Jason's Day Off - One Night = The Day We Need to Leave After He Gets Off Work
So texting me, "Tomorrow is my day off," meant that we were going to camp that night. Angie was good with that plan (I assure you that wives don't get any better than the one I have) and it was a go. Meet at Jason's house at 7pm and head to the Red River Gorge to grind some gravel under our tires.
It took A LOT of debate in my head as to whether I would take the LHT or the Troll. The Troll would be great on that gravel. But I'd need to install a rack since I don't have a good backpack. On the other hand, the Troll has been neglected so far this year. When you miss a bike, you want to ride that bike. On the other, other hand, the LHT was completely ready for a camping trip and would perform just fine on gravel. It is definitely the bike to end all bikes, in my mind. So the LHT made the trip.
Hammocks and tarps were hung via headlamps. Building a fire was a pipe dream. But it was a pipe dream I was going to attempt. But my aspirations of flame were thwarted by the sopping wet wood. No fire. So I moved on to dinner. A couple hotdogs and a dehydrated camp meal kept us fueled for the evening. No photos were taken due to the dampness of it all. The iPhone stayed stowed safely away in the drybag.
homemade Tyvek tarp. When I woke up, I had one of those, "Hey, I've never actually seen this place before," kind of moments. We were camping in a great little spot right on the creek.
A loaded bike on gravel can be a bit squirrelly. I would compare it to a naked infant after a bath. Slippery and unpredictable. There was more than one instance when I was trucking along and the front wheel started to wash out on me. No spills were taken on the making of this camping trip, though.
Both bikes, as different as they may be, handled the trip beautifully. Each bike leans one way in it's purpose (the LHT towards pavement and the Troll towards dirt). But we've both torqued their builds with more versatility in mind. In actuality, they are very similar builds. And trips like this really highlight the fact that Surly builds their frames with both diversity and versatility. I like that.
I'm thankful for buddies like Jason (of which I have few) that will leave work at 6:15pm and be pedaling through rain on a loaded bike just a few short hours later. When you're a pastor and a father of four, trips like this are rare. I'd be doing this stuff solo, or not at all, if it weren't for a "Let's-Just-Do-It" attitude. Way to be awesome, Jason. You should write a guest post about your Troll to prove your awesomeness.
This trip made me crave more gravel. But I'm no map junkie. So it'll be tough to find the good stuff around here. But I'd love to do more trips like this in the future.
Get out there.