Since the weather was going to be so nice over the weekend, it was time to try out the kit again and tweak what I have. I got everything packed up in the bags over the week, and put everything on the bike Saturday morning. I had already packed up the pannier bags and the top box, leaving only my backpack and clothes roll to pack Saturday morning. I didn’t set any alarms on Saturday to get up, considering the route was only to be about 140 miles, give or take. I also had no set leave time. I did finally leave some time around 11:30 AM.
I took off, heading east and then south once I got on 421 in Eminence. As I had so much on the bike (geared out for a full 4 nights) she certainly handled differently. It is actually the most I have had on her at one time. A few things of note – the top-box had all the gear for the campsite – tent, footprint, chair, tarp, sleeping pad, pillow, jacket, cigar box, pipe box. It was full, and a little heavy. The pannier bags had tools, gas, stove, shoes, coffee making stuff, all evenly split between the two. I took some advice of a wise traveler I met once and put the tools in the right pannier bag, so they would be accessible to me from the off-road side of the bike.
As I was headed out, just around Nicholasville (maybe a little before) I ran into a friend of mine who usually comes along on some of these rides. He was just out randomly riding and was pulled over in a parking lot checking his phone. We talked a bit, he went on his way, I went on mine. It is nice to get to know people and to ride together enough that you know one another from a distance based on gear alone. Hell, even if it wasn’t him, I would have stopped to say hi. When I headed out, I was growing a little concerned by the lack of traffic on Tates Creek Road… The ferry road… And, when I was already committed to the ride, I found it closed… Well, bummer. I was looking forward to that. Anyway, backtracked about 30 miles and went around on 421/25 and through Richmond. It was just on the other side where I started seeing the mountains.
The last bit from Richmond to the campsite was an easy and winding road for about 40 miles (maybe a little less). However, it was this road where I started seeing the real eastern Kentucky. The parts forgotten about by the larger cities. The parts people dont talk about. Houses that should be condemned still being occupied. Towns that are, for the most part, dead. Abandoned (?) roadside bars and stores. People with blank and sad expressions on a day that was beautiful out. Except for Irvine (at least on the outside as I drove through). It was a quaint town, with a large park, running most of the length, filled with people outside enjoying a Saturday afternoon. However, barely a mile out of the town again it was back to depressed living. Sad, because a lot of the state is like this. So beautiful, but marred by sub-standard living and extreme depression.
I got to the site, Lago Linda’s Hideaway, some time around 4 or so and started setting up camp. As it was not officially open (but never really closes) I had to fill out my info on an envelope and drop it in the box. Grabbed my campsite and started to unpack and get everything set up. My first order of business was to get some water boiling and get my very late lunch done. I would let it sit while I set up the tent. All said and done, I had the site set up in about 15 minutes, had food (Mountain House Chicken and Noodles) and went about tidying up and covering the bike for the night. As I was doing this, a father and son from Columbus, OH drove up and set up close to me. They came down for the weekend to climb in the area. They were up and out early the next day, I assume to climb some more and head home. After all was done with the camp, talking with the neighbors, I sat and just relaxed.
Once dark, I went up to the common room/warm room and met a few other climbers from North Carolina. Apparently the cooler weather is better for climbing. I added this to the list of things I was learning on this trip. One of the 2 lists I was making. the other was a list of things to leave off the kit the next time I went camping. Which was actually pretty short, since this wasn’t my first time. For an overnight, I would not be taking the clothing I did, nor the extra food. I would probably leave most of the tools at home as well, considering I would not be too far from home anyway. Nice to have already done this before.
I am still working out my best sleep system. I want to try a hammock soon. Wasn’t happy with the ground here, too many larger pieces of gravel, no matter where I looked. Ended up with a bruised hip from laying on a rock that seemed to go right through my sleeping pad. It is just that a good hammock will not be a cheap try, especially if it doesn’t work. I have some ideas, so we will see what this year brings. At least my first long trip wont require camping – I have a cabin.
Sunday, I woke up around 7:30 and made some coffee and some food. Took my time getting moving and getting the camp broken down. It was still cool, so I didn’t want to hit the road first thing, I wanted to wait for it to warm up a bit. I had the bike all packed up and ready to go by 10:30 or so. It was nearly 60 when I left, so it was an enjoyable ride out. As I got back to Richmond, the GPS wanted to take me down to the ferry to cross, but as it was closed (yep, I remembered yesterday) I forced it to adjust to a different route. Ended up going through downtown Lexington and through horse farm country. An hour after that (or so) I was home. It was about 2 pm when I pulled into the driveway.
I spent the next few minutes getting everything off the bike and then went out to run a couple errands. I was going to ride some more, but the winds (which I fought the whole way home) were gusting so bad I felt like I was running through the Tail of the Dragon even though I was going straight. When all was said and done, it was a fun and successful trip. I have more notes of changes to make and things to do the same.