Counting down the days - Two Old Guys Take On A Continent - CycleBlaze

April 27, 2023

Counting down the days

The “weigh” it is


- Four days until I pick up my one-way minivan rental from Enterprise for the journey to Washington DC. I’ve already called the local provider and verified I am on the books for Monday pickup. I had reserved one once in the past from them, and when I went to pick it up - no car. They had to scramble to find a minivan but I had to go 35 miles to pick it up.

- Five days until I drive to DC. We have an Ezpass for turnpike travel in Ohio and other states. Google maps gave me an estimate of the fees in both Ohio and Pennsylvania without using one. Boy were they off for PA. In PA if you don’t have an Ezpass, they use license plate tolling, meaning they read your license plate and bill you directly. The cost to my exit from the PA turnpike, with Ezpass about $25; without one about $55, so I’ll be taking mine and mailing it home. Hoteling it Tuesday night.

- Six days until we meet up with our Warmshowers (WS) host. She will be taking us on her museums and monuments bike tour of the city before heading to her house for the night. Some type of takeout (too be decided) for dinner.

- Seven days from this morning,  John and I leave on our great adventure heading north on the C&O trail. Our WS host has offered to ride with us as we head out.


I was finally able to finish gathering all my gear, carefully loading it into the panniers (several times actually), making sure the right and left sides were evenly loaded, writing down the weights, and what do I determine…my gear weighs 70 pounds not including the bike. This is at least 10 pounds or more greater than what I carried on our upper Lake Michigan tour last year.

My analysis showed the following:

- I am carrying a collapsible chair that I didn’t carry last year.

- I am carrying cooler weather gear because even though it is the start of May,  Mother Nature doesn’t always care. Hopefully after 10-14 days, I can ship this gear to Phoenix Cyclery in Ft. Collins, CO, where we are having our bikes checked out.  I will pick the gear up there getting ready for the mountains.

- I have some extra food packed in my bag, including quinoa, soy milk powder, and several freeze dried meals from a company called Leafside. I may (or may not) have mentioned it before but I do not eat animal protein. I follow a Whole Food Plant Based diet eating no highly processed food, while using minimal oil, sugar and salt (if any at all). So these Leafside meals meet my eating needs, compared to other freeze dried meals available.

- One big item is the 4 water bottles I am taking are insulated stainless steel. No warm plastic tasting water for me. Additionally when I’ve used plastic bottles on past tours, the plastic starts growing things from the electrolytes I use. Stainless won’t.

So I accept the added weight knowing it will decrease as I eat and the weather gets warmer.

 My gear prior to loading:

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Shakedown ride

I took a fully loaded 21 mile shakedown ride this afternoon. It took a while before I left as I had to figure out where everything went. I can definitely feel the impact of the increased weight but overall the ride went smoothly. Not many hills where I live, but based on the one I did go up, I am going to get to know granny pretty well on the tour.

My loaded bike and yours truly:

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See you next week..until then keep on riding.

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Kelly IniguezI am nine years into gluten free. At first I was very strict, the past few years, not as much. It's a choice, not a need. When traveling I find it very difficult to follow my dietary preference. We are going to Spain/Portugal this summer. I don't know how I will manage, it seems all meals focus on great, even breakfast! That's all a backdrop to asking how you did following your preferred diet last summer during your Wisconsin tour. Traveling makes food tricky. Cooking for yourself as you do would be the way to go.

I like stainless steel bottles for their insulating qualities because I like COLD water. I carry two. One for electrolytes and the other for water. As needed, I buy supplemental bottles of water along the way. I will fill them up as needed a few times, then discard for new bottles.
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1 month ago
Ed ChimahuskyTo Kelly IniguezHi Kelly….
First, I’m going to steal your idea about the bottles. I have 4 stainless steel but they are heavy so I will bring 2 and supplement with 2 purchased bottles and replace every few days.

Second, earing is tough. The word diet word is really a misnomer as I am not using it to lose weight. It is more akin to a way of eating similar to the Standard American diet most people eat.

That is one reason I may carry more food. For example, all stores sell canned beans and canned tomatoes which are staples for me. I am bringing quinoa with me as it is a whole grain and can cook throughout the day in my small thermos (again a necessary weight). John will eat couscous and bagged dehydrated mashed potatoes but to me they are either over processed or have too many additives. Breakfast is whole grain oats; cooking in thermos for about 5 minutes, and bananas if available. I don’t do instant or quick oats. Peanut butter is good but am picky in what I buy as there is added oil in a lot of them. There are some compromises I make when buying food, however, and will accept a little oil especially in the bags of brown rice and/or rice & grain mix that all you need to do is heat up.

Eating out I look for Mexican; Thai; will eat pizza without cheese. I’ve found all the calories in veggie sub sandwich are in the bread. Also look for places that have some type of bean burger (hold the cheese).
I do get some calories from beer (probably not the best type) but we do look for a brewery daily. A cold beer is good at the end of the day.

On our circle upper Lake Michigan last year that is pretty much how I ate and did not lose any weight. I will weigh myself at the start and when we get back home so we will see.

Good luck in Spain and Portugal and good luck with your eating.
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1 month ago