Friday, January 15, 2010

The pleasures of being home

We arrived in Custer, South Dakota yesterday afternoon, after an easy drive north. The weather can be so foul on that stretch of road, especially on I-25 in Wyoming, with blasting wind and snow, yet it was calm and sunny as we were immersed in a great, appropriate book on CD. "The Horse Boy" was excellent, an almost unreal tale of a father's quest to help his son's autism by taking him to shamans in Mongolia. That sounds crazy, but it makes more sense in the story, and it was a good match for the starkness of southeastern Wyoming.
Now we are home, and have some time for relaxing. Drinking coffee, brewing beer, walking the dog, riding a studded-tire equipped mountain bike on the icy roads, reading, and relaxing. It is heaven. I love the road, but I love being home, too. They just have to be in the correct proportions.
A lot of the gear from the trip is splayed out all over the living room floor, so I think I'll take advantage of my high level of caffeination and get to work sorting it out and storing it. When will we next use our panniers? Our tent? I don't know, but summer isn't that far away, so I hope we can squeeze in a trip then.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Back in the USA

I almost pulled it off. I almost finished a trip without getting sick. But something I ate, not sure if it was the beef empanada, or the razorclams with parmesan, or even the hotdogs I had for lunch, was ladden with nasty bacteria. So I managed to vomit on both flights back. What fun!
Still, it is just good to be back. The road treated us incredibly well, and it was a nearly perfect trip, despite the weather and other challenges. I'm already thinking of the next trip, be it Peru or the Barranca del Cobre in northern Mexico.
I also made a list of things that worked and things that I'd change, so that I can fix that for the next trip. I'd like a bigger tent, as well as thicker sleeping pads. While the tires we used worked pretty well, I think I'd shell out the big bucks and get the Schwable Marathons next time. Karinne is thinking of trying out the Brooks saddle again, since the vast majority of other riders we encountered had them and swore by them. I am tempted to put on an xtrabike attachment and just put all our gear in the back, especially for rough-road riding.
Other than those minor changes, our gear held up well and didn't weigh us down too much. I can't say enough good things about Marmot precip stuff, it is light and kept us dry during some fairly amazing downpours. Smartwool was also our friend, warmth without stinkiness, even after days or weeks of wear.
Ok, I think I'm off to wash our laundry. Not having to do it in a sink by hand is such a wonderful luxury.