Before I forget, some quick gear notes.
GSI Kettle - Worked really well. I really enjoyed a dedicated pot JUST for water. Probably our most used bit of cooking equipment on our trip. Used it on a Trangia stove (that fits inside the kettle when packed away), but also used it over a fire as well.
MSR Dromedary Bag (6L) - Nice bag. At first, I thought it was a little overkill. I could have used the bladder of a Camelback wrapped in some cloth. In the end, it was nice that the drom. bag has a tough exterior since it was getting squished around on top of my rack. Super convenient for getting camp water (fill it once instead of walking back and forth). I carried 3 Kleen Kanteens and the drom. bag when we crossed Josh. Glad I had it along with us. I'll definitely bring it whenever water availability is in question. When not in use it packs down next to nothing.
Snow Peak Titanium Mug 700ml - This is the mug that Riv. use to sell. I ordered one through REI. It works great and actually fits a Trangia stove inside. It holds A LOT of coffee and has a convenient measuring notches so you can measure water in for MREs. I've put it directly on a flame and it has survived. Slight discoloration and the bottom got a little rounded but it's fine (and now has a nice patina :)
Opinel - I bought two knives and brought two. One was permanently in the bag with the hard cheese we carried. The other was in my handlebar bag. Great food knife. Made short work of chopping vegetables. Lightweight and classy. I did try to use it to make a fuzz stick for a fire but it didn't work so well for that.
Hatchet - This is the first time we brought a hatchet. Not quite sure the make of the one we have, but its nothing fancy. It is definitely worth bringing. We used it at camp to hammer in stakes (nice in rocky territory). We also used it to split wood. We were able to cook and enjoy a fire with just ONE largish piece of firewood. At one of our campsites in Josh, Laura and I scavenged small pieces of unburned and slightly burned wood from empty sites. Because we had the hatchet, we could break up the pieces into kindling and smaller bits that allowed us too cook. No need to buy a whole bundle of firewood with the hatchet. I'm going to get a big bushcraft knife in the future and see how that compares to a hatchet for splitting wood.
Panaracer Paselas 26 in. x 43mm - Nice tires. Folding bead lets you carry a spare. One problem is that these fit REALLY loose. When you get a flat, you will fishtail like crazy and these may pop themselves off the rim....which is exactly what almost happened to me. Coming down a steep hill from Pioneertown I got a flat while descending and I had a hard time controlling the bike. The tires have a really supple casing, which is good in terms of suspension, but seems to be its detriment during a fast flat situation. Although I like these tires, I am considering looking into Schwables.
Riv. Seersucker - Once it started to get really hot, I just wore the shirt with no undershirt and it worked great. The light color reflected the heat, the loose fit helped me stay cool. I can flip up the collar and keep the neck buttoned to keep the sun off my neck. A nicer option, I think, than slathering sun block on every bit of exposed skin.
Surly LHT - Awesome. Stable. You can see from the pics there was a fair amount of Vitamin G (gravel) in our road diet. We got bumped around and I dumped the bike once or twice in soft sand but it still kept ticking.
Things I would consider getting for our next trip...
GPS - getting lost on dirt roads was no fun. AAA maps had lots of mistakes as did Google Maps. When you have limited resources, getting lost is no fun.
Large Bushcraft Knife - looking for a knife that is capable of splitting wood, non-serrated, full tange, and able to be sharpened in the field. Must be able to take baton strikes on the non-cutting side.
Solar charger - the batteries in my cam ran out and I had to borrow Laura's just as we got into Josh for the rest of the week. I'm planning on teaching myself to solder and some basic electronics. Anyone have suggestions as how to begin? Learn?
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