Eastern TAT – post mortem

The short version is that our planning was very good, but some changes will make it even better.

Navigation: Making tracks using the paper maps and then converting them to routes for use in the Nuvis worked very well. No real changes necessary here. It would be better if we could mark the fuel stops so that there was an alert when you are close, but that’s about it.

Tools: We had the tools necessary. John patched a screw hole in his rear tire using the tools he brought. I didn’t have any flats, but I had the necessary tools and the air compressor ready to go. My new username of DirtNap was earned, and the bike’s mirrors survived. The threads loosened just as they should have and there was no damage to the mirrors from any of the naps. It seemed like I was tightening them a lot, but I had the tools and it was nothing more than a minor nuisance.

Luggage: We packed fairly light, but the duffels weren’t light. I would guess 30-40 pounds. Mine included the first aid kit, tool kit, air compressor, spare tube, computer, clothes, toiletries, shoes (sandals and slip-ons), and jacket liner. In the tankbag I had my iphone, camera, earplugs, ipod, earbuds, paper maps, windshield / faceshield cleaner and diaper, eyedrops, charging cables, cable lock, headband flashlight, and tire pressure gauge.

Changes for the next trip:

Luggage / packing: It would definitely help to get the weight down to lower the center of gravity, so I think waterproof soft saddlebags will be the choice for next year. I probably will carry pretty much the same items in the tankbag. We are planning to camp next year, so that adds some items to the list. Tent, sleeping bag, pad, stove, food, and water will have to be carried with us.

Gear: I need to get a better jacket and pants. I wore kevlar-lined jeans and while they may help while sliding they provide no impact protection. I’m considering the Firstgear Kilimanjaro jacket and TPG pants. Regardless of the jacket I select, it definitely won’t be black. My current jacket is waterproof because of the liner, not the exterior shell. That means the jacket shell will be soaking wet in the rain. I would rather that the jacket shell be waterproof and the liner be used for warmth. It just works better on the trail. Same for the pants, a liner for warmth only.

I bought a pair of Aerostich Combat Touring boots before we left, but they needed to be resoled. That’s now done, so my boots are ready to go.

Misc: I’ll add a bottle of ibuprofen and benadryl to the first aid kit. It would be good to have some cotton handkerchiefs on the outside of the packs so that you can wipe your glasses and/or faceshield while riding in the rain (which happens a LOT when I’m riding). Maybe an easy way to attach them so they can dry in the wind would be useful too.

I’ll need to come up with camping gear too.

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