Posted by: twistsoffeet | April 4, 2011

Delayed Again


I know I have not posted anything recently, but does anybody really want to read about my daily grind and preparations for this trip?

I think not… it just amounts to riding as many miles as I am able, purchasing supplies and working my job.

I have delayed my departure date until 05/10/11 due to financial constraints as well as some other minor issues. This is now set in stone, and I will not delay my departure any longer even if I do not have the funds I want or supplies I desire.

Both are very possible, but I have my bike,  my food, my tent, and I will purchase my bike trailer at the end of this week.  I still need a good down sleeping bag that will serve me at high altitude in Colorado and Wyoming, so I am looking at bags that will keep me warm down to 15 degrees, at least, and preferably 0 degrees as this bag will be used on future trips as well.  I also hope to get some more spandex riding shorts with decent chamois, mainly so that I can stop for laundry every week instead of every three days.  A decent waterproof breathable cycling jacket in bright neon green would also be nice, but some things I will just have to do without.

I purchased my new bike last week.  It is a Trek 2.0 21 speed trail bike with front suspension. I added my Cobb plus DRT saddle and will add Crank Brothers ACID 1 SPD pedals next week.  On the eastern portion of my journey, I probably do not need the pedals, but once I get into the mountains, I will certainly be able to use the efficiency of a good SPD pedal and the Acid 1 also has a large platform that will make it very functional with any shoe I wear, not just a cycling shoe with SPD cleat.  My new bike also has a suspension system in the seat post for a more comfortable ride. I will add one or two additional water bottle cages, also, and front and rear racks with panniers to carry supplies and help balance the load on the trailer.

I still need to get spare tires– maybe Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 26 x 2.0, because they are the best out there and are nearly puncture proof while still being efficient with very little rolling resistance.  I may also go with Bontrager 26 x 2.0 hard case tires that are also excellent, although not quite as durable as the Schwalbes.  They are very efficient tires, but if I do go slightly off road, the Schwalbes have a slightly more aggressive side tread pattern.  I need to get at least four spare inner tubes and also a tube repair kit– just to be prepared.

I am able to switch tubes on my front tire in less than five minutes, including pump time, with my mini hand pump.  The rear takes a bit longer due to derailleurs and chains.  Since I lost my headlight, I would like to replace that, but if necessary, I will just use my helmet lamp.  I am also definitely going to need a handlebar bag to keep my camera, energy bars, phone, compass, road atlas, and wallet easily accessible.

Also, I have changed my route due to probable flooding caused by snow melt in the upper mid-west. Now, I plan on  traveling through Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and across the big river at West Helena Arkansas.  I will travel north and slightly west through Arkansas and Missouri into Iowa, heading through Waterloo and up through some places that I somewhat remember from my youth.

I hope to go through Charles City, Floyd and into Mason City. After leaving Mason City, I will travel west to Sioux City, Iowa, where I will cross the Missouri river into Nebraska.  I plan to ride to Norfolk, where I will connect with the Cowboy Trail and ride west by northwest for a couple hundred miles, or as far as it takes me.  I say this because it is continually being extended, and I am uncertain where it currently ends.  At the end of the Cowboy Trail, I will head west by road through Casper, Wyoming and eventually into Lander, Wyoming.  I am really excited about this because it has been way too long since I have been able to caress stone and feel nothing but air beneath my feet.

From Lander, I will head south by southwest over South Pass and into northwestern Colorado before heading west into Utah. I’ll head for Moab, where I hope to do some more climbing.

Depending on time available, I hope to then head south into Arizona and Monument Valley before turning east into northwest New Mexico. Whether I go to Arizona and New Mexico or not, I will then head to southwest Colorado and Pagosa Springs.

This is the point it will become very physical because I will cross from Pagosa over Wolf Creek Pass and into the San Louis Valley.  I will probably camp on top of Wolf Creek Pass before descending into Del Norte in the San Luis Valley.

But it is all downhill from that point and not too physical, but it could be a real brake burner.  I am a little concerned about traveling through the avalanche sheds over the road, so I will travel this section with all my flashing red lights on.  From Del Norte, I will travel about 15 miles up to La Garita and Penitente Canyon, where I hope to meet up with old climbing partners and spend several days climbing in Penitente and Witches Canyons, as well as the rock garden. After Penitente, I will travel in one day to the base of Poncha Pass and spend the night before my second big test of climbing this pass.  I hope to complete the up and down portions of this pass in one day, but again, care must be taken to keep from burning my brakes out.  I may camp somewhere in this area or try to reach Canon City and Shelf Road for some more climbing on familiar stone.

After Shelf Road, I will travel to Cripple Creek and then west into South Park.  At this point, I have another very big test of climbing Kenosha Pass on US 285, probably camping somewhere near the summit.  Then, the descent to Grant Colorado.  I have thought about traversing Guanella to George Town, but that would mean traveling on I-70 and I am not very excited about that.  So, I will probably just travel US 285, even though it means climbing Crow Hill with possibly the steepest incline of my journey.  When I reach Pine Junction, I will leave Hwy 285 and head down to the Platte River through Deckers and Sedalia.

From Sedalia, I will head north on Hwy 85 or what will become South Santa Fe.  At this point, I will travel whatever road looks the least traveled as I wind my way through Littleton, possibly Englewood, and Sheridan before heading into southwest Denver.

All together, this will add up to over 4,000 miles and possibly 5,000 miles depending on what route I take through Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Since funds are very limited, I will spend the entire trip sleeping in my tent for approximately 100 nights.

I am thinking that upon reaching Wyoming, I may purchase some fishing gear if I can afford a license.  I would love to taste some fresh caught wild Rainbow, Brown or Brook Trout.

Other than Arizona and New Mexico, and possibly a trip into the Black Hills of South Dakota, this route is pretty much set in stone.

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