Sunday, June 30, 2013

Every day is prep for 2015 bike journey

So it seems like every time I go to the grocery store, a good portion of what I spend is going towards my 2015 trip, and every large cookie order I make, I wonder what large ticket item I can tick off my list of things to buy.

Yesterday on Ebay I bought a couple of small ticket items, including a camp mess kit and also a rain cover that goes over the rear and top panniers.  Then when I went to the grocery store I picked up Chapstick (2) that's SPF 30.  I saw these in the store and almost picked them up until I noticed the expiration date was too soon.   However, I may pick them up closer to the time.  I like them because of the pouch design which means less weight than a can.  I really don't want to take canned things.  Talk about weight on the bike!!!  Uncle Bens also makes some ready rice packages, and anything that will help with saving time on cooking after a long day on the open road will be greatly appreciated. 

I've heard the recommendation of making tortilla rolls filled with peanut butter and honey.  I don't have the honey (yet but will get raw organic) but I have picked up some of the Jif-to-go individual servings (come 8 to a pack for about $3), and I found one called Chocolate Silk - a blend of peanut butter and chocolate flavoring.  So I spread that on a tortilla, and it was tasty for sure, more like a dessert.  Definitely will be using those Jif-to-go/tortillas on the road for snacks and quick fuel.

I will also be making my own granola-type bars.  Thankfully working in a Christian camp kitchen for two years led me to collaborate with the head cook on a camp book that included all the recipes (this book is not available for purchase - only a few copies were ever made).  I am very happy to share these recipes and maybe even make a video or two on them.  There is absolutely no reason to ever purchase any type of energy bar or granola bar thingie.  Very easy to make even for the person who is certain they can't cook.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Feasibility of taking bike and dog overseas

So I'm trying to figure out the feasibility issue of taking the bike and the dog overseas.  I am thinking of flying from the east coast, possibly Raleigh, to Paris with the bike.  If the dog is alive, that means I take her trailer as well so that means packing that up, packing up the bike PLUS all the panniers and their contents.  Well, I could ship an empty suitcase ahead for the panniers and stuff.  Then I have to have something for the dog as well, and she's small enough that she could probably ride in the plane with me, if I give her something to make her sleep the whole time.  It's all very complicated.  I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's complicated.  Even without the dog, however, I would still have a trailer of some sort.  Although I don't see a need for the trailer in Europe, I have to take it because if everything goes according to the dream wish trip, I won't be returning to Raleigh but to Halifax, and I'll need it as I'm touring down.

Everything would be a little bit easier if the dog weren't still living, but she's 14-16 years old and still thriving with no physical signs of slowing down except her blindness.

When I was looking at the maps today, I was thinking maybe I could take a few days while in France to cycle up to Belgium and the Netherlands.  I mean, heck, they're right there and within easy reach!!!  Since I am hoping to get to the east coast around May 1, I could easily spend 2 weeks in France before crossing the Channel and heading to Scotland and the big bike adventure there.

I'll need to go to my bike shop and talk to them about disassembling and reassembling the bike for transport.  I'll need training to feel VERY confident in that.  I can remove the wheels but that's about it.  It's the derailleur that has me the most concerned.  I also need to make sure I have the correct tools for disassembling the bike.  I know I don't have the right tool for removing the pedals.  Plus the bike will have racks in the front and back that will have to be removed.  I will have to send the bike shipping case ahead too, and it will have to stay with someone in London, as will the suitcase once I have traveled there.  Once I reach Halifax, I guess I will just ship the suitcase and the bike case to someone in my family since carrying them with me on my bike will not be possible.  It's a lot to think about for sure.

Just thinking out loud.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The dream just gets bigger....

So here's my crazy thinking on my bike tour in 2015.  Keep in mind, I may choose not to come back to Los Angeles ever.  So, Los Angeles to North Carolina via a southern route.  Should take 2-3 months.  Then fly with bike to Paris, France to visit friend.  I don't have a desire specifically to bike France although I would do a little there, but my time there will be short.  I'll visit with my friend, then go by train to the south of France near Saint Tropez to visit a little place, and then back to Paris.  From there I'll either fly to Scotland or take a train.  I'll take the ferries to the Shetlands and the Orkneys, bike them, then head south from the northern coast of Scotland and bike to the southern coast of England, weaving through Wales a little too.  I hope to connect with some of my Youtube friends there as well as do some Breeze rides on the weekends, meeting up with other women cyclists.  From London I'll fly back to the USA maybe - or perhaps I'll fly to Nova Scotia, bike that, then head south.  By the time I get done with Britain it should be mid-summer, so if I go to Nova Scotia and start working my way south, I should have time to get far enough south that I miss any early winter weather.  I will be heading to the Florida Keys where I will probably be wintering.  Yes, I know it'll be hurricane season much of the way down Florida, but quite frankly, that's something I've always wanted to experience too.  I would like to cycle Cuba.  Perhaps that would be a possibility for the winter months.  I'd have to fly there from Miami as there is an embargo against sea travel to Cuba.

I don't know how my bike will pack.  I have to talk to my guys at I Martin Imports about it, and I'll have to figure out what that expense will be.

The biggest wildcard will be my dog.  If she is still living, I will take her with me across the USA but then European stuff is out of the question for me.