I've been trolling this forum for weeks trying to make sure I had everything I'd need. Being in the Army I made a list for PCC (Pre Combat Checks) to make sure I had everything.
Friday night came and I discovered I left my list at work so I laid out everything by memory. I packed it all up, loaded the truck and thought I was ready to go.
Sat morning comes and I wake up to find my phone had not been charging the entire night. (delay #1) So I stuck around for 2 hours waiting for it to charge up some.
I get to the trail head (30mins from my house), unload my bike when I discover I have forgot an extra tire tube and my butt butter. (Delay #2). So I load the bike back in the truck, drive to the nearest bike shop to buy a tube and some butter.
I get back to the trail around 11am (4 hours behind). My original plan was to ride at least 63 miles along the Hennipin Trail.
The first 40 miles were amazing. Just me and the bike. I knew I was behind a bit and I still wanted to get to to mile 63 before the sunset so I didn't stop and take near as many pictures as I should have.
One of about 30 canal locks along the trail.
Train bridge built in 1904, still in use.
Then it happened....the front end started bouncing up and down, it had happened....a damn flat.
I pulled off the trail and went to work. I had 3 thorns like the one pictured clear through the tire and into the tube. I threw in the one spare tube I brought and that's when I realized.....I didn't bring any patches. So what do I do. I'm at least 7 miles from the nearest town, 40 miles from the start, 27 miles from my destination and I have no spare left or any patches. I pulled out my phone and typed in Walmart, 7.9 miles one way. So....off to Walmart I headed to get me some patches.
By the time I got back to the trail it almost 6pm and I knew I'd lose the sun in about an hour so I went 7 more miles and called it a day to set up camp.
Camp was amazing. I ate me an MRE (Chile and beans) and drank about 40oz of water. I can't put into words how great it was to finally be out and alone. The sky this night would be crystal clear. I stopped counting shooting stars at 15. Once my fire died out I climbed inside my bag and headed to sleep. About 3am I woke up cold. I figured my mid bag would be more than enough but I never thought the temps would get into the high 30's, the weather report called for mid 40's. I put on long sleeve silkies and my rain parka and tried to get some sleep. I didn't get much after that, cold sux and I can't sleep when I'm cold.
I awake to some folks fishing the canal, they had driven in on 4 wheeler. They were pretty redneck for Iowa standards but they seemed like nice folks, esp when they offered me a beer at 8am.
So I then packed up and headed out, I had about 47 miles to get back to my truck. The ride back was somewhat uneventful until I stopped for lunch at mile 23 and watched some turtles fighting so I figured I'd try for some more turtle power entertainment on my way back.
I pulled in and saw this monster tandem bike.
I started chatting with the woman and discovered that they had left Washington State 2.5 months ago and were headed to Washington DC. WOW....yea...you read that right. We talked for a while and they headed off, they still had 3-4 weeks of riding to do.
About 2 miles from the trail head I saw this on the side of a garage and just had to get a pic.
So...to sum things up my first trip overall was a success but I did learn a few things.
1. Have a list, you will forget something if you don't pack using one.
2. Prepare for the worst in weather, cold, rain etc.
3. Troll the forums, my pack out worked perfect. Many thinks to all the threads/pics of everyone's rig, it made packing mine so much easier.
4. Ask questions in the forums, don't be afraid to ask questions about bags, racks or anything else. Based on what I've seen here everyone has tried it at least once and ultimately may save yourself some money when it comes to what does and doesn't work.
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