Tandem Camping

Diane and I took the tandem on a camping trip on Saturday night.

It rained most of the day on Saturday.  We knew the rain would end in the afternoon.  It did, around 2pm.

We ran to the grocery store on our way out to grab some supplies, only to discover some mechanical issues.  We went back home for some adjustments before heading out.

Arkel panniers look and work great on the tandem

Some of the roads were still wet.  We still need to get fenders for the tandem.

Asher and Denis had invited us to go out for dinner at Jimbo’s Bar-B-Que, which was quite good.  Not being in a hurry to get to the campsite meant we had plenty of time to hang out.


Once on the road again, we took a “tour” of the outer edge of Iroquois Park.  The park is built on a hill, but by skirting the outside edge we avoided the heavy traffic on the main roads and the hill in the middle of the park.

Wow, what a doofus

Diane was in good spirits.  We weren’t going very fast, but faster than she would have went on a single bike.  There was a fair amount of traffic, but we encountered no problems.

Diane is much better looking than I

We had to make a slight detour to pick up our campsite paperwork.  I had reserved it over the phone.  For an extra fee, they deliver firewood directly to the campsite.  It’s worth every penny.

Just a bit later, we were climbing Holsclaw Hill.  This is the only real climb on the route, and Diane’s first real climb.

We made it up a bit.  I fell into a reasonable pace in our lowest gear.  I thought we’d do it.  Shortly after, Diane had enough.  We got off and walked to the top.  For a few minutes, I thought Diane was mad, and that I had pushed her too far.  That turned out not to be the case.  She was suffering with sore legs, but didn’t get grumpy.

It was fairly dark when we arrived.  I put my focus on a campfire first.  I’m notoriously bad at starting fires, but I had bought some fire starter bricks, and that worked well.  Before long we had a roaring campfire.


Meanwhile, Diane was inflating the pad for her sleeping bag.  It’s actually my new-ish Big Agnes Air Core Pad and Encampment bag, but I let her use it, while I used my old bag.  The weather forecast was calling for cool temperatures, and I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable.

Blow it, Baby!

My new-ish tent is officially a two-person, although I bought it for solo camping trips.  It worked out well enough.

Two people? Yep

This is the route we took to the campsite, edited for Asher’s privacy (we stopped by his house).

Download file: 2013-10-19.gpx

We completely enjoyed the evening.  The warm fire and a couple of adult beverages coupled with non-functioning cell phones made this a nice night.  Diane did manage to get one of her shoes too close to the fire, and it started to smoke.  Oops.

Eventually, we went to bed.  This is where the trouble began.  I was uncomfortable without my air pad.  Diane was cold.  I managed to fall asleep for a while, and Diane listened to me sleep, getting angry as I did.  I got possibly two hours of sleep before I woke up sore and cold.

We talked a while.  She wanted to go home.  I convinced her I would have trouble packing everything in the dark.  She eventually dozed off and I was the one who couldn’t get back to sleep.

She probably slept four hours.  I laid there wishing I could sleep.  My bones ached.  I remembered why I had the air pad.

She woke up around 5:00 am.  I was still awake.  It was still a couple of hours from sunrise, but neither of us wanted to lay there any longer.  Unfortunately, we had burned all of our firewood, and wouldn’t be able to start another fire.

I did bring an Esbit stove, so I fired that up for coffee.

Coffee and raccoon hat make Diane smile

We spent a couple of hours making coffee, drinking coffee, and starting to pack the little things.  Once it was light out, we took down the tent and began packing in earnest.

We learned that it had gotten colder than the forecast 42 degrees.  There was frost on the ground.  Brrr!

Diane mentioned that we should take a direct way back, traffic be damned.  Considering it was early Sunday and there wouldn’t be much traffic, I was in complete agreement.

After a frigid downhill leaving the campground, it was just the steady monotony of keeping the pedals turning.  There wasn’t much discussion other than where to stop for coffee and food.  We settled on Sunergos on Woodlawn Ave.  We stayed there quite a while.  The bike got quite a few looks.

We left Sunergos warmer and happier than we had been.  It was time to go home and do yardwork and other mundane tasks.

It was a good weekend.  I like to push Diane to do more than she’s used to, but I want to be careful and not push her too far.  I think I did well on this, other than the overnight temperature, but that was due to an incorrect forecast.  If the weather guys can’t get it right, how can I?

Download file: 2013-10-20.gpx


2 thoughts on “Tandem Camping”

  1. “Wow, what a doofus.”…is what my daughter says about me wearing cycling duds.

    Yes, Diane does look better than you, and she’s a real trooper. You should be extra good to her.

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