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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
OK, Jesse, I’ve read enough. I want to go too! Just kidding, but I’m following your progress.