Friday, May 20, 2011

Waverly to Home

- 42.5mi
- 8.0AvS
- Rainy morning, some sun after 2pm. 60-70s.

The park in which I camped last night seemed like a smart place to stealth camp. Several miles from the town center, it was surrounded by farms and what looked to be some sort of maintenance facility. A picnic area of mowed grass angled just enough from the gravel parking space so it would not be visible unless one where on foot. There where no bathrooms to lock, and it didn't feel like a place that would be patrolled. There was a long trail along the river, but I decided not to hide back there, rather to camp in the picnic area near a paved picnic table pad, to give myself a dry place to pack up in the morning.

Seems I should have taken greater effort to hide myself. The spot I picked was very comfortable, though, and I got all the sleep I missed last night. I was so soundly asleep, in fact, that it took the cop several attempts to wake me up, and even once I groggily unzipped the tent, It took a bit longer to remember where I was and realize that this guy was wearing a uniform. He was pretty decent about it, more conversational with his questions than demanding. Seems there are no canoe campsites in the riverside county parks, after all, but he'd let me stay the rest of the night.

I stayed uncharacteristically calm about the whole thing, and quickly fell back asleep. It wasn't until I was back on my bike, again at 5:30 in the morning, that I started to worry about it. When he took my ID, did he just check up on me, or add some kind of note so the next time I get caught snoozing in a park I won't be let off so easily? The officer who caught me actually got out of his car and walked around the quiet little park in the middle of the night. He told me no resident had spotted me and called - he's just very thorough. How many other small town cops are that thorough?

Eventually I decided to just let it go and not agonize over how I'm going to stealth camp across long stretches of farmland. I'll avoid even isolated little parks where possible, but if I get caught again, or even fined... well, the monetary loss would hurt when I'm already on such a tight budget, but I won't feel guilty about it. The law isn't the dictate of a higher power. It's not an iron code of morals. If I break it, I have to face the consequences, but, in short, I'm not going to feel I'm a bad person because I didn't follow the rules.

The rest of the day was a typical dull ride home, unfortunately. I stopped again to read for a while closer to Waverly. It's a nice routine so far. Had some unfortunately stomach problems a bit further on. Between Montrose and Delano, it started to pour. I didn't break my rain pants, but the coat and home-made booties did their job, and as long I kept moving I wasn't too cold. About 10mi from home, the sun came out for a bit, and I just barely got home before the rain returned.

One of those sunrises I'm usually asleep for.

Maybe I should start getting up this early more often?

My rain booties. They're made from the upper sleeve of a cheap raincoat. The shoulder section makes the shoe-cover, which is folded into shape, sewn, and coated with seamseal. Where my foot contacts the pedal, it's padded with two layers of cordura. A bit rough-looking, but they worked very well.

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