Monday, June 1

Final Preparations and a Change of Departure

As I had said in the past, I was shooting for a June 1 departure date. But as Skip so graciously pointed out in a blog comment, "so, it's june 1. have you departed?" Negative. After a few days of preparation in Indianapolis and a lovely flight back to NYC, I've decided to take a day of rest. The bike is outfitted, properly dressed, and I nearly have everything I need however I was beginning to feel rushed and felt I needed a few more hours of gathering things - mace spray for the mean puppies, a proper lock, sunglasses, and pancakes from Emma - that sort of thing. Plus, my maps didn't arrive until friday and since they came in package form, I could not access them until my mailroom opened up today after 12 (a post-12pm departure would not have given me enough time to get out of the industrial parts of the New Jersey). Thus, I have pushed the departure date back a day and will be leaving tomorrow morning.


Last week, I flew back to Greencastle to watch my little brother graduate from High School. It was excellent - family came in for the days activities, I saw my former teachers, Luke got to speak, and I nearly fell asleep during the other comments (to my defense, the sound system was terrible). While at home, I was also able to grab my bike, make a stop up in Indy for parts and gear, and wish my loved ones goodbye (temporary goodbyes of course). The goodbyes were tough, but the gear shopping was great!

My uncle Paul helps run a great bike shop in Indy, Bicycle Garage of Indianapolis, and was able to set me up with gear. I was thinking front and back panniers (more or less saddle bags on the sides of the tires), but he talked me into a trailer - and boy am I glad! It's super light and has tons of room so I'm definitely looking forward to the space. I stlll have a back rack and set of panniers, but I don't know that I need them except for having easy access to things. We'll see if I decide to keep them. I got bibs, water bottles, tools, a new seat, extra tubes and tires, and everything I think I could need.

Paying attention to both price and weight, I must admit I did treat myself to one thing however. My friend Jenn rode a similar route about a decade ago and suggested I tape some speakers to my handlebars, referencing the monotony of the road. I told my cousin this, who also works at the shop, and he pointed me in the direction of the iHome bike speaker system. It's a speaker that is shaped like a water bottle, holds an iPod, and comes with a remote that hooks onto the handlebar for easy and safe control of one's tunes. It's heavy and pricey, but loud. Excess, I know, but I feel like I deserve a little bit of a treat if I am serious about riding 4000+ miles.

One of the questions I seem to get a lot has to do with technology - How will you charge your cell phone? How will you blog? You are taking your cell phone?

Would I like it to be a technology free journey? Sure, I guess. I mean, it seems more burly, right? But whether I like it or not, each day I will be traveling through towns using technology and interacting with people. Thus, my plan is not one technology-free but instead one of reduced use of technology. For safety reasons, I will have my cell phone. I plan to drink coffee from time to time at the cafés I come across (except in Utah) and will charge there. Free of a laptop, I will have an iPod and speaker (as previously stated), my camera, and I will interact with computers from time to time in order to blog (libraries, in case you were wondering). Speaking of which - don't judge - for safety reasons, I have set up a twitter account to let those who wish to know that I am safe each night... know that I am safe each night (its to the right as well). Please do not become dependent upon this, but use it as a tool, trusting that at times I can't always update. Besides, for the longest time I made fun of this sort of thing.

Tomorrow is going to be great. My friend Cullen is going to ride Manhattan with me. He tells me he'll also be in Kansas on the side of the road clapping me on, but I doubt his dedication. I think we'll be down in the southern part of manhattan looking to head north around 8, if anyone is interested. Again, this Vanilla phase of the journey has been great! Though somewhat rushed and short-lived, I feel I got much out of it.

Today's activities include shopping for those last minute things and a serious study of my maps. Plus a full night of sleep.

First book - The Wealth or Health of Nations: Transforming Capitalism from Within by Carol Johnston.


Ezra said...

ah man, sounds like a trip. should you ever pass through louisville, I'd be happy to (attempt to) fix a weary traveller a decent meal.
good luck and god speed

skip said...

bon voyage

Jason said...

That's a good read. May the wind be at your back, brother.

WhereaboutsinDanville said...

Cupery said his brother, Tim, was going to ride from Ohio to Washington (I think). Plans fell through, and he could possibly be up for a ride at some point.

Buen Camino!

skip said...

what's wrong with the cafes in Utah??

Anonymous said...

you & my brother would get along. i should set ya'll up.
enjoy good music, good books, great people & maybe even some korean food along the journey.
traveling merices & prayers,

peter said...

We'll have a hell of a Welcome Home party for the first Pub of next year, my dear sir.

Ride safe.

Cullen Barrie said...

It was such a privilege to join you on your way out of town (The GW Bridge was a little more difficult than I anticipated). I must say I was a bit jealous when we departed.

All the best and expect lots of texts!

Patrick Noltemeyer said...

Be burly. Digging the trailer - look forward to seeing it roll through Danville.