Car Camping, By Bike (part two)

The next morning we awake, after a surprisingly pleasant fitful sleep. Groggily three of us stumble out of a tent, one out from under a poncho which, being tied to a Big Dummy, stayed up without complaint. The standard early-morning-after-backcountry-revelry thoughts and actions took place. Squint. Rub eyes. Dig in recesses of memory. Did we hang the food? Uhhh. Pretty. Mm. Need coffee. Coffee's in bag. Bag's in tree. *sigh*.
Eventually C-note and Capn. E did retrieve the food and foodstuffs while I sloshed through the marsh to get to the creek to filter some water. Filters work a lot better when they have little to filter.
Time for breakfast. Well, by this time we're pretty ready to get rolling. Oh, and there's that part about two of the six eggs being broken, handily gluing the remaining intact eggs to the container, the container to the inside of the bag. Pop Tarts, then.
We pack up, load the trailers and Xtracycles and head back towards town. We've got a bit of singletrack and the one creek crossing, followed by the eight or so miles of downhill fire road and then ten miles of downhill pavement. Easy.
With the BOB trailer, my bike is fairly stable at speed, requiring a bit more rear brake than normal. It did have a bit of wiggle in turns. I think that if I were to do any long-distance off road touring with a BOB, I'd definitely stick with a hardtail. I don't really like to think about all those lateral loads the swingarm bearings are withstanding. Plus, with half (or thereabouts) of the trailer weight borne by the axle the suspension is doing little for you anyway. Increased unsprung weight and all that.
The ride down goes like this: ride fast, wait. Ride fast, wait. Ride fast, wait. E was taking it easy- he was riding the least off-road capable bike and prairie schooners are not known for good high-speed handling characteristics.
I was a tiny bit concerned when, on the third or fourth time waiting, I noticed that one of the wheels on E's trailer was angled slightly. Positive camber? Interesting.
We take a Pop-Tart break at the bridge, and while E is busying himself bending his trailer axle back a racer-looking guy starts barging on through. We have a decidedly one-sided conversation with him:
"Good morning!"
"grunt ugh grunt" *angry glare*
Hey, it looks like you're winning! Woohoo!"
*shakes head, mutters something*
You don't lose any time if you say 'Hi!'"
I hope he won. I didn't even know there was a race.
Traveling northward, rolling downhill, catastrophe struck.
A smooth fire road, a home-built trailer, a bit of speed, and a single rock. One of the wheels of the trailer ever-so-slightly contacted the rock. The Conestoga pivoted up on the other tire. It kept going, now completely airborne until at 270 degrees the right wheel landed on the ground sort of on its side. The force of impact was too great for the 10mm axle, so it snapped cleanly off at the bearing. But that didn't keep the trailer from rotating about its hitch. Before long, the other wheel managed to snap off in the same way. The result: One wheel-less trailer, two 20" wheels laying on the trail, and about 12 1/4" bearings scattered about.
Unfortunately, I missed all this, as I was about a quarter mile ahead. I did have a passing cyclist say to me,
"Are you with some other guys with trailers?"
"Well, I think they're having some problems- they're standing around in the trail and there's parts all over."
When I ride back up the wheels had already been retrieved. We discussed getting the trailer and gear out, settling on merely strapping the Conestoga (sans wheels) to the back of the Big Dummy. C-note took the wheels and we were, once again, off.The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. A nice, clear, speedy ride on smooth pavement back into town. Well, there was that instance where we were catching up to a guy on a bike on the road when Wiley mutters to me, "Think we can catch him?"
I reply masochistically, "Yeah, let's get him on the climb."
And we did. And he tried in vain to pass us. Hah! On bikes, sometimes, it always is a race. Try to do that with a car.


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