A jumble of thoughts before leaving home. - Four Weeks in Oregon and Idaho - Summer 2006 - CycleBlaze

April 10, 2006

A jumble of thoughts before leaving home.

I have to borrow a line from Dan Browning, who has a crazyguy journal.He started his TransAm on June 1st. "My body is still at work, but my mind is already on the road."

I can hardly finish a project for being so scatter brained. If it's not trip related, I really don't care right now. That's a bad thing to say when you are a small business owner! It would be much more efficient to just sit down and finish things up, but I keep doing one little project at a time. Last night I finished the May sales tax. June's sales tax will be due on July 20th - which is our deadline for finishing our trip. After 12 years, Pepsi has suddenly changed ordering methods. I didn't manage to make an order last week and have to figure out how to get a person and place an order before we leave. One tiny little part of my brain says "Eh, the girls will figure it out." But, no, I really am more responsible than that. I WILL place an order before we leave. Enough business stuff.

I heard back from Garmin tech support. They said the GPS should not be turning off and I should send it back for repair/replacement. This is good timing. There's no way I can get it back before we leave. I did have it quit working again. If I plug it in and reset it (so far) it has worked properly at least for a couple of days. I wonder if I can limp through for six weeks like that and then send it in? Grrr.

Friday we set up the Velo tent and slept in it. We had to check the instructions (which I have carefully saved these 5 years). The tent itself is very standard, but the huge rainfly which forms the vestibule takes a bit of figuring out. I call the vestibule the front porch. The tent comes in at 9 pounds. I only use it when I'm touring with another person to share the weight. The last trip I used this on was in 2001. Haven't really gotten my money's worth out of it.

We also cooked an 'emergency' meal. Our first choice is to be able to stop at a grocery store and buy fresh food for dinner. We do plan to carry a couple of days worth of boxed meals in case there is no store or the store is closed. To test our stove out, we fixed a rice dinner with a can of chicken added. I'd never tried canned chicken before. Perhaps two cans per box of rice would have been better as I only encountered one chunk of chicken on my plate. I was not impressed with the rice dinner. It was one small step above having PB&J for dinner. We have one other box to take for dinner. I don't really want to carry it for the entire trip, but I hope we never need to eat it either! I have a clam chowder recipe that uses powdered milk and instant potatoes as the main ingredients. It includes bacon bits and a can of clams. We're going to take that for another emergency dinner. Other than the palatability of our dinner, all utensils worked fine. Our stove hadn't been used since the same 2001 trip, but it performed great.

After camping and cooking we repacked our BOB's. Jacinto took out his three 10 pounds weights and replaced them with real gear. Jacinto took the tent, his sleeping bag and pad, and the ground cloth. I took the cooking stuff and my sleeping bag/pad. Included in the cooking stuff was a 3 pound bag of Trail Mix (you've got to love Sam's Club). I hope we aren't still eating on that bag of trail mix when we arrive home in six weeks! We weighed the bags very scientifically with Jacinto holding each bag while standing on the scale. My bag weighed 25.2 pounds and his weighed 23.2 pounds. Let's see where we are weight wise with the final packing. My bag is quite empty and has lots of things that rattle. Not good.

We are still wearing much of our cycling clothes. Those will be washed and packed at the last moment. I already have my winter clothes packed in my Angletech Aero Trunkbag. I also have a couple of books and my share of the tools in there. We are carry a fair amount of tools. Every time I have something go wrong on the road, I start carrying a 'fix' for that problem. I carry a small lightweight pedal wrench. After last year's sliced tire I carry a new tire in each size. I also have a couple of recumbent specific parts - a grenade pin for the seat support and a seat clamp. I'm sure I won't need those - but if I should need them - there's no substitute!

Yesterday I made my trip training goal of 2,500 miles with 2 extra miles for good luck. We have only 3 days until we start the drive to Portland. I plan to Kickbike www.kickbike.com two of those days and take a short spin on one day.

I have several appointments these next days. A girl's got to look her best before heading out on the road. I will be pampered and ready to rough it (hmm, is that statement an oxymoron?) with a fresh pedicure, massage, and cut/perm!

