I'm still several weeks behind on postings, but after spending all day working on some logistical issues I thought I would share some of my work. As we went through Alaska and the Yukon, our biggest issue was getting food. Sometimes we would go five days between gas stations. At some points we went more than 600 miles without a real grocery store. This is easily two weeks on the bikes. During these stretches my bike was in excess of 130 pounds at the start.
Now, as we hit Central Oregon, our main issue is water. I have spent close to 8 hours today working on a route through California, Nevada, and into St. George that will minimize our stretches without water. Another goal was to stay on paved roads. The BLM roads through Nevada can be very unpredictable as far as sand and gravel go. In bad conditions they could easily cut our speed in half or worse. This would mean that 100 miles without water turns into 4 days instead of two.
In the high desert, we simply can't carry enough water for more than two days, and that is really stretching it. We will usually be around 6,000 feet, but sometimes as high as 7,500. Since crossing the cascades into the dry stretches of central Oregon, our water intake has doubled. We can each carry about 3 gallons, but that will be an additional 25 pounds. Combined with having to carry a bit extra food for the long stretches and my bike could get close to 150 pounds.
We spent a night at 4,500 feet recently and it was in the high twenties. We barely slept. Assuming it could be 10 degrees colder at times is a bit daunting. We bought a shitty blanket from the dollar store to get a little extra heat.
Below are my notes from Goose Lake, CA to St. George, UT. As you can see, a great deal can go into planning a leg like this. We scoured maps for any buildings in the large empty stretches. Sometimes there are random houses along the road and we have marked these in case we need to knock on a door for help. In some cases we called local businesses in the larger towns to get information on what was between them and the next town. This proved invaluable as there is quite a bit that Google does not know about these areas.
Artistic note. I spent 8 hours working on this damn thing and I don't feel like editing the table to make it look nice. You can copy and paste it into excel, or email me and I will send you my original excel file if you really want to see it.
I have “subscribed” by e-mail, and read every post. I send my “comments” to Sophie privately, because I am just that kind of guy (terribly shy, right?). But I want to express my deep appreciation to both Chris and Soph, but especially to Chris, for helping us armchair cyclists make this trip with the two of them. It has been an exciting journey so far, and in addition to the thrill of actually knowing someone who is doing something like this, and the privilege of doing it vicariously with them, I LOVE to read good writing, and some of these posts have been masterpieces! The only non-work things that I read regularly are Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker. I consider them to be two of the best periodicals in the world. Some of the pieces here are as good or better than the best of the work I read there! Thanks, for biking, writing, and sharing!!! Love you both!