Sunday, June 29, 2014


Here are some of the things I've been doing to get prepared for the trip.

Some of the items are fairly essential - so good thing I decided to go with the sane schedule/timing.  When I tried to get ready in a week, I could have gotten out there, but many things would have been a bit of a mess.  In all, this has been about three weeks of prep time which was about right.

1) Preparing equipment

Example: seam sealing the bivvy sac.

This is one of those things that I think I am pretty glad I had the extra time to do.  If it rains, I'll be happy I sealed the seams.

I took care of fairly basic things like my handlebar tape (as you can see, it was in pretty bad shape).

Taping is surprisingly the subject of some amount of fuss within some bicycle circles.  The bike shop made a bit of a big deal about it (that it's very difficult) and suggested I have them put new tape on for me.  One of my friends who is a serious mountain biker also suggested the same (have the bike shop do it).  Fortunately I bumped in to a friend who also commutes and tours and she had just wrapped her bars and thought it was not that bad.

So, I wrapped new tape on my bars:

No one will mistake my work for a bike shop's work, but I am happy with it.  It is way, way more comfortable now than it was and I tested it out this afternoon and it seems like it will hold fine.

Also did some cleaning of the drivetrain and lubed the chain.  Again, probably pretty good that I did that before setting out on the journey.  I probably should have cleaned things thoroughly but made do with a rag and a little stick from the yard.

2) Detailed planning of the route

I decided to at least roughly figure out where I have good options to sleep for most of the nights.  I'm primarily relying on the hiker/biker campsites in OR and CA, so used a highlighter to mark them on the map.  They are the most awesome arrangement possible for a bicycle tourist - but interestingly there are large variations in the distances between sites.  In one location there are about 3 within 10 miles of each other, and some have what look like 70 mile gaps in between (I didn't measure carefully - I guess I can't get myself to plan that much).

I'm also making notes on surf breaks (been getting lots of info from friends in various forms which I'm trying to capture on the maps) and any interesting meditation and dance things going on in the places I'll be traveling through.

In addition to the monastery visit in Oregon, my friend's mother offered to let me stay at their place in Oregon and a colleague offered to let me camp out at his ranch in CA.  Some folks I met in the economic forum at the White House recently also offered to let me stay further down south.  And I had already planned to visit family/friends along the way.  I'm excited and grateful for these neat stops.

3) Fussing with electronics

Had an unfortunate meltdown of my mobile phone, but I was lucky in that (1) it happened just before I left rather than just after... again, good thing I delayed the start... and (2) I was able to get support to get a new one rushed out.  It used a good amount of a day which seemed like a lot of time just before I am about to leave, but I sure am glad to have a phone that works as it's the main communication device I plan on bringing.

The other communication device is a personal locator beacon - someone I sold a microphone stand to mentioned that they have these devices.  If you fall off a cliff, you can send a satellite signal out for help.  I bought the simple one that sends an emergency signal only which transmits your gps coordinates (can't type or send status updates, etc.).  Seems neat... my only concern is that I've been adding items with the extra time. :)

The other electronic thing I am going to bring is a camera.  I wanted a backup to my phone camera.  I realized that my existing little point and shoot that I've had for a few years has no way to transfer photos to my phone to post.  So, I now have a little wifi-enabled camera that I have to learn how to use.

4) Not Training

For some reason, I can't get myself to 'train' for this trip (by doing long rides just to get miles in).  I have a hard time getting myself to train in general nowadays and generally just try to get my exercise via my daily activities or fun things (like surfing or dancing :) ).

The good thing is that I ride my bicycle pretty much every day.  I cycle to the shuttle I take to work, then cycle at work, and do all (or almost all) my errands on my bike.  The past 2 1/2 weeks I've not driven my car at all.  This is probably not smart as I'm extending the time my car isn't used - will probably need a jump start when I get back if I want to use it.  :)

It's not many miles each day I ride though, so we'll see how I feel when I am out on the road putting in higher mileage.

Here's a photo from earlier in the year, I thought my errands led to an aesthetically pleasing arrangement in my bicycle basket that brightened up one of the few rainy days we've had this year.   This is my 20+ year old mountain bike that I use as a commuter bike as the commute/shuttle was beating up my touring bike too much (see the first handlebar tape picture above).

The extra time has been good for me to get used to my touring bike again since I mostly ride my commuting bike everywhere.  That was a nice thing as my touring bike has a leather seat and it takes some time to get re-acquainted with a leather seat.

I still have a bunch of things to do before I head out Monday morning (the rideshare van is leaving at 5 AM near downtown), but I'm feeling that I'll be quite a bit more comfortable and organized now that I've had a chance to do a bit more prep.

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