Saturday, June 13, 2009
The Plan: have everything ready a few days before departing, leaving time for a long ride or two with full gear in order to assess our packing strategy.
The Reality: run around like crazy people for the last few days, spending countless hours shopping, planning, and packing, leaving us with time only for brief (15-20 mile) rides just before it got dark, and never with a fully packed trailer.
These rides were still helpful, however, especially the one we took with me steering in the back. We learned so much pedaling in the other person's shoes and it made a difference immediately. On the following ride I had a much better understanding of Kyle's challenges and when and how he needed me to pedal, and he learned what and when he needed to communicate. I also realized how much I wanted to avoid the back whenever possible. It's incredibly stressful back there, especially managing starts, stops, and steering in heavy traffic. I'm also not as physically suited to it: it's hard to control something that heavy with my shorter and weaker arms. Thankfully Kyle is becoming increasingly comfortable with the back and is willing to remain there fulltime for a week or more until we reach more barren landscapes, unless of course an injury necessitates a switch.
I had been worried about packing from the beginning; I have never, ever been able to travel light. It actually went better than expected, perhaps because I've been thinking about and shopping for the trip for so long. I took 2.5 cycling outfits, 2 casual outfits, a long sleeved shirt, rain gear, and a bathing suit. Through the magic of a stuff sack, it fit into a very small space:
Fitting all of our gear into the trailer was a bit more challenging, so we ended up strapping a small backpack to the top. Still, it wasn't bad, and we'll be riding through Frederick on our third day so we can figure out what supplies to drop or reposition. We were ready to go, or ready enough. Off to Jersey...
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