Tenting

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waffle

I got to the Waffle Farm campground with plenty of daylight to spare on May 17.

The tent is a Walrus hoop tent. I don’t even remember the model name any more. I bought this one ten years ago to replace a similar one that I lost that year, the day after my first overnight campout at Waffle Farm campground. I still have the tent poles for the old one, because I had forgotten my poles at home and ended up using the tent as a sort of bivy sack.

I thought I had already told that story in this blog, but now I can’t find it. So here is what I wrote back at the time at the phred bike touring list:

I’ll have to remember that. In between swatting mosquitos and looking for
the hole, I usually get mixed up on which way the tire was oriented, so am
never sure if I’ve got it oriented the same way or not and if the same
foreign object is going to give me another flat a few minutes later.

Here was my experience while a couple weekends ago, on my first bike
campout of the year.

1. Get to campground Thursday night. Realize I forgot the tent poles for
my hoop tent. Call my wife to ask if she can bring them to Friday night’s
campground where we’ll get together. For now, use the tent as a sort of
bivy sack.

2. Late Friday afternoon: Front tire goes flat

3. Walk the bike back to a mowed section of ditch so I can work without
losing parts in the tall grass.

4. Take off front panniers. My low-rider rack somehow makes it difficult
to turn the quick release, so I unscrew the other end of the skewer thing,
and promptly lose the spring in the low grass.

5. Give up looking for the spring. Get to work on the tube.

6. I can’t locate the leak. It’s windy, and the
pump-it-up-and-put-the-tube-close-to-your-cheek method doesn’t work. The
hole is big enough that the tube keeps losing pressure fast.

7. Give up and get out my spare tube. I’ll fix the punctured one later,
in camp.

8. Install tube. Put tire on rim. Pump it up, let out air, etc. to let
it seat itself properly.

9. Put enough air in to ride on. Panic. Notice the tire is not seated
properly, and is being pushed way off the rim. Notice this about 1/2
second before I can reach for the valve and relieve the pressure. Big
bang.

10. The cilia in my ears gradually unflatten, and I can hear again.

11. My spare tube is shot. Now I HAVE to repair the old one. Sacrifice
my remaining drinking water so I can find the leak via the bubble method in
my stove pot.

12. Finish the repair, taking care not to blow it this time.

13. As I ride towards the campground (20 miles yet), think about where to
buy a tube tomorrow so I’ll have a spare again. Grumble about the time
that will be wasted.

14. Almost to campground. Look down and see that my right front pannier
is missing. Where did I lose it? It was there a few miles back when I
stopped to put more air in my front tire (I think). A few years ago it
once came lose and was flung fifty feet down an embankment where it was
hard to find, but that time it had made a loud twang as the hook caught in
the spokes. This time I didn’t hear a thing.

15. Ride to campground to enlist the use of our car to go back and search
for it. Think about the replacement cost of pannier, tools, jacket, camp
shoes, AC adapter for my new HP Jornada computer, etc etc. I’ll be cold in
camp without my jacket, and I don’t dare go riding tomorrow without tools.

16. While waiting in long lines at campground, grumble about having to pay
a vehicle fee to ride my bike into the park, when it could have gone for
free if on the car. While waiting, my wife finds me. Dump all my gear in
the car and take off to look for the pannier.

17. We look until dark. No luck.

18. Get a fast-food dinner and go back to the campground to set up tent in
the dark. Suddenly realize that the pannier I lost was not the one
containing tools. It was the one containing our tent.

19. Abandon our tent site ($10) and two vehicle fees ($5 for bike and $5
for car). Go stay in a cheap motel instead ($47). At least I have my
tools and can ride tomorrow.

20. Go to buffet breakfast–all we can eat. Indulge. Don’t worry about
putting on excess pounds. I’ll ride it all off today, anyway.

21. Go to bike shop in Angola, IN. It’s located on the corner of the
worst traffic circle I’ve ever seen (and won’t open until 10 am). I’ve
seen traffic circles, but this one is something else. It’s in an old
public square, with a big monument in the center, and shops and parking in
each of the four corners. What with cars entering and leaving the circle
from the road and from each of the parking lots, it’s terrible. And it’s
right on US-20, which means this is a traffic circle with heavy
semi-trailer truck traffic. Buy tubes and get out of there.

22. Spend the rest of the morning looking for pannier. No luck.

23. 1 p.m. I get ready to take off riding. I notice my back tire showing
signs of tread separation. I’ll have to replace it soon. No, it’s worse
than that. It already has an aneurism and I have no spare tire. Give it
up and drive home, mow lawn, work around the house, buy tires, feel bloated
all day from that big breakfast.

(I got a good long ride on Sunday afternoon, though.)

>I don’t use “glueless” patches I’ve heard rumors that they are for
>”temporary” use only and may come loose after a time.

I’ve used glueless the last few years with no apparent problems. But after
reading the above, you may not find me to be the sort of person to take
advice from.

No history content in this post. I’m busy finding bicycling destinations for an upcoming vacation where Myra will accompany me by car. In looking at the weather forecast, I see there is a possibility of rain every single day. We were going to try camping again. Last year Myra was not up to camping, so we stayed in hotels. This year we wanted to try camping again. But ever since a 2003 campout when we got rained out by the effects of a distant hurricane we’ve called ourselves fair weather campers, so I don’t know if there will be any fair weather for it.

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  • I’ve been plenty lucky with flats, knock wood, but there was one night I’ll never forget.

    Mosquitoes come out as the sun goes down.