Sometimes I get a thought in my head and just have to follow through on it. Today I wanted a second day not driving my car and to eat a Mexican meal that had corn tortillas. Easy! Bicycle to a Mexican cafe, order take-out, bicycle back. I found a place 12 miles away … a nice short ride, 24 miles, today!
I had a leisurely morning, talking with my neighbors about the campfires everyone had last night and how the smoke hung in the air. When there is no wind and so much smoke from many, many campfires, I had to be sure I was not in the middle of a fire! Others go in their campers to sleep and do not breathe the smoke, but tenters do smell it all. Another camper who walks past my site each day and always stops to talk did so again. I was glad to see her as I wanted to ask the question of whether she works on Mercy Ships at any time. She does medical work with Samaritan’s Purse, but not yet with Mercy Ships since that commitment is for longer periods of time. Someday she will, she said. Thank goodness we have people in the world who do that good work, while others of us donate to the causes!
I finally got on my bicycle ride, and thanks to Google maps providing a bicycle route including mostly bike lanes on the roads I had a plan. I tucked my phone in my front food sack so I could hear the directions and off I went! The last couple of miles before the Mexican restaurant was a ride through Little Italy. Tough not to rethink my plan for lunch. My mouth watering as I thought of pasta in tomato sauce and gelato! Nope, kept cycling!
Wow, lots of people on line waiting to get into the restaurant which spaced their seated customers. Fortunately I was able to roll my bicycle up to the reservation desk, order take-out, and then wait nearby … while we all wore masks we surely were not 6 feet apart. Chicken street tacos on corn tortillas and a horchata to drink were handed to me, but where to eat it? I heard music in the area so that was the direction I headed. A low concrete wall worked for a place to put the bicycle and for me to sit and eat. Delicious food and drink! A guy walked by and asked where I got my meal. In short time he was back eating his lunch with me. Nice conversation. He had just moved to San Diego from Atlanta, Georgia because his friend told him San Diego is a cool place. I agree if you can look past the traffic!
Google maps sent me back a less touristy route. I did ride a few extra miles on a bicycle path to see if any interesting birds were at Sweetwater River, but none. By the time I was back to the campsite after a 27 mile bicycle ride, popcorn and a beer did hit the spot! My neighbors left a couple of logs of firewood which I passed on to others who had just arrived. So many less campers at the campground now, thus less campfires tonight, therefore less smoke in the air, yeah!
A question I often get asked, especially when at campgrounds with BBQ grills, electrical outlets so people can plug in their Insta-pot and/or electric griddle, or an on-site cafe. They see my backpacker Jet Boil stove and wonder what I eat. In reality I am not a gourmet food person. I like coffee, green tea, rice noodles, tuna fish, soup, cottage cheese, chunk very sharp cheddar cheese, crackers, apples, blueberries, cold cereal, yogurt, quinoa, canned sardines, already popped popcorn, beer, rice pudding, and whatever else I can think of. I probably spend more time boiling water for my coffee and tea each day that anything else. Tonight I had instant mashed red-skinned potatoes, quinoa and sardines… a meal I would never eat at home, but so easy here, plus I have leftover potatoes and quinoa which can easily be a snack tomorrow, thanks to the plastic containers I carry for leftovers. I see food simply as fuel when I camp, not a fine dining experience. Plus if I can wash few plates and utensils then it is even better! I did bring some dehydrated breakfasts (3) and dinners (2) and have not used them at all. The other nice thing about tent camping when on the road, there are plenty of take-out places if I want a meal that way and can have leftovers.
Here are photos, one from each campground – the empty state park and the KOA with more tables and one of many trailers seen in the photo. The hinged kitchen shelf, I made for the back of my bed platform for the Honda Element, worked great as a clean surface on the picnic tables.
The pocket rocket to make coffee was helpful and I always made green tea each morning to drink later. The Goal Zero battery was charged as needed and then I charged my watch, phone, laptop and Ipad off it. The Jetboil was a new addition and I enjoyed having 2 cups of hot water within 2 minutes! There is an attachment I can use on the Jetboil when cooking with a regular pot. I love my 2 person tent, surprisingly less weight than an old one-person tent I once used. It has vestibules on both sides so I really can have a roomy feeling. Tenting is not for everyone and for me I know it will only be a few more years. Sleeping on the ground is not something I think my body will tolerate for more than the upcoming decade, but in time I will know when to seek out another option or at least a better mattress! In the meantime, life is good!