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About that tour…

The past couple of weeks have been getting chillier; fall is setting in awfully early this year. I get up a little before 6:00 on most mornings to take the dog for an early walk so that she’ll let me make breakfast in peace. Without that walk, she’d be ramming a chew-toy against my shins and emitting sharp barks. Anyway, the point is that since I’ve been out trotting around with the dog at the peep o’ morn, I’ve been really getting a feel for what’s going down with the weather. One morning it was foggy and the birds who haven’t started their fall migration were chirping like little maniacs up in the trees. It felt like a Bonktoberfest morning. On a couple of other days, I have smelled woodsmoke from somebody’s fireplace or heating stove. That makes me think of camping trips, too.

I suppose the notion of camping is in the forefront of my mind anyway on account of our upcoming trip, during which the majority of our sleeping will take place in our marvy blue Tadpole tent. For the next two months, starting September 22, we’ll be riding from one end of the country to the other. Joel will be riding his CrossCheck and I’ll be riding my much-modified Redline “Monocog” 29er.

Over the course of the past year or so, we’ve been getting our gear together. We saved up and invested in some higher end stuff, like the tent and our sleeping bags and pads. Joel already owned a BOB trailer and its waterproof cargo bag. I had already bought a pair of Ortleib waterproof panniers before last year’s RAGBRAI adventure. Joel was already well set up in the clothing department, but I needed a new jacket (mine’s the two-tone orange – ain’t it purdy?)

Joel already owned a MSR Whisperlite International stove. I have a love-hate relationship with that little stove. On the plus side, it’s (as its name promises) super light, it will run on just about any combustible liquid, it’s remarkably stable, and surprisingly durable. On the minus side, it has basically two settings – “Prepare for Blastoff” and “off,” so anything more subtle than boiling water is….difficult. We have decided against bringing dishes in favor of making mostly one-pot meals and eating out of the pot/lid. There are two pots, plus a modified Teflon skillet, so that should be plenty and sufficient. Also two nice insulated stainless mugs for tea (I’ve got a good stash of tea in one of my panniers already: lapsang, roasted barley, and chai). We’re trying to keep everything fairly simple and minimalistic on account of not wanting to have to tote anything that’s not strictly necessary. Luckily we’ve both studied our Beyond Backpacking and figured out ways to make the most out of what we will carry.

Speaking of the DIY approach to outdoor activity, I made a messload of dry bags of various sizes for the trip. 10 of them, in fact. Two to cover the sleeping pads, two more about half that length (same diameter) for laundry, two more about 6″ shorter than the laundry bags for incidental food /souvenirs/whatevers, two larger, square ones, one for the cooking equipment and one for groceries, plus two small pouches (about 6″X9″) for small things. One of the flat pouches already has the toiletries in it, and the other will probably house my camera & associated gizmos.
hung out to dry
This is the whole array of bags that I made, pinned to the edge of my ironing board and drying. I seam-sealed the heck out of the stitching, then ran drawstrings through the casing at the top of each bag. The round bags all have a “gasket” that tucks in the top. These are the bags I twittered about. I modified the pattern that made this hat:

to make the majority of those bags. I made this decision based upon the fact that the hat slips on to the end of the rolled up sleeping pad beautifully and it saved the time actually measuring and designing for an actual bag pattern.

We’ve been rather consumed with the business of preparing, packing, getting our stuff ready to ship out, etc. Joel is shipping the bikes, bags, and trailer out on Thursday to my aunt and uncle’s house near Santa Cruz…that will be our starting point. We’ll be doing typically between 50 and 60 miles a day, pushing further on days when we feel good and the weather is nice and slacking off on days when we’re not feeling so spiffy or the weather sucks gratuitously. We’ve done the math, and Joel can take something like 5 pictures per day on his memory card, and I can write a daily 3 pages front-and-back in my log notebook for the Godfather of all blog updates when we get back to Kansas City. I don’t think I will need a daily photo limit, as I have two extra 4GB memory cards for my camera! I will probably give Flickr a hernia when we get back home. We will try to update our blogs periodically while we are on the tour. Whenever we take a rest day and are in a town with a library that has Internet access, we’ll log on and write updates. I’ll be sending links to his blog and mine to various friends and family, so anyone who is interested can see where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to. Unfortunately I won’t be able to post any pictures from the road, but I will upload undoubtedly hundreds when we get back to KCK.

If anyone who has borne with reading all of this mess has any questions about how we’re doing this, why we’re doing this, where we’re going, or whatever, drop me a comment, and I’ll try to answer it reasonably coherently.

6 Responses to “About that tour…”

  1. nilky says:

    WOW! Just Wow.

  2. nilky says:

    OK, why are you doing this, what is your route?

  3. Arran says:

    This sounds absolutely wonderful! I hope that you both enjoy every pedal turn of the trip.

  4. Maggi says:

    WOW! I’m so envious! I’d love to hear more about your route — if you’re coming to Pennsylvania, I can offer y’all crash space and showers and all that happy jazz.

  5. MD says:

    I have dreamed about doing a coast-to-coast ever since signing up with Adventure Cycling. I just drool over all of their maps and all of the great stops (the cookie lady, great bike shops, etc) on the routes. I totally want to hear more about YOUR route! And I can’t wait to hear all about it when I get home.

    BTW, you can email photos to flickr from a cell phone, if you take pix that way or if your camera has internet capabilities (how weird is it to say that, welcome to the future!). I do it all the time and man does it make it easy to clean out my phone cam quickly.

    Squee! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  6. […] 12, 2008 by meetzorp To answer both Doug and MD, there’s not a route as […]

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