Monday, October 23, 2017

Japan

We were blessed with a two-week cycling journey around southwestern Japan. Our travels were largely based on the island of Shikoku.

With a rough plan in hand we adjusted our journey once we got a feel for the roads and options available. Also, there were four of us and we needed to account for the wishes and priorities of each. As a recent bottle cap proverb said "If you want to go far, go alone; if you want to be happy, travel together".

It was a memorable, perhaps life-altering experience. We will be back.











Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Our 2017 S24O!




Over the last 9 years we have managed to enjoy 8 group s24o's with our friends and loved ones. The nominal excuse is my birthday, which falls at the end of April, but the real reason we do this is because it's so much fun--I'm honored that to be a part of it.  After so many years we have a track record; we all look forward to this annual gathering filled with fun and adventure.


What's an s24o? It translates into a "sub-24 hour overnight" and it is only the most awesome thing ever. Bicycle touring on a short schedule? Speed camping? Its charm lays in its brevity. Most of us can manage to put aside our responsibilities for half a weekend and the rewards are always worth whatever juggling needs to happen to pull it all together.

 


We gather bikes, kids, food, camping gear and a sense of adventure to ride off down the road until we find a cozy place to camp. Tents get set up, snacks come out, stoves are lit and we enjoy yummy food and an evening together. In the morning it all happens again in reverse as we disperse back home, smelling of wood smoke, twigs rattling in our spokes, and smiles on our faces.


This year we hit something of a milestone: for the first time everyone was on their own bikes. In past years there have been kids in trailers or on trail-a-bikes but this year everyone got there by their own effort. I think of Silas in particular because the first year we did this he wasn't yet thought up, the second year he was baking in the oven, and the third year he was there in a trailer. Now he's leading the pack with gears and hand brakes!

 




This years trip took us again up Stetson Hollow Road in Granville. Since we first went to this area, Tropical Storm Irene managed to take out a significant bridge and scoured sections of the road down to bare boulders, so we can't go as far as we could 9 years ago. Nonetheless, we found an inviting spot with room for a handful of tents and a couple of campfire options.

 



As usual we came varying distances based on our time available and the umph in our legs. Sometimes I think the kids don't realize that biking the back roads of Vermont for 11 or 12 miles is not a typical activity for folks their age, but they don't know any different and seem to enjoy it.




After arriving, we set up camp and then did a little excursion that included crossing the aforementioned stream bed where the bridge once stood to see a lovely waterfall. We enjoyed some pre-dinner yummies and then went back to our campsite to fry up some sausage and enjoy a campfire. Gladly the night was not quite as cold as predicted, but we are all glad to be in our sleeping bags once we turned in.




The morning saw us sleeping surprisingly late, having a little breakfast and then getting ready to go. Some of the kids had games they needed to get to, so there was a first crew that left before the rest of us a little later. We made our respective ways home, some to waiting cars, some all the way back on bikes.

Why did we skip a year? The reason mostly was that we were trying to include a lot of families and in the end could not find a date that worked for everyone, so we skipped it. Going forward we've decided it'll be the same weekend every year so whoever can make it will be there.