I am far too experienced of a tourist to get myself in the fix I am in. My recumbent takes 2.5 regular bike chains. The common theory goes that since there is 2.5 more chain, you can run that chain 2.5 times longer. When I finished the L & C last fall, I had my bike repainted and many parts replaced. This year I felt that I needed new brake pads and to have my chain checked before the tour. I measured with a ruler. Hmmm, looks okay. But maybe it's not, because I think I have about 3-4,000 miles on this chain. I ordered a chain checker tool. It didn't arrive and didn't arrive. Now I'm down to not having time to have the chain replaced. Finally, yesterday (Saturday), here is the box with my spare tires and the chain checker. Eeegads, my chain is TOTALLY worn out. I try to suppress a feeling of betrayal. Why wouldn't my chain be worn out? It has plenty of miles on it. Even though I have been following a strict cleaning/lubing schedule, I know moving parts do wear out. I send a panic email to John at Recumbent Brothers. He lives a 10 hour round trip from our house. We usually make the trek once or twice a year to have him service our bikes. Does that tell you how good John is? John assures me replacing the chain is not the same as changing adjustments right before a trip. He said it would be fine to go to the very reputable Coventry Cycles in Portland and have them replace the chain and brake pads. The teeth on the chain rings look fine, no curving anywhere. I took a deep breath and emailed Coventry for an appointment Thursday. Good thing we're getting to town early. I haven't heard back from them yet, but I would presume they would have time for something so simple.

I bought a new windvest and legwarmers on Ebay. They actually arrived before we left. I was pushing it some on time. The vest is a bright yellow Cannondale and it fits. The vest I am replacing is hot pink and was custom made to fit a much larger me. : ) It has several fancy pockets and a back that zips off if I only want the mesh in back. It's great, but a bit heavy, and way too large now. I used to wear leg warmers all the time. Then they would no longer fit. I can't find those leg warmers and I bought some XL Borah's. Wow. They are still a bit snug. No time to really try them out before we leave. I hope they don't cut off my circulation on longer rides. They do seem fairly stretchy, still with some give left. Maybe they'll be okay? My thought was with the leg warmers I wouldn't need to take a pair of tights. Last year I had on shorts, tights, and rainpants. I kept sliding all over the seat. Experimentation showed that the problem was not that the rainpants were too slippery (my first thought), but there were too many layers between me and the seat.

Feel free to skip the next paragraph - it might me way more information than you are interested in!

Weight. My initial goal was to reach 190. I was at 192 in March and lowered my goal to 185. That was before we went on vacation with all of those buffets. Got to get my money's worth, right? Dessert IS included and I AM on vacation, right? Uh, yeah. One week and five pounds later . . . . . I have a bit of a struggle with myself about the dessert part - love those sweets. I manage to win that battle and lose the five pounds I gained. My weight doesn't go up, but it doesn't go down any more either. I think my body has adjusted to the increased level of exercise. Then it's the end of the year party at the school bus. I bake the chocolate sheet cake that I LOVE and have been (literally) fantasizing about for the 18 months I've been losing weight. It is difficult to express to a non-chocoholic the hold this delectable cake has on me. Go ahead and smile, but just typing this makes my mouth water. I decide to bake the cake for the party. And of course I have to have a piece as soon as it's done for 'quality control'. Mmmmm, it was just as good as I thought. Even if I did buy lowfat vanilla ice cream to go with it - ymmm. I indulged in many goodies at the party, including more of my cake. There was still some left to take home. I ate most of that myself, with more ice cream. This cake was totally an orgasmic experience - I kid you not. It was worth every bite - maybe. The scale usually goes up a little, down a little. Lately it had just been going up. This time when I got on the scale, I had gained seven pounds. eeeks! Okay, that chocolate cake was good, and I did overindulge at the party. But not seven pounds worth! Heavy sigh. Okay, it's back on the no dessert wagon and back on the bicycle to burn off those seven pounds. Now I'm down to 190.2 - but haven't made it to 189.9. I still have a few more days to go - perhaps I'll get there.

Today (Sunday) Ann and Don are driving over from Denver with their bikes and trailers for us to drive to Portland. They are flying out, lucky dogs. We will meet and talk to them for the first time today. Tuesday afternoon we pick up the 10' Budget rental truck. Wednesday morning we are meeting Rodney in Grand Junction. He is from Montrose. He is starting his TransAm in Astoria and won't ride with us at all. We plan to arrive in Portland early afternoon Thursday in time for Rodney to make the bus to Seaside. I will hopefully be dropping my bike off then at Coventry for the chain/brake replacement. We estimate it's about an 18 hour drive. We're going to drive as far as possible Wednesday, perhaps to Boise, Idaho.

I'm not having the big panic attack concerning performance capabilities this year that I had last year. This year I'm more worried about leaving work, the house, the son, the cat. I feel very selfish about leaving my responsibilities and spending six weeks on the road. Which is exactly why I cherish the time on the road - all of those responsibilities!

Ah, I can't wait to hit the road! I just hope that rice dinner stays buried deep in my bag!

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