Testing out the Bikepacking Setup
I finally got out for my first bikepacking overnight. This is something I had originally planned for early May or June, but with the weather we have had in New Hampshire this spring, this was my fist chance to actually get out and give it a shot. I loaded up the Fargo Thursday night in preparation of leaving straight from work. I kept the concept of this one pretty simple. I was headed to Pawtuckaway State Park to spend the night and then meet my friends, Mia and Martha, at Wallis Sands for a day of lounging on the beach. I figured worst case scenario was that I would suffer through one night and then sleep in my own bed the next night. Turned out the whole thing was a total blast!
Getting out of Concord involved some very heavily traveled commuting routes. I wasn’t sure if traffic would be heavy or light given the huge holiday weekend. Luckily it ended up being fairly light and I had little to worry about. Once I got out of Concord and into Pembroke, I turned onto Academy Drive and dropped down to route 28 and taking a quick left into Bear Brook State Park. Bear Brook would have been my destination of choice had I done this in May or early June, but with long daylight hours I knew I had plenty of time to get out to Pawtuckaway.
It was only about 30 miles to get to Pawtuckaway from Concord. I had debated taking the railbed out of Massabesic and out to Raymond, but wasn’t sure how much this would add to the journey and knew I was playing with only about an hour until sunset with my expected arrival at camp.
I arrived at the park about 7:15 and got registered and dropped down to camp. It was pretty packed with Massachusetts license plates. I definitely felt like the odd man out.
The campsite was fairly level and more than roomy enough since I did not have a car. It also had access to the lake right out the backside of the site.
First time testing out my Nemo Mio too. It’s not the largest tent in the world, but packs down small and is super light. Check their website out, they have some cool products.
I got a small fire started from some scrap sticks kicking around the campsite and some paper. Nothing major, but enough for a little ambiance. After that died and I was tired of listening to my iPod, I went to sleep about 9:45. I was wide awake by 5:10 and got up to make coffee and breakfast, then hit the road early to meet Mia and Martha at the beach.
After packing up camp, loading up the bike, I continued over to Raymond, NH, and picked up the Massabesic rail-trail near the Dunkin Donuts.
Being an old railroad bed, the surface is almost totally dead flat. I don’t think there is more than a 3% grade on the whole thing. It’s almost dead straight out to Exeter from here too. Then another 15 or so miles to the beach. I was very impressed with how the Fargo handled this “trail” fully-loaded. The bike was super smooth even with about 20 extra pounds of stuff thrown onto it.
After almost an hour on the railbed, I popped out in Newfields/Exeter and took route 108(?) back to route 27 and followed that all the way into Hampton and route 1A. Once there I had to take a left to head to Wallis Sands, but before I could do that, I had to head right to hit one of my favorite little places to visit while on the coast.
After a quick snack of blueberry slathered fried dough, it was back up route 1A to Rye, NH and Wallis Sands. My favorite part of this last 45 minutes was some old dude on a Specialized Roubaix who thought he could drop a fully-loaded “touring” cyclist. I’ll admit it was a bit of jerk move on my part, but the guy passed me at like 18mph and quickly died back down to 15mph, so I did the snide move and sat on his wheel while he towed me the last 3 miles to Wallis Sands. I think I deflated his ego a bit since he couldn’t “drop” me on his racing bike. The whole GPS can be seen here. It was a good test of my equipment and gear. I think I can leave a few things behind next time.