Tom’s Blog/Book – Part Deux

Thomas HallI finished the blog/book that Tom did on his Missoula MT to Del Rio TX ride in 2010.  It was amazing how much rain and wind he endured while heading south.  No wonder he wants to go west to east.

He met a lot of interesting people and found a lot of good hospitality.  This is encouraging for someone that will be needing a lot of both pedaling my a** cross country.  I guess scroungy looking bicycle guys on funny looking bicycles doesn’t pose a lot of threat to most people.

Say, between string bean Tom and overweight Rick we will probably look more like Laurel and Hardy.  When things get tough I can always turn to Tom and say, “Well, here’s a nice mess you’ve got me into.”

Some of the 11 hour days cranking into 35 mph headwinds do seem daunting.  I suppose I could start singing along with Tom if this happens.  My singing will make anyone pedal faster if for no other reason than reaching our destination a lot sooner.

His comments about dogs is certainly reminiscent on one trip Margie and took.  Our bikes were load to the gills, we had just climbed a tall hill towards the end of the day, we were dog (pun intended) tired, and this hug dog resembling a piranha came tearing out from his country house.  We both had dog spray but I was so tired and winded from the hill I wasn’t able to get it out while riding.  I stopped, which distract the dog so Margie could keep going.  Finally I managed to get the dog to settled down so I could continue on.

The Doing It Differently section at the end certainly adds somethings to consider:

  • bring pepper spray to deter dogs and other animals
  • make sure you carry a variety of food; the same item day after day, no matter how cheap, gets old quickly
  • pack carefully and keep it light; when Margie and I bicycled self contained I carried ~40 pounds, and she carried ~30, which was still too much
  • make sure to carry enough water and ‘munchies’ to get through to the next town or rest stop
  • plan accommodations well in advance; changes can always be made in the event of problems
  • take at least one day a week off to rest, clean up, and replenish body, soul, supplies, and bicycle
  • if the ride is being done as a fund raiser do a better job of marketing well in advance

Some items I took away include:

  • if carrying cellphone, tablet, and gps how will can they be charged when sleeping ‘on the road’; it appears that solar chargers are not as effective as one might think
  • how to document the trip both from a camera/video and blog standpoint;  helmet cameras/videos are advertised quite a bit but that is one thing more to keep track of and recharge (ah, what would we do without technology)
  • make sure all ‘camping’ items are lightweight; cooking fuel is easily available and a week’s supply is easily obtainable
  • carry routine items to repair a bicycle while on the road (tools, tires, tubes, lubricant)
  • I am sure other items will occur to me as we prepare for the trip


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