just a quick advice to anyone undertaking their first loaded trips to train for touring.
in packing up your stuff, finding heavy things to stuff into the bags, etc, it is BAD if you overlook two particular items at the same time. 1. your bag of granola bars and apples. 2. your wallet.
if you do this, you will find yourself 15 miles out of town, realizing that riding with 35ish extra pounds on your bike makes you way hungrier way quicker than you expected. you will stop and open your bag to eat a delicious granola bar, and realize that there is no such bar. "that's ok," you will think, "because i have my wallet in my.. other.. panniers. oh. oops." and then you will begin the ride home significantly earlier than you wanted to, and certain interesting thoughts will cross your mind, such as, "is that smell diesel exhaust or freshly baked bread?" and "that half-twinkie doesn't look like it's been run over all that many times."
at least i got home without totally bonking.