Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ready to roll

So this is what my bike looks like loaded. I couldn't find a wonderful place for my sleeping pad so I finally just strapped it to the aero bars. Sleeping bag, spare tubes and clothing go in the seatpost bag. The bivy, batteries, headlight battery pack, med kit, pump, filter (if I decide to bring it) and food go in the frame bag. I hose-clamped a bottle holder underneath the frame so I have a place to carry a bottle. The rest of my water, tools and electronics go in a backpack. I've carried it with as much as nine liters of water inside. It's not too bad. The bike, on the other hand, is heavy.

But that's how it goes. I'm a tourist, not an ascetic. I haven't weighed the bike at all. These are things I'm best off not knowing. But I've made considerable improvement since my cross-country tour six years ago, when I carried a laptop and accessories that weighed close to 10 pounds by itself, along with a six-pound tent, a pillow(!), a full-sized Thermarest, three full changes of clothes and Tasty Bites (foil-packaged Indian dinners that we didn't really like and for some reason couldn't throw away, so we hauled a few most the way from Utah to New York.) Yes, I'm so much better now. At least I'm leaving the laptop behind.

I'm heading out Sunday for an overnight tour near the Uintas. I'll have my SPOT on but I'm not sure how interesting it will be. I don't feel comfortable mapping my own gravel route in the high country, so I may stick mostly to pavement. I may head out and back on some gravel if the conditions look good. I'm going to kind of wing it as I go. Sometimes, that's the most fun way to travel by bike. This is pretty much my last chance to dial in my gear in the field. After I get back, I'll talk about what comes next.

I had a great time visiting my friend Anna in Heber. She has a 1-year-old, Mia, who I've only recently met. Adorable, obviously. We met up at the Stewart Falls trailhead and I was surprised to see Anna's brother, Matt, in tow. Matt's with the Air Force and works all over the world - it was pretty random that he just happened to be visiting Utah during the same weekend I planned to visit Anna. It was fun to catch up with him. I went on a river trip with Anna's whole family four years ago and afterward felt tempted to ask Matt if I could run away with him to whatever exotic locale he was working at the time. He's married now. Too bad. :-)

After Stewart Falls, we hit the Dairy Keen for fresh raspberry shakes and then Cascade Springs. It was a pretty idyllic summer Saturday in Heber. I'm feeling a bit loathe to leave right now. But the solo bike tour awaits.


  1. The Uintas are awesome - have fun!

  2. I'm looking forward to hearing about what comes next. Take care Jill.

  3. Jill I love checking in daily on your adventures. Have a safe trip!!

  4. I like you bike setup and might borrow some of your ideas when I ride the ring road in Iceland.

    Still waiting for your book (in the mail), but at least you're writing up new adventures in the meantime :D.

  5. Good luck and have a great ride!

  6. I would like to know more about these fresh raspberry shakes.

  7. Jill!

    What up with all the green in the photos from Utah? Are you photo shopping trees and luscious watery settings? I had no idea Utah was so.... green!

    Luck on your shake down cruise!

    Yr Pal Dr C

  8. Stewart Falls, Cascade Springs, and of course Dairy Keen are some of my favorite places in the world. The bike ride down and back out of cascade however is not fun.

    Have fun in the Uintas.

  9. Jill, what is/who makes your map case dealio?

  10. Mike In WI says,

    Utah? Looks more like some places in Idaho to me!

    Nice piece of kit Jill, sounds well thought out. Thanks for the description.

    I must be getting old, my body now requires a thick air mattress for comfortable sleep, bug/critter screening and fresh brewed hot coffee in the AM or the rides are no fun any more.

    YOU SOUND READY FOR THE GDR...GO GET EM. I will be rooting for you to have fun!

    Mike In WI.

  11. you are an awesome bike rider. Keep on pushing on. Live your dream don't dream your life

  12. wow, stumbled onto a great blog here. keep up the great journalism!

    i have to admit, i usually don't comment on blogs when i read them but i stumbled across this post, did a double-take on the photos and realized that Matt (Anna's brother) is my brother-in-law... he married my sister :P

    i too had the pleasure of embarking on one of the crazy Roberts family raft trips in Utah a couple years ago... they are great people!


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