Monday, May 29, 2017

Why Am I Doing It

Why?  Now that is a good question?

I can speak to the logistics of this trip to ad nauseam.  I can talk to the technical details of my gear until your eyes glaze over. start asking that which touches the heart and I begin to stammer and falter.

 "Sometimes you have to leave everything to find yourself"

That quote has been on the whiteboard in my office for months now.  I've read it hundreds of times.  I've pointed to it when people ask why.

However, as that first pedal stroke draws closer, the "why" is becoming less clear.  I'm coming to the realization that the "why" lies in the 4228.5 miles between Astoria and Yorktown.  The only way I'm gonna find it, is to ride those miles.

Why?  I can't answer that question now; however, I make this promise to my readers...if it I discover it...I will share stay tuned...

Saturday, May 20, 2017

With What Am I Gonna Do It

Ok, I've talked about what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, so now let's talk a little bit about gear.
I'm not going to cover all my gear in excruciating detail, maybe I will do that at the end after I've paired down my gear to what I really need.  I am reminded of a bike tour I did in upstate New York. After the second day, I was so desperate to shed weight that I was squirting out toothpaste from the tube.  On the third day I stopped at the first post office I came to and shipped a buttload of stuff home.  I'm hoping I've learned something from that experience and have been trying to keep my gear to a minimum, but I suspect I still have too much.  We will see!

Bike - the most essential part of my gear is of course my bike.  I have a Surly Long Haul Trucker that I bought a few years back.  Its  been my commuter bike and has performed perfectly, but it was in need of some TLC.  I stripped it down and overhauled it from the bottom up.  I changed out most of the components, the most significant changes were:

  • Brakes - I switched from the cantilever brakes that came with it and had dismal stopping power to linear pull brakes.  I wish I had disc brakes, but since I have an older frame, it doesn't accommodate them.  So linear pulls will have to do and they are much more gooder than what I had.
  • Wheels - I did splurge on a new set of hubs and rims.  The rims are Velocity Atlas and the rear hub is also made by Velocity.  The Front hub is a Shutter Precision Dynamo Hub and it is connected to a Sinewave Cycles Revolution USB inverter that I will use to keep my electronic gadgets charged.  I shipped the dyno hub to Velocity and they built both wheels.  They are the bomb!!!  I highly recommend!!!
  • Tires - I've read enough accounts of folks that have ridden across the country to know that flats are a part of the journey.  In an effort to minimize that experience, I chose Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires.  I've used the Schwalbe Marathons on my bike for commuting for quite a few years.  I've had a pair on my bike for the last 5 years, they have held up well AND I haven't had a single flat.  I commute to work everyday and not a single flat in 5 years.!!  There is no better endorsement than that!

Panniers - I'm using Ortlieb Roller Classic panniers front and back and an Ortlieb Ultimate Pro handlebar bag.

Stuff Inside The Bags - this is where I will spare you the long list.  At a high level...
  • One rear pannier - Tent Stuff
  • Other rear pannier - Clothes
  • One front pannier - Kitchen
  • Other front pannier - Food
  • Handlebar Bag - Valuables and easily accessible stuff like wallet, keys, cell and camera.  Anytime I walk away from the bike, this bag will be on my shoulder.
So there you have it, the stuff I will be using to get across the country.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

So How Am I Gonna Do It

Ok, I announced in my last post that I was riding across the country.  I didn't provide any details.  I just put it out there.

I'm going to follow that initial post with a few more, outlining some of the details.

Route - my route will be the Transamerica  Bicycle Trail.  I will start in Astoria, OR and travel east, ending in Yorktown, VA.  I am planning to average 60 miles per day.  I expect to take somewhere between 2-1/2 to 3 months.

Accommodations - I plan to camp most nights, with an occasional night in a motel to clean up, do laundry and enjoy a real bed.

Meals - I plan to cook most of my dinners and breakfasts, while grabbing lunch somewhere long the road.

I know this isn't much detail, but that's the way I want it.  I wear a compass on my wrist because I always like to know where north is.  I'm a planner by nature.  Normally I would have everything planned out to excruciating detail...I would know exactly where I was staying each night...where I would shop...what I would shop for...where I would refill my water bottles...what and where I would eat...I could go on...but I think you get the message.  Part of this trip is to avoid that natural tendency.  I want to get up each morning, look at the map and get a kinda sorta idea of where I'm heading that day.  I don't want to plan anymore than that.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Let's Do This

I've been thinking about it...talking about it...dreaming about it...planning it...preparing for it...and now "it" will soon be a reality.

In 3 short weeks, I'm taking a leave of absence and pedaling my bike across the country.

The reality of it has not set in.  Even now I can't believe I'm actually going to do it.  But I am!

Stay tuned...