Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday; S24O on the Olympic Penninsula

I have been reading the Pondero blog recently, which I stumbled across courtesy of Anniebikes, and its got me thinking about S24O's as in Sub 24 hour overnight, an idea popularized by Grant Peterson of Rivendell bicycles.  That in turn got me thinking about the first, and only, S24O I did back in 2012 before I even started this blog.
West Seattle Ferry
In retrospect my trip was a bit ill conceived,  I had this itch that I wanted to try an S24O but I waited until into October to do it, I just picked the closest park I could find with camping, and I started off late in the day.  I was fortunate in one sense that despite my waiting till October we were having a nice Indian summer that year so the temps were nice and mild and it was dry.  Also from my house to Manchester state park was only 14 miles away and about 3 of those miles were covered by the Ferry so I didn't have to travel too far.

The route

Normally when I head down toward the West Seattle Ferry dock I take a right and go into Lincoln park, the forested area in the picture below, to ride the waterfront trail that goes from asphalt to gravel and offers some variety while giving spectacular views of Puget Sound and the Olympic range.
This time though I got on the ferry and enjoyed the nice 30 minute ferry ride to the Peninsula.  I have almost exclusively great memories related to rides on Washington State Ferries as they usually involve; travel, escape, time spent with friends and family and of course great views. 

Where leaving late came back to bite me was that although I had plenty of light while riding from the Southworth dock to the park, by the time I arrived light was starting to fade.

I had also failed to take into consideration that the camp sites were in the forested section of the park so with the fading light and the forest canopy it was essentially dark by the time I started setting up my tent.  I actually set up by the light of my front bike lighting.  I had purchased a cheap one-man tent earlier in the year in anticipation of doing some bike camping but setting it up for the first time in the dark wasn't really part of the plan.
I did, in the end, manage to get the tent set up and since it was so dark I just went to sleep.  It would have been nice to have a campfire to sit reflectively by but I didn't have the room to bring wood with me-nor would I have wanted the weight- and I didn't get to the park early enough to scope out if there was a place to buy/collect some.  When I got up in the morning I simply packed up and headed back home. 

my little mule

After the fact I looked at the Manchester Park website and realized there were lots of things I could have done, hiking, wandering the beach, historic buildings etc.

Some things I didn't see
 Looking back I also realize with a bit more planning I could have probably found a diner someplace in the vicinity for a hearty breakfast and a little local flavor but I just hightailed back to the ferry and home.  In summary I am glad I did it and learned I could pack all the basics on the bike and gained a few lessons of what not to do along the way, so I expect my next S24O experience to be a bit more planned out.

Until next time...Ride.Smile.Repeat.


  1. That was your first s240. Have you done any since and perfected your technique? I have not yet attempted such a trip, I'm sure I will be hooked once I do though.

  2. Hi John good question, sadly no I have not gone again, but I do intend to and to do things a bit differently next time. Since I am down to one job now I have the time I just need to get some fitness ;-) I would highly recommend the website for ideas and inspiration.

  3. As a young doofus Airman in the middle '70's me and my gang would often haul ass off-base on our motorcyles and just ride until the needle got close to empty then look for any likely field or woods or national campground to pull over, build a fire, and drink until the cows came home.

    There were not that many cows in the California National Park System so while we waited the beer cans would pile up but being young Warriors of the Air we drank until the cans were empty. We were doing our best to save the world from communism and that took a lot of beer.

    So now, as a pedalist, weight is a factor. Passing out in front of a handy little campfire with no sleeping bag was good enough for a crew of drunk-ass 18 year old wing-nuts, but as age and infirmity creep in, bedding and ice become signifigantly more important.

    If I am going to do an S24O, then, me brother, I fear I must admit to the need for a BOB trailer, a cooler, and some of those oak logs one can purchase at most groceries.

    (Do you call them groceries out there? Me, I am a loyal Winn Dixie shopper.)

    Whatever the case, on a cross country trip I would, by necessity, expect depradation. I think.

    (pause while we go to google dictionary.)

    OK depradation might happen also, but I meant deprivation. Ya gotta travel light!

    But not me. I know with confidence that I can pedal fifty miles dragging a trailer loaded with an empty (but soon to be filled) cooler and a big tent and my laptop and a small grill and some grill meat and vegetables for roasting. Some store-bought or gathered-at-roadside firewood.

    The Journey might be the Destination but I gotta tell ya, once I get to the destination I'm gonna want to eat well and cop a beer buzz. Plus, since it would be such a rare and special occasion, a rare and super-fine brandy or some such wouldn't hurt either.

    I'm liking this train of thought! Grant was on the right path (and I know you are aware of your neighbor Urban Adventures) but a nice luxury S24O would sure be an easier sell.

    At least for me it would. I always said I never sleep outside on purpose. That's not really true; there have been plenty of times when I knew my plans would result in a night outdoors. But that was necessity, not desire. But there is a certain Hemingwayesque beauty and elegance in a planned pedal ride with a ridiculous load to a close by, yet far away night At Camp.


    As always, yer buddy tj

    1. TPC I think you forgot the kitchen sink ;-) I think that a Bob trailer S24O is the bike equivalent of car camping.. but seriously it seems like you have given this some thought, do you have said Bob trailer? I think If I were to pursue your plan I would find a campsite close to a Winn Dixie, ride the Bob mostly empty to the grocery, load up on beer, ice and firewood, (pop tarts?) ride the rest of the way, use up alll the groceries and then ride home. I do like the brandy idea though...Thanks for stopping by TJ

  4. After many years of being the good Dad and tagging along with my Boy Scout boys on campouts I have generally been "burnt" out on the campfire scene. I have been on two s24o's this summer. My kids got me one of those new-fangled vacuum top seal insulated growler bottles. That is the perfect gear for these trips!! Fits good in the rear pannier and still cold when I reach the tent set up place. I am thinking of one of those Salsa jumbo anything cages for the front fork on Ogre to carry that.
    I have set up my tent in complete darkness, a couple of times dark and a few beers already down. Part of the fun!!

    1. Sounds like you have your priorities straight Jim, I see the Velo Orange sells the "Mojave" cage to accommodate up to 40 oz Kleen canteen bottles... I really need to get out on an S24O this summer.