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I've been working all summer to save some money to be able to take this trip and I don't part with my money easily. Every purchase is a slow and methodical deliberation. I think to myself, "If I buy this item that I think I need right now, how much food could I buy later with this money"?
I really needed some new gear. Or so I believed. If we think about the early pilgrims, how many of them traveled with nothing and slept in the open on the ground or if they were lucky in a barn. Maybe I'm extravagant, I don't know but I do know that at 50 years old, I feel some physical pain in my hips when I sleep on the ground if it's pretty hard. I have made my living over the past 12 years sleeping in the outdoors and the thing that actually works best is a thick bed of pine needles. Sometimes, it's not practical. I own a thermarest (the 3rd in 17 years. Not bad) and it is full of patches and leaks a little these days. I have had the same headlamp for 7 years and is held together with duct tape. The lens is scratched and does not throw much light anymore.
It occurred to me in order to spare some cash to ask the retailers in town in which I have been a loyal customer if they would be interested in sponsoring part of this ride. So I asked. Wow, that was a revolutionary thing to do. Gardenschwartz Outdoors in Durango Colorado said yes. I was thrilled and quite honored really. I now have a new lighter weight Thermarest and a new shiny headlamp. The photos below attest to both the old and the new.
The old headlamp. I splurged on replacing the duct tape a few times...
The new headlamp. Still in the package.I wonder how well it will work that way...
Below is a shot of just the camping gear and odds and ends that I'm taking. Tent, sleeping bag, stove, cooking pot, towel, lock for the duffel bag, assorted tools, front panniers and French phrasebook. Well, the French phrase book isn't really camping gear but it could provide some entertaining reading while chilling in camp at night.
I still need to sort clothing and the bike. That's a whole other can of worms...