I've heard that 99% of an expedition is in the logistics, and the adventure comes when you're telling stories about it later. It's something that made sense, but Kelly and I couldn't fully understand until the last month before departure. That month was a whirlwind of logistics - packing, moving, coordinating supply and gear drop locations, finances, doctor's checkups, immunizationations, prescription refills, buying last minute gear (dromedary bladders, ipad case, first aid kit, sd card, rechargeable batteries, compass, rehydration salts, the list goes on), dividing trip gear into climatic regions, organizing gear storage, packing into bike bags, repacking into bike bags - that continued right up until the departure party. Then the madness continued, with an audience now - dozens of amazing people, all of whom we love and owe a great deal of gratitude for help and support and just plain being awesome. But there's no time for all that, so we load up and people cheer and parents cry and suddenly we're riding.
By design, the first 3 days were abnormal. My parents (Ken and Mary) and my aunt Patty (any of you at the departure party probably noticed her dancing around with shimmering green pom poms) joined us in a rented RV. We still had a lot of bike and gear issues that we'd been unable to iron out before departure so the fam formed a support crew to help get everything squared away. It was luxurious. A dry space to retire to when we'd finished the day's riding, home cooked meals, and the ability to call in help when the need arose. We cheated all three days they were there. The first day they gave us a ride the last 8 miles to the campsite because light was failing. The second day they gave us a ride from route 26 to the RV resort they'd booked for the night because it was 21 miles off our route. The 3rd day we rested, worked on my handcycle (under the comforts of a roof and heat while it poured outside) and reconfigured the gear we needed on the road, handing the rest off to be taken home.
Departure was 4 days ago. Kelly and I said goodbye to my parents this morning. Tears were shed. Just now, as we lay in our tent, it's beginning to feel like the swirling beast that was the idea of the trip is finally unwinding into what will constitute the actual trip. We rode 30 miles today. It was difficult. Not as bad as Monday, when we crested Mt. Hood and her eastern passes to breach the pine forests of Central Oregon, but pretty damn hard. I knew it was going to be like this - it's near impossible to prepare for the physical strain of pedaling a loaded touring bike over mountains, but foreknowledge doesn't lessen the fatigue. So, for the first month or so we're going to struggle - riding long days to barely achieve our target miles - and somewhere down the road our bodies will adapt and our minds will start to think this routine is normal. Laying on a thermarest, with no worries except what to eat when the dehydrated macaroni and canned tuna (camping version of tuna casserole) that we had for dinner subsides, I think we're going to be just fine.