Can i just say one thing?
I stumbled across this board and I absolutely LOVE IT.
This is my first year of doing any kind of self supported touring and the wealth of information and opinions here is wonderful!!!!
I am with you baldman. Forums like these (and particularly this one!) are invaluable sources of information and have helped me to fall back in love with the internet. It's amazing how a stranger form a different part of the country will take the time to write a 300 word response to a simple question just to help a new rider out.