Trip Report: Greeter Falls Trail, Big Creek Rim, Big Creek Gulf, Ranger Falls

The Description

Today we hiked out in one of our favorite hiking areas, the Savage Gulf State Natural Area. Because we hike out in this area a lot, we decided to hike a little different route than normal. We started in the Greeter Falls parking area and hiked the Greeter Falls Trail –> Alum campground –> Big Creek Rim Trail –> Stone Door –> Big Creek Gulf trail –> Ranger Falls and then back to Greeter Falls trailhead.

The Hike

Rain was falling as we put boots on trail at 7:30am central time. The Greeter Falls trail is a rolling, 1.5 mile trail from Greeter Falls parking lot to Alum campground. There are a couple nice overlooks right on the trail so it’s pretty easy to check them out.

Trailhead selfies! Bluffs on Greeter Falls trail

After Alum campground, Big Creek Rim trail is ~3.5 miles of gently rolling trail. There are 3 (?) overlooks with the best ones coming first after leaving Alum campground. This section of the trail is probably the most boring section so the decision to hike our hike in the direction and order we did it was to get this section of the trail out of the way at the beginning of the hike so we’d have interesting stuff to look forward to at the end of our hike. We made good time from Alum campground to the bluffs at the top of Stone Door.

Untitled View from the Stone Door bluffs

After a quick break at the bluffs, we started our descent along Big Creek Gulf trail down to the bottom of the mountain to the old river bed. We made good time down even though there are some rock fields and they were wet; nobody fell and only a few slips!

I was trying a new load out with my gear this trip. Normally, I hike with my 2 liter water bladder but this time, I decided to hike with only a 1 liter bottle and my Sawyer Squeeze water filter. The idea being, I’d just filter water once we hit some water sources. It was really hot and muggy and we were making haste to Ranger Falls so I could filter water because I ran out! As we’re hiking along the old riverbed, we heard some flowing/falling water. Meredith volunteered to scamper over and fill up my new CNON water container so I could filter some water. Yay for Meredith aka, Spooky Raccoon!

Ranger Falls was amazing as usual. A difference on this trip than the last two we’ve done here is that we saw a lot more people. We’ve never saw any other people at Ranger Falls but this time we ended up seeing three.

Ranger Falls!

Once you leave Ranger Falls and hike back out to Big Creek Gulf trail, there are some climbs that I always seem to forget about and I remembered thinking that this was more elevation than I remembered previously! Another mile down the trail takes you to another interesting place to take a break if you’re so inclined and we’re always inclined to relax near water when hiking.

Big Creek break spot

After leaving the second spot, we hiked along next to the river with Meredith making happy noises behind me. As we hiked up and away from the river, the happy noises ceased and the groaning started from the both of us because it was getting hotter and more muggy. Eventually, the trail and river meet back up for just a few minutes before making a hard right and kicking up the side of the mountain for the final climb back up to to Alum campground.

Start of the climb up to Alum campground

The climb was difficult as we were doing it during the hottest part of the day – around 2:30pm. Additionally, we’re making our ascent after hiking over 10 miles already. We paused frequently but ended up doing the climb in 22 minutes – only 3 minutes slower than our previous effort. I’ll take it for a super hot day.

Once we climbed back up to Greeter Falls Trail and started our way back to the Greeter Falls parking lot, we were pretty exhausted. We had originally planned to go down and check out Greeter Falls, and maybe go for a dip but we were too tired and just wanted to finish and go eat some burritos. Anyhoo, below are some of my favorite photos. 🙂

Untitled Spooky Raccoon!!! Moose Tracks at the bluffs! Lil salamander! Going downnnnnn Weirdly colored fungus! A big ole toad! Meredith is not pleased about the heat and the climbing 😆

Trip Report: Cumberland Trail Laurel-Snow SNA Section

Edit 07/28/2019 8:49pm: Meredith wanted me to edit this and let everyone know chiggers are bad here 😆

Distance: 12.97 miles
Elevation: 2,177 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Strava Track: https://www.strava.com/activities/2568385320
Full Route Name: Cumberland Trail Laurel-Snow SNA Section: Laurel Falls, Dunn Overlook, Snow Falls, Buzzard Point.

This section of the Cumberland Trail is really one of my favorite hikes and certainly ranks up there with Stone Door for me so I was pleased when Meredith suggested we do this hike again and we decided to hike every bit of the trail for this section.

