Well, OK. It’s been almost a full month since my first post in this blog, and everyone who has seen it is probably wondering what I’ve been up to. I’m pleased to be able to tell you that things have been moving forward, although not as quickly or as smoothly as I would have liked. Time has been spent on a couple of false starts identifying a bike to ride for the trip but, as l’ll describe in further detail below, I think we are finally on top of that critical piece. I have also spent a lot of time refining the planned route on Ride with GPS, mainly in getting it into a form where I can talk specifics with local bike clubs and knowledgeable people in advance of setting out. So here’s where we’re at as of today.
After doing quite a bit of research on the web and as a result of being in touch with a couple of bike builders, I have decided that the best bike available for this trip is a Surly Long Haul Trucker outfitted with disc brakes and a number of other components intended to bulletproof it as much as possible. Just about everyone I have talked with has recommended the Surly after I have described the trip as a bike that can be worked on almost anywhere and which has the quality and durability that I will need.
So on Friday of last week I made the hour drive to Portland to the “Bike Gallery” bicycle shop location on Sandy Boulevard.
I spoke with a very helpful and knowledgeable sales person named Darrin for about an hour concerning my plans for the trip and the way that I thought I needed the bike built and outfitted. Darrin is certainly far more knowledgeable about the current state of the art of bicycle components and gear than I am since my last long-distance ride was in the mid 90s and, as a result, he made several very helpful recommendations. I was surprised to find though, that I was still able to speak in “bike talk” and not feel like a complete fool. I am watching for a detailed part/component list and estimate that he was going to try to get to me today. Once I have it, I will post it for your comments. My hope is that I will be able to place a deposit on ordering the bike later this week. I am also hoping that we can keep the cost to under three grand, which would allow me to eat something other than roadkill along the ride.
As for route planning, I now have the entire route broken down into 50 mile/80 km segments. There are 81 of these, with the entire route now coming in at just under 4,068 miles. I stress that this is an “almost final” route, as I am hoping that there will be feedback that will allow me to further refine it as close as possible to perfection. If you see a change that you think would be a good one, please don’t hesitate to recommend it. Don’t be disappointed if you do propose a change and it takes me a while to get to it, as I plan to accumulate them and then relook the route all at once, probably some time in June.
It has at times seemed like I have been spending days (on a slow Internet connection… the horror, the horror) using Google’s satellite view to look for paved minor roads in states like Kansas and Idaho. Now that the segments are created, I can begin to detail them in Ride with GPS with information that will take my cue sheets beyond “straight ahead” or “slight left onto US 95.” I figure that this will take me a couple of more weeks to complete.
I’ll be writing much, much more about route planning in the near future.
I’ve also begun a comprehensive list of “to-do’s.” This post has already run longer than I planned, so that will be the subject for the next one, coming up shortly.