First things first, I’m not much of a writer, so let me apologize in advance for the long run on sentences that are about to fill your screen.
I’ve always been an adventurer, I prided myself on being the first one to say yes to something without a plan. I would postpone my daily life to go on an adventure. The problem with being an “adventurer” is that as you grow old, you get real jobs (or at least your friends do) and you have real responsibilities which then gives you less time to adventure. Which is exactly what lead me to this specific adventure.
The plan was to go on a bikepacking trip and we needed to find a route that allowed most of us to leave from our houses, work half a day, and be back at home for work on Monday. The goal was to have an epic adventure all while not having to take off work or drive hours to get to a location. I called my friends, they were in so I planned the route, we packed our bags and we were off.
My friends were baffled during the packing process; we really don’t need to bring any food? Nope! I’ve got a plan, I said.
Day 1: The Adventure Begins
So I left Hamburg, NY with Tyler and Matt riding our fully packed bikes North towards Buffalo, NY. We traveled only 20 miles before picking up Kris, Pat and Adam along the trail. Again the point of this trip was to fit in as much as we could in a weekend all while leaving from the comforts of our homes. We continued north along the Niagara River nearly another 40 miles until we hit our first stop. A campground!
This wasn’t a primitive site, we had wifi, a shelter, a store and local full time campers surrounding us. For many of us this was a bizarre scenario, when we think adventure we usually think primitive, and for this trip, that was not the case. So we set up our tents/hammocks and got settled in for the night. As we get closer to dinner time, my friends begin to ask questions… WHAT IS FOR DINNER? I smirk and say I ordered pizza. Again my friends think PIZZA? On an adventure? What a brilliant idea. So we crushed pizza, drank Sierra Nevadas and told stories around a camp fire for hours.
Day 2: The Adventure … Changes
The next morning we woke up to severe weather alerts, flash flooding and well…. a miserable weather outlook. We walk over to the shelter, using our jetboils to make coffee and oatmeal for our breakfast. We look at each other and begin to discuss our plans for the day. Adam suggests we stay set up where we are and plan on doing an out and back for our ride that day, the group looks at each other votes and decides that is the best plan. Our tents were set up, they were dry, and at the end of the day we had no real destination for the trip. This was a learning experience for all of us, as we are use to having an objective, a purpose. Who would have thought we could just go on an adventure for ……FUN.
So we reluctantly got on our bikes (30lbs lighter without gear) and rode out to Medina Falls. We snagged lunch at a local spot while the peanut gallery at the bar looked at us like we were insane. We rode, it was wet, it was windy and it was a mess, but we had a riot. We eventually made it back to our campsite in time for the campground bingo. We payed $1 a board and we won… $7!
Day 3: Heading Home
Sunday… the final morning, with only 40 miles (for most of us) back to Buffalo, we took our time, we cruised along the Niagara River, took in the scenery and stopped for food more times than I would have thought. We dropped half the crew off at their homes in Buffalo, while some of us continued on our way to Hamburg, NY. All of us were back at our homes by 4pm on Sunday. It was an oddity, an adventure, short and sweet, packed full of laughs, no mental breakdowns, no freeze dried meals, no mechanicals and LOTS of beer. The theory was proven you can adventure out of your own driveway, it doesn’t need to be a 800 mile ride, a 10 day adventure, out of your comfort zone, adventure is getting on your bike and riding somewhere with friends, seeing what happens along the way.
All in all we rode 160 miles over 2.5 days, we laughed, we danced, we bunny hopped, played bingo and ate well.
Adventure doesn’t have to mean struggle.