Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mosquito Lake

On Sunday night I couldn't sleep. (I am plagued by occasional vicious bouts of insomnia.) I read, played 'Words with Friends' scrabble, took a shower, did some yoga, tossed, turned, read some more, tried not to panic about not sleeping. When 7am rolled around, I gave up on a visit from Mr. Sandman and made myself some coffee (good strong moka pot coffee with lots of cream, a luxury, as I can't have this when I'm camping).

Cotton-headed, I started packing my stuff and readying my bike to head out of Cleveland. I made a list of things to do because I didn't trust my brain to remember anything on its own. The list said: pack stuff, inflate tires, leave.

The stuff-packing went fine, although slowly. When I got to the tire-inflating part of the list I discovered that my back tire had mysteriously gone flat overnight, all on its own. I cursed and kicked the tire. This did not solve the problem. So, grumbling, I took the wheel off the bike and clumsily changed the innertube. Finally, after much bumbling, I had everything sufficiently put together. I got on my bike and zombied out of Cleveland.

After 58 miles of robotic, semi-conscious pedaling, I reached my destination: Mosquito Lake State Park Campground. Mosquitos are on my list of Things That Are Horrible And Shouldn't Exist (also on the list: skunks, biting flies, fat-free coffee creamer, Kelly Ripa, vagazzling) so I felt wary about camping at a place that used the greedy blood-slurpers as a namesake. But Mosquito Lake State Park turned out to be wonderfully absent of mosquitos...probably because of the recent twenty degree nosedive in temperature.

I parked my bike at the campsite and a sharp wind bit through my sweaty spandex. No longer pedaling, I immediately caught chill. I yanked my clothes out of my pannier and pulled on long underwear, socks, pants, t-shirts, arm warmers, hats, everything I had with me. I looked like a fashion-blind sausage bursting out of its casing.

Still shivering despite my technicolor layers, I set up my tent, inflated my thermarest, and unfurled my sleeping bag. I ate a quick dinner of canned refried beans, stale cheetos, and a mushy banana. (I've never been a picky eater, but my current bike-touring-induced willingness to consume anything I can fit in my mouth has reached goat-like levels.) When I had finished eating 'dinner' I dragged my tired body to the shower room. I stepped in the shower stall and was reaching to unzip my pullover when a sudden blast of icy water hit me between the shoulder blades. I yelped and spun around, hands poised to throttle the trickster who had snuck in and turned on the shower. No one was there. A small blinking red light next to the temperature knob caught my eye...the shower was motion activated. I backed away from the blinky light and plastered myself against the shower stall door, attempting to remove my soggy clothes without triggering another waterfall. Once naked, I stepped under the shower head. Nothing came out. I moved back and forth. A short burst of water erupted and then stopped. It turned out that when I actually WANTED water to come out, the sensor required a lot of constant motion to keep the shower running. By 'a lot of constant motion' I mean vigorous dancing with lots of side-to-side movement. 'Thriller' and 'Sexyback' both seemed to work pretty well...

Monday mileage: 58
Total mileage: 1009

Next up: Youngstown

Jen's Handy Camping Tips- Tip#1: Unless you make tiny dainty little rabbit poops, do NOT take a number two in a porta-potty because the germ-ridden, swampy porta-potty water will splash back up and hit you in the bum and then you will have to go to the shower to rinse off so you don't get some mysterious, festering ass infection. And if you happen to be at a campground that has motion activated showers you will have to move your butt back and forth in front of the motion sensor in a lap-dance-like manner in order to get it properly washed off and clean. (I am not saying this happened to me. I am just saying that it is a good thing to keep in mind.)

New bike shoe covers! (not exciting, but apparently the only picture I took that day...sorry!)


  1. I've been a big fan of your blog since you began your travels. I got a special kick out of today's Mosquito Lake adventure because I used to camp there all the time when I was young, but what? no painting or photograph? I can't wait to hear about your Youngstown visit. Hope you'll paint the covered bridge in Mill Creek Park! Your fellow blogger,

  2. Yeah, sorry about the lack of visuals...I blame lack of sleep for that. I've actually already been to Youngstown (slightly behind on my blogging duties) and I didn't know about mill creek park when I was there. Bummer. I painted a steam heat plant, though, and that was pretty fun.