I am planning on doing my first bike tour ever starting Monday August 11th. The intended route is from Madison, WI to St. Paul, MN for a total length of ~280 miles; google suggests there is roughly a mile total climbing.
I will