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Kid-Perfect Bike-packing on an Old Railroad grade

Pull a bike trailer of camping gear and bike-pack with your kids

The Biz Johnson trail is a 25 mile nearly flat, wide trail in a beautiful, wooded river canyon and follows an old railroad grade – one of the first rails-to-trails projects.  This is what we did: Call a local business in Susanville (we called a restaurant) and see if they know anyone that you can pay to shuttle your bikes and gear from Susanville, the end point, to Westwood, your starting point. This would be a slightly downhill ride of 20 miles back to Susanville. We used two of those bike trailers you put a child in, except we filled them with camping gear. It doesn’t matter what kind of bikes, we just grabbed what we could. We invited another family and off we went. I think our son was about 4 years old at the time – what an adventure!

Ross Baker with dinner

Yep, a real adventure. First, a camping area that we had planned to use had some sort of Jeeper’s Jamboree going on – which meant a lot of loud, drunk men. So we kept riding and found a meadow to camp in. Might’ve been private property, I’m not sure. Very pretty though.

Um – anyone notice the smoke?

Then the next day a plume of smoke rose over the ridge and it rapidly became apparent we were near a major wildfire. We didn’t have cell coverage so Betsy and Sue Baker climbed a ridge (away from the smoke) until they could get a signal and then called 911. They connected them to the Sheriff, who plotted our position out on a map.

Yep, he said, we need to get you out of there.

The Paul Bunyon statute at the start at Westwood

I was hoping for a helicopter ride but they told us to keep riding on the trail until we came to a spot where they could get their vehicles in. Us and our gear were then evacuated in a small caravan of Sheriff’s vehicles.

So yeah, nearly a kid-perfect adventure on a mostly flat, very wide trail. What could go wrong?

Typical trail scenery

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