Rosemary Campground was the best I've tried so far which means I will most likely come back next year. It is a quaint little village with friendly people where I wouldn't have minded sitting around for a day to just camp and relax before heading home.
Unfortunately, the 4 day thunderstorm forecast had changed my plans. Although the Eureka Solitaire was an excellent 2 lb tent for bicycle camping, very waterproof as well, being stuck in a campground lying in a tent (because there's no room to sit up) for 4 days waiting for the weather to improve just wasn't in the cards.
The best part of every bicycle camping day is when the bicycle is packed after 2 to 3 hours of breaking camp and it is time to head down the road. With 35 kilometers back to Bassano, I called my wife and let her know I was leaving. By the time she drove from Calgary to Bassano I should be arriving there.
As expected, the headwind Tom faced the day before was now my headwind too. Knowing how the wind and hills were affecting my speed, I expected to average around 15 kph over the 35K. In fact, I averaged almost 20 kph and cycling time was 1 hour and 17 minutes.
The hills I came down yesterday were the hills I had to climb today. The weather was excellent, sunny and hot today but not for the next 4 days. If not for the bad weather forecast I would have continued the ride home in another 3 days, more if I decided to detour somewhere knowing that I could have done it.
Part of me was happy to look forward to breakfast with my wife and break the day long silences and the solitary bicycle journey nights. Another part of me felt lost for giving up a few more days which would have netted about 6-700K in total instead of just 322K and there would have been two new places to camp at. There would be the massive hill past Standard to climb up to the radio shack and the other long hill to climb out of Rockyford if I headed back through Beiseker. The reason I hadn't taken any photos of Rockyford was because I expected to be travelling back through there in another two days. Now that wasn't going to happen.
Life requires that we give some things up to receive something new. I don't know whether this was the right decision to cut the trip short when there is so much more to see and do. Bad weather on a long bicycle trip is not something to take lightly, even if the weather forecast turns out to be wrong.
For a first time bicycle camping trip, so many things worked out without a hitch. No mechanicals. No flats (even though shoulders of highways were littered with nails and chunks of metal). The video camera died on the first day. I was counting on it to capture time lapse photos of the entire trip. That would have been cool.
The weather forecast combined with a hostile truck driver the day before helped me to realize there will be more trips and that it is not worth taking risks with crazy drivers on the roads because of the our lousy legal system that seldom holds drivers accountable for anything. That same legal system forces cyclists to be victims because they are not allowed to carry guns for protection although drivers have a legal right to use their vehicles as weapons. The playing field is never level.
Perhaps, bicycle camping, like any other activity, takes time to develop skills and an appreciation for it. All I know is that in the days to come there will be many thoughts in my mind about this journey, especially about why I decided to cut the journey short. Should I plan for a lighter load next time or a larger tent for more comfortable accomodations? Should I have found someone else to bicycle camp with so that I wouldn't have become so bored so quickly at campgrounds?
There is so much to plan for and so many details to consider when everything you need to carry has to be essential gear only. For now, I know that my buildup to better fitness just didn't happen this year for a variety of reasons. There is the chance that I could build up training more gradually over the winter and end up stronger next year. For now, my body is saying that when I stop enjoying the ride its because I need to take a break for a while. In a week I'll be raring to go again but won't have the time. Ce la vie! There's always tomorrow and next year to plan a truly outstanding bicycle camping trip.