Preparing Bowen was a multi-month affair. Earlier in the year, I'd set up a tent in the front yard and let him play in it. Then last week, I took out sleeping bags and he immediately took a liking to them, even demanding to sleep in the sleeping bag when we were in the house.
I took the bike I used to take Bowen to and from school, and attached the Yakima trailer to it. This gave us room for the tent, sleeping bags, stove, extra clothing, food, and even his beach kit. With all this and Bowen, the bike weighed in excess of 80 pounds (the Yakima trailer by itself was more than 20 pounds), which meant that riding over the mountain would have been scary, and the bike wasn't quite set up to do that kind of riding anyway. But I said I was going to cheat, so I thought nothing of piling all this into a car, driving over the mountain, and then parking outside the park around the corner where I found some free street parking.
Riding on a bike with that much weight in strange places was quite different, but fortunately I'm a decent bike handler. I wouldn't recommend that anyone with less than competent bike handling skill and a lot of touring experience try the setup I did. Even for me, the descents felt scarily fast, and the climbs, such as they were, were quite painful. Add in a live toddler occasionally fighting you for the controls or wriggling, and most cyclists probably just aren't going to be up for it.
On arrival at the park entrance, we were told that the hiker biker site wasn't going to open until 4pm, but we were welcome to hangout at the beach in the mean time. We took them up on it, and arrived just as a wedding party was breaking up. They thought Bowen was cute, however, and handed him one of the party favor: a paint brush meant for brushing sand off your feet. That meant Bowen played with it for a while, though he also played in the sand and even splashed about in the ocean for a bit, though he discovered quickly that he did not like the cold water.
Back at the park entrance to checkin, we had 2 cyclists ahead of us but rather than charging us $5 a person, the park ranger decided that the park policy was $5 per bike. I was quite pleased with that. I was quite sure, however, if I'd showed up on a tandem the policy would suddenly have been $5 per person once again.
Pitching the tent was easy, and cooking and making dinner went surprisingly well. The funny thing is that toddlers behave better when there's only one parent around, so I could boil water, cook noodles, and even run off and borrow a can opener for the pork and beans without incident. At home, Bowen would have to be almost force-fed his dinner, but here at the campground, he actively fed himself dinner, then helped himself to a banana and apple.
After dinner, we used the coin-operated showers. Kids don't appreciate scenery, so I had to persuade and cajole Bowen into going for a walk to see the sunset, but it was worth the effort.
- Bring more clothing. Not just because it might get cold (it never really got very cold), but because you cannot under-estimate the number of times he's going to get dirty. He got very very messy.
- Bring more quarters. Showers are quarter operated. Good thing the ranger station had change to give me, but I wiped out all their quarters, so the next poor dad who showed up on a bike would have been SOL.
- Bring marshmallows, smore making kit, and campfire kit. Need to distract the little guy from "mommy milk time."
- Brush his teeth just before bedtime so I don't have to brush it twice.
- Buy a battery for my lightweight CPAP machine so I don't have to lug the 5 pound battery in addition to the expensive heavy weight CPAP kit. The short cord hose would come in handy as well.