On our recent Sister Biking trip with our extremely awesomely incredibly (all words I learned proper usage of in Maryland) worthy guide and body guard, Byron, I finally learned the art of choosing the best campsite. It may take a long time to do it Melba and Monique's way, but in the end it is well worth the effort.
Being thorough is a must to ensure a good nights sleep. So, examine every inch of ground that could possible do without the tent sliding down hill. Picking the optimum spot ensures you wake up with only one crick somewhere in the body that lasts all week instead of four or five that lasts months.
Here is a pictorial example of Monique and Melba's method, which we will refer to as MMM hereafter.
Melba started seeking the best spot immediately, but not having perfected MMM Monique kindly stepped in.
Monique, "No, No, No Melba, it's never a good idea to pitch a tent downwind of the camp fire. It may help keep the mosquitoes away, but even they know smoke is toxic."
"Now listen to me. Grab the other end of this baby and I'll show you exactly how the MMM is done."
Since this was Melba's first camping trip and Monique's second she happily complied. "OK NeeKee (our shortened version of Monique) grab your end."
Monique, "See how nice and flat the trail is? And, we'll be ready in the morning to take off. No riding or hauling those heavy bikes up a hill. I think this is perfect"
Melba, "But, NeeKee my sleeping pad is too thin to keep those rocks from lodging underneath my shoulder blades, and you know some people ride their bikes at night and maybe even their horse. I'm sure a horse shoe in my ear would be even worse than a rock lodging underneath my shoulder blade and causing a crick all week! "
Monique, "Hmmmm....how about here? We're still Close to the trail with the added benefit of not having to traipse half an acre to the port-a-potty in the middle of the night."
Melba, "Yeah, but that kid who's sharing the campsite with us has just been sick in there and it stinks. The way he looks I'm sure he'll be back during the night..."
Monique, "Geez you're picky Melba! Such a perfectionist. I thought that last site was perfect. I'm tempted not to even help you carry this dumb ol' tent to another spot."
Melba, "Maybe this nice thick grassy spot upwind of the campfire will work. I sure don't need a crick in my neck that lasts all week."
Monique, "Hey Mel, this spot is pretty nifty. I just hope when I lay down my feet aren't higher than my head. Let's stop here. MMM Rocks!"