Sunday, June 6, 2010

Did I luck out or what!!

This is an excerpt of an email I received from my good friend and recumbent enthusiast, Steve M who I met on GOBA a few years past.

Here is the Email.

"Usually I am not the guy who goes off without checking + double checking everything. Which I did, wanting to not forget to take anything "mission critical" on my first self supported tour. The one thing I did not do was make Reservations with the campground on Memorial Day Weekend. Why, I said to myself, do THAT. Most certainly there will be a small piece of land I can pitch my tent on. It's a Big State Park! It's an adventure after all!

So, naturally the nice lady at the ranger station asked me, after seeing a fully loaded bicycle tourist ride up. "which direction are you headed?" "Why?", I asked. "I am going to find you another campground, we are full up!' "No other direction", I say, "My destination is right here! You must have a tiny piece of grass for my skinny little...tent."

She thinks and speculates out loud what can be her boss..try to find a site that would share(fine by me)...put me next to the basketball courts(whatever-any port in the storm)..then she says, "Wait, I have an idea. Go to the group camping area and talk to Nab. He is the president of the North Coast Mountain Bikers Association, and they are up here this weekend working on the Trail. MAYBE they will let you camp with them!" "Mountain Bikers? OK-any old port..."I say to myself "Thanks" to Nice Lady.

A fully loaded recumbent does NOT want to go off-roading, but up the trail and back into the woods i went, in search of Unknown Adventure. Coming upon the clearing, I saw two guys and a bunch of bikes.

"Are one of you guys Nab?'

"Nope, he's gone to pick up his wife"

"Well, Nice Lady at the gate said I might be able to camp here with you guys?"

"What! A Rodie camp with US??!! Nab will Eat You for breakfast!"

"Uh, er, well... "I stammer.

Then I get grilled: "You aren't one of Obama's henchmen, are you? he asked.

"Nope, not me."


"No Sir!"

"Were you a Marine? Nab was a Marine in Nam."

"No...But I have my flag socks on!!"

"Well...OK. Here I'll help you clear a spot for your tent."

And so it went. These guys turned out to be the best bunch of characters I could have hoped to run into. Nab finally showed up and (after my grilling-all of which very good natured like the first guys) he took me under his wing to try to convert me from being an Evil Rodie to the Dark Side of Mountain Biking. Nab built the 9 mile trail at Findlay State Park, and spends many weekends(along with his buddies)maintaining it. Clearing fallen trees, filling muddy sections, building bridges, etc. This weekend he had worked with bike shops and manufactures to procure "test bikes" for his group to take out for evaluation. He made it his Mission to get ME on one of those test bikes. Even loaned me padded gloves for my soft roadie hands.

Since converting to a recumbent years ago due to shoulder and wrist issues, I always thought it might be fun to try my hand at trail riding on a real mountain bike. I did a tiny bit when I had an upright, but not on a Real Trail. So while politely declining, not wanting to abuse his hospitality, I finally gave in and took one out on the trail.

Walt(the first guyI had to woo for a small parcel of land) rode behind me coaching me all the way: "stay to the left around this corner or you'll hit the big rock and wipe out", "Keep off the front brake or you'll go over the handlebars an the big downhill"(that I new)"watch the tree at the bottom of the big hill-it's were Frank busted his skull last week!"
"Thanks, Walt- I already passed the tree!'

It was the most fun I ever had on an upright bike. What a blast! Of course, everything that used to hurt, hurts, but it was still a good time.

At night we swapped stories by the campfire, fed the Ranger hot dogs(good to be friends with Mr Ranger) and went on slow rides with lights around the organized campground to see how the other half lives. Very congested, tightly packed camping. Not "getting away from it all" like we were camped! Did I luck out or what!!

And because Nab built and maintains the trail, he stays at the park for free! So do his buddies! My Adventure Cost $0!! Did I luck out or what??!!"

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