Here are answers to a few of the most common questions we get asked about our trip:
How will you carry all of your stuff?
Our bike will be outfitted with four Ortlieb panniers which can carry quite a bit. One pannier holds a little over 5 gallons. We will also have a dry sack that will be mounted on the top of the back rack on the bike. We hope to be able to fit all of our gear on the bike without a problem. If we need to carry something extra, we have a few bungees just in case!
Where will you spend the nights?
We plan to do a mix of camping, staying with friends, and staying with "strangers" (couchsurfers and warmshower people). If we're in a bind, we'll ask people who look friendly if we can camp a night in their yard. We've met some really fun and kind people on past trips this way. In our experience, strangers are usually overly kind and helpful. As the saying goes, there are no such things as strangers, only friends you haven't met yet.
Can you pedal at different speeds on your tandem?
Nope. But each of us can push harder or lighter on the pedals depending on how we feel. This enables us to exert ourselves more or less, even though we pedal at the same speed. The rest is left to good communication.
Does Jenny (sitting in back) give Brett lots of shoulder massages?
Yes, she does! Brett loves it. Maybe someday we'll switch seats and Brett will return the favor.
What will you eat?
Food. More specifically we often get asked if we'll cook. Yes, we'll be bringing a tiny stove (called a Pocket Rocket) that is easy to operate and we'll bring small pans to cook in. We've been doing this for years on bike trips and hiking/camping trips. There's nothing like eating a potful of warm food cooked by ourselves after a long day of biking. Even simple meals taste SO GOOD when you are traveling.
What about the Rocky Mountains?
We get this question a lot. We know we will have to cross the Rockies at some point. There is no going around them! We've heard that the Rockies are actually easier to cross than mountains in the East because the roads through them were built with more gradual climbs and descents.
We are willing to bet they'll still be difficult, though. Or, mostly we'll climb them really slowly and ZOOM down the other side smiling the whole way!
What routes are you taking?
First of all, we plan to stay in the northern states: MA, NY, (Ontario), MI, WI, MN, the Dakotas, MT, ID, OR. Then we'll head south along the Pacific Coast into California to see the redwood trees. After that, we'll see how much time we have left and what our plan is for getting home (see below for our current ideas). We'll ride mostly on small, numbered state highways and back roads. We'll have maps with us (and a cute little compass), including Adventure Cycling route maps for some parts of the trip.
How will you get home?
We're really not sure yet, but we're sure we'll figure it out. The most likely scenario is finding someone who is moving from the West Coast to the East Coast through CraigsList and has room for a bike and two passengers. Another possibility is flying home and shipping our bike. Yet another thought is doing a driveaway (driving a car for a car-moving company). If you have suggestions, please comment!
How can we stay in contact with you while you're on your trip?
We will have our phones with us, as well as our little netbook computer. We plan to keep one of our phones on most of the time, so if you try to call and don't get one of us, try the other. We will probably not answer the phone while we're biking, but we will check messages and call you back. We also plan to update this blog regularly, when Internet access is available, and check our email. So, stay in contact! We love getting messages and email and it makes us happy to hear from you.