Seattle WA, 0 miles
When I was camping in Yellowstone at Grant Village, I shared a campsite with a friendly Brit. He was riding a mountain bike from Anchorage Alaska to somewhere, he wasn’t all that clear on when or where he would be ending. He was eleven months into his tour and had no plans to stop any time soon. He will probably end up in Patagonia before he’s all done. It turned out we each asked the other a question that made for an interesting conversation.
I asked him why he chose to bicycle across the interior of North America. He was avoiding roads as much as possible and following the Continental Divide. He told me he was watching a YouTube video one day and saw a fellow that was making the same trip and he simply decided he wanted to do it too. I think it was clear by my expression that I was looking for a bit more detail, so he went on. He said he had nothing better to do so he sold everything he owned, bought a bicycle and some gear, and set out. That made a bit more sense to me. He was planning to make his own YouTube video when he finished. I think that is his true inspiration. He showed me some of the video he had captured and it blew me away. Even though I couldn’t completely relate to his explanation, I noticed he rode a Brooks saddle so that spoke well for him…
When it was his turn to ask me a question, he wanted to know what my favorite piece of gear was. I could have easily said “my Brooks saddle,” but I paused and thought about it for a couple of seconds and then replied, “my light-weight down jacket.” The jacket has saved me on a couple of occasions and it has been just damn comfortable on lots of other occasions. Naturally I asked him what his favorite piece of gear was, he said it was his sleeping bag liner. I got it immediately. I have frequently noticed how nice it would be to have an extra layer inside the bag, not just on cool evenings, but also on hot ones. I was kicking myself for not having come up with that before I started my trip. My emphasis on carry-weight made me blind to that gear choice.
I’ll be returning to Missoula soon, with a sleeping bag liner…