One of the few downsides to free-camping near the ocean is a tent completely covered with dew in the early morning hours before the sun comes up. Our spot was so good last night we opted to sleep with the rain-fly off, enjoying the view of the night sky. When we woke up around 6AM, our tent (rather than the rain-fly) was completely covered in little droplets. Any movement however slight burst the perfect orbs, sending them misting through the mesh roof into our faces and everything else inside the tent. Despite our best efforts, almost everything was damp by the time we carefully extracted ourselves from the delicate water trap we'd been sleeping in.
I've had a minor headache and slight soreness in my throat for a day or two. During the course of our ride this afternoon it slowly progressed into a full body ache, scratchy throat and a non-stop, runny, snotty nose. Blah. We took the it slowly and stopped often, including a two or three-hour work break at a cafe. Having something to focus on besides my growing flu-like symptoms made me feel a little better. A late afternoon swim in the ocean on another relatively deserted beach helped as well.
Just outside the upscale, villa-filled town of Nettuno, we passed a large tree-filled park and decided to call it a day. The plan was to hang out at one of the large wooden picnic tables and make dinner until the sun set, then make camp. It couldn't have been more than five seconds before the local squadron of bloodthirsty mosquitoes zeroed in on us. I huddled inside my jacket, knees at my chest, swatting away and doing my best to weather the hot/cold flashes my body was serving up.
Bailing out on our initial plan, Tara ran off in her armor of long pants, knee-high wool socks and jacket to explore the park and find a nicely hidden place to set up. In a far corner, she found a secluded spot in a grove of ferns that was blocked from the road by a line of trees. I quickly wheeled my bike in and started setting up camp while Tara ferried the rest of our things over. Safely inside the tent I laid my heavy, pounding head on my new favorite piece of gear: a travel-sized memory foam pillow Tara's mom gave me when they visited. Tara says I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
While I was sleeping Tara got to work making dinner. She spent an hour or so chopping up three tiny zucchinis, four small tomatoes, and half a large onion into perfect little cubes. After mincing several cloves of garlic into the resulting veggie mix she sauteed it with olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and chili flakes, letting it simmer until the vegetables were nice and soft without being mushy. With the sauce prepared she cooked some gnocchi and melted in fresh mozzarella before serving.
Tara managed to wake me up and I joined her in devouring the magnificent feast she had prepared. My food horizons have broadened greatly since we left; it wasn't all that long ago that I didn't even like vegetables! Dinner was excellent and I felt much better (relatively speaking) when we were through. Afterward, I fell promptly to sleep and this time around Tara joined me.