MUTHUH's RIDES - Test Ride
April 15-16, 2005
With August approaching rapidly, I had a free weekend to goof off, and decided to go do a test campout to see if the gear I planned to haul with me out to Wyoming this summer would all fit on the bike. With a couple campnights along the way AND Kim along for some of the ride, I wanted to be sure there was room and the bike would handle well enough. We'll only need the tent for the two nights at the Buffalo Chip. Ordinarily, 2 nights camping out of 19 would tempt me to just say fuck the camping, but the Buffalo Chip was one of the highlights of the trip, so the tenting gear was a must.
My plan for the August trip was to haul the tenting stuff - everything specific to JUST the Buffalo Chip - in a duffle back that is strapped to the rear passenger seat - Kim wouldn't be with me on the way out, and doesn't arrive in Rapid City til after I set up the tent at the Chip. After we break camp out there, I plan to just ship that duffle bag home, making room for her in that seat for the remainder of the trip. (They have a packaging/shipping vendor right at the front gate of the Chip for shit like this...he only charges actual shipping on outbound shipping, and $7 per box on both in and outgoing shipments. He'll also hold it there for you til you show up at the gate...nice touch.)
I had hoped to have time to ride the 2-1/2 hours over to Rider's Roost for the test camp, but this being Easter Weekend, my honey-do list was overburdened and I got a late start, so I went to Falls Lake, east of me, and stayed at one of the state campgrounds. You can see in these first couple pics that I had a tank bag (obscured) that I keep my camera, cigars, gloves and tank bag cover in. It also serves to display a map of the route that I do up for each day along the trip. In the passenger seat is the tenting duffel bag, on the tour pack is the blow-up stuff (mattress and sofa) and helmets... I brought hers just for the test - had to wear mine due to rules conjured up by our benevolent all-caring government (to steal a line from Uncle Roy). The little bag on top of Lil'Mut is just two pillows, fairly light load there. Note the tent poles strapped to the side bags - more on those and the twin tarp poles on the other side later. (note #03 seems to have changed colors from silver to blue, but I really took that pic the next day after switching sides.)
In #03 you see my strapping system that has worked out REAL good... you can buy these 6" tarp bungees with black plastic heads on them (see #04)... They fit inside your rails conveniently while you simply lay yer shit up against the rail and hook the bungee over the ball-head...FAST! ( http://www.brandsonsale.com/tarp-bungee.html - This is just one of many shops you can Google for )
In Pic #04, you can see the stuff that came out of the Trailer and from the bags strapped on top...the tent, cover, ground cloth, floor blanket, tarp, sleeping bag, blow up mattress, blow up sofa, coffee decanter and pot, butane stove, camera bag, cooler (I don't think I will take it on the trip - too much room) blankets, pillows, firestarter log (a must!), cooking utensils, and bag full of clothes. The tour pak is still full of computer, both leather jackets and atlases/maps, and the side saddle bags are still full of cold/rain gear (#07). Kims saddle bag is empty, as she will be flying in with her bag full of clothes. All in all I had plenty of room if I elect to leave the cooler behind - and one of the other guys has a bigger two-wheel trailer for that. The one thing I DO recommend is the Coleman Blow-up Sofa... they have a chair version, too, but this actually fits me and Kim side-by-side, or me spread out comfortably (#08). I'll warn ya though, it took a bit of a balancing act until I figured out to lean the thing against a seat of the picnic table for back support, or propped my foot up on one of the bench seats as a stool...then it worked well into the night.
#09 shows another one of my tips...spacebags. (www.spacebag.com) In this case, a blanket (OK, pink isn't my first choice and I WILL replace it with a more manly one for the trip!) and a fitted sheet is shown. You can either suck the air out with a vacuum or just lay on it with your body til the air is forced out the one-way valve...then it stays very compact til you open it. I used them for the sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets. And as they were packed in outside bags, they stay water-proof, too. Oh... I also brought a small square of carpetting for the entraceway into the tent...a must! Pic #12 reminds me...don't forget to bring sandals and sneakers, as long as they aren't white. No fookin white sneakers on the bike, 'cause out west the days will be hot enough to force you out of yer boots.
#13 is the next morning - by the way - you'll find as you roam the campground on your bike, you'll get all sorts of head-nods and waves. After I stopped I got several people drop by the camp offering firewood and beer (although this is a alcohol-free campground...mighty presumptuous of them, eh?) Anyway - this is my coffee system - and I plan to be the coffee-maker for the group on this trip. I hate perc'd coffee using typical camp percolaters as it tends to burn the shit out of the coffee by over-boiling it. I bring a pot to boil water in, and a decanter to pour that water in over the grounds and let it drip-brew once like most coffee-makers. Takes a little extra padding around that pyrex pot but coffee was SOOO good this morning.
#14 shows what happens when you forget yer coffee cup, had to drink it out of a water bottle... and 15-16 is packed up, showered, changed and ready to go again.
Learned a few things - glad I did a test camp for this much gear - no cooler next time, extra poles for the back of the tarp to raise it up more, and bring a damned coffee cup...otherwise I'm ready to go.
Till next time - Ride Safe...
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