The trailhead for this hike is located in Dayton, TN. Both Waze and Google Maps will take you straight there without any issues if you search for Laurel Snow State Natural Area. It’s about 150 miles from Nashville so we tried to get on the road by 5:30am. We managed to get boots on trail by 8am.

The first mile or so of the hike is lovely as it parallels Richland Creek which makes for a pleasant experience. The water flows fast and heavy enough that there’s a nice river sound and the temp is pleasant as you’re hiking along the trail.

Richland Creek
Richland Creek

The trail turns away from Richland Creek, climbs a little and then crosses Laurel Creek as you’re making your way through the holler over to Laurel Falls. As we turned away from the river, the humidity started to come on so we were glistening by the time we crossed Laurel Creek to negotiate this weird little natural feature that I’m negotiating below.

Negotiating this feature thing!
Negotiating this feature thing!

There’s some elevation after crossing Laurel Creek and I always seem to forget about this part but we made decent time and was pleasantly surprised by nice water flow at the falls. I really expected the water level to be low since it’s the end of July.

Laurel Falls!

Meredith played in the water while I had a snack and relaxed with the view of the waterfall. After our break at the falls, we headed back down, through the holler and to Laurel Creek bridge. We took the other fork to make our way towards Dunn Overlook, Snow Falls and Buzzard Point. Before taking the other fork, we both struck a pose with a little waterfall; Meredith nailed it.

Striking a pose!

After the fork you make your way by the camp site area and come to a big ole metal bridge to cross over what has now turned into Henderson Creek before beginning your assault on the mountain. And by assault, I mean walking slowly up the side of a mountain, in the humidity while trying not to have a heart attack or heat stroke. Isn’t this fun? I like to say assault because it makes me feel more badass.

A steel bridge! Big metal bridge!

After the Henderson Creek bridge, you start the climb. Strava has a segment labeled as Rogers Road Climb for this part of the trail. As we started our ascent up the mountain, I was feeling pretty good and wanted to see if we could improve on our time from when we did this on May 31. We made great time and only paused once for a quick fiver. We did this climb on May 31st in 1 hour 29 minutes. On this trip, we did it in 46 minutes. We’re definitely not going to break any land speed records but we got a lot better and faster and that feels nice. 🙂

At the top of Rogers Road Climb

At the top of the climb we took the right fork to head to Dunn Overlook. This section isn’t hiked very much it seems and it’s definitely spider web season. Normally, I’m ok just plowing through the webs but I get a little more jumpy when there are spiders in them *shivers*! This section of the trail, all the way to Snow Falls, is more overgrown than the rest of the trail and there’s a fair amount of brambles, stickers and briars so that’s not super fun. From Dunn Overlook you can see the top of Laurel Falls and Buzzard Point. There are some power lines here but I thought it was still pretty cool.

Dunn Overlook

After a quick break, we ambled our way in the general direction of Snow Falls, fighting spider webs the entire way. On the way to Snow Falls, you have to cross over Morgan Creek. The last time we did this, the water level was low enough that we could hop along on the rocks without getting wet but today the water was too high for that so we got our feet wet! When this happens, I like to tell everyone we had to ford a river! Again, this makes me feel more badass.

We had to ford a river!

We took lunch at Snow Falls because it was so much more pleasant than the last time we were here. There was lots of flowing water and the levels were pretty high. The only minor bummer about this falls is that the trail takes you to the top of the falls and this lazy, tired hiker couldn’t find a way to the bottom.

Top of snow falls Top of snow falls again

We ate food and Meredith ran around to play in the water like usual. I filtered some water for the first time and it worked great! This was such a pleasant break and it was hard to get back up and head out but by this time we were starting to talk a lot about eating Mexican food and Ubereats doesn’t deliver to Snow Falls in Dayton, TN last time I checked.

Top of snow falls

After leaving Snow Falls and crossing back over Morgan Creek, we backtracked to the access road that goes to Buzzard Point and took that all the way to the point. This was a nice section and is flat and we made good time over to the point.

I did want to take a moment to point something out. Both on AllTrails and on Strava (I presume they use the same underlaying map data), they show there being a trail going from Snow Falls to the access road but that trail just doesn’t exist. In the screenshot below, the left screenshot is the real actual map from the CT website. The screenshot on the right is the incorrect data from AllTrails, Strava etc. The arrow points to the non-existent trail. Please plan accordingly.

This section of the trail doesn't exist.

We hustled to Buzzard Point and talked with a couple who had hiked up to the top. After snapping a few photos, we started back down the mountain with burritos on our minds.

