It started on Saturday. 5 of us (Andrew, Stuart, Russell, Andre and myself) took the Bremerton Ferry to the Green Mountain area to do some camping and scouting for the up coming 4th of July trip – dubbed Joeball Mountain. We did this trip last year, and it was a lot of fun. Also the weather is incredible and staying indoors is dumb when you can make up excuses like this to get out.
This was also an opportunity to try out my new Karate Monkey.
(You can see the whole photo gallery HERE.)
it’s come a long ways from THIS
Andre’s $16 Goodwill bike. LOL.
Weather was just incredible, the whole time. The ferry ride, nice.
Rode out there, stopped at the little bodega by Wildcat Lake to stock up on a little beer before making the climb into the camp ground.
You know, we came up here last year and pushed bikes up hills but I figured it was just because I found myself on a super rocky and steep logging road on a road bike. Turns out having the KM was better, but didn’t really change that too much. It’s a steep fucking climb into this camp ground, and no foolin. We didn’t walk the whole thing, but there are a couple parts that are pretty brutal.
In the end, getting up there is work, but it’s not very long and you’re there in no time. The camp ground itself was completely empty this time, whereas last year we showed up and the upper camping spots were taken up by horse camp. Since it was empty we occupied one of the nicer horse camp sites this time, closer to the well. Russ brought out his Fosters Can stove which worked well enough, if slowly. He’d heard you could make tea out of nettles so boiled some nettle leaves in his little pot. Said it didn’t taste too bad but wasn’t anything to write home about.
Andre found a huge pile of split and drying wood under a covered area on the other side of camp. Which was made only better by the wheel barrel we also found to carry wood over to the fire pit. Jeez it was nice.
Andre splitting wood for the fire.
Camp for me was a Biv Sack and a tarp. I tried to use the footprint from my tent for the tarp but truth is it’s too narrow with no middle grommet. It worked out okay in the end, but I want to get a better tarp.
After we rested a bit and setup camp, we hit the road to do a little exploring. According to the map there was a vista lookout point around the other side of the mountain, so we headed out there to find it.
We only had one mechanical this trip, and it was mine. My chain snapped. I fucking hate HATE SRAM chains. I like the magic link, I hate their chains. This is like the 4th NEW SRAM chain I’ve snapped over the past 2 years. NEW. Fortunately my multi-tool had a chain-tool on it and the break wasn’t too far from the magic link. But it made a borderline length chain 2 inches too short meaning I’d lost some gears as a result. I will never buy another SRAM chain again, now that I know magic links will work on Shimano chains. Anyhow, this was a 15 minute fix, and blah blah blah, I digress.
Once up there you could see a long ways. Looking East, you could see Rainier off to the right, Glacier Peak, and I think Baker to the left. Couldn’t really get a good shot with my camera so you’ll have to use your imagination I guess.
Stuart and Andrew taking a rest.
Looking West was prettier I think though.
Then it was back to the camp. According to the map there was a mountain-bike trail that theoretically would take us right back to the campsite. We found the trail – it was well marked and banked single track – and boy it was a lot of fun. There were parts where spring water would bubble up and use the trail as a sort of drainage so a good part of the time you’d be riding in 1/8th inch of water on a rocky path about a foot wide. I was too busy riding it to take pictures of it I realize now, but wish I had. I’ve never done any sort of mountain biking, but here I was in the mountains with my new 29er. Fuggit. It was now or never. For the next 45 minutes we ran this trail up and down and around until finally, lo and behold it dumped us back into camp, just like the map said. Yeah – what a hoot. I could do more of that.
Incidentally, I had a 2.55 inch Weirwolf tire up front and a 2.1 inch Nano Raptor in the back, and this worked great. Although in my last post I’d done this mistakenly – truth is it works really well. I think I will continue this trend of big tire up front and smaller tire in the back.
Dinner was beef stroganoff.
We stayed up till I guess around 10 and finally racked out. I didn’t sleep very well due to allergies, but the rest of the gang seemed to get a lot of shuteye without problem. Andrew however was up more or less at sun up, so I got up too. In short order most of us except Stuart were up and about making coffee, eating breakfast, etc.
And after breakfast we packed up and rolled out by around 8:30 or 9am I think. One of the nice things about the Biv Sack is you can just roll the whole thing up, bag, pad, and all and you’re done. Carrying it on the KM like this proved to be a very VERY successful method – will probably do it again in the future.
We found and took the main drag road out of the camp site. It’s a nice flat graded road and there’s some temptation to take people up it instead of the steep logging roads, but I think it’d be a mistake. Sure the grade is more gradual and the road better, but the route is probably 3 times as long. But man is it awesome to bomb the next morning – it just goes on and on.
