Sometimes it sneaks up on you a bit. While packing today, I realized that this is my first solo tour since my trip up through the Delaware Water Gap three years ago. Time flies, and life gets in the way of bike tours sometimes! I’m looking ahead to the next five days with both excitement and trepidation. It’s been awhile, and I’m out of my touring groove.
With the exception of last minute packing of some perishables in the morning, and loading it on the bike, I’m all packed. I’m a big fan of packing in ziplock bags. My fellow bike tourists may scoff at the amount of bike clothes I’m bringing. The forecast calls for temps in the high 90’s during the day, and lows in the upper 70’s. Riding in dirty bike clothes for five days is just not something I want to do, and I’d rather carry a little extra weight than wear gross clothes.
On-bike clothes, off-bike clothes, camping gear, some basic tools, food, etc. I’m pairing down a bit this year. I’ve eliminated front panniers, so I’m only using rear panniers and a handlebar bag. The tent goes on the rear rack, and I have a little front rack that is perfect for my Therma-rest. I also reduced bulk by leaving behind my sleeping bag. With the warm temps, there is no need for a bulky 20-degree down sleeping bag. I have a nifty Cool-Max sleep sack that works really well. If I get chilled, I am bringing convertible pants and a light fleece.
As usual, my route selection came about such that it would fit around our family schedule. We are dropping our oldest daughter, Maddi, off at summer camp tomorrow, just north of Winchester, VA. So, after we get her settled in her cabin, I’ll load up the bike and head out. Route details will come in daily posts, but I’ll make my way to Media, PA where my wife’s aunt lives on Thursday. The whole route is about 250 miles, and I will ride some pretty conservative mileage to do it in five days.
If you recall from last year’s trip with Maddi, the C&O Towpath trail had some nasty mud patches. I’m riding one of the worst sections of it tomorrow, so fingers crossed for better conditions this year!
Stay tuned for more!