Well, the weekend that I chose to do a dry run to sort out gear and technique was anything but dry. With my wife and daughter en route to Portland OR to visit Grandpa, I took the opportunity to run up to Ricketts Glen State Park for a night of camping even though the trip is a year away. With on and off drizzle and a forecast for heavy rain in Northern PA, it looked like a perfect time to experience what might be typical in Alaska.
By the time I arrived at Ricketts Glen, the fog was thick and temperatures were in the high 50’s, but the heavy rain had stopped. Even though all camp sites were reserved, I managed to convince the staff to give me one of the sites reserved, but vacated due to the miserable weather. As it turned out, the folks who had reserved the site were still packing up when I arrived – which worked out well as I not only inherited their site next to the lake, but their firewood stash as well. I quickly unloaded and set-up camp trying to beat the impending rain; which held off until after I had finished my dinner. Although it rained hard most of the night , I slept like a baby and was on the road home by 6:30am. About an hour and 15 minutes to make a quick cup of coffee and break camp – not too bad. All the gear worked out well, both camping and riding.
I am getting really excited about the trip and found myself imaging that I was actually camping in Alaska and returning home after 15 -20 days on the road. As I do more of these practice runs, I am going to increase mileage and time on the road from 250 miles like this one, to well over 1000 miles in 24 hrs. Need to get the old body in shape for the ride…
As I continue with this record of preparation and the actual ride, I am cognizant of two parallel focuses, the technical aspects of the ride (gear, technique, route, etc…) and raising money and awareness for Juvenile Arthritis. As such, future entries will contain snippets of activity in each area with the hope of those interested in the technical aspects being drawn into the cause and offering financial support.
If there are readers out there who have had similar experiences, know of organizations that might be interested in sponsoring, or individuals who might contribute, please leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will follow-up with them.