Day 18: Grocery Shopping

Those sure look like fluffy moisture heavy clouds to me… But they also insulate and can keep the air warmer. Everything is a tradeoff.

Today’s menu is: ham and cheese sandwiches, peanut butter and rye crackers , and a bottle of cheap wine. … And probably a Clif Bar or two.


Day 1: Getting Moving

I stayed up most of Saturday night finalizing all the packing up of my things and cleaning of the basement and house before leaving.IMG_1411

Iwas struggling with figuring out how much to take and what exactly to take (see the gear list.)

So after spending all day doing “just one more thing” before I finally headed out around 6pm and said goodbye to my neighbors who met me with some questions and some with drinks and shots.













I knew that even though I’d be leaving late on Sunday, I needed to get out of the house just to get started.  So I jammed everything on a wobbly bike and headed down the road five miles to my friend Chris’ house.

We spent the night hanging out with him and his girlfriend and unpacking and repacking everything discussing the rational reasons as to why I’d need to travel with four spare tire tubes or four pairs of socks.

Some things left behind: Harp neck holder, notepad, and a few other items.

After finally getting to bed around 4am I prepared to the early AM wake up call to work my way out of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi River to Red Wing, Minnesota.




Day 0: Packing and Planning

Packing and planning is such an exhausting part of the process.

In the packing and planning stage, I suffer bouts of self-sabotage where the anxiety and fear of the unknown take over the rational part of your brain.

Do I need a pair of gloves in case the weather turns cold? yes!
Do I need a second pair of gloves in case the first pair gets wet? um, yes! I had better be safe…

All of the frame and rack hardware installed…

This leaves you with a pile of gear that looks more like you’re packing a dog sled then a bicycle.
At which point I attempt to pack it all onto the bicycle. There goes another few hours to figure out how to fit everything and then finally attempting to lift the bike (difficult!) and then riding the bicycle around a bit to realize how ridiculous my concept of essentials really was.

I carry about 10 pounds worth of tools and repair parts on the bike and even though it would feel good to have used the tools to repair something on the road, I hope I never need to dig them out of the bags.

The bike loaded down with only the essentials.

The first and maybe also the final part of my planning is route planning. I’ve done enough small tours around Minnesota to know that the only thing you can really plan for is where you’re going to stop – not what’s going to happen in-between.

I guesstimate that I’ll do about 60-80 miles per day on average, figure out how many days I have, and then find a place in the mileage range that is my end point. I like to figure out my daily stopping points the day or two days prior, but not much before that, because life on the road is unpredictable… Expectations only lead to attempting to control things that you can’t like the wind, flats (kinda,) and traffic. Mitigation is a possibly with pro-active bike maintenance, being aware of the world around you (no headphones!,) eating frequently (stop the hangry,) and not running over pointy things in front of you.

Ultimately when I make plans I find myself rushed and frustrated, so hence, I make one day goals. Living in the now, because the now is really what I need to deal with. I acknowledge tomorrow and next week and the week after, but my world operates one pedal crank at a time. If I want to climb a hill faster or reach a stopping point sooner, my only option is to pedal faster and harder. The flip side is I’m not obligated to climb that hill or reach that destination, so I can stop any time I’d like. To me, the trip becomes much more enjoyable when I don’t have much for plans outside of the final stopping point of the immediate trip and miles and miles to think about plans in my head to decide how to proceed with determining the next waypoint on the trip. There’s always plenty of excitement along the way to keep things interesting.

The finished product with me freshly showered!

More stories about the adventures on the road coming soon…