Steve left a comment on my last post that has provoked much thought. I began to respond to the comment, and realized that it’s a great topic for today’s post.
Here is Steve’s comment: “Round 2, here we come! Well, here you come, at any rate. With your vast experience from this spring, are there any lessons learned that you are going to apply to this leg of the tour?”
What lessons did I learn that I will apply?
1. Don’t make plans to meet people on specific dates. Always make sure they are able to be flexible
2. Download books and as many pertinent maps as possible to my comp and/or ipod.
3. Less is Best.
4. Going to church is a very worthwhile endeavor. Other than the #1 reason: Worship, it’s one place you can go, and give/get hugs. Hugs and personal contact are very important. And there aren’t a lot of appropriate opportunities to give/get them along the way. If invited to someone’s home afterward, accept that as a gift from God. It is an opportunity to bless, as well as be blessed.
5. Plastic water bottles are not the way to go. Buy the largest lightweight water bottles you can find. I’m wanting to take one gallon gatorade bottles with extra water for long stretches, but the plastic releases something that makes you even thirstier than before. My water got very hot with 8-10 hour days on the bike, in the sun. And you know I wasn’t even in any very hot weather.
6. Before you leave, make sure you LOVE your tent, your sleeping bag and your saddle. You will spend a lot of time regretting your choice of equipment if you don’t. These 3 items are used very heavily. I bought a 2nd tent exactly like my first. I love my tent, but I’ve chosen to take a smaller one on this trip. In Pekin, I found out that a tent with less cubic inches of space is less space for your own body heat to warm up. My body heat was wasted in the large (haha) tent that I used.
7. Learn to use equipment before taking it. I never learned to use the Garmin, and then found out I didn’t have the software in my netbook, to get proper use of it.
8. Tyvek is great stuff. Never go on a tour without some. If you only take 1 piece, it can be a footprint for your tent, an emergency shelter from rain for yourself, or a cover for your bike/panniers, it can be used to reduce the ceiling of your tent to trap body heat, a stadium seat to sit on along the trail, many things. I was even told that it’s an inert fuel source, if worse comes to worst. I take 2 pieces. It’s very light, and I take a medium weight piece and a clothing weight piece.
This may have to be continued. The more I think, the more I learned.