Lisa and I have been an "item" for over thirty-six years. We have a pattern of bi-annual/ month long, or more, fitness adventure vacations. We are about to embark on another...cycling and camping in the Austrian/ Italian Alps. We are bringing our finest bicycles and camping gear to Bavaria, where we will pick-up a VW rental car and buy a detailed regional Michelin Map.
We decide our route when we get there. We'll be looking for hill climbs with a minimum of motor traffic...our track record is good in this department. Autumn lays out the best weather of the year, in the Alps climbs to ski stations provide the most spectacular climbs. Ideally there will be a campground at the bottom of every target climb. Campgrounds are good secure places to launch from, they are usually only half full in Sept. or Oct. and the hosts are always friendly and protective of our layout.
We don't try to replicate the stages of the Tour de France during these trips...we ride more days than they do, but only forty miles a day...we are old people, c'mon. There's always a good shower and sometimes even a pool or a sauna at the camp. We end the day with soup cooked over our small portable stove, a hunk of cheese and a glass of local wine. Often Eurocampings have two or three good hillclimbs out of them, in which case we stay a couple days at the same basecamp.
"How do you afford this?", people often ask. I answer with, How can we afford not to? I'm quite sure that these outings add weeks on to the end of our lives and we aren't concerned with leaving our kid with a nest egg......he'll do fine on his own, a more capable and confident young man, I have never met.
These trips are also excellent "mental vacations". To be in such a foreign land, performing simple tasks that are strenuous but familiar to our bodies, let's the mind unwind and the worries subsequently fall behind..."We leave it on the tarmac." I like to say.