Falls Lake, North Carolina
We cancelled this trip once. Originally scheduled for March, the plan was to get a group campsite at Falls Lake State Recreation Area and invite some folks to pedal the 20-ish miles out to the lake with me. But the fickle North Carolina spring shifted quickly from unseasonably warm to seasonably miserable so we pulled the plug and successfully averted a cold and wet bike overnight. The people with NC State Parks were quite accommodating, and we were able to reschedule for early June, a timeframe that was nearly certain to be a bit more pleasant. "More pleasant" turned out to be an understatement. We saw a repeat of the March weather pattern, unseasonably warm through the week ending in a seasonable weekend, finding that it is a far better formula for a June camping trip than it would be for a March trip. In fact, we enjoyed perfect weather for our bike overnight.
Our youngest Bike Overnighter.
We had a great group of a dozen bike campers. The under-10 crowd was represented by a trooper from Cary who alternated between the tag-along and the trailer. We had some experienced bike campers -- as well as some individuals who were experienced at both camping and cycling, but had never put the two together until now. (Interestingly, among the twelve folks sleeping in the woods that night, we had six hanging in hammock tents.)
The trip to Falls Lake is partly rural, partly suburban.
The trip east through Durham's Research Triangle Park (RTP) was pleasantly uneventful. North Carolina's research and IT hub is bustling during the week, but has a slower pace on the weekends. Some ongoing construction crowded the lanes a little bit, but with the weekend’s light traffic, our group handled it without a problem. Once we got out of RTP, we rode through a blend of rural and developing suburban areas that mixed up the traffic patterns a bit. Farm houses and developments with cul-de-sacs seemed to be staggered every half mile or so.
Arriving at Falls Lake.
When we arrived at the campsite, we met up with some of the other campers who had arrived earlier, having pedaled in from Raleigh and Cary. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon milling around chatting while we cleaned up, erected camp, and started preparing our dinners. Camp dinner with a group like this is always fun, as there are inevitably a variety of tastes to be shared and enjoyed, and this night’s impromptu buffet was no different.
Starting dinner and the campfire.
The evening closed around the campfire. One cyclist brought his portable violin, and several campers brought the fixings for the requisite s’mores. As the sun set and the bug count rose, we made our way to our tents for the night.
A beautiful morning to wake up by the lake.
Sunday morning, the sun was bright as it reflected off the lake and peeked through the trees to our campsite. Fresh roasted coffee brought the crew to life, and we stowed our gear and rolled back to civilization. The response was unanimous among both our experienced bike campers and the first-timers: This was a great getaway, one that should be repeated.