Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 1

Well, it was a beautiful day for a ride. Beautiful! Sunny, temperatures in the mid 60s, no wind. Beautiful.

Got the bike packed and hit the road at about 3:00 pm. Worked my way through the country to Wendell and then Zebulon to Hwy 64, headed east. Traffic was light, and the speed limit graciously set at 65 to 70 for about 45 miles or so.

Just east of I-95, I took Hwy 301 North for a couple miles and then turned east on NC 97. Stayed on it until I turned north on Hwy 258. Went through Scotland Neck, a little town that I really like. It's got the neatest parking in downtown area. The street is very wide, wide enough for cars to park in the middle of the road, perpendicular to traffic. NEAT. Also, lots of gorgeous homes just north of downtown.

At Rich Square (a town I had always wanted to see but never visited), I turned east on Hwy 305, then to Hwy 561 to Hwy 461 all heading northeast to Hwy 13. North on 13 to Hwy 137, again northeast. Turned right on Hwy 158 at Tar Heel and on to the park about 7 miles east. An easy ride with no problems but the one car that stopped suddenly in front of me, making me hit the brakes hard enough that I could hear the antilock brakes working on the rear of the bike. Not a close call, but the RT's excellent brakes made it an easy situation. Had I been on the Vstrom, it might have been more dificult. Otherwise, a very easy ride.

Got to the campground around 5:30pm. Rode around the campground twice to pick out the site I wanted to use. There were a surprising number of campers already set up. I'd say about 40 percent were taken! I expected it to be empty on the Friday night of Easter weekend.

Found a site that was relatively open; I don't like feeling closed in and dark, so the site fit my needs well. Started unpacking the camping equipment in the new Seattle dry bag. It contained the tent, the sleeping pad, and the Kermit Chair. All but the Thermarest were new things.

Opened the tent bag and got out the ground cloth, the tent, rain fly, poles and stakes. Laid out the ground cloth and tent on top of it. Unfolded the poles and matched the ends of the poles to the tent and ground cloth holes. Then put the rain fly on top and fastened it down to the poles. Then staked the corners, the rain fly vestibules and the stays on the fly. Took longer than I thought it would, but this was my first full assembly in the real world.

When finished, it looked good! No sags and it seemed to be fine.

Got out the Thermarest, put it in the tent and allowed it to inflate. Took the sleeping bag out of the side case and laid it on top of the Thermarest. Put the empty bags in the tent and got the bike ready for the night (put cover on it).

Walked to the showers just to see how to get there; found a trail through the woods; maybe a couple hundred yards away.

Came back to the site, got out a can of beenie weenies, cheese, and crackers and ate supper while sitting in the chair, reading the newspaper, and listening to the UNC/St Marys game. Reception was not good, but I could hear it over the earphones.

As it got dark and started cooling off, I moved the Kermit chair inside the tent, placed it on folded pads of newspaper and am now writing this blog. Neat! Hope the legs don't put too much pressure on the ground cloth, tent bottom, or Thermarest! Hopefully it will be okay.

Guess I'll sign off for tonight and get comfortable for the night.

Rode 136 miles today; a short, but good ride!

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