was to load up and leave from our homes meeting at the head of the trial
(the end of the Capital City Trail). Fully loaded (tent, one sleeping
bag, cooler, stove, propane tank, frisbee, small stools, wire grill
and lantern) I was pulling just under 80lbs. Kathy packed her rear basket
with food and clothes.
one car did go up with some heavy stuff and a telescope, everybody else
pulled their own gear. We had 11 riders on the way to Dodgeville, plus
two dogs (in trailers). The ride up was smooth, with only slight grades
heading up to Blue Mounds. The trail gets loose just before you hit
Dodgeville. There were some tears but we all made it.
to backup a bit - we reserved these sites back in June and at that time,
the only sites left were "Back Packing site" - no electricity.
What we didn't know (among other things) is that fact Governor Dodge
State Park is VERY hilly - there's not a flat spot
in the whole place. So once we arrived at the park entrance (after a
killer downhill run) we had a grueling
5 mile trek to the back packing sites.
thing we didn't know (among other things) is the fact you could not
drive to your site. These were BACK PACKING sites, meaning you parked
and walked the 1/2 mile to your site. So that meant hauling all the
gear and bikes and food up and down some serious trails - all hilly.
The trailers helped but it was a challenge. Needless to say, most folks
were pissed off by the time we got there.
we soon realized was what a great site we had picked. I personally had
never camped in a no-car, back packing site. I was used to the car-camping,
blacktop sites within spitting distance of other campers. This was so
we barely saw the other backpackers in the "next" site which
was quite a hike from ours. That meant no Lynard Skynard! No kids on
big wheels. Also, the bath house was a good walk and that was to a pit
toilet. The flushers (and showers) were further down the road. This
introduced me (and others) to the wonderful toilet kit. The toilet kit
consisted of a small trowel and toilet paper. Enough said.
drive into Dodgeville to get firewood and food but it still had to be
carried to the site. While out getting food, we tried to find a "flatter"
way to get out of the park. Our best option was to head west and hit
23, then head south to the trail. There would still be some hills before
we got out of the park.
on some great hikes around the ridge and on top of some rocky bluffs.
The food was still fantastic despite having less gear. We ate lots of
corn on the cob, veggie burgers and brats.
until we left where things broke away from my original plan - lots of
gear was dumped into the now three cars (one was taken back to get two
more) - and some folks decided to ride their way out of the park. Honestly,
the biking was difficult but not impossible. Sure, hauling the gear
was challenging but that was the point.
to stick to the original minimalism, Kathy and myself loaded up the
same gear we brought and road out with the remaining crew. The ride
back went very fast without having to haul the extra gear.
there is a place for car camping just as there is a place for minimalist
(no-car) camping. I'm hoping we can plan a shorter no-car trip and I
still really want to do a zero-support bike trip; a long ride with no
cars and only whats really needed on the other end. I know, however
this will exclude some riders not wanting to blow 70+ miles to go camping.
Thats why God invented car camping.