Saturday, October 17, 2009

The road south

The road: the Careterra Austral, in english, the Southern Highway, an ambitious name for something that is often poorly-graded gravel backroad.
The bike: the Specialized Deja-two, aka "La Pequena", aka the big, pink tandem. This thing is a two-person parade on 26" wheels. I will continue the tradition of giving children or old men rides on the back while Karinne checks out accomodations; the kids love it, the parents not so much, the old men are scared shitless.
The music: Currently I have the Kills, the Cloud Cult, the Mountain Goats on heavy rotation. For a band as potentially hippie-pretentious as the Cloud Cult, holy crap, they pull it off somehow. I have somehow missed them playing nearby twice, to my regret. "For the moment I can see way better than I've ever seen" CC. Amen.
The gear: the lightest we can manage. We hauled too much stuff across southern Mexico, and we don't want to do that again. Still, things add up. I've stolen Karinne's kitchen scale to weigh such silly things as shoes, water filters, and even shorts.
The plan: gloriously vague. We'll fly to Santiago, spend a couple days there, and catch a bus south. Then we'll ride around a bunch. Honestly that is the extent of the current plan.
On a completely different topic, Java the dog turned 21 dog years yesterday. She got no booze, but some venison chunks, which disappeared amazingly quickly.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Migratory Patterns

“Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

I've finally started to read up on Chile, since we'll be leaving in just a few weeks. It may be cooler, temperature-wise, than any of the other bike tours we've done, save our honeymoon on the San Juan Islands, which was often freezing. Lots of blogs have pics of people in rain jackets, looking wind-chapped, but still smiling. Still, that is probably better than the heat I've dealt with in SE Asia- 100 plus degrees, drinking twelve liters of water a day. My solo tours were borderline masochistic at times, but I was in much better shape then. I also realized I've been absurdly lucky with avoiding rain- in over eight months of bike touring, I've been rained on 4 times. That is going to change.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

I'm putting a larger memory card in my camera and I'm going to take even more photos on this trip. The tandem has new brake pads, a new drivetrain, and new tires. We focused on cutting weight down to a bare minimum, so there may be some slight compromises of comfort, but it should pay off. We rode over the Sierra Madre mountains in southern Mexico, and way up into the mountains of Oaxaca, on our first tour. We had too much stuff, and suffered more than those wicked 5000 ft. climbs really required. I also managed to melt some disc brake pads on that tour, so the descents have been toned down with breaks to allow cooling. Karinne likes this mellower approach to the downhills, too.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Snow is a four-letter word

And snow is forecast. Again. Even though it is still only early October. Oh, and -15 windchills. Now I remember why I like going way south during the winter. We burned piles at Mt. Rushmore today, and it was fun, better than being in the office. One of my coworkers is down with the swine flu, he said he felt like he'd been worked over with a baseball bat. Hope it doesn't spread.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Vamos a Chile

Karinne is done with work for the season, and I have just three weeks left. Then we are off for a two-month bike tour in Chile. I am looking forward to it immensely. The road calls, and we'll reply with the click of gears shifting and fat tires buzzing against the pavement and crunching against the gravel.