Monthly Archives: June 2017

Dry Run #2 & Bill

I activated my Warm Showers account thinking it might be useful while on the road. Warm Showers is a website designed to connect bicycle tourists with safe places to stay. I never thought someone would want to stay with me. Enter Bill.

Bill contacted me early last week and asked to stay a night. He said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet a liveaboard. This gave me the boost i needed to clean up the boat before the trip. He was in his first week of touring on his way to the gulf coast.  He ate dinner with my family and hopefully put them a little at ease about my cross country trip. It was nice to talk with someone that could understand the want and need to travel in this manner. Saturday morning we rode 50 miles down the road to the top of Petit Jean Mountain, camped out, and then parted ways the next morning.

Getting to talk touring and to see someone else’s setup and gear prior to me taking off was treat.

Notes from the trip:

First, i feel much more comfortable using Warm Showers. I did facebook and internet stalk Bill prior to agreeing to host.

Through Bill, I am no longer worried about running out of water. I have a Sawyer Mini filter that he taught me to use. Me being prone do dehydration was a major concern.

I have been debating which hammock to take, and after trying to sleep in my Grand Trunk Ultralight I have decided to go with the ENO Doublenest. The Ultalight is just too small. I felt like i was about to fall out everytime i shifted positions.

I have also been debating which sleeping bag to use. It got cold last night and I am glad to have had my 900 fill down sleeping bag. Much better than the 600 fill down blanket i had planned to take. My butt and shoulders got cold, but I was too tired and lazy to grab my sleeping pad. Next time i will know better.

Few updates to the bike. I got the fender intalled, webbing sewn for tie downs, and a couple of fanny packs to make into saddlebags.

It was a good weekend. I got the boat cleaned up, go to meet and ride with another “crazy” person, logged 50 miles on Saturday (up a mountain), and 30 miles on Sunday. And had time to do my laundry!

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Taking a rest and charging the phone at the Gazebo. Only 10 miles from the boat, but tired.

Trip Update

It has been a busy couple of weeks.  I am still trying to leave on July 3rd, but am considering staying an extra week to take care of some tasks before leaving.  This will most likely be a last-minute decision.  What have I been doing to get ready for a 2500 mile trip?  Most of my day is spent at work, but the hours between work and dark are my time to check things off the list.

First, I sold the Roubaix.  This takes my bike count down to two.  Although, I think I might have a couple more hidden away somewhere.  I bought the Roubaix new in 2010 and we did centuries, triathlons, crits, and tours together.  It was not an easy decision, but I am happy that John, the new owner, found me and hope the Roubaix takes as good of care of him as it did me.

Most of my free time has been spent working on the boat.  I got the AC installed a couple of weeks ago, just in time to close the boat up for the summer.  I have also been working on installing a fridge.  You can see in the photo that I just about have the cabinet ready for the fridge to drop in.  You can also see the drawer that I added.  I have had a storage unit for the last year to house all of my sailing gear and bikes and am trying to get everything moved out, consolidated, and stored on the boat.  If you could see the cabin now, you would wonder how it is possible to live in such disarray.

The third photo is of the top tube saddle bags I made for my tour to Tulsa.  I could not find a bag I liked on the web so I made my own.  For this trip I am looking for something a little sturdier and water proof.  I still can not find one I like, so I will be modifying one to meet my requirements (more photos to come).

Today, I picked up my Biketripping decals to go on the bike.  I will be adding them tonight and can’t wait to see how it looks and functions!

Oh! I am also, hopefully, getting to host a cyclist from Warmshowers.org.  This will be my first time hosting.  Need to do some boat-keeping before he arrives.  If you are interested in hosting or being a part of the touring community, check out their website.

Image result for warmshowers logo

 

Dry run #1

When going on a long voyage it is wise to do a test run.  This weekend was the first of my test runs.  If you have seen my pack list you know that I have a lot of stuff that need testing.  Some of the gear, I have had for years and I am confident in their abilities.  Other gear, I literally just opened out of the box.  For example, today, I got socks, underwear (testing now), pedals, a fuel tank, silk sheets, and fenders.  This weekend I took everything except the galley and external battery.  The galley is useless without the fuel tank and the brand new battery stopped working after a day of use.

The Plan

  • Ride 30 miles east Friday after work
  • Camp somewhere?
  • Ride 40 miles east Saturday morning, and chill at friends’ pool
  • Ride 20 miles west Saturday evening back towards home
  • Camp somewhere?
  • Ride 30 miles west Sunday Morning
  • Ride last 20 miles to home

What Happened

  • Rode 30 miles east Friday night
  • Camped at a school!!
  • Rode 30 miles west Saturday morning
  • Took a long nap

And that is why we test.  Good news: the bike and most of the gear worked perfectly.  Bad news: the motor needs more miles before properly tuned.  My longest tour was a 4 day, 200 mile ride and that was 3 years ago.  Two of those nights were camped out at schools.  During the summer months schools are vacant, especially during sleeping hours, which make them a great target for urban, stealth camping. 

