Well, the packing process is turning into a never-ending story. In the last three days I have packed, opened up again and repacked at least five times, each time thinking this would be the last time. But then a detail occurred to me which I wanted to change: too much underwear - open it all up again, throw out a pair of socks, stand thinking for some minutes - decide everything else was indispensible, pack it all in. The red jacket for cold weather - don't need it, the layer principle would work without it, 750 grams off - so unpack, take it out and repack. The one pannier I'll be taking on the plane as handluggage in addition to the handlebar bag forces me to pack stuff in a way I'll have to rearrange after the flight because of liquids and tools - so a little more repacking. In any case it's exciting! The images do not show several items: the 4.5 liter water container which can be used to carry water or as a camping shower alternatively; the handle bar bag with camera, valuables etc; the running shoes which will replace the geox shoes shown in the photo. Only 2 days to go!
Now that work is over and a full year of adventures lies ahead I feel thoroughly excited. All (well: most) preparations are done and not much remains to be done. I even reacted to last night's nightmare and changed the tires to the sturdy class 6 Schwalbe Marathon Tour Plus instead of the lightweight Almotion. Why? A friendly colleague from my last workplace came by and gave me a beautifully crafted photo edition of Dirk Rohrbach's "Highway Junkie" in which I immediately see that he also rides those Tour Plus tires. So together with last night's dream that did it: I pulled the bike out of the box this afternoon and changed the tires which had been hanging in the garage anyhow just in case I'd change my mind. My wife laughed her head off 😉 And then I got a nice picture card from a friendly colleague at my new workplace wishing me good luck for my adventure. Robin and Batman do have one thing in common with our little endeavor: there is a solution to every obstacle ...PS.: Being prepared is good, but sometimes letting thngs happen is even better. Ready to go!
So, this Sunday was the day for packing up the bike. The coming week I will have to take the other horse to work, the one with a little built-in help up the hills ... Yesterday I gave the bike a good checkup and finally decided to leave the new Almotion tires on since they are really light and run smoothly. Protection level is lower than with the Marathon Tour Plus tires, but I've got two spare tubes and can repair as well ... After turning the handlebar by 90 degrees and lowering it by turning it downward and after taking off the pedals and the mirror - which where both carefully stored in a bag on the bike itself together with the necessary tools so I won't have to look for parts at the airport in Vancouver - I wrapped the bike in bubble foil for protection and in order to prevent it from moving forwards or backwards I pulled the rear brake fast with an expander I need anyhow for the bags. For transport in Munich Airport I'll use the old board with wheels (might be a 'dolly' in English) .. In Vancouver I'll just pull the bike out of the carton .... and take the train to the city - the 'Canada-Line' which since 2010 charges an extra fare of 5$ especially and only for people who arrive at the airport ...;). But then, riding to town with jetlag in my head won't be an alternative .... Speaking of airports: Just this morning I heard that Lufthansa flight attendents might be going on strike these days. Let's hope my flight won't be affected ... Great so here comes!
Time waits for no one and it seems I'm getting nervous even though everything is going according to plan. There is still a lot to be done in the workplace which takes up a lot of the time I would rather spend thinking about all the things that are still to be done for the Big Trip - as I have become accustomed to calling the ride across the North American continent. But so much has by now been accomplished: The bike is ready, I've been riding a lot, the equipment is in top shape, most of it brand new, the flight is booked with provision for the bike, our first accomodation is secured, and I've come halfway through creating the gpx-files for the trip (I'm really wondering if the detailed planning for day to day trips is really worth the effort or whether those plans will just be obsolete once on the road and subject to daily conditions and coincidences - but that is what I feel comfortable with right now), the financial, medical and insurance aspects have all be dealt with and I only have some minor choices left open .... So all seems fine. But some worries keep nagging. For some reason I've developed saddle sore without changing my weekly routine of riding about 220 kilometers per week to work. I hope that will be solved. My fear of accidents has been revived with my little crash a week ago, will the bike hold out, did I choose the right tires, will my Nikon camera which I had to send in for repair be back in time ... etc ... But let us look on the bright side: Three and a half months lie ahead with "no obligations" but having to deal with the daily challenges of physique, route, accomodation and food. This is not a competition and definitely not a race of any kind. All I want is to enjoy the ride and take all days as they come. When we reach the east coast we will be that much wiser.