Trussum Pond… (big)
A million things to write. For now, just a photo and some sleep….
…and a map, which is not exact for the route because I made a wrong turn or 2. Round trip came out to 92.3 miles. First thing I learned from the experience is that I need more experience with reading cuesheets. The trip was a out and back I planned from my friends’ house in Delmar to Cape Henlopen State park. My first mistake was on the way there as I passed through Millsboro and missed a turn sending me up John J. Williams Highway. It added a few miles, but after comparing it to the “official Southern Delaware Heritage Trail” route, I liked it better. Wider shoulders, more controlled traffic, more places to stop…
beach side… (big)
The weather was nice, and the route was flat. I packed too much camera stuff, and the wind turned to stare me down every way I went all weekend, but it was still a great time. The internets said the weather would be clear and 50° high/38° low. A little colder than I was hoping for, but warm enough to go. In reality, I don’t know how warm it was, but the cold was down to at least 32° (my tent, my thermometer). Shining stars in the gear department were my sleeping bag, which I finally figured out how to use properly to insulate myself and the new alps mountaineering mini-pillow that I bought on a whim 2 weeks ago. It was worth it’s weight in gold to me on Saturday night….
…Some things didn’t go quite as planned. All week long (actually the last 2 weeks) I was working around the house painting the hallway and living room, with only a little time left in the evening to get the Trucker ready. The Mark’s rack install was plagued with little eccentricities. Because of the canti brake straddle wire, I had to bend the extra mounting tang which took about 2 hours to get right. With that and cross checking my packing list I didn’t get to bed until around 1 on Saturday morning. It goes without saying that I threw out my original plan of getting up around 5:30 a.m. to be in Delmar by 8. Since everything was pushed forward I didn’t have the time to roll around and explore in Lewes and Rehoboth like I would have. For the most part I just rolled into the park, rode around the trails for a little fully loaded and set up camp. By then it was pretty close to dusk. Second on my mistake list was the Ostrich bag, which I ended up leaving home at the last minute because of interference with the top of my panniers. Leaving the tent on the rack top was fine, but I caught my pant leg on one of the hooks when I was dismounting and ripped it up pretty bad. I spent a good 1/2 hour in my tent mending. I took the hooks off Sunday morning, and it will stay that way for the time being. Food was another issue. When I go out on long rides, I like to treat myself to stuff that I wouldn’t normally get to eat, but after riding along for several hours and coming up with no place good to stop I ended up in a Giant grocery store buying a huge ‘Fred-Flinstone-Sized’ Panini and a bag of trail mix. Not exactly inspiring cuisine. Last but not least was my little esbit stove that I was using for the first time. I brought instead of my larger stove because I was trying to keep down on bulk. The tabs burn for about 10 minutes as advertised, but only bring 16oz of water to a slow simmer, not a boil. I was glad I was only using for coffee and tea. If I had been cooking that would have been a problem. In defense of the stove, the starting temperature for the water was probably somewhere between 35 and 40° so it had to work extra hard for that simmer.
stove action shot
campsite n’ trucker (big)
On the pack list, I did pretty well except for my decisions in the camera department. That bag ended up totaling 5.8lbs with my camera body, 2 lenses, a handle, and an extra battery. RIDICULOUS. The tent was 6lbs, 8.5oz. With the panniers, the grand total not including water bottles was 32lbs. As far as items go, there isn’t much I’d cut out aside from the camera department, so 25lbs is as light as I’ll ever probably get because I refuse to spend the extra $100’s I’d need to shell out to make an ultralight kit. I was very surprised as to how well the bike handled loaded. My only complaint was that when I was pedaling out of the saddle at the end of the day there was a strange sway in the handling. That wasn’t the bike’s fault, it was a combination of me packing top-heavy with the tent and camera stuff on top, and my fatigue…
…Next time around it’s nice to know I’ll have all the details ironed out about what I need, how to pack, and what to expect. It was also a good experience with my limitations for cold-weather camping with the gear that I have now. Now it’s back to painting and chores for a few more weeks.