Waking up with your bike

Discussion in 'Bikepacking' started by mike, May 26, 2016.

  1. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Nothing says you’re in for a great day like waking up in the middle of a project. Sometimes upon awakening I'll think I’m sleeping at home, then I realize I’m hanging in my portaledge hundreds of feet off the ground. Or I crack one eye and see a bike splayed out next to my tent with nothing else around and nothing else to do but ride it. It’s a magical mindset that can’t be achieved through any shortcut – you gotta fork over the time and effort to get in.

    The not-progressing part of multi-day projects is an interesting subject. You’re not finished, but you are. You have to stop somewhere and re-charge. The conditions and situations can be as varied as anything imaginable. This, to me, is the essential part of long bike rides and other outings that makes it feel like I'm doing something worthy.

    I’ve literally thrown my weary self and steed into a ditch aside the road for the night. I recall feasting on river-side singletrack until continuing on would have been downright dangerous, and finding an impromptu campsite just beside the trail with easy river access, all legal and epic with not a soul around. Once I crawled into a warm post office lobby for a late break on a long day, and found myself wheeling my bike inside for a REM sesh. Land ownership, you talking to me? Sure, what mobile dirtbag hasn’t poached some Zs on private land or a no-camping area? Don’t just LNT…have as little trace as you can and don’t sleep in.

    Good-hearted and well-intentioned people live to take in weary travelers. Tom and Patty in Montana have a sign on their property alerting Great Divide riders to their sizable, lush lawn; the accomms included a pasta dinner and a tour of innovative but historic cycling gear in an old barn. I always feel a little awkward accepting, being that it runs against the general mindset of self sufficiency required to complete long projects. I’ve had people flag me down on my loaded bike just to offer a crash space…I recall one couple wanted me to ride five miles out of my way to bunk in their spare room. We slept in a teepee in South Pass City, Wyoming. (If you’ve never boffed in a teepee, you’re missing out.) We bought a tent “site” for the night at a motel in Saguache, Colorado for ten bucks, which generously included a room in a wing of the motel that was undergoing, uh, restoration…we spied the bedding which was adorned with rodent chew marks, and started the inside-or-out conversation, which was then abruptly ended by a mouse that tore across the floor.

    The Toaster House in Pie Town, New Mexico is a testament to hostel attitudes…the entire house is open to travelers, with all utilities running. There is even a fridge that often contains beer. I couldn’t bring myself to horn in with a bunch of yappy hikers, so I flopped down the street at the "city park.” Speaking of hostels…I’ve had a few near-misses. The deal breaker for me is always the bike storage thing. Sorry, but I have to have my bike near me at night – no communal storage areas.

    Government installations like work camps and ranger office property are usually a good bet for the night, but be ready for early morning activity.

    RV parks are a great bridge between primitive and civil, though more on the civil side. Most have wifi and even electricity in the premium tent sites. One in Leadville, I inquired about tent sites because I didn’t see any. The guy says sure, twenty bucks, and moves his car out of its gravel parking spot. Some have been so well appointed it was tough to leave. The KOA outside Silver City serves breakfast every morning. Invariably, RV people are interested in the crazy thing you’re up to, and many nice conversations with fellow travelers spawn. Unless the weather is hopelessly poor, a tent site in an RV park is pretty deluxe. In poor weather, you can usually hang out in the laundry room for a break from listening to raindrops hitting your tent.

    Motels if you have to. Perhaps the best thing about bunking in one is the appreciation it fosters of camping out (along with hot tap water). Which sometimes you need…one primitive “campsite” in southern MT was nothing but an open, muddy area with a grizzly warning sign. Another more developed site we stopped at after a long day turned out to be closed to tent camping due to recent griz activity. The host told us that if a ranger comes through, we came in late and she had no idea we were there. No bear activity noted.

    I adore that feeling toward day's end...the thought that I have no freaking clue where I'm gonna bed down, slightly offset by the desire to eek out a few more miles for the day.

