the city without cars.

I’ve been biking more, including two overnight rides to Philadelphia, each 125 miles over two days. They were fundraisers and, since my group raised the most funds, I ended up getting free hotel rooms. Actually, the second trip I meant to camp, but the rain was so cold and lasted so long, I took them up on the hotel.

The map says Stoneledge Farm is 130 miles. It’s a holiday weekend so I had time, a tent I hadn’t used yet, and plenty of desire. Working in my favor: perfect riding weather. Not in my favor: a lot more hills than the rides to Philadelphia; the weight of the tent, sleeping bag, and a day of food; and a flat tire at the end of yesterday. I spent many hills in the bike’s lowest gear, especially today, when the path left the Hudson shores.

Over two days, I made it 92miles. My mom and stepfather wanted to visit the farm too (my mom had visited before and my stepfather gardens), so they picked me up and took me the rest of the way.

By my longtime principle of having low standards the first time, I count the trip a success. Here are pictures.

My first time pitching a tent since the 1980s. I was missing the pole and still had to eat dinner and fix the flat before dark so went for quick and dirty over doing it properly. It did the job of keeping me safe and mosquito-free:

Crossing the George Washington Bridge, under ten miles since starting yesterday morning, Manhattan on the left, New Jersey on the right, the places I swam across down the middle.

Actually, that image was looking through the fence. It looks more like this, sadaly.

One of the many stunningly beautiful parks I passed through. I ate one of my lunches here.

Another view in that park. You can see the Hudson River in the background. This park was near Bear Mountain State Park, about forty-five miles north of the city.

As beautiful and pristine as some of the parks were, for almost the entire trip, the sides of the roads were filled with garbage, mainly doof wrapping. I would guess for about 75 percent of the trip, every ten seconds I’d pass more garbage than I create in a year.

Crossing the Hudson the other way, just north of Bear Mountain, approaching Garrison, looking south.

That spot, looking north (it looked better in person, I had to be quick since the path was thin and another rider was approaching):

I didn’t look for a campground or hotel. I knew I would find a spot far enough from the road for seclusion, but close enough for convenience. The flat tire decided the spot for me. Here’s the bike just before unpacking and pitching the tent. The road is in the distance behind it.

Here’s the tent:

That evening’s burpees were my first outdoors in a long time.

I would have thought to bring my bags and food into the tent with me, but the day before a friend called that idea a rookie mistake. Ideally, I should have thrown a rope over a branch of a tree hard to climb and pull the food up at least twenty feet. I didn’t have such a rope, so didn’t bring one. I kept the food far from my tent, but couldn’t stop feeling fear about bears while falling asleep, or even raccoons.

In the morning, everything was intact, no food eaten, and my tire patch held despite it being my first in decades.

I took the train home from Poughkeepsie today after the potluck lunch at the farm. I didn’t think to take pictures of the farm, but it’s the farm in the post I linked to at the top of this post. I was too busy eating and visiting the farm.

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