Sunday, April 20, 2008

Two months of planning

Two months of planning have passed and T-3months till blast off. As you might be able to see above, I've finished routing the TAT all the way to Port Orford, OR. I implied in my last post that I had "figured out" Mapsource. Well, I was wrong. At that point, I had only scratched the surface. Mapsource appears to be simple at first, but there are lots of different things that go on behind the scenes to make it work. For now, I'll say I've gotten better at mapping with Mapsource and still have some aspects to learn. Anyways, I've got a navigable route and Google Earth has a way of putting things into perspective. It's a long trip, but still only a small slice of what is out there.

Just mapping the minor details of trail (in the somewhat safe and rarely exciting confines of my own house) ran me through several emotions that have already been expressed in the trail reports that are already out there. Excitement, fear, boredom, freedom and adventure. Several stretches of UT and NV left me wondering if I was ever going to make it to the next town. The whole state of CO took me longer than it should have because there were so many places I wanted to re-route to, but figured I'd better stay on the trail. Mapping out OK was about as fun as watching water evaporate.

But, all in all, I'm getting more stoked about the trip. One thing I've had to learn how to do is loosen my grip on my wallet. There just isn't a bike out there made for this trip, and modifying my dirt bike to handle the miles of pavement in TN, the mud in AR, the straight stretches of OK and the technical, rocky sections of the west just isn't cheap. My life now consists of 9-5 work and 5-12 trip planning. Monetarily, that's just about all I can do, but no worries, planning is half the fun.

I've ordered just about every piece of protective gear for me and my bike that is currently availabe. Some bike parts are in the mail, others are in my garage and others haven't even been built yet (oil cooler, panniers). I usually fully research any purchase I make over 20 bucks, but when you have about 50 things that you need to buy, you just have to reduce your research and go with what you already know. I'm finding that a lot of the equipment that I've already bought probably wasn't the best choice, but it's going with me because that's just the way it is, I'm not expecting to be 100% prepared, but hopefully close to it.

My spreadsheet now consists of the following pages:
1. Pre/PostRide Inspection
2. Timeline
3. Recipes
4. Bike Hardware
5. Ride Gear
6. Luggage
7. Questions/TODO
8. Links

Gone is the GPS data as I don't need that on my spreadsheet anymore (and since I didn't have to type all of that in anyway, doh!) All of those numbers are now in the Garmin file. The spreadsheet continues to change and expand, and it was a good idea to start it because I look back from time to time and remember things that I had forgot.

Anyways, if all goes well this week about getting my bike prepped, I'm planning a mini-adventure this coming weekend to somewhere in a 100 mile radius to test out the bike/bike hardware/riding gear and camping equipment. I think this will be a good way to let me know what I need and don't need... (and if I think I should really doing all this in the first place!)

Also, I've started to build a program that will hopefully make it easier for me to upload pictures and trail reports to multiple sites. I'm trying to avoid repeated keystrokes and make accomodations for those times when internet service is not an option.

So, there has been a lot going on and I don't want to bore anyone with all the verbiage, hopefully next month I'll be able to break it all down to what equipment I've got, what my itinerary looks like and maybe even a trail report, in the meantime, here's the latest picture of the bike:

More to come, for sure...