    An island in Steamboat Lake. A primitive hut on the CT. The back yard of a restaurant in SBNF. Some spontaneous spots within sight of a highway; some where, if I passed away, I wouldn't be found for months or years. Too many tiny, trailside flat spots, campgrounds and motels to recall. It’s all part of the spectrum of bikepacking. More the packing part than the biking part, but without it, it’s just not bikepacking.
     
    pperrelle, Torrent77, Redman and 15 others like this.
  2. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
    :thumbsup:

    The saga of a dirtbagger. Excellent read.
     
  3. Oaken

    Oaken Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    CeeJay
    Boy, no kidding. GREAT read.
     
    Danmtchl, rossage and mike like this.
  4. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    I stopped sleeping with my bike when it insisted on hogging the covers, poking me in the eye, and tearing up the sheets. Oh wait, that was someone else.
     
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  5. kioti

    kioti iMTB Rockstah

    Name:
    Jim Jennings
    Current Bike:
    ibis ripley
    I'll try again. :thumbsup:

    Waking up with your bike.. on a bike tour.. is a magical thing:

    I woke up one morning burrowed deep in the hay of a old German barn and then rode down to a cafe for coffee and eggs, only to have the waitress eyeing the straw sticking out of my clothes and hair.

    I've woken up in a tent on Cajon Pass, only to look outside and be surrounded by snow from the winter's first storm.

    I've camped in a hilltop field in Belgium, where the last thing I saw at night and the first thing the next morning was an ancient monastery looming on the horizon.

    I've slept in deep grass along Highway 1, and glanced over in the morning to see a big slug crawling across my brother's face.

    OK, not always magical, but yes.. a moment of orientation, like What? Where am I? Why am I here?

    And then, realization..followed by the packing of bag's, the pulling on of clothes, mounting of the bike.. and rolling into the new day's surprise.
     
  6. Daddy Dirtbag

    Daddy Dirtbag Member

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Jeff Johansen
    Current Bike:
    2016 Trek Stache 9 29+
    Reminds me of a time camping (in the early 70's) on the beach of Lake Lahontan (east of Carson City). I'm always the early riser, so I am just taking in the sunrise, and my younger brother says "Hey, Jeff, is this Murphy's (our male Irish Setter) throat?" I look over and see Murphy straddling his sleeping bag, and my brother had reached up and was petting the dog and his hand had stopped while he held onto what he assumed was the dog's adam's apple, and the dog was sporting a stupid grin (if dogs can grin, and I believe they can at times). But . . . . . it wasn't the front of the dog he was dealing with :sick:

    I said "No, that definitely isn't Murphy's throat." :Roflmao
     
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  7. mike

    mike iMTB Addict

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    Guerrilla Gravity Smash
    Ho man, you guys are both cracking me up and getting me psyched for destination roam.

    Murphy's throat!!!! :Roflmao
     
  8. Daddy Dirtbag

    Daddy Dirtbag Member

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Jeff Johansen
    Current Bike:
    2016 Trek Stache 9 29+
    I made the bike sleep outside the tent:

    IMG_6658a.jpg
     
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  9. Poofighter

    Poofighter Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Noel
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Shortboy
    Jeff, I think you posted the wrong picture.

    bike tent.jpg
     
  10. rossage

    rossage iMTB Addict

    Location:
    East Sacramento
    Name:
    Ross Lawson
    Current Bike:
    Highball
  11. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    La Verne, CA
    Name:
    Dennis (AKA Dio)
    Current Bike:
    2013 Trek Slash 9 (26er)
    My wife would be in the tent, and I would be snuggling my bike in the vestibule if I'm lucky.
     
  12. Rumpled

    Rumpled Well-Known Member

    Location:
    OC
    Name:
    Jim Martin
    Current Bike:
    2003 Giant Rainier
    Is that camping underneath an overpass or something?
     
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  13. Daddy Dirtbag

    Daddy Dirtbag Member

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Jeff Johansen
    Current Bike:
    2016 Trek Stache 9 29+
    No, it's in an old concrete reservoir (named oddly enough 'Reservoir Hill') along the old Ridge Route about even with Pyramid Lake, but a mile or so east of I-5.

    Reservoir Hill_001.jpg
     
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