Fort DeSoto or bust. Our First bike packing trip.

If you read our earlier blog post, you’ll know that we’re planning to head off for a bike adventure soon and in order to get the bikes and the gear dialed in, we headed off to Fort DeSoto this week (from our home in Palm Harbor, FL) for a quick overnight jaunt, camping overnight at the park.

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Here we are at our RV, getting ready to head off

Nice weather, flat terrain and with the bulk of the time spent on the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail this seemed like a good place to start figuring out this whole bike packing stuff.

Sure, we ride our bikes a lot but, not loaded down with camping gear and food and usually not for more than ~10 miles at a time. The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is a great local resource and goes for almost 40 miles between Tarpon Springs in the north to St. Petersburg in the south and allows one to cycle away from the hustle & bustle of traffic.

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Crossing one of the many bridges on the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, which assist in avoiding the busy Pinellas County traffic below
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You’re never far from the water in FL – the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail crosses over some water and gives you the opportunity to search for rays, sharks, manatees etc. and watch ospreys fishing
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Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail has a few pretty art installations – this one at Stonehenge Park in St. Pete’, which was being worked on when we rode past in late April

The ride from home to the park was ~ 40 miles and we took it easy, with lots of stops for snacks, photos & wildlife watching (osprey fishing, rays swimming etc.).

We didn’t have a reservation for the night – not something you could get away with in the peak season (winter time in FL), but, we had checked on the website and with the knowledge that at least a dozen sites appeared to be available that night, we weren’t worried about being stranded (there’s not much else near Fort DeSoto, if you find yourself without an available campsite – the closest would probably be the KOA in St. Pete’).

We’ve stayed at the Fort DeSoto campground on a couple of other occasions and you can always count on a nice site, some with direct water access (for a few extra bucks), which is especially awesome if you bring kayaks or paddle boards.

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Our Campsite at Fort DeSoto – nice, private, quiet, pretty; visiting raccoons before sunset reminded us to bring our food inside the tent for the night. Bathrooms with decent showers, water (and power) at the site…all your basic needs are taken care of here
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Last minute bike packing food – hummus, seaweed, crackers, fruit, granola bars. We learned that cycling almost 40 miles makes you extremely hungry indeed. This was subsidized with sandwiches at Subway on the ride to Fort DeSoto and Indian buffet at Taste of Punjab on the way home to Palm Harbor, along with some soda & chocolate stops sprinkled in!
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Instant Ramen Noodles, rehydrating in the late afternoon sun, a tip learned from thru-hikers who cold soak a lot of their food when hiking (for when you don’t want to pack a stove, in order to save on pack weight). Check out Dixie or John Z. if you’d like to know more about thru hiking
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Having just spent the Winter in Mexico, we now love everything with a chilli & lime flavor combination
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‘There’s a hummus among us’…hummus, tuna, crackers…our normal fare for backpacking, which seems to work well for bike packing too
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Dominic riding his Easy Racer around Fort DeSoto early in the morning – check out that windscreen reflection!
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Our route home, cycling North from Fort DeSoto to Palm Harbor
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Our stats for the ride home, from Fort DeSoto to Palm Harbor – slow & steady, just like how we approach long hikes

We were in our tent by sundown and asleep shortly afterwards – well, as best as you can when overnighting in a tent…the first night is never very restful! The ride down had been pretty uneventful, except for some busy street sidewalk riding (which we avoided on the way home the following day, by using some quieter residential neighborhoods).

Woken by parrots the next morning, we had a ride around the park, some snack food breakfast and hit the road north before 9am, with a plan to lunch at a regular Indian restaurant of ours, Taste of Punjab in Largo.

Home to Palm Harbor by ~ 4pm and a short walk to a friend’s home to keep our legs from seizing up completely! Dominic was in better shape on his Easy Racer recumbent, than I was after 40 miles on my mountain bike but, all in all, not too much discomfort and a great overnight trip!

Join us on the next post, with “lessons learned” from this first trip.

 

UPDATE TO THIS POST

** A few people have asked us about our sleep pads (as shown in this post). The pads we use are Big Agnes – Insulated Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad, Regular **

 

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6 thoughts on “Fort DeSoto or bust. Our First bike packing trip.

  1. Really enjoyed reading about your adventure. Your choice of snacks (seaweed) may not be on my list to pack. The Airbed Tent is a plus but since my lady and I are both retired Army, we would sleep on the ground. LOL Look forward to your next trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for joining us on this blog Phillip! Our tent is the Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 and our pads (not part of the tent) are the Big Agnes Air Core Insulated ones. All work well together and adding Trekology inflatable pillows for next time out too. Keep reading and if the sleep system fails us, we’ll be contacting you for ground sleeping advice!

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  2. Hello Dom and Sandra, nice write up and photos. It looks like you have a 2 person tent. Have you considered a larger tent? Having done some long distance bike touring, that tent of yours is going to get very small, very quick after a few nights on the road, if you’re mostly going to camp that is. We’d suggest getting a 3 person tent and maybe even carrying a light weight tarp, so you have some place dry to hang out when it’s pouring rain on your down days. Just a thought. ~Ron y Petra

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Ron and Petra and thanks for checking out our blog. The 2 person tent is indeed small – you are correct – but, this is one we use for ultralight backpacking and so, we will stick with it for now (or until it drives us crazy!). We are going to keep our gear as small & as light as possible on this trip, utilizing the ultralight backpacking gear which we already have. Thanks for your advice and keep following us on this adventure. Dominic & Sandra.

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