Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Experiment...Part 3

Once back home, showered, fed and with our cycles and trailer safely put away, it only remained to work out what we learned about cycle camping. We had only been gone overnight but we did learn a few things.

Mostly, what we learned is that no matter how disciplined you are about packing, you will wind up bringing too much with you. For us, the tent seemed to be bigger in its stuff sack than either of us recalls. The other thing we learned is that no matter how tightly you compress pillows to fit into an army-issued stuff sack, it'll still take up way too much space in whatever trailer or pannier you have. Using sweaters or towels as pillows won't do it either as a horribly stiff and sore neck will be the result. Yes it will.

The other thing we learned is that as much as camping is touted as eco-friendly and a great way to get "back to nature" almost no public campsites are set up that way. Most campsites are just not easily accessible by any other means except a car. We managed to get to the one here in Ottawa simply because we can both easily cycle 40 or 50 kilometres. Adam probably always will though it's not so certain for me. The Ottawa Municipal Campground is precisely 37.7 kilometres from our place and following the bike paths as we did. It would be really nice if there were other municipal campgrounds within the city but I, for one, am grateful that we have even one.

One thing we were able to confirm about cycle camping is that, overall, it is a lot less expensive than many other vacations of this type. Another type of camping trip we have taken is canoe camping at Lac La Peche in Gatineau Park but that still requires one to drive to the launch site first and absorb all the associated costs of gasoline usage to get up there. Yet, this one overnight trip only cost us $71.73 in total.

So, would we do it again? Well, no, because other than this particular campsite, there really isn't any other place to go. I am physically limited to about 50-80 kilometres and I just don't think there are any other campsites within that range. Plus, unless we can seriously cut down even further on what we bring, that we won't be doing any more cycle camping.

It was a fun experiment and we really enjoyed the experience but I think that, next year when we go camping, we'll go back to renting a car and heading back to a place like Sandbanks. In the interim, it's day trips galore and, with there being about 2 to 2 1/2 months left of the cycling season, there's lots more to see and do this year.


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