Pad Update:  In one of my previous posts I talked about my sleeping pad.  It is growing on me.  I slept a solid 6 hours on it.  

My two biggest problems on the trip were my legs and food.  This is what I get for not training like I should.  I was struggling those last few miles after finding a camp spot and food.  This is when I decided to alter my plan and head home.  To my surprise, I felt great this morning and I did the 30 miles back home in 30 minutes less than the night before.  My mom informed me that it is all down hill coming from the east, thanks mom!  I will log another 30 tomorrow, giving me 90 for the weekend.  

Back to the food.  Even as an adult with a job and a car I spend a lot of time in the grocery store, usually once or twice a day.  If a person could only be described by a few characteristics, food would be one of mine.  Eating out can be difficult for me due to the restrictions I place on my diet, and also the quality of the food.  I GUARANTEE that if we go out to eat together, something on my order will be wrong.  So I forage for food in the grocery store.  For two years I lived without refrigeration.  This makes cooking challenging, so I learned to only purchase what I could eat in a day or two.  Canned and raw foods are my friends.  

At the store, I got a can of beans and rice for dinner and a can of sweet potatoes for breakfast.  One of the items I meant to test on the trip was a military style p38 can opener, but forgot it at home.  My substitute was a Swiss Army knife knock off, which broke after about 10 minutes of me struggling to get the can open enough to get my spoon through.  Now, I will be adding a real can opener to my packing list.  

Conclusion

This whole ordeal with the can opener got me thinking about whether or not I even need to take a galley.  That would change my whole packing scheme.  I still have yet to get my front rack.  I used the panniers on the rear rack and they rode well.  I will need to test them on the front rack and decide which I prefer.  That will be on test run #2.  Almost forgot!  I have a mirror, and it works!  No more straining my neck.  

“I would like to, BUT”

A lot of people have seen my plans and have said, “I would LOVE to go with you, BUT…”  My job, my fitness, my back, my WIFE won’t allow me to go.  All perfectly good excuses, especially the wife.  As I said before, this is probably the worst shape I have ever been.  In fact, I should be riding at least 20 miles a day and 50 or 60 on the weekend to get ready, but life keeps getting in the way.  So, I understand.  I have a plan to get more time in the saddle next week, but that is for next week.

Life is never going to stop getting in the way, so I decided to go for it.  I am at a place where my only excuses are work and family.  I am single and my family is taking me leaving well.  I have been thinking and talking about this for years, so they had to have known it was coming.  My work has been surprisingly supportive.  In my interview for my job, I was asked what my 5 year plan was and my answer was, “to be living on a 36 ft boat in the Caribbean”.  At the time I was on a MacGregor 25 and am now on a Morgan 28.  At 3 ft a year, I should be in a 40 ft by then.

time money energy

When I was working in physical therapy about half of my patients were 60+ and most of them advised me to go on adventures, to make memories, and to wait to make a family and career.  All of the people my age ask me how I have time or money to do the things I do, and the answer is to make time and spend less.  “Live Small to Live Large

 

Testing the Sleeping Pad

Nemo Astro Air 25L

Specifications

  • 23 oz
  • 76 in x 25 in x 3.5 in
  • 9.5 in x 4 in dia packed
  • PrimaLoft insulation
  • 20D PU Polyester Ripstop
  • MSRP $149.95
  • Cost $74.96

After reading all of the reviews about the different sleeping pads and considering the cost vs weight, I decided on the Nemo Astro Air 25L.  The reviews on this pad raved about how comfortable and light it is.  It is very light at only 23 oz, and packs down to only 9.5 x 4 in.  It comes with the stuff sack (shown), a velcro compression strap,  and a repair kit.

For the last three nights I have been testing to see how comfortable it really is.  The first night I aired it up all the way and it was too firm.  The second night I let out too much air and it was flemzie.  Unlike in a story book, the third night was not perfect.  This is exactly why I am testing it out.  I want to be accustomed to sleeping on it prior to riding.  I will say, I am glad that I chose the 25 over the 20.  This gave me plenty of room to try every sleeping position i know to get comfortable.  This pad does have one thing over the 6 inches of memory foam on top of the 6 inches of boat cushion that I normally call a bed.  It is 76 inches long, about 8 inches longer than my v-berth bed and 6 inches longer than me.  AND! It is not shaped like a triangle.  Time will tell…

 

Trip Prep

At this time, I am trying to get everything ready for the trip.  I have read so much over the last few years about what is needed and how to get ready, but there is nothing like actually doing it.  The big concerns are:

  • Gear
  • Route
  • Blog
  • Money
  • Insurance

I have most of my gear, but have yet to lay it all out or do a test run.  I have a rough idea of where I want to go, but have not locked down a route.  I ordered some maps from Bike Across America, which should be in this week.  About the blog: this is my first post and I have a lot to learn.  When it comes to finances, I will be putting together a budget this week (after I purchase everything I think I need).  That will give me an idea of how long and far I can travel.  I hope to have all of these concerns answered this week.

Oh, and I also need to be riding!