Short trip, big recharge!
Kelley and I have been working like dogs. When my buddy Max asked me if we wanted to meet up at the Cabin for a little Friday night romp, we realized a nice evening off was more about survival than leisure. We’ve both been pulling 60+ hour workweeks, with side-projects soaking up what little free time gets left over. Even our cat is bored with us. A Sub-24-Hour Overnighter (S24O) is the perfect way to get in the saddle, put down some miles, camp, and recuperate from a hard
week’s semester’s work.
I threw together half the bike on Wednesday, packing things into my framebags and mentally reiterating my checklist over and over in my head, obsessively. Since grad school restricts my bikepacking trips to occasional jaunts, I use whatever opportunity I have to test “The Rig.” Every gear choice is curated and my packing is meticulous, in the hopes that these little S24O’s will bear fruit for a larger trip.
By Friday afternoon, I had everything together. I carried gear just for myself this time, so I didn’t need a front rack or my larger seat bag. Kelley used her two Ortlieb panniers to cram, jam, and slam enough warm clothing and sleep gear for the night. We split up into our solo shelters; I used my Gore-tex bivy, and Kelley slept in her Henessey Hammock.
My seat bag, boasting a very bright reflective triangle I picked up through Rivendell, had a day’s worth of clothes, a fleece, my sleeping pad, and some spare socks.
My framebag held electronics, lights, tools, spare tubes, first aid, toiletries, repair tape, and firemaking stuff. I had a little space for some food, but I’d like to trim the fat from this framebag before a longer trip. The front handlebar bag held my 15 degree sleeping bag and my bivy, and the top tube bag held my camera for quick access. Three water bottle cages each held a small bottle, but I think I’ll grab some bigger ones soon.
Once we were out at the Eve-Cowles Tree Farm, we unpacked and relaxed by the fire, replete with booze, kielbasa, chips, good company, and dogs. I broke away occasionally to rip around on the snowmobile trails and dirt roads that criss-cross the property, delighting at the airtime I grabbed off of the rocks embedded in the road. The slick leaves weren’t a problem for the Sparwood 2.2 tire I was running in the back, surprisingly, even as my faculties left me at my third beer…
Foxy practiced his herding while I practiced my cornering.
The next morning, Kelley and I repacked and got on the road for Amherst again. It’s about a 1.5 hour ride, all told, and a good portion of it is on the dirt paths on Max and Tim’s land. We ripped around, and Kelley got bold with her Cantilever brakes and slick tires, racing down the steep, gravelly drive.
The weather was perfect. 50º and sunny as a summer’s day. We got back to our house right on time, and Kelley left for work while I headed across the state to help my family move out of our old house. Back to the grind, back to reality, back to life… until the next 24 hour overnighter calls.