Setting Out Thursday? Or Friday?

All the gear, more or less.

I’d been planning to head out Thursday morning. But I was also staring at a huge pile of stuff to do before I could go. I’ve got about 50% of it done. So I might push my departure back to Friday morning. Leaving one day later won’t make much of a difference in a two to four month bike tour, but it will make a big difference in allowing me to get everything done, feel good about it, and get my head screwed back on straight after a hectic four days.

I’ve got nearly all of my gear together, and roughly sorted it as to where I think it should go in the paniers or on the bike. I have yet to actually put anything on the bike though. Packing it up should be an interesting experiment and will probably take some time to do properly.

I also still have to plot my presumed route on my hardcopy state maps. I used Google maps “by bicycle” feature to find a route from Minneapolis to Nogales. From Nogales it’s basically one road to San Carlos. I’m going to transfer that route onto state maps with a highlighter. Having those maps will make it easier to deviate from the set route if I decide to.

I have just now figured out how to get photos from my phone to the blog, and how to update the blog from my phone. I stupidly assumed that there would be plenty of slick tools for mobile blogging. Not so. At least I didn’t find any. So it took a bit of research, and trying a few different options before I stumbled onto the combination of methods that I will use. I’m posting this from my phone, the first real test of my methods.

I’ve been working on whittling away at the pile of furniture and other detritus that has been taking up half of my dads garage since I moved out of my apartment last February. I made huge strides, and feel pretty good about getting it all cleaned up, sorted out, and down the the stuff that I actually want to keep, the bare essentials. If I wasn’t such a procrastinator, all of this stuff would have been done a month ago. If necessity is the mother of invention, then procrastination is the mother of lighting a fire under your ass and getting a shit ton of stuff done in four days.

Yesterday my dad handed me a printed copy of the US State Department travel advisory for Mexico looking quite frightened. He’d been doing some research for a train trip he wants to take through the Copper Canyon when he stumbled upon it.

“John, you need to read this.” Oh shit, I could tell from the sound of his voice, and the look on his face that this thing was going to ruin my day and plant seeds of fear that might take a couple of days to uproot.

“This thing is like eight pages, I don’t have time to read this now, just tell me what it says.”

He said some things that were even more alarming than what the actual document says. Because when he was reading it, all his brain was absorbing was kidnapping, torture, ransom, bandits etc…I read it when I had time. It does sound frightening. But I’ve read State Department travel advisories before, and they all pretty much sound like that. They pretty much say “Don’t go and don’t do anything.”

I don’t want to make light of the situation in northern Mexico. Charles Bowden had an excellent article (The Siccario, a Juarez Hitman Speaks) in Harpers magazine several months ago. It was a shockingly brutal look at professional killers, and the mayhem that occasionaly happens in Juarez, and presumably other border towns. I’m not expecting all rainbows and unicorn farts, but I don’t want to let the media I get from two thousand miles away to shape my perception of what a place is. When that happens, the perception is always vastly different than the one that’s formed when you’re in the place. My perception of Nogales at this moment is nothing but kidnappers, banditos, and cartel assassins, because that’s all I ever hear about. I need to get down there to get a feel for what it’s really like.

That’s going to take some time. Probably eight weeks. My next post should be from the road, or trail, whichever applies.

    • Laura
    • October 21st, 2010

    Well, your phone-post worked. Sounds like a lot to organize. Good luck on your departure…safe pedaling.

    • gorkey
    • October 26th, 2010

    Wow, that’s a lot of gear! I can’t imagine that much on a bike. Here’s hoping all goes as smoothly as can be expected. There’s a quite a bit of time that will pass between now and when you hit Mexico. Hopefully things will settle down between now and then. Keep us posted!

  1. what kind of bike is that? it looks like a salsa?

    i wish you well on your trip and will check in to see how you are doing.

    one day my fiancee and I will embark on a cycling journey as epic as the one you’re on.

    • Laura
    • October 27th, 2010

    OK – I thought about you all night with the howling wind and hope you visited the sheriff to take him up on his offer. Biking through a blizzard, oh my!

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