Got into town early and snagged the 10:20 ferry home. When you’re up at daylight and daylight starts at 5:30am, it’s easy to cover a lot of distance by noon.
Bremerton Naval Shipyard with an aircraft carrier in dock as we pulled away for Seattle.
Back in Seattle by a little after 11 am. 24 hours. On the way home ran into Prof Dave and Donnie manning an Urban Assault checkpoint at the Collonade Park about 200 meters from my front door. Pulled over, said hello and talked to them for a bit, then wandered home for a 4 hour nap with my cat.
When I woke up there were all sorts of text messages. Such a beautiful day, so many bike things going on! My bike was really muddy from running that single track mountainbike path, and Prof Dave and Donnie told me about a bike wash to commemorate the opening of a new bike shop in Georgetown being hosted by the Bicycle Belles. So I saddled back up and rode the Monkey to Georgetown to have hot girls wash my bike for donations.
This was 30 kinds of awesome.
NICE! Phils Tenacious Oil! Sweet chain lubing dude.
Bike Sabbath was there (aka a pile of bike jerks), getting cleaned up before departing for Carkeek Park to cook hotdogs. I’d have gone but frankly I didn’t want to climb out of that park which is pretty gnarly, so went and got some grub with Ken and Laura before going home.
zomg so hot.
Anyhow, great weekend, I’m pooped. Going to try and head out to the Suiattle River next weekend for more bike camping – it’s a 3 day weekend (Memorial Day). I want to talk more about the bike wash thing later. You can see the whole photo gallery HERE.
This summer is going to rule.
- The Biv Sack works well enough but want one with the hoop over the head if I’m going to keep on with it. Matthew has offered to sell me his hammock for cheap – need to PM him about it so I can try it out.
- Must get a better overhead tarp – something with a center grommet.
- Hanging the bedroll from the handlebars works really really well. And it’d allow me to get my load down to one pannier, easily. I just found that Epic Designs makes a handelbar bag system that’s utterly badass and take this idea to the next level. In fact I’ve got an Old Man Mountain Cold Springs front rack on back order I’m going to cancel now in favor of this plan. My bike does NOT need another rack. Christ. I don’t know yet if I’m going to try and make this, or just buy it from Epic.
- I still have a philosophical problem with Ortlieb panniers in that they’re great on the bike and nothing but awkward when not on the bike. They work great, I had no problems with them, but they weren’t going anywhere except that bike rack or the camp site. I might look at Arkel again for a backpack/pannier.
- The Old Man Mountain Sherpa rear rack was fucking great. Worth every nickle. And I think it’s the same price as a Tubus.
- The stove I bought is overkill. It’s more stove than I’ll ever use I realize now. I didn’t bring it on this trip – in fact haven’t brought it on any trips. Russell’s beer can stove worked well and was interesting. I’m not saying I think that’s the solution for me, but it’s a solution.
- The road out of Joeball Mountain is badass but would not recommend coming up it since it will drag make the route up there out and make it around 3 times as long. Folks are going to enjoy bombing down it the next morning. It’s also a possible route for a sag wagon if say, we want someone to meet us up there with beer. Can I get a “hell yes?”
- Pick up a new metal pot holder. You lost yours at Ben Country jerky.
- Always always always have the means to boil your own water. Whether that means a proper gas stove or simply a metal cup a pot holder and the means to make fire. I was sorta lacking in this field and felt a little naked.
- People are weird about cooking in a fire – not wanting to get their cooking gear scorched up.Cooking gear is supposed to get like that. And frankly, unless I’m doing something really special purpose, I don’t think I want a pot I can’t put in the fire if need be. That’s swell that your pot never gets scorched up. I guess when you go to resell it, it’ll look pretty or something. Maybe it’s fear of fire. I see that a lot. People who don’t understand fire, who are afraid of it. I guess if I were afraid of fire I wouldn’t consider cooking over it either. I dunno. I’m just wandering here.
- Pick up a belt holster for the mag lite because you lost yours.
- Dead reckoning will get you around, but it’d be good to have a proper map and compass, not only of the area but a larger scale one too. You can triangulate your position if you have peaks like Rainier and Baker on the horizon, do some orienteering. That or a GPS with the local area maps loaded.
- Load up on military grade allergy medicine. And always bring bug spray and sunscreen, even if you don’t think you’ll need it. I was grateful I’d brought mine.
- Carry a couple extra magic links and like 6 inches of bicycle chain. If my chain had broken in a different place, it would have been really uncomfortable for everyone.
- It was good that one of us had a hatchet. I usually carry mine anyhow. I know Andre brought his fuck-yeah saw.