i closed the garage door, and rolled down the driveway. just as i got to the street, i remembered that i wanted a picture of me leaving. so i turned back and open the garage woke up up my wife and asked her if she would take a picture of me. “no way” she was too sleepy. so i can’t post a funny picture of me and my camping gear heading off to work.

i felt like i needed to hammer on the way in, since i was so late. trying to hammer with a full load is quite tiring, as i soon found out. my ride was about 17 miles and by the time i got to work i was soaked in sweat, and my legs were burning tired. i guess i’m pretty note worthy at work, because people i don’t even know were asking me,” so you ride all the way in from loveland? i always like hearing that, because i’m used to working at places where people are in pretty good shape and no one really thinks it’s a big deal. so now it’s a big deal, and i guess i’m happy.

all through the day i was telling people to look at my bike. i was pretty excited about what i was going to do after work, and i wanted them to ask questions. some people took the bait and i was pretty excited to tell them my plan. actually it worked out well because a couple of them knew the camping laws better than i did, so i got some more useful advice.

according to my coworkers, i can camp anywhere in national forest as long as i maintain a certain distance from the road, and a certain distance from a stream/river. i don’t remember the distance very well it was either in yards or feet… no matter i will play it safe.

so around 4 the boss came through and told everyone to go home… woo hoo! i wasted no time getting back into my soaking wet cycling clothes [yuck], and started sorting out my work gear and my camping gear. about 4:30 or so i was out of there;

i headed out the nearby bike path and instantly noticed that my legs had not recovered from this morning. actually my whole body was not feeling very well from the start. i decided to just take it easy till i get out of town [about 12-15 miles]. i was planning to eat something on the way out of town, but it was only about 4:30 and i had just eaten lunch at 1:30…. i wasn’t very hungry. i skipped my “fast food” meal i had planned.

after i got out of town i felt like i was behind schedule so i picked up the pace a bit. i was actually ahead of my original schedule, but since i severely underestimated the trip i had reevaluated while i was riding through town. it is so hard to ride fast with panniers on. i just felt like i was going no where. when i was “picking up the pace” i really noticed how difficult it was going to be. one thing that i learned was; if you find yourself bike touring, do not be in a hurry!…. it will kill your energy, and your motivation. so there i was, no energy, no motivation and only a couple of hours of daylight left [i actually had more but since i was in the canyon, it felt like it was getting dark pretty quickly].

i don’t know if you could tell from the picture but it was going to be 9 miles of pure up hill. according to the internet, the first 6 miles or so average just over 4%. then the last 3 miles average 8.5%. i was already dying with the 4%. i’m usually a good climber and hardly ever get passed. on this day, i got passed no less than 3 times. after about 3 miles of climbing and loosing my self respect, i decided to relax, and not worry about the pace. i had lots of lights and reflectors, i shouldn’t worry too much about the amount of day light left. believe it or not that little realization made the rest of the ride so much more bearable. i just put my bike into my lowest gear and cranked up the road.

as i was riding up this hill, i began to distract myself by looking around for a place to camp. not that i was going to camp already, but i would just look at a place, and figure out how i could camp there, if i were going to camp there. right after the first two imaginary camps i laid out, i saw this sign on the road that said no camping, next 8 miles! holy crap, 8 miles. i didn’t think i could make it that far before it became completely dark or i became completely exhausted.

i think i was only about 5 miles into the 9 mile climb, and i was already thinking about dinner. let’s see i was going to have some avocado, cheese and some noodles… oh no! i just remembered that i left my avocado and cheese at work. i put them in the refrigerator and forgot to get them out when i left. well, jametown was just ahead and i should be able to get something there. unfortunately it was too late and since jamestown is so small, they don’t have stores open all night… at least till 7. they did have a restaurant that was open, in fact there were people having drinks on the “balcony” right next to the road. i was going to stop in for a bite to eat, but for some reason i was worried about the 4-5 more mile i had to ride till the “no camping” rule was over. besides i still had some pretty good food waiting for me in my packs.

here is a picture of my camp from the road. i took the picture in the morning, because it was kind of dark when i first got there. i tried to find a place that was out of sight from the road… i think i did a pretty good job.

camp site

here is looking across from my camp. notice the target over on the tree? my camp is actually someones shooting range. there were thousands of bullet shells where i put up my tent. i felt a little safer there than under that tree with the target :) i thought about finding another spot, but the 8-9% grade had already started and i was genuinely tired.

other side of camp.

i put up my tent and couldn’t wait to get into my noodles. as i picked up the noodles i ran them by my nose, “mmm.. they smelled so good”. i put together my jetboil and screwed on the fuel tank, and noticed that the tank looked a little rusty around the stem. oh no, not good. empty! i tried and tried to light it with the flint, but nothing… i couldn’t even hear the hissing sound of blowing gas. damn it!

talk about being depressed, not to mention hungry. i still had a bag of cajun mix, and some dried fruit to hold me over. i didn’t feel like eating a power bar for dinner. i tied the rest of my food up on a distant tree, and just sipped on watter for the rest of the evening.

i brought a dry shirt to sleep in but only had my chamois for pajamas. i wasn’t about to sleep naked in my down bag.

i started hearing some weird noises before i went to bed, and it was freaking me out a bit. it’s not that i thought i would get killed by something (although that entered my mind a few times), but it is just kind of spooky to alone. i tried to get my big halogen light together, but as it turned out, i left the chord at work when i was showing it to a coworker. i don’t think i slept for more than an hour at a time. it wasn’t because i was spooked, i was just so uncomfortable.

i was up at 6am. not bad for camping. usually it’s closer to 4am.


no fuel.

didn’t bring avocado, and cheese.

lessons learned.

camp out of sight,

don’t try to hurry while you are touring.

bring something comfortable to sleep in.

things to note:

water running low