Sunday, May 26, 2013

Final Countdown

Liftoff time is quickly approaching--less than 48 hours! That's 1/7th of a fortnight! I have been waiting for this trip for so long. And. I. Can. Not. Wait. Any. Longer.

I'm fortunate to have been born (or to have been "instilled," if you subscribe to the nurture school of thought) with some damn good self-discipline skills. This self-discipline has helped me considerably in tackling my numerous, dauntingly lengthy to-do-lists over the last few days. Dropping books off at the library. Leaving the mailbox keys with Jake. Acquiring the last few things for the trip. Doing the final load of laundry. Checking the brakes. Cleaning the drivetrain.

I'm down to a final handful of to-dos. And that feels really good. I'm one of those type-A people who experiences extreme pleasure by striking through tasks on to-do lists.

The ultimate to-do list.
(from Post Secrets)

I have made a number of purchases over the last few weeks. Most notably, I've entered the world of hip people by purchasing an iPad Mini. (Which, by the way, I love). This little booger is going to help me keep in touch with all of you, my fantastic adoring fans. I purchased a new set of tires. I bought new water bottles. (Dear lord, you should have seen the pretty colors crystalizing on the inside of my old bottles.) I bought a new Go Phone. (My old grandma-style flip phone was speeding towards extinction--the casing was disintegrating and buttons were hanging on for dear life by wimpy plastic threads.) I ordered some warm-weather-friendly merino wool shirts. And I purchased a whole slew of other things.

If you know me at all, you know that I hate buying stuff. So, all of this acquisition has been quite tough for me. I have noticed a particularly strong correlation the last few weeks between the amount of time I spend in stores and online shopping, and the amount of things I become comfortable parting with. (Yippie--I ended a sentence with a preposition!)

One of the items on yesterday's to-do list was to put on the new Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. Holy mother almighty! If the tires are as stubborn in getting a flat as they were in fitting over my rims, then I made a dang good investment. Those puppies were so difficult to pull over the rims. It didn't help at all that I have two completely useless fingers. (I broke the pointy and middle fingers of my right hand in a competitive round of Monkey-in-the-Middle back in high school).

If you were to match the body in the left column with the set of hands in the right column, I'll bet a mighty fine dollar that you would incorrectly match my hands to my body. Thanks to the maternal side of my family, my hands look at least 20 years older than my true age. Crooked, arthritis-plagued fingers. (By the way, if my mother or any of her siblings wish to send me a photograph of their hands, I would be happy to post them and take a poll of my lovely readers to see who gets bragging rights.)

An anonymous entry--one hand from my mother's family.

Back to the tires…One of the guys who lives on the dock saw me struggling with the tires, and he offered his help. I graciously denied his offer. An hour later, he saw me continuing to struggle, and he again offered his help. This time I accepted. He is a strong dude, and, as awful as this sounds, it was reassuring to see him struggle as well. Alas, he finally managed to get the wire beads in place, for which I was super-duper grateful. I thanked him, and then apologized, as I was going to undue his work. I popped off the tire, and then put the tire back onto the wheel. Twice. I wanted to make sure that I could do it on my own; as I will be traveling by myself, I need the confidence to be able to deal with my own shit.

For the most part, my panniers are packed, and I'm ready to get this show on the road. There were three things on my list that I wasn't sure about bringing along.
  1. Bathing Suit: In a nutshell, I want to minimize bringing things that have a single purpose. In my mind, a bathing suit has no other purpose aside from swimming. I would be totally fine wearing a sports bra and a pair of undies as swimwear in public places. And I think my birthday suit will work just dandy for any dinny skipping opportunities that might arise. In the end, I decided to throw in the bikini--it packs down, it hardly weighs anything, and it will give me the opportunity to be "decent" and to get out of my bike wear.
  2. Water Filter: After some minor deliberation, I decided to keep the water filter at home. For the most part, the route will follow established roads. And where there are established roads, there typically are clean water sources. There will be a few stretches of the route that will go many miles between towns, and there will definitely be some campsites (and certainly all stealth camping locations) for which there will be no water. I will be bringing a 7-liter dromedary, and so I just need to be smart about ensuring that I fill up the dromedary for stretches where there will be no water. I can always buy a pump (or tablets) on the road. If worse comes to worse, I can deal with a few days of giardia-induced vomiting and diarrhea. Lovely!
  3. Running Shoes: Ah--this is the one item for which I have not yet reached a decision. When I biked the Pacific Coast last spring, there were a handful of days when I got off the bike and wanted to run for a few miles. Nothing hardcore, but my body wanted to move in a different way. Plus, I've found that coupling biking and running complementarily stretches and strengthens my upper leg muscles. I'm fairly certain I'll throw in the shoes, despite their bulk, at the last minute. If I decide they are more hassle than they are worth, I'll mail them home or drop them off at a Goodwill.
The one thing I haven't done is ride my bike. In the last two weeks, I've pedaled to downtown Portland twice. That's roughly…mmm...40 miles. <blush>In total.</blush> Which is pretty slim considering I'll be biking at least that much everyday. Ces't la vie. The great thing about touring is that you can "train" as you go. That's why god invented ibuprofen.

All else is in order. I updated my Living Trust, and I even wrote up an Advance Directive. Cuz…you never know. And cuz…it's good to be prepared. Scout's honor. Like I told my mom, if something happens to me on this trip, know that there is nothing else (legal and moral, at least) that I would have rather been doing.

Thank you, all, for reading my blog. And I look forward to having you join me on my ride!


  1. Obviously, I don't have any experience with sports bras :-), but I will say that swimming in jammers and then going on a ride does tend to chafe a bit (even in tri jammers). At least, that's my experience, but I do more salt water swimming.

    1. Dave: I agree--I imagine there would be some unpleasant chaffing. :)

  2. Go Well, Sarah!!!!! I'm excited for you. And excited about the anticipation of hearing some great adventure stories!! ~Cassie

    1. Thank you, darling. Wish you were riding alongside me!


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