Like Russ posted the other day, we’re leaving town tomorrow (Wednesday) for a week and a half of cycling fun around Central California. (Train to San Luis Obispo, out to Morro Bay for a night, up to Paso Robles for the Great Western Bicycle Rally, then east through the Carrizzo Plain, and finally dropping south through the Sespe Wilderness to Ventura.) It will be an amazing trip in its own right – and it will also be a perfect testing ground for our BIG trip – consider it a Preview of Coming Attractions!

I’m thrilled beyond measure to get out of town for awhile. Away from all the hustle and bustle of this giant metropolis. Away from our regular schedules. And I’m going to really use this trip to figure out what I need to tweak before we leave for good.

This photo is from our Dirt Mulholland trip a few weeks ago. It was just a quick 2-day trip, but I was really happy with the load distribution on my bike. So, this is roughly how I’ll be packing to start out…

Laura's load

Two rear panniers – one with food and the other with clothes and toiletries. Strapped to the top of one pannier is the tent and the other has my sleeping bag. For this trip, I’ll be adding a small folding chair on the tent side. This arrangement leaves the top of the rack open, which is where I’ll be carrying my dromedary bag full of water when we really get into the middle of nowhere (and all those layers that you take off as you ride).

On the front is a handlebar bag (with journal, wallet, camera, phone, snacks, chapstick). When we go on our BIG trip, I’ll be strapping a portable metals studio (aka hand tools and raw materials in a sturdy Pelican case) on the front rack. I’ve been waffling back and forth about bringing the case on this trip, to test out how it rides (as of this morning, I still haven’t decided).

We’ll also be experimenting with mobile posting while we’re away. I say ‘experiment’ because we still haven’t worked out all the kinks. Russ has pimped out his iPod touch, so that we can twitter and (theoretically) update wordpress. And we’ll just see how well it works. We’ve got the camping gear mostly figured out, but the tech gear is still a work in progress. So… this is all to say that we may be updating here (if all goes well)… and we may not (if the hack decides to not work the way we wanted).

And off we go…