A TON of junk in the trunk …of my bike.

A TON of junk in the trunk ...of my bike.

Fiddling around for awhile this afternoon resulted in my final rear setup barring no issues with sleeping bag placement up front. I still plan to stop up on water bottles and bungee cord them everywhere I can. Everything in the rear bags are documented and accounted for, plus I’m totally digging the sweet blanket I got from a friend. It’s the only “too heavy to justify but still bringing it along” item that I’m indulging in.

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Say that again?

Say that again?

I just spent the past few hours reading up on what to do in the event of a bear/wolf/coyote/mountain lion attack and I’m officially scared out of my mind. I think the line that scared me the most was this:

“”If an attack is prolonged or the bear starts eating you, it is no longer being defensive and it is time to fight back”

…..if the bear starts EATING ME?!?! Have I lost my mind? What am I getting myself into?! Listen, if I freeze to death it’s one thing (lol I’m not taking that as trivially as it may sound) but to be EATEN BY A BEAR AND/OR other excruciating death is just …not…okay. Trying to keep my nerves level but I can’t lie, I’m officially terrified.v

Ok, here’s an idea…

Ok, here's an idea...

Here we gooooo!!! Okay! I’ve mapped (ha) the beginning of the trip. I’m starting in Richmond, VA and taking the Interstate south to Jacksonville, the west to Baton Rouge (hopefully in time for a friend’s wedding) and then continuing on to Albuquerque and that’s where the REAL fun starts! It should take me a little less than 2 months if I’m biking 5 hours a day, less if I go more and push it but I don’t plan to do that as I don’t want to burn out early. According to a friend living in Richmond, their winters aren’t too terrible, definitely a little snow and the roads get icy at night but I’m hoping it’s not too bad during the day.

Whoohoo!

Just what I love!! Shoes!

Just what I love!!  Shoes!

Well ladies and gentleman, I finally decided on a pair of shoes and ordered them tonight….with no small amount of apprehension. I have NEVER purchased shoes that cost more than $60 in. my. LIFE. So this was rather terrifying.

Their advertising boasts:

“Treat your feet to the ultra-versatile, super cute X-Alp Impact shoe from Pearl Izumi. The specially engineered mesh/synthetic upper means excellent breathability and comfort, while the carbon rubber lugged outsole means you won’t pay a price for walking too. With a combination closure system, the fit is always just right, and low cut uppers keep your pedaling fast and efficient. Lace up design with the added top hook and loop strap Low cut construction for a light, fast fit and feel Quick drying, highly breathable mesh/synthetic upper delivers comfort and breathability EVA foam run shoe midsole for off the bike cushioning and comfort Carbon rubber lugged outsole for superior traction and durability Combination closure system with premium buckle and forefoot Hook and Loop straps Flexible forefoot and a running shoe beveled heel SPD Compatible”

Basically, these shoes are pretty lightweight but durable, comfortable and good at whicking away sweat so your feet aren’t dying. They’re also super cute which wasn’t really a factor but just ended up working out that way. What I really love is the fact that when the clips aren’t on they look like regular sneakers so I can wear them off my bike too. They have wonderful traction because they’re mountain biking shoes and the reviews seem to be greatly in favor of them (I would know as I have spent hours upon hours upon hooouuurs going through review after review for multiple different pairs of shoes).

So here goes nothing!

Google Maps for the Road vs. Biking

Google Maps for the Road vs. Biking

Okay, my most recent frustration is mapping my journey. Google Maps Driving vs. Google Maps Biking vs. Looking up specific bike paths really has me frustrated.

It would appear that Google Maps Driving (GMD from now on) will take me on the fastest most direct route. However Google Maps Biking (GMB) takes me on the most random, out of the way paths that while I think they may have less traffic on them, are a real pain in my ass to figure out. (Take THIS path for 3 feet, turn left , turn right, turn left again and continue 5 feet… starting to see why I’m frustrated?)

When looking at the different bike paths online they don’t really let you zoom in to the point where you have enough details to know EXACTLY where you will be going. I don’t want to find myself lost in the wilderness between Memphis and Shreveport if my bike path ends suddenly.

Oh Mr. Sun

Oh Mr. Sun

After spending the last few hours researching the hell out of different types of solar chargers, reading reviews and deciding which one is optimal I have decided to purchase the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. This tiny little charger sounds pretty fabulous and perfect for why I need it. It has a micro USB port and a full sized USB. I will be using it to charge my iPod and cell phone so it’s simple and just what I need. Running at $70 it’s a little pricey but I decided I’d rather shell out the extra money for a product I know will work then have a shitty one crap out on me in the wilderness when I need my phone or GPS. It also has a special mode for charging apple products faster which is great since I’ll be using my iPod on my trip and want to charge my phone at night and my iPod in the evenings. Props to the power of the sun!!

For more information on the Solio Bolt Solar Charger you can go to their website:

Upon further research…

Well friends, it seems my carefully plotted out plans have been dramatically altered. As I talked about in my last post, I have spent the entire evening looking at every single line of the Amtrak and figuring out which trains DO allow carry on bikes and which lines require the bikes to be boxed up and checked. The results are not comforting.

Apparently the only line out of NYC that allows carry on bikes go up to Maine or down to North Carolina. So the decision has been made that I will be taking the train to Charlotte, NC and have to bike from there. I already know it’s going to be a real bitch trying to cross the Smoky Mountains in Jan/Feb but it’s the fastest way I can get out of the winter weather.

Luckily for me, living in New York I’ll have plenty of snow to practice biking in up until I leave. I already know I’m going to be using http://www.warmshowers.com to the EXTREME whilst there and I’m going to have to have at least 2 or 3 sleeping bag flannel liners. I refuse to be cold and the only way that’s going to happen is staying with people and being prepared to layer my little tent-home. =)

This is only a small set-back. Now that I know it’s happening I can plan accordingly! Better to have discovered this now than in January!