64 miles today - more hills than I expected
around Tallahassee made the end a bit tough!
Monticello town center
I did knock into another LDB (long distance biker) on the road this morning. Steve lives in Colorado and has been biking across the southern United States for the past 6 weeks. He started in San Diego and plans to end in St. Augustine in a few days. I will be doing much of his route in the reverse direction, so we exchanged a bit of information about roads, routes etc. Steve also offered me a place to stay in Colorado once I reach the mountains! Note the Surly bike, the same one I am riding.
As I arrived to my destination on the early side today, I took a walk over the a local shopping mall to try to find some ice cream (I was successful). This was my first real reintroduction to consumer America since I unplugged almost 3 months ago. Every time I enter a mall I cannot help but think how 99% of what is sold there is useless junk that people could certainly do without. After all, how many clothes/shoes/hats/bags/toys does one person need? Anyway, I started thinking about how nice it has been to live such a materially-streamlined life this year. I have always been a minimalist, but this year has been even more extreme. Minus Sonia, I have only REALLY missed one thing: my big camera (Canon 500 f/4 + 1.4III + 1DIV). Outside of it, I can basically survive without most of what I currently own. Unfortunately, in this country most people have succumbed to hideously false message that material things equal happiness and success. I am so glad that I have missed this memo. No one can buy my bike trip; That's why it's valuable.
NOTE: I have received several emails pointing out the disconnect between the minimalistic tendencies articulated above and the list of material goods that I provide below. I totally understand these sentiments, and I realize I sound like a hypocrite. I will try to explain myself a bit better. Basically, I tend to do A LOT of research on the few, but very high quality items that I purchase. These items will get daily or weekly use in perpetuity in all instances. I am trying to contrast this buying pattern to that of the impulse shopper who buys lots of poorly made stuff that will just collect dust once it goes out of style or falls apart. No one goes into the mall thinking "I really need a 'Hello Kitty' toilet seat or a 'Hello Kitty' AK-47", but people will walk out with these precise items nonetheless. If you have recently purchased either of these items, nothing I can say is going to make any sense, so I'll just conceed defeat.
AH-HA! Now would be the perfect time to provide a list of what I am carrying this year. Several people have asked about my gear, so I will try my best to include everything.
Surly Disc Trucker bike
Surly front rack
Bontrager/Trek rear rack
2 water bottles with holders
One pair Ortlieb Front Roller Panniers (Panniers #1, 2 below)
One pair Ortlieb Rear Roller Panniers (Panniers #3, 4 below)
Pannier 1 - Front Right - "Optic stuff"
17-40mm lens (not getting much use right now, maybe more out west)
Flash memory cards
Lens cloths, brushes etc
Pannier 2 - Front Left - "Bike stuff"
Fold up spare tire (kinda bulky)
3 spare tubes
Bike light (doubles as flash light)
Reflective yellow vest
Hand pump for tires
Plastic zip ties, duct tape
Multi-use bike wrench/tool thingy
Snacks - Granola bars and Peanuts
Pannier 3 - Back Right
Hiking boots (relatively lightweight)
2 T-shirts - could probably get by with one
4 pair underwear - too many, I cycle in bike shorts so I probably only need 2
Pain killers - Big bottles of both ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
2 pair socks
Pannier 4 - Back Left
Rain coat - will ditch this at some point. I won't see much rain in the nest 3 months. Warm rain OK.
Extra pair biking shorts
Extra long-sleeve, fancy-fabric biking shirt (long sleeve to keep sun off my arms)
Power cords/chargers (Phone, Laptop, Camera batteries, Light, GoPro etc), card reader
2 pair long pants (can certainly get away with one)
1 light pair fleece gloves and fleece hat
On my person I normally have a pair of socks, my Shimano biking shoes, a pair of biking undershorts, a pair of regular shorts, a long-sleeve, fancy-fabric biking shirt, my helmet, a pair of cheap sunglasses, and a pair of fingerless gloves.
My scope and MeFoto Tripod are bungee-corded to the back rack. They are in a waterproof bag and wrapped in a lightweight coat. The coat hides the items so that people just think its more junk strapped to the bike. The scope+tripod is about 8-9 Lbs. I will almost certainly ship the scope/tripod and a few other extra items from Texas to Arizona to save weight on that very challenging leg. I might just ship the scope all the way to California since it would be a lot of weight in the mountains as well. This will be a huge decision.
When I was in the Northeast, I also had a heavy fleece coat, North Face Down Puffer Jacket, long underwear, fleece pants, 2 additional pairs of gloves, a fleece/neoprene facemask, another wool hat, and 2 heavy duty pair of wool socks. I sent all this stuff home when I reached North Carolina. That was a VERY, VERY good day.
I also have a handlebar mount for my iPhone on the bike.
OK, I think this about covers it. I am sure I have missed some smaller items, but the main stuff is all listed.