Catching Up: July Adventures

From the dreary viewpoint of February, Northwest summers burst with possibility, appearing long and sunny in the distance. We anticipate the late sunsets and dream of local tomatoes.  In reality, the weekends fill quickly with parties, projects, camping trips, and travel plans, and before we know it, the rain and cool weather have returned. Rain gear resurfaces, heaters fire up, and the down comforter returns from storage.
Time to reinstall the bimini flaps. 

After our Bridge Blast shenanigans, we had no events on the calendar until the Cascadia festival the last weekend in July. We finally got the missing parts for our composting toilet and installed it! But that will be a separate post. As will the delicious foods we cooked.

This year, we planned to ride our bikes to Granite Falls (about 65 miles), camp for 4 nights, and bike home. While we can carry a minimalist camp setup with ease, we wanted lazy comfort and good food. We took notes over the winter when ideas surfaced. The cargo bikes would allow us most of the luxuries of car camping: two burner propane camp stove, queen sized air mattress, regular sheets and pillows, 6 person festival tent, camp chairs, and much more. This would be our first camping trip with the electric cargo bikes and the first real range test, both for comfort and battery capacity.

The festival grounds prohibit motor vehicles, so arriving by bike eliminates trekking back and forth to the parking lot with our gear. Bringing the Bullitt adds the bonus fun of riding together once we've settled into our campsite. The cargo platform becomes a magic carpet, and I can't help but grin as we fly through the forest. Everyone smiles at us, and the world feels friendly. The only drawback to this setup is that the stiff platform and bumpy terrain makes a sore butt pretty quickly. So this year, I made waterproof seat cushions for the cargo platforms of both bikes.
Seat cushion for the Bullitt platform.

I bought a closed-cell foam sleeping pad at Fred Meyer ($12.99) and cut it to size, then sewed a ripstop nylon sleeve with a zipper closure. We had the ripstop for other projects, and I was able to use some of the scraps for the GSD cushion. The result worked perfectly and also serves to cushion electronics that we transport to and from the workshop. I also constructed new, sturdier bags for the  tarp poles and tent.

Behold the new pole bag in all its glory.

Last year we took a variety of foods, but we primarily subsisted on hot dogs and coffee. With that in mind, we kept the planned in-camp food preparations simple.

Our friend Wes would meet us at the campsite with two coolers stocked with ice. We also sent along  15 pounds of chuck roast, sliced and marinated for bulgogi, which we would sear in a cast iron skillet. I made almost two gallons of cold brew coffee, roasted four batches of Moroccan spiced almonds, and threw together a raw cauliflower salad that would keep well for a few days. Two other friends sharing our campsite would contribute meals, so this seemed like plenty of food.
At 11am on the eve of our departure, my dad had suffered a massive heart attack (he's fine now), and by midnight I was on a flight to Kentucky with my brother and his fiancee. I assured Wayne that he should go ahead to the festival as planned. Friends were counting on us, and we had put a lot of time, money, and energy into this adventure.  This was also his first real vacation since attending the festival last summer, and I knew he really needed the time dancing under the trees and out of cell phone range.

Ready for launch

While I spent time with family, Wayne rode to Granite Falls over two days, staying at our friend Jessica's house in Lake Stevens on the way. Not long after setting up camp, he lost his phone, which was promptly turned in to lost and found. Unfortunately it was treated as a valuable item and routed elsewhere, and he would not be able to retrieve it until the following weekend. Thus the picture below is the only one that made it home.

Cascadia forest lights
Wayne assured me that he drove our friends around on the magic carpet bike, and many giggles were heard.

My return flight brought me home just late enough that I missed the 10:30pm ferry, and I was pretty grumpy and frustrated by the prospect of waiting in the ferry terminal until the 12:50am crossiing. Getting a text from Wayne as I settled in to wait made my night. He was back on the boat a day early, waiting for me, finally able to communicate. If I had made the 10:30 ferry, we would have been on the same boat. My brother was not so lucky: his fiancee had gone to Ohio visit friends with his house keys in her suitcase. He spent several hours waiting for a locksmith to let him into his apartment, then had to pick up the dog, sleep for a few hours, and get to work in the morning. I think he finally got to bed around 4am. Ugh.

August 1st found us reunited back on board after an exhausting week, looking at a busy month ahead that would include another camping trip, a company picnic, doing photography for a friend's wedding, and a week in Toronto. We vowed not to add anything to our calendar for the last weekend in August. We have boat projects to do, after all.

Tiki drinks in the cockpit


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