Arriving at buzzard point Buzzard Point view

This next part of our hike is the worst part of every hike because now we’re just walking back to the car so we can get food. We made pretty good time and no doubt, the idea of eating food was driving us. We found a local Mexican place in Dayton and both ate burritos as big as our heads. It was heavenly.

This was a super great hike and I do recommend this to others. It’s a long hike but also pretty rewarding. I do think it’s strenuous because of the climb and because of the length. Anywho, below are some more photos.

Pre hike selfie is a must! And up we go! Departing snow falls Thinking deep thoughts and shit This one though Untitled

Trip Report: Stone Door Trail, Big Creek Gulf Trail, Ranger Falls, Big Creek Rim

I really love the Savage Gulf area and hiking these series of trails. After last week’s disaster of an effort, I needed something familiar yet challenging so I could prove that I’m still a hiker. I tell you guys, last week really shook my confidence. This week, we decided to hike Stone Door Trail to Big Creek Gulf to Ranger Falls to Big Creek Rim and then back to Stone Door. Strava recorded it as a bit over 11 miles.

We arrived at the trailhead and had boots on trail by 7:30am. The hike through the stone door and down to the Big Creek Gulf trail was super muggy, wet and sweaty. There’s a couple rock fields during the descent but they weren’t wet enough to cause any problems. Meredith will tell you but I descend and negotiate rocks like an old man with sore knees but I still feel we made good time.

Stone Door!
Stone Door from the bottom
Tying my dang shoe and steaming!!
Steaming though…

Once at the bottom, we hightailed it over to Ranger falls and stopped for refueling and for a Meredith-play-in-the-water session. The water level for Ranger Falls was lower than it was the first time we came through this year but still plenty of flow and the water was good and cold.

Ranger Falls
Ranger Falls you guys!
Meredith playing in Ranger Falls
My normal view of water falls…
Spooky raccoon
Spooky Raccoon turned Rambo

Once we cooled off, we headed back to Big Gulf Creek trail and headed down for another mile to take our lunch and another cool off session at a nice pool and area of semi-swift water. I’m not sure if it actually has a name or even what the name of the river is there but it’s the second favorite part of the hike for me. Again, Meredith played in the water and I took off my boots to cool and rest my feet. In retrospect, I think we hung out here too long as I was feeling like I could take a nap at one point.

Lunch spot!
Lunch spot!

After getting back on the trail, it wasn’t too long until it’s time to make the ascent up to Alum gap campground. This is the section I had been preparing and waiting for and I was determined to make a good ascent. This ascent has some grades at 30% according to Strava and it’s about .5 miles to the top. On the ascent, I felt great and was ascending at a good pace that I could have kept up for a good long time.

And now we go up!
And now we go up!
That's where we came from!
That’s where we came from!

Once back at the top, we pushed on to Big Creek Rim trail and had scenic but otherwise uneventful hike back to Stone Door Ranger Station.

Taking a fiver!
Taking a fiver!
Nice views on Big Creek Rim Trail
Nice views on Big Creek Rim Trail
Heading to the rim!
Heading to the rim!
Proof of life! I made it!
Proof of life! I made it!

Last week I tried a new hiking clothes configuration. On the right, I’m wearing hiking pants and a hiking/travel shirt. The idea in making the change was that I’d be more protected from brambles and ticks and such. On the left is the current setup and one I wore Saturday on our hike. I think the clothing situation was the single biggest thing contributing to my problems on the trail while hiking Fiery Gizzard. I still need to change the shorts again as these did cause some chaffing that I didn’t notice until I was home. I’m going to try a pair of running shorts with a tights/compression type liner.

Comparison!
Clothing changes!

Fiery Gizzard Trail to Raven Point Trip Report

The crew!
The crew, pre-hike selfie!

Many reviews on AllTrails mentions hiking the trail counter clockwise because of the rock fields and I’d have to agree 100% with this idea. I’m a big guy and the focus and balance required to hike on rocks for nearly 4 miles is pretty challenging. Doing this while you’re fresh is best.rock fields and I’d have to agree 100% with this idea. I’m a big guy and the focus and balance required to hike on rocks for nearly 4 miles is pretty challenging. Doing this while you’re fresh is best.

Sycamore Falls
Sycamore Falls

The first part of the hike was pretty lovely. The trail is scenic and goes along the river which makes for pleasant viewing and temps. The rock fields don’t seem so bad at first and I was kind of wonder what the big deal was about all the reviews. It turns out that hiking on rocks for a couple hours wears me out. There’s a certain amount of mental focus and balance and concentration required to do that type of hiking. It was bothering my knees and I have to pick my way carefully.

Since we were hiking along the river, I knew we had to do a big climb to get up to the top of the mountain so we could get to Raven Point. The climb up the mountain was pretty severe. Easiest the hardest and most severe climb for me this hiking season and we’ve hiked Stone Door down to Ranger Falls and back out and Virgin Falls.

Untitled
These are the new clothes I was wearing on the hike.

I recently decided to try a different clothing setup – pictured above. I have been hiking in gym shorts and my sleeveless, merino wool shirt that I use for cycling. The shirt very light weight and probably the best piece of clothing I own. The reason I wanted to switch to hiking pants and a hiking/travel shirt was mostly for protection from brambles, ticks and the sun. Making this change during the middle of the summer hiking season turned out to be a huge mistake. After taking our lunch at Raven Point and heading back along the ridge, I was overheating and just couldn’t cool off. It caused me to hike very slow, slowing down my hiking partners. I was feeling nauseous and even got sick a few times. The hike back took a lot longer than it ought have.

As we were getting close to the end of our hike, we started coming across swimming holes and we decided to get in the water to get cooled off and it helped tremendously. We should have done this at the very first opportunity. My take away from this is that anytime Meredith says get in the water, I’m just going to do it, no questions asked.

After our dip we started hiking the last mile or so back when the cherry on top happened. As Meredith will tell you, I roll my ankles and they do so for no good reason. Most of the time it’s a little twist and awkwardly catching myself and we carry on like nothing happened. I guess I was so tired and was mid step when it happened this time that I took a tumble and started tumbling down the side of the trail embankment. It was happening in slow motion for everyone who was involved and witnessing it. Ugh.

I’d definitely rank this hike as difficult and strenuous; at least it was for me. I’m not sure how much of that was because I was experiencing some heat exhaustion. I intend to this hike again this season. I came away feeling embarrassed with my confidence shaken. I would recommend this hike to hikers as I think it’s definitely some of the best hiking in TN, right there with Virgin Falls and the Stone Door trails. I’ll be back Fiery Gizzard.

Little copperhead
Little copperhead!
Post hike selfie!
Post hike selfie. Ha ha.
Raven Point
Raven Point

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 2 – Barview campground to Lincoln City

Today’s Distance: 63 miles
Total Distance: 122 miles

Day two! Honestly, I woke up feeling somewhat disappointed that I didn’t really hit my mileage goal for day one. As you can see from my Strava track, a lot of the route today was inland a bit so I was riding through farmland and I swear I kept seeing trucks of hops going by. Also, the aroma of manure was thick in the air. I actually saw a pump truck, pumping liquified cow manure on a field at one point so that explained that.

Around mid-morning I finally made it to Tillimook and was able to ship some stuff ahead to myself. Turns out Astoria is closed on the weekends! So I was toting like 8-10 lbs of extra weight on my bike. Additionally, I tossed my u-lock because I brought the wrong key; worthless. I’ll need to pickup a new u-lock soon though I’ve not found much opportunity to lock up my bike. Total weight off the bike: ~15 lbs.

Lunch today was veggie pizza in Pacific City. The pizza was delicious but I ended up eating too much and was sick a few miles down the road. Ugh.

The rest of the day passed pretty uneventful. The big climb of the day was saved for the very last and boy was it a doozy. Probably the hardest, longest climb I’ve ever done; can’t remember a harder or longer one. I arrived at camp after dark, quickly setup and zonked out.

I don’t have an exact spot picked out for a target today. Just going to pedal until I’m too tired.

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Astoria to SF day 2

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 1 – Astoria to Barview campground

Todays Distance – 59 miles
Total Distance – 59 miles

Well, today was an interesting first day. I had a flat, I underestimated the climbing challenges today and I didn’t get to my planned destination.

I’m super exhausted so I’ll come back and clean this post up a bit but here are the highlights.

The Pacific coast is GORGEOUS. Wow, for reals.

I caught a flat tire within the first 20 miles of day 1. I even just put new, expedition grade tires on too. Bleh.

There were 3 serious climbs today. I’ve now calibrated what the little lines on the map elevation profile actually MEANS.

During the 2nd climb, there was a super sketchy bridge situation. For those who saw my Facebook live, you know what’s up. For everybody else, go check out my Facebook live video.

With all the climbing, I failed to reach my mileage goals for today so I camped at a different camp ground th an I planned. They had hot showers (coin operated and no lights!!) so that was good enough for me. I can hear the surf in the distance and it’s a very brisk night. I expect to sleep really great tonight.

I’m aiming for LIncoln City tomorrow high is about 65 miles or there about a with two big climbs. Wish me luck.

Day one photos are here.

 

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Day 0 – Astoria

As I type this, I’m sitting in my AirBnb in Astoria, OR. I’ve collected my bicycle, sorted and packed my gear and I’m pretty much ready to start pedaling first thing in the morning.

Astoria is a pretty cool little town. The view from the Astoria Column is breathtaking. But first, let me detail my journey to get here because there was a #PlotTwist.

Getting Here

Astoria to SF Day 0

Panic attack?!?!

I caught my flight as expected Saturday afternoon. I had a two hour layover in Chicago then caught my flight to Portland. I opted for a window seat because I thought I could more easily sleep on the 4 hour flight from Chicago to Portland by using my camp pillow and leaning against the wall/window.

That was working perfectly but about an hour and half into the flight I woke up suddenly feeling claustrophobic. I don’t know if I was having a bad dream or something but I really felt panicked and I was struggling to breath. I asked the other two in my row to please excuse me and they let me out. I walked slowly to the bathroom to just be out of that little bitty seat for minute. After some calm, deep breathing I felt good enough to get back into my seat. I kind of struggled the rest fo the flight it stay calm. I had to distract myself with the magazines and talking to my seat neighbors. Anyhoo, I think I understand a little bit now what a panic attack is. It sucked pretty hard core!

#PlotTwist

After the longest flight in the history of the world, my plane finally arrived in Portland and it felt so good to be off the plane. I hussled down to the rental car area to pick up my car and for reasons that I won’t get into here, my reservation wasn’t available. 😑

Ok fine… *deep breaths* I’ll just go to plan B… there’s bus/shuttle service that runs between Portland and Astoria. From my research on the internet, I know that departure point for the bus was Union station. To make a long story short, I ended up sleeping on a bench in front of Union station in Portland – the station closes at 10pm. I had my camping gear so I setup my sleeping pad and sleeping bag and camp pillow so I was pretty comfortable if somewhat nervous as there were other people waiting for the station to open. In addition, there was a homeless camp across the street and there was so much activity. Every little sound had me waking up to check my bag.

Astoria to SF Day 0

The Rest

Once I was on the bus at 6:30am, everything else was pretty routine. It took about 3 hours to get to Astoria – the driver even let me off right at the bike shop (Bikes and Beyond) as they were opening. I transferred my gear from my duffle into my bike panniers at the shop. Unfortunately, the only pack and mail place in Astoria is closed on the weekends so I’ll have to pack my duffle and clothes that I was going to send ahead to SF, until I can find a pack and ship place.

Astoria to SF Day 0

My AirBnb is pretty nice… especially compared to a bench in front of a train station in downtown Portland. 😉

I did the tourist thing a bit and went up to the Astoria Column. I walked the entire way there and back, found some dinner and am now relaxing in my room.

Tomorrow 79 miles to Cape Lookout State Park. #ShutUpLegs

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF 2017 day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Astoria to SF Day 0

Cycling Astoria OR to SF CA: Planning

This year, I’m planning what will be my most epic bicycle trip to date. I plan to ride from Astoria OR, along the Pacific coast down to SF CA. It’s roughly 800 miles and I’m giving myself 2 weeks to complete the trip. I’ll be following the same basic plan I used for Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails Reloaded.

  • I’ll use BikeFlights.com to have my bike shipped ahead to a local bike shop, Bikes & Beyond in Astoria, OR in this case the week before I leave for my trip.
  • Book AirBnBs in Portland, Astoria and SF.
  • I’ll use my North Face Base Camp duffle to carry my gear with me on the flight.
  • I’ll fly to Portland OR and stay at the AirBnB on Day -1.
  • On Day 0, I’ll catch the North West Point bus to Astoria OR. Google maps says it’s an almost 3 hour trip from Portland to Astoria and it leaves at 9:30am.
  • Arrive in Astoria and pick up my bicycle and check into my AirBnB
  • Day 1, start pedaling.

If everything goes to plan, I should arrive in SF on a Friday afternoon/evening. I plan to spend the weekend in SF and leave out on Sunday.

This is how I brew kombucha

I’ve recently had a few people ask how I brew kombucha so I thought I’d spend sometime and detail my current process.

Getting Started

You’re going to need some supplies before you can start brewing your very own kombucha tea.

  1. Mother SCOBY – If you know any cool people who are brewing kombucha already, you can just ask them for one; they’ll probably have lots!
  2. Starter tea – Your source of the SCOBY will probably also send you home with some tea.
  3. Brew container – I purchased two of these 2 gallon glass containers.
  4. Heating pad – You might not need this if you live in a warm climate but we keep our apartment pretty cool. I picked up two of these to keep my brew at 80 degrees.

Here’s a photo of my brewing setup.

Buch!

Brewing your kombucha

You can search the web and there are some pretty standard ratios of water to sugar to tea for kombucha. When I was first starting out, I converted all that to metric because my containers were metric and plus it just made it easier to think about in my brain.

If you look at the photo above, the right container has a little silver mark just above the spigot. I drain my tea down to this level and leave the rest as starter tea for the next batch. For each of these container, I use the following:

  • 26 grams of oolong tea
  • 435 grams of organic sugar
  • 5 liters of distilled water

I start by putting 1 liter of distilled water into a large pot and bring it to a boil. I take the pot off the heat and add the sugar, stirring so it will dissolve. Next, I add the tea in tea bags. Cover and let brew for 30 minutes.

Next I remove the tea bag and add 4 liters of distilled water. You probably want to take the temp of your mixture because adding liquid to your brew container that’s too hot can damage your SCOBY. Everything on the web says 80-85 degrees.

Put your container on the heading pad and wait 1 week. You can use a ph meter at the end of 1 week; you’re aiming for a measurement of 3.

That’s pretty much it!

I need to improve our bottling methods as we just store the tea either in growlers or in individual kombucha tea bottles that we’ve purchased at the store. I’d like to invest in a kegerator.

 

 

Cycling the C&O and GAP Trails (Reloaded): Conclusion

C&O Day 6
Self from Point State Park in Pittsburgh. #Success

My bicycle tour from DC to Pittsburgh is in the books and it was a very successful trip. I’ll be using this trip as a template for future trips. After each trip, I like to reflect and identify what worked well and what did not work so well so that I might review this next year as I’m preparing for future trips.

What didn’t work so well

Despite having three dang lists to work from, I managed to forget my chamois cream. Rashes on the booty is a lot like pain management in that you really have to stay ahead of it. Once you’re in pain, well it’s already too late. A kind stranger gave me some stuff to use – although it wasn’t chamois cream. It would have been much worse otherwise but it would have been much better if I was slathering on the button hole straight from the get go. Lesson learned: DON’T FORGET THE DANG CHAMOIS CREAM

I also had some difficulties keeping my phone charged. I was using a non-Apple charging cable and the thing failed on the evening of day 2. I managed to find a gas station and get another little cheapy but that one started to fail a few days later. Additionally, I over estimated how bad ass my new external battery charger was so by the 5th night, it was drained. I should have taken more care to charge the external battery. Lessons learned: Go ahead and invest in the dyno hub so that I can charge while pedaling. Additionally, stick with official Apple charging cables and maybe even pack a spare; they’re small and light.

I want to reduce my kit. I had a whole bag full of stuff that I barely even broke into – GoPro mounts and odds and ends. I think I can probably fit my kit into the two rear bags if I strapped my tent to the top of the rear rack. I also carried too much food. I ended up eating a fair amount along the way. There’s something really nice about pulling up to a diner or pub at the end of a long day of pedaling.  In the future, I’ll probably carry less food while planning to eat along the way.

Trip template going forward

  • Ship bike ahead to a bike shop near starting point using bikeflights.com. $49 for shipping plus whatever the bike shops charge ya to box and reassemble. Probably close to $200 total.
  • Fly to the destination. I was able to get a ticket to DC for under $150. More than the bus ticket I purchased last year but way more convenient.
  • Use my new North Face base camp duffle to check all my gear on the flight. Last year I shipped my gear ahead to the motel. Checking my stuff was way easier and less stressful.
  • Give myself at least one whole day in the starting city/town to get things together. Plus it’ll be nice to have a little extra time visiting a new place.

Since Pittsburgh is relatively close to Nashville, I was able to use hotwire to rent a car to drive myself and all my gear back to Nashville. After fees and such, it was only $38 from Thrifty. Tank bicycle fit perfectly into the trunk after the laying the seats down on the Chevy Cruz.

Finally, I wanted to give a huge shoutout to our friend Eve in Pittsburgh. She let me couch surf while in Pittsburgh so I saved a lot of money on motel costs. She was an excellent tour guide and showed me around the city Saturday.