Spice kit excitement

While starting to get the smaller details organized, I went through our cupboards to see what dried food we already had that may be good to bring along as well as what spices will be good to have on hand.  Cornmeal, couscous, quinoa, oatmeal and red lentils were all taken out of the cupboard and will likely be brought along.  Almond butter and peanut butter is short listed.

Now for the exciting part.  I was trying to decide how to pack the spices, how many to bring, and if we only bring spice blends or individual spices.  Then I came across this:

Brilliant. Time to get started.

Small ride along the canal

We thought it was time to go for a bit of a bike ride before we actually start this tour. With the weather warmer today and some sunny skies we took our bikes out to the Lachine canal for a quick ride. Meandering the smaller roads nearby brought us to the great graffiti photographed above.

Gettin’ serious – 50 days to go

Plane tickets bought! We have a set departure date – Saturday March 30th. As well, as more people at work learn about this trip it starts to feel more. Jesse is in the other room putting the fenders that we purchased last weekend on our bikes. Maybe this weekend we will do a trial pack to see just how much we are expecting to fit into the panniers we have.

New fenders
New fenders

We’re flying with Air Canada and then United Airlines so we still have to find out the best way to pack our gear to avoid additional baggage charges as much as possible. We fly from Montreal to Chicago, and then from Chicago to San Diego. We are hoping it will be as smooth as possible with check-ins and customs, but we know to be ready for anything.

Side comment: Snow storm in Montreal today, -20C in Montreal yesterday, high of 14C and sunny in San Diego tomorrow.



Investing in staying warm and dry

Although we are planning this trip through the warmer months, we will still be going through BC and Alberta in the spring. This could mean some dark, cold, rainy days. It would be nice to think we could just get a warm, cozy hotel and watch the rain dripping down the window from the comfort offered indoors, but this luxury we can only allow ourselves on rare occasions. Without wanting to squander too much time or money we will have to push forward even when conditions are not ideal.

Solution for warm feet?
Solution for warm feet?

I get cold feet – really cold feet. Both Jesse and I have decided to use the Keen Commuter sandals for the trip, as we have used for past rainy and cold trips. They’re great for hot days, even for rainy days they work well since they will dry faster and you don’t feel like you’re in wet shoes all day. Though yes your feet are wet, but not in that soggy, gross kind of way. However, for obvious reasons these sandals do not provide much warmth. My attempted solution to this is to purchase waterproof socks and Castelli ‘toe thingies’ which cover the front toe area and help block the wind and hold in some warmth. I’ll also have some warm socks and at least for the beginning keep my shoe covers. Jesse will just have socks and shoe covers.

Shopping at MEC
Shopping at MEC

The next question was rain gear. Jesse has a cheap, simple rain jacket and MEC rain pants. He’s quite happy with the rain pants and is considering a brighter rainjacket – wearing all black is not the best way to ensure your visibility on days when visibility is already reduced. I had previously bought Showers Pass rain pants, but they were too small and very uncomfortable. So thanks to Craigslist I was able to sell them (at a significant loss) to a bike messenger. This Saturday, Jesse and I spent the morning at MEC where I tried all rain pants available and also tried on the Showers Pass rain jacket. Yes it is the most expensive cycling rain jacket available, but I look at it as an investment in my happiness. I’m trusting the reviews I’ve read that indicate it is made of the best fabric which allows for it to be both waterproof and breathable – usually a difficult combination. I ended up purchasing the pink jacket (pink – a nice happy colour) and the same rain pants Jesse has – the MEC Hydrofoil 3. These pants are not in the cycling section, however they have zippers up the whole length of the leg which makes them much easier to put on and take off, and to also allow for more ventilation. They just lack any reflective strips, but we have reflective Velcro straps to keep our pants away to the chain so those will help.

Aside from plane tickets, these purchases seem to conclude the end of the major expenses! Oh yeah, except maybe front panniers and a rack… maybe for both of us…right.