Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sweet anticipation

Ah, the sweet feeling of anticipatory planning for a trip--well, actually two trips (there be more on the second trip later). Right now, we're in between trips. I'm in limbo. With launch date set at the beginning of May and lots of to-dos to check off, I find that while I 'gotta' live in my house to prepare for the trip, I 'gotta' pack also. 

Usually we leave the house with a general idea, general direction, and general timeline. We adopted this overall idea while riding our recumbent tandem on our first long 2,800 mile bicycle tour from El
Paso to Iowa and back. We planned that trip to a 'T' and were going to cycle along the Santa Fe trail. Heavy southeast head/side winds (head or side winds--the enemy of all) in Kansas and we had no speed and were being blown sideways. The plans were thrown in file 13 as we decided to head north. We had to go north sometime anyway. That day, with that pesky wind now at our backs, we achieved speeds of 30+ mph and rode some 89 miles. From then on, trips were planned almost on a day-to-day basis. 

This time, however, we are leaving with a couple of dear friends who own a big rig RV and are heading for Alaska and plan to be gone for about 2  to 2-1/2 months. Because of the length of the trip, the fact that we're caravaning with someone else, the distance, and the destination we've been planning and preparing more than usual. Each of us have been texting and emailing plans back and forth about check offs from what seems to be a crescendoing list.

Our original tow vehicle (TV), 2012 Dodge Caravan pulled the Casita so easily we would almost forget it was there until there was a dip in the road. Then the hitch would scrape the ground. If we saw the dip coming up, we could do a side swoop to avoid the (ugh) scrape. Also, the Caravan's miles were adding up since the Caravan also pulled our previous short boxy and wily trailer. So onto the preparations. 

After much discussion and debate and review and discussion and debate, and review...we broke down and bought a new
Chevrolet Silverado TV. To match the height of the new strong horse we added a Casita Axle Lift KitSo now the rig is higher and ready for rougher roads. We're also getting ready for our end of the summer, second trip (again, more on that later). We're going to buy a new battery, bought new tires, we just installed a fast grey kit (say goodbye to 10 minute conversations at the aromatic dump station), and added a lighted switch on the hip magnet water pump. Those are a few things just off the top of my head. 

After our February 2015 Quartzsite Fiberglass gathering, we bought a 100-watt solar panel (for what was at the time $115) and replaced all interior lights with LED lights for only $15 (thanks for the idea, Joe Z) via Ebay. We also added a not-so-needed for the trip but an insightful addition: LED light strips to our above head cabinets and closets. Again, thanks for the idea Larry! On that trip, we also bungled up our stabilizers and were inspired by others at the rally to buy leveling scissor jacks.

Our friends bought The Milepost. We bought Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping: Alaska and Yukon Camping With RV or Tent and Lonely Planet's Alaska. Of course we both have ordered countless tourist books from Canada and Alaska. Lots of good reading and planning.

But all the above is the tangible list. There is also sensual anticipatory list of the sights to see, the wilderness quiet, a northern cooler summer, midnight sun, meals shared over good conversation, and fresh air. 

Oh, I better get busy checking things off that list!

Ah, the sweet feeling of anticipation!

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