So why am I reviewing my own bicycle? Because this bicycle is nice. Rides smooth, takes me places, and I’ve taken it, or it has taken me, bikepacking in Wisconsin. Where in Wisconsin? From Eau Claire on the Chippewa River State Trail to Red Cedar Falls Trail, to Ma's Irvington Campground. And back. A total of 42.8 miles X 2.
Starting off in Eau Claire, I headed from the hotel to downtown and reached the High Bridge just to get some extra miles, then I went back down town, passing The Brewing Projekt, and on to the Chippewa RIver State Trail.
The initial uneven terrain of old asphalt and bumps didn’t really bother me. I had installed a Cane Creek thudbuster on my KUMA for comfort on long rides. Also, the Brook saddle on that seat post is grippy on my bum, so that also helped a lot.
The Chippewa River State Trail is very flat, and from Cemetary Road to Caryville, a 4.5 miles of boringly straight. Once in Caryville, if one needs to use the public bathroom along the trail, do it if you need to.
After Caryville, this is where the nice short creek bridges and shady trees begin. After eleven and a half miles, one gets to the Intersection of Chippewa Valley and the Red Cedar State Trails. From there, turn right and before you know it, you’ll be on a long, old, railroad bridge that will take you over the Chippewa River, on to the Dunnville State Rec Area & Sandbar, which is part of the Dunnville State Wildlife Area.
I still want to camp on the shores of the river - someday I will with my significant other.
As I kept riding to the campground farther north, I did encounter a few timber rattlers sunning themselves on the bike path. Some parts of this trail are less traveled, with grass overgrowing in sections, where the snakes can hide. It is natural to be afraid of them I guess. After seeing a couple of young snakes dart at me as I rode along, it seemed as if every stick was a snake to me.
At this coordinates, 44°44'00.9"N 91°54'56.7"W, there is a nice picnic table that overlooks the Red Cedar River, and some Stonehenge looking structure on the other side of the trail.
From there, I just kept riding until I got to the campground, another fourteen and a half miles.
Once I arrived, I began to get my gear on the picnic table at site 41. I have picked the same site three times before doing the same trip out of Eau Claire. This time I had paid in advance for firewood. This is a nice place to just enjoy a quiet night with fellow campers.
The important gear consisted of a Hennessy Hammock for sleeping. An REI sleeping pad. Camp stove/Fuel - MSR Pocket Rocket. The rest of the gear are the bags. Ortlieb seat pack. A generic drybag on the handlebars for stuff. Since KUMA Grava forks are not drilled for cages, the Dom Gorilla Cage II and Gorilla Clips are a good alternative to carry extra water on a fork leg, and sleeping bag on the other fork leg.
Sleeping in a hammock is an acquired taste. Once I learned how to tie the chords to the trees, setup is a breeze… but sleeping in it though. I figured a sleeping pad helps for comfort underneath, and if one’s camping in the summer, a sweatshirt will be more than enough. The rain fly traps heat, so that’s a good thing. And a pillow is a necessary necessity, like breathing almost. I made mine from the clothes I was going to wear the next day.
I cooked myself a meal of ramen and Spam for dinner, and breakfast. I like it. Easy to pack and take with you. Lightweight also. I did have an avocado, and while passing time for the food to heat up, I simply peeled it. Even peeled your avocado?
In the morning, I heated up water to make myself coffee with an Aero Press. Remember to use a metal or hard plastic mug to use this thing. I learned the hard way once. Oh, and a solid surface to push the plunger into the other thingie, like a picnic table.
After the coffee and breakfast of winners was consumed, I went to the bathroom to take care of things. Smeared fresh Chamois Butter in the shorts, and headed back to Eau Claire. I did the same route back to the hotel, and once I got there, there were tacos to be consumed.
Well, that’s all I got for now. Bye.