Tuesday, May 29, 2012

POST 008 – Preparations 2

Alps Comfort Air Pad
The final items are being checked off my to-do list. I bought a new sleeping pad. It's a full size Alps Comfort series air pad. It has a non-slip surface. This alone recommends it, but it is also 1.5 inches thick and extends from head to toe with room to spare. Pure sleeping joy. My old tent could not accommodate a full length pad, so I bought a Eureka Scenic Pass 2XT tent. It's good for two people and great for one with gear. I've set it up and sealed the seams. The pad and the tent are the same size when folded up and bagged. They are larger than my previous set up. The additional weight, about 2-3 pounds, is not an issue on the bike. The issue was length and containment.

Eureka Scenic Pass 2XT tent
I needed a new duffle bag to hold the camping gear. It's length could not be greater than 30 inches, the length of the tent. The 30 inch maximum is determined not by the tent, but by the distance between my backside and the bike's tail lights. Too long and the bag overshadows the tail lights and/or pushes me forward on the seat. Neither are an option. I searched for a reasonably priced waterproof duffle and found some. Well, I found the right size waterproof duffle. Reasonably priced? They were greater than the cost of the tent and pad combined. I've settled on an Army Surplus duffle made of lightweight canvas with a waterproof liner. It has United States Air Force emblazoned on the side. It cost $9. That's a reasonable price.

Along with the new larger duffle, I have a new way to attach the panniers. They hook and clamp onto steel rods that are connected over the duffle by two web straps. The bottom of the panniers hook onto the bike frame. Lastly, its all held down with four bungee cords. I was out for my first shake down ride on Memorial Day and everything worked well. I stopped for gasoline and had to go through the process of taking all the luggage off so I could get to the gas tank. It's a hassle. This year it is more of a hassle than last.

The duffle is bulkier. The panniers are not directly attached to the duffle. The bungee cords are longer and stronger. Taking it all off is relatively easy. It's getting it all back together appropriately in a reasonable amount of time that will take practice. Initially, I placed the duffle too far forward. This pushes me forward on the seat and is completely unacceptable. I had to readjust the bags. That's what shake down runs are for.

Another new addition to my packing is a medium sized duffle placed between my legs in the step-through section of the scooter. It will contain, on the bottom, a 1.25 gallon gas can, tools, rain gear, iPad, possibly the camera gear, and incidentals. No running out of gas this year or fumbling for rain protection. The trade off is lifting my leg up and over the duffle/seat instead of simply sliding through.

When I have everything packed in their respective bags I will weigh it all. The bike has a carrying capacity of 330 pounds. I weigh 150 so that leaves a maximum of 180 pounds to carry. I doubt my gear will approach 75 pounds.

I am going back to the mechanic's shop for an inspection and some welding. A connecting bit on the muffler broke loose and causes a rattle. It's not serious or essential, but eliminating rattles is always a good thing.

I'm at the point where I need to take a deep breath and take the first step. The Coulee is calling.


  1. Nice blog, John! I'm eager for future adventure updates. Have fun!


  2. John,
    Be safe and have a wonderful time. I am looking forward to your great pictures.
    Best of luck,