Sunday, February 8, 2009


Got back earlier this afternoon from O'Neill Regional Park. It was a fun time and it was nice to have some added company. Chris and Michael came along with us on a neat folding tandem. We've spoken so long about doing a tour together that it was nice to finally hit the road and do it.

When we left early Saturday, it was raining. It rained more or less the entire morning until we got to The Filling Station in Orange, where we made short work of another spectacular breakfast (it is a definite must-stop!). After breakfast part 2, we started doing a little climbing in the hills and had pretty good weather until the campground.

We set up our tents and unpacked. Laura and I then went to the showers. While we were in there, it started hailing! I could see the marble-sized pellets resting on the glass panels on the roof while I was in the shower. By the time we were out of the shower the hail had turned to rain. We couldn't quite bring ourselves to run out into the rain after such a relaxing shower so we killed time and hung out beneath the roof of the bathroom until it stopped and we walked back to camp.

We rode back to the ranger booth and strapped on two large bundles on the back of our bikes, much to the delight of the people on duty and some park guests.

Then we started making a rather elaborate dinner, cooking on Chris' paella pan. We cooked both on the Trangias and the campfire. He showed us how to control the heat by moving sticks around in the fire. After dinner we enjoyed the fire and the beautiful night. The moon was framed marvelously by the storm clouds.

Then, it started raining again. We packed up everything that needed to be packed and stood around the fire while the rain came down around us. We talked and kept warm by the fire, holding our hands over our glasses protecting them from the rain.

Finally, we decided to call it a night. A few minutes after Laura and I had jumped into our sleeping bags the rain came down again with a vengeance. It was pleasant, since it drowned out the sounds of passing cars.

The next morning (I guess technically this morning, though it seems like ages), we packed up. Most of our gear was soaked. I managed to keep most of my down gear relatively dry. We hightailed it out of camp and made it back to Long Beach at around 2pm. Whew.

Another fun trip. I have to say it was nice to do a trip in the rain, to get a sense of how prepared we were. I'm definitely investing in a few more dry bag sacks, particularly to protect down filled items. Other than that, most things performed admirably.

Some Quick Equipment Notes:
-IBEX leg warmers performed excellently again! Love em!
-North Face Apex Bionix gloves are NOT waterproof.
-Seal Skins socks worked well. I'm really liking this Keen Sandal, wool sock, Seal Skins sock combo for wet only if I can find a way to keep the toes warm.
-Jackson and Gibbens jacket I have worked fairly well in the heavy rain. My Pearl Izumi jacket would have been rendered useless in about 10 minutes. The J&G jacket, kept the water off, but slowly got wet where it was making constant contact with my other layers (just like a rainfly in a tent).
-REI Quarterdome 3 worked pretty well. We guyed it out for the first time and that kept things dry. Though, there was a mystery puddle beneath my sleeping pad that I still can't figure out where it came from.
-Earth, Wind and Rider jersey worked current favorite for cool to wet weather.
-The EVT mirror I've been using has really grown on me. Yes, it's big, but you get use to it and it really becomes and invaluable tool.


Smilin-buddha said...

Now thats a beard

Salvo Lutzery said...

Hey Russ,
Great pictures and commentary. Thanks! Say, can you find out what kind of handlebar bag they have on the tandem?
Also, a friend turned me onto trash compactor bags to line non-waterproof stuff-sacks. They are indestructible and cheap. Keeps everything dry. Plus, on the inside of a bag it isn't unsightly, and thus remains epicurean!

RussRoca said...

That handlebar bag is actually a classic TA bag! The grandpappy of many of the current handlebar bags.

Thanks for the compactor bag tip. I've got to pick up a few of those for these wet trips!

doug said...

i'm guessing the puddle is probably from water running under the tent.

make sure the ground tarp is safely tucked under the tent so it doesn't act like a funnel. also, it is extremely important to pitch the tent where water won't be -- like a dip or an obvious drain channel.

also -- showering the second you get to camp!? that's not camping!!!

sorry, a life-time of tough-guy backpacking has poisoned my mind!

Kwikfile said...

That trip looked awesome. I suffer from the "Been there done that" syndrome. It is so local to me that I forgot what a jewel O'Neil is. This time of year is truly a great time to go rain or shine! You guys have shown that. I am thinking about taking a trip out there myself with my son. Thanks for the inspiration.