MotoCamping - Week 7 - Clarence Fahnestock

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This week I went to a campsite slighty more north east then bear mountain, to Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park. I checked the weather 10 times before I went. This was supposed to be the only rain free day of the week. The roads up were nice and twisty as I like them. Usually most of the enjoyment on these solo camping trips are about the time on the bike. The other part of the fun is the unexpected. Unexpected events = adventure.

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So this night was a mini adventure. At least that’s how I like to think of it. A few miles before I reached my destination it started to rain on me. I was so shocked I actually yelled “what!” in a pissed off manor inside my helmet. I checked the weather so many times. I usually am fine with rain but I wasn’t prepared for this. Setting up camp while raining sounded like a disaster. That would mean the inside of my tent would be wet. It’s funny because I’ve been researching and wanting to buy a noahs tarp rain shelter and having that then would be perfect.

I finally arrived at the camp office at 10pm and it was just a drizzle still. While registering it starts pouring outside. I run out to get my moto rain gear, and back in to the office to put it all on. By the time I’m finished registering and get back outside the rain stops. Now I’m sweating in this gear. I follow the park ranger to the main office to pick up a bundle of wood. The main office was a little down the road and up a driveway that ended in a little office and a mechanics garage. More on that later.

I rode to my campsite, where there were only 1 site filled with a couple camping. They said hi and offered help. I told them I would come bother them after I set up camp. I hurried up and set up tent. Inflated my mattress unloaded my gear etc. right as I was finishing up it started to rain again. I gathered the remaining contents from the picnic table and ran in to my tent. It started pouring. I kept myself busy with snacks and my iPad. I checked my trustyweather app and it said rain would stop around 11:30pm. While in the tent the sound of the heavy rain was soon joined by the sound of water blooping in to large puddles of water. It finally stopped raining, on schedule. I got outside and saw my tent was surrounded by deep muddy puddles. O well. At least everything that mattered was dry. The tent proved its worthiness. Everyone was asleep at this point. I made my dinner, tried to start a fire to no avail, finally gave in and went to sleep. It was dry for the remainder of the night.

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I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. My tents rain fly was still wet but the sun was shining so I was happy. I went to find a water spout to fill up a pot with water. First priorities when waking up from camping - coffee. I found the water spouts and I also found signs above them saying water was unsafe to drink. I decided to ride to the main camp office from last night to ask for advice. When I got on my bike there was a red flashing warning light. O boy. I rode on hoping it was a false sensor issue. As I got to the main office I realized why the light was flashing, my tire pressure monitors showed my rear tire at 18 instead of the normal 36. I looked at the tires and they looked fine. Weird. Still maybe just a sensor issue. The main office was no help when it came to acquiring water. They told me the water was safe and to just drink it.

I decided to head in to town, get a gallon of water, check on my tire, and maybe cheat a little with a store bought coffee. Down the road were incredibly fun twisty roads. Exhilarating. I finally found a town with a grocery store that bordered a mechanic shop. I bought my gallon of water, got my coffee and decided to check my tires on the quarter air pump that had an attached air gauge. The bike was right. 18psi. How odd. But I just rode 20 minutes with no change in psi so it couldn’t be a flat. Must be a freak occurrence. Blame it on the rain.

I filled up and headed back up to camp. I made myself breakfast and chat with our neighbors a bit. Nice people around my age. Married couple, one a teacher and one a social worker. They said they make sure to get one camping trip in a year. After that I decided to venture out. There was a path leading up to a nice lake. I followed it and just kept walking. I found old abandoned picnic tables and fire pits on the other side of the park. I enjoyed my time just going for a walk in the woods.

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It was time to break down camp. I had to dry everything off with a towel, let it dry a bit more in the sun spread out on other picnic tables, and do the dishes.

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I finally get back on my bike, and my back tire is at 14PSI ! I guess it wasn’t a fluke. It was a slow leak for sure. At this point my bike was all packed up and i was nervous having all that weight on my bike. Still, i rode up the road to the main camp office again seeking advice. How lucky could i get, the only guy there was a state park mechanic, working right in front of the driveway, and he himself had his own moto parked right there. I asked him if he could fill my tire so i could ride in to town to get it plugged. “I’ll do you one better, i’ll fix it myself”. This man saved me, he found a sheet rock screw in my tire, pulled it out and plugged it right in front of me. The good news is I now know how to do it myself if i had a small kit with me. He mentioned that the screw in my tire was likely from my visit to that very driveway the night before, Oy. He fixed my tire, and i was on my way back to the city, but not before hitting up those beautifully twisty roads one more time. I landed in brooklyn and stopped by dumbo for a quick bite, and then red hook, to union garage to visit my buddy and shop owner chris to chat before finally heading home.

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Edit: Later this year i discovered awesome roads right near this park... I'm going to hit this campsite again when it gets nicer out again enjoy the roads a little more. Good to know i don't have to go all the way to Wharton state forest for dirt roads..