Cleverly named by the folks at Rivendell, there's such a thing as the S24O, a sub-24 hour bike camping trip where you pretty much take off one afternoon, camp overnight, then bike home the next morning. Extending that, there are mini-tours, more appropriately named "Bike Camping." I think as soon as the weather cools off, I'm giving it a try.
When I originally got the Surly, it was with dreams in the back of my head of taking off life and going on a long tour. However, the realities of student loan payments and so on dictates that I need to remain gainfully employed and unfortunately that does mean I have to stay in one place for the most part. But as I know well, there's always room in your schedule for a little adventure - ergo the S240.
Thing one before I can do that is move my basket up to the front of my bike - I've been staring at a few front racks to get the job done and I think the Velo Orange front racks are going to be my best bet. Probably the "constructeur," as it seems to be the only reasonably strong tubular steel rack with approximately the right dimensions that will fit a 26" wheel bike. It also weighs a full two pounds less than the Surly Nice Rack (note: the Surly rack holds way, way more stuff). Why Tubus can't just make an accompanying platform-top front rack to go with the rear rack is beyond me, but all they have are the low-riders. So a front rack needs to be acquired. This will enable me to stick my doggy up front and carry my camping gear on the back of the bike.
Once the setup is complete from there I can pretty much just add the panniers and camping gear I already own and pedal off into the wild blue yonder. My next concern is destination - for an effective "enjoyable afternoon ride" it should probably be about 40-50 miles or less one-way. Yes, I'm a sissy. No, I don't care. So I'm looking at Pedernales Falls State Park - it's about 50 miles out and has swimming and hiking available, all I really need to make me happy.
This is something I've always wanted to try and I'm not going to get there being too nervous to give it a go. Now I've just gotta find a buddy to ride with!