Pack and Fold - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

December 29, 2022

Pack and Fold

Since we just came off a tour in England and France, one would think our gear is close at hand, and that we remember what goes where.  That is partially true, but then a shoulder season tour in Europe can be quite different from a (hopefully) all hot trip in Mexico. Definitely, we can throw away the down jackets, but then again we will need the water purification.  Also, we'll need lots of bathing suits and towels, but less of the woolly socks or closed toe moccasins. 

Even these many substitutions sound fairly simple to execute, but that does not explain how our dining room table got covered with so many items needing a decision about whether they are coming or not:

Where do we put the turkey?
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It turns out that a lot of what was on the table was packing material, part of the age old question of how to package the bikes to go on the plane, and what to do with any packaging on the other end.

We have long ago given up on fitting the bikes into their their "official" suitcases, because that requires too much disassembly and too much Tetris skill. Sometimes we have been just rolling the bikes into airline supplied giant plastic bags, and hoping this confuses the baggage handling gorillas enough to keep them safe. But this time we are thinking to fold the bikes and then to encase them in a web of Saran Wrap. Wrapped up and crouching like that, we are hoping they will avoid a $100 each oversize baggage fee that Westjet seems to be threatening, adding to their $50 "just because" bike fee. We did this once before, and the result looked like this:

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If the bikes are not folded, then certain parts of them stick out and risk getting bashed. And if the bikes are folded, then different parts stick out, making us equally nervous. Even a box does not totally guard against this. Only the folded bike in its suitcase is really totally secure, but again, getting it in there is such a bug!

This time around the plastic bag part of things became an issue, as Westjet unhelpfully refused to promise that they would have one. The running around to furniture and other stores that we described the other day had yielded the "chair" moving bags, and these turned out to be the perfect size for folded Fridays.

Who would think that an elegant simple thing like a bike could reveal so many vulnerable sticky out bits.
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The "Chair" bag is ideal.
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Our system from previous trips has been to use large panniers as the carry ons, and to stuff the rest of the gear into one large duffel bag that is checked. The carry on is critical, because it contains our special batteries that can only come carry on. The duffel bag has been helpful because it folds, and get packed on a bike during the tour, ready for when we have to leave, often from a different city from where we arrived. Even though there are carts often available, we found ourselves carrying this giant (when filled) duffel in our arms enough that we wished for one with wheels. Last week we found one like that, that also folds quite small. That's it under the carry ons in the photo. It's a little small, but still it fit the stuff. The orange bags have exactly what we are going to put on when we walk out our door here. So that's a wrap! We are totally ready to go.

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Well hold it, not quite. Despite the general thinking described in our "The Route" page, we don't actually know where we are going, precisely. Tomorrow Dodie will have a look at towns and roads and hotels, and maybe she will come up with a more detailed plan.

p.s. Thanks to Ken and Judy in Kamloops for coming up with the name of a hotel in Temax. This opens up Highway 176 for us and could make for a much more sensible routing.

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Sue PriceSorry to hear The Pickled Onion is off the list - it's been a while since we were there. We did end up staying in some pretty strange places on that trip, but the ruins were sure worth the effort!
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