Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nashua Mt. 2

Stopped to look over my stuff this morning and take inventory. These are the items I am carrying in that thermal bag in the background. Miss Betty Nichols the local librarian/seamstress extraordiaire figured out a way to sew velcro onto that bag so that I can attach it to the back of the bike. What has worked well is keeping water cold during a day's ride. I carry 3 containers of water on the bike itself and 4 inside the bag. My guru Larry Albert who is a real biker and has made this trip warned me to get plenty of water and I take what he says seriously.
I try to find a refrigerator the night before to freeze solid the water in all the bottles , and if that is not possible buy a bag of ice when I can in the morning and pack as much in each bottle as possible . The outside bottles will stay cold for 10-15 miles and I drink them first. The ones in the thermal bag will stay cold all day. There is usually still some ice in the bottles after 60-70 miles . Having ice water to drink during a long day is wonderful. The bag is real heavy in the morning but gets a lot lighter as the day goes on. I have also learned to refill whatever empty containers I may have when the opportunities present themselves during the day. Sometimes it is a long hot stretch between water holes, and you never know when you may come across another biker who really needs a drink, to date this has happened frequently.

Many days I have gone thru 2 gallons or more myself. The white water bottle was a freebie from Adventure Cycling in Missoula and the red one was the freebie I got at the Helena Brewer opening night baseball game, both excellent useful souvenirs of trip.

Some other items shown above include my powdered Gatoraide , so I can mix my own as well as some iced tea packets. I also like to add some lemon juice and articicial sweetener to the water --this trick I learned from Miss Sassy --and it tastes good.

Although water is much more important than food I carry some food in case there is none around when I stop for the day. I try to carry figbars, some granola bars, beef jerkey and trail mix. Something to get by a mealo or 2 if need be. One thing I really like is mixed peanut butter and jelly and I mix my own. I know that you can buy premixed p/j in a store but not I never can find the kind I like which is natural peanut butter(the kind with the oil and nuts at the top of jar) and Smuckers real strawberry preserves. That combination is the perfect food. So I buy a jar of each and mix them myself. At first I tried using plastic spoons to do the mixing but they break too easy. What works best is that 9/16 open/box end wrench I found along the road early on in Oregon. It really does a good job and until I see a solid metal spoon laying around this will work.

There is also the suntan lotion I remember to apply some of the time, the anti bastard mosquito stuff , Calamine lotion and Oder Eaters shoe spray. The Oder Eaters became a must have item after the rain storms a few weeks ago. My shoes were getting pretty nasty to begin with but after getting soaked they became like week old road kill in the hot sun or the inside of Justin Hemminger/ Russ Baltes apartment refrigerator . I had to keep them outside motel rooms and well down wind from tent when camping. I could even smell them when riding when the wind was right. Anyway , O.E. has gotten that situation pretty much under control.

Lastly the Guldon's Spicey Hot Mustard which makes almost any food better.

This is a pic of some of the gear I am carrying. The therma-rest sleeping pad is great. Laying on top of that is the sleeping bag that Miss Betty sewed from a thermal blanket. It is light and so far warm enough. It takes up a lot less room than a conventional sleeping bag.
My feather pillow from home that makes any motel or tent comfortable.
The mini laptop works well although my fingers are a little big for the small sized keyboard which makes for several unwanted characters mixed in to posts. I can attach the computer to my cell phone to get internet service anywhere I can get Verizon phone service.
Attached to the computer is a booster battery(weight less than a pound) which gives 3 extra hours of computer use when there is no plug ins around. That extra battery also will power cell phone for 4-5 days if needed. On the far right is a solar panel that can be used to power the computer or recharge the batteries. This works well and only weighs a pound. It can be fastened to the bike trailer and be charging stuff as I ride, even when the sun is not shining. So I am pretty juiced up when it comes to the internet and powering it.

The other stuff is a pair of binocculars I have used a lot--cost $5.00 at Goodwill. A pair of clip on sunglasses which are a must when riding east in the morning, and a case for the computer and extra battery.

This is Bert and Ernie(not real names but should be). They were hard at work fixing eaves of the building next to where my tent was set up ( see bell--I felt like ringing it just to get their attention). Anyway they were hard at it at 5 this morning which was not so bad except they are from the school of measure once and cut 2-3 times with much loud conversation mixed in. When I crawled out of my tent they both acted surpirsed , saying"we did not even see you there", even though they had to walk around that orange tent several times while setting up.

Considering all the action round here I got a pretty good nights sleep. I fell asleep listening to Roy Orbison on that deal called Slacker which is part of the cell phone set up(thanks Skippy for telling me about it). Also, the ear phones reduced the train noises a great deal.

Although I did not wake up and try to sleep ring any near by bells I did have what seemed to be one of those all night long dreams and it involved the engineers of the trains. Several long trains went thru during the night and each one had a different horn blowing style when approaching the crossing--some were short short short long long short blasts and some were a different sequence. Part of my dream was that in order to become a train engineer you had to develope your own distinct horn blowing style that was different from all the other engineers on the tracks. Sort of like when becoming an umpire and you have to come up with your own style of calling balls and strikes--the arm motion/voice etc etc.
The next time I meet an engineer i will ask him that.
Btw--Steve Swallow was a big part of the train dream but as I write this I can not remember why he was in there.
Well I am still sitting at that cement picnic table in Nashua and it is time to hit the road. My man John did not show up for breakfast so I will miss hearing more of his story which I am sure is interesting.
Posted by Picasa


  1. It is good to know the sewn items are doing the job.

  2. Actually I have had several other bikers ask me where I got that cooler bag and how I had it attached to my bike. Maybe there will be enough interest created to do more.