13 comments


  • “You don the clothes of a pauper for the freedom of a king”

    i love this line, it is perfect. I follow you both and read with joy where you are and what you are doing.

    may your bodies and spirits continue to hold up better than your gear!

    August 30, 2010
  • I might be the only woman who carries that same firestarter in her PURSE. You know, in case the infrastructure collapses while I’m out one day, and I have to stay warm. And now I know that it can break? Oh the humanity!

    I love reading your blog, and like Shannon Day said, what a great line about the freedom of a king – you are both so inspiring!

    August 30, 2010
  • Mark

    Contrary to popular belief, freedom isn’t cheap. I would have to say though, that the freedom you two have chosen carries the best cost benefit analysis I can think of. And when you factor in a constant dose of serendipity that you have been encountering during your vagabonding, the return gets even better. I hope some day to follow in your pedaled path.

    August 31, 2010
  • Wow I can’t beleive you 2 have snaped 3 chains. The everthing else wearing is normal. You might try start using the ol’ trusty bic to start your stove. Yea being on the road everything starts to wear down to where one day everyone starts looking at you and the duck tape on the Panniers, raggy clothes, and just asume your a poor homeless person. That’s when it’s time to stop for a month and buy some new gear. Well keep on riding at least you are giving some good gear reviews.

    August 31, 2010
  • SusieW

    It’s amazing to read the blog and think of the treasures you’ve seen this last year. Wear and tear on equipment shows the miles you’ve crossed. Hang tough.

    August 31, 2010
  • i feel for you. i just spend 5 days repairing and buying new stuff. when i arrived at the guesthouse i didn’t even bother to take off my shirt and just ripped it off. seems that one year is the limit for a lot of stuff which til then was working quietly in the background. i was especially happy to find a shop which repaired my bags i couldn’t stitch myself.

    i’m glad you’re thinking about continuing your travels abroad. i’m in thailand right now and enjoy south east asia quite a lot. hopefully i make it to south america afterwards. all the best!

    August 31, 2010
  • Clifford

    This is the best post you’ve ever written.
    Thank you.

    August 31, 2010
  • What is your criteria for replacement? Its nota sin to buy things you use everyday!

    September 01, 2010
  • I fix outdoor gear and footwear for a living and we have seen plenty of Keen’s come into our shop with the same problems you’ve described above. Glad to see that you are willing to use your own hands to get things working again.

    Although I still use one sometimes, I have mixed feelings about inflatable mattresses. I once spent several hours going between a very cold lake and my stove to try and patch my therma-rest while in NZ and still couldn’t find the last leak. You might consider a Z-rest or Ridgerest? I know they are bulky- but they don’t have air in them to leak!

    On the tent zipper- if the teeth are in good shape, you likely only need to replace the zipper sliders and wash the tent with Nikwax Tech Wash (making sure to do some scrubbing to the zipper teeth to get the dust out) and that would make it work again for quite a while. Dust and dirt are the enemy of zipper on outdoor gear.

    When you were in Portland you guys were having coffee at a shop (Dancing Beans) right next door to our shop (Mountain Soles) and I saw you sitting outside. I wish that I had not been so busy that day and made some time to talk with you. Looks like you are having a fantastic time despite the gear issues. Looking forward to reading more of your travels. Matt

    September 01, 2010
  • M Gatehouse

    Hi Russ and Laura,

    It was good chatting with you both outside of Greensboro on 8/28/10. Sorry I could not ride and chat with you a little more but that was my turnaround point for the day. It ended up being 93 miles as it was by the time I got home, and it did turn out to be quite warm. If your tent is getting past the point of no return I’ll be happy to help sponsor you. Although not cycling specific, I think you might also find some clothing in addition to our tents from The North Face that would help you on your adventure. Take a look at the website or look in the REI out in the Triangle for style numbers of stuff that you think would be of help. If you still have the business card I gave you can call me anytime over the holiday weekend to discuss further. Keep on keeping on!

    September 03, 2010
  • Mark P

    Hi Russ:

    Interesting that you broke 2 shifters. I’m curious, did the shifters break b/c the bike fell over and landed on the shifter? I’m curious b/c the bar end shifters are the recommended touring shifter, but I would think they could be prone to getting beat up when the bike (inevitably) falls over.

    Thanks–I enjoy following your adventure.

    September 15, 2010
  • I know how you feel! For whatever reason, when Merino wool clothing reaches the end of its “life”, it deteriorates pretty spectacularly. My Smart Wool base-layer is like a wet tissue, I can’t put it on too quickly or I’m afraid it will tear in half. My condolences on the spontaneous de-generation of your gear.

    March 20, 2014
  • Nice article, I can relate!

    March 20, 2014

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