I had a crazy weekend, how about you?
The crazy-ness of my weekend was not so much about Halloween, but more about getting out of town, staying in my first yurt, and watching the spectacle of cyclocross for two full days in a row.
Did I just lose you?
Yurts, if you don’t know, are round, semi-tepee like structures that you can “camp” in. I say “camp”, with quotes, because the yurt we stayed in this weekend was entirely civilized, with a bed, desk, chairs, lights, and heat. The only thing missing is indoor plumbing, and since my husband and I like to backpack, we didn’t miss that a whole lot. It was only a short walk to the (extremely clean and well lit) bathroom at any rate, and the bathroom building even had separate little rooms with showers in them. Yes, with hot water.
And cyclocross, you ask, what the heck is that? Cyclocross is a biking event, very similar to steeplechase in that you are riding through water and jumping over barriers . . . except of course, your trusty steed is a bike rather than a horse. My husband has been competing in cyclocross for a couple seasons now, and he and several members of his bike team were in Astoria, Oregon, this weekend competing in one of the biggest events of the season. I spectated and stayed as far from the mud as I could, which wasn’t very far at all.
This event in particular is fun because there are two days of races, rather than just one, and-more importantly-it is on Halloween weekend every year, which means costumes! People really go crazy with their costumes, to the point where you can’t quite believe they can ride a bike in them, much less jump over obstacles and slog through mud at the same time. My least favorite this year were the Borat-inspired green man-thongs (especially on the guy who chose not to wear the nude underpants and tights with it, eeewwwww), no pictures of that . . . my top favorites where the guy on the jacked up bike wearing the 5 foot tall giraffe head, and the two hockey players who threw down their bikes after jumping the barricades on each lap and proceeded to fight each other, NHL-style.
There is so much more I could share, lots of fun stories about Team Beer and the Beer-kettes, or about the guy who crashed twice during warm ups on the barricades (trying a little hard) then crashed badly on his first lap in the Elite race (the guys who are really good), apparently cracking several ribs and nearly passing out, then got back on his bike to finish the race, and came back and raced three times on Sunday too . . . and cute stuff like the two year old who “practiced” in between races by throwing his little Stryder bike (the kind without pedals) over the barricades, and the adorable dog who was dressed up as a bull along with his owners who were matadors, and on and on and on . . . but really you should go look up cyclocross and find a race in your area. It has to be one of the most entertaining sports I’ve ever watched. Even without my husband, who is pretty darn entertaining on his own!
But wait, there’s more! I’d hate to leave you without a recipe, since I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to post again–so I’ll share our go-to camping meal. We do some variation of this pretty much every time we camp, whether we are car camping, backpacking, or now yurt-ing. It’s also a great, simple meal to make at home either on the grill or in the oven. Tailor it however you like, you can’t go wrong!
Sausage and Potato Foil Packets
- chicken or pork sausage, one or two links per person
- red and/or gold new potatoes, about 1 cup chopped per person
- sweet onion
- garlic cloves
- fresh rosemary
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
Chop the potatoes into a large dice, each piece no more than 1/2 inch across. If you like them larger, that’s fine–they’ll just take longer to cook. Dice onion. Peel garlic cloves. Toss potatoes, onion, and garlic in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Add in fresh rosemary, stripped from the stem and chopped, and a dash of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Toss well. Lay out a sheet of foil about the size of a cookie sheet. Place one serving of potatoes near one side of the foil, and top with one or two links of sausage. Fold in the sides and roll the potatoes/sausage into a packet, crimping the edges. Keep the packet fairly flat in shape to facilitate cooking. Cook in the hot coals of a camp fire, on a grill, or in a 350 oven for 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the packet and the cooking method. Packets are done when the sausage is cooked through (or fully hot, if you’re using precooked), and the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Or charred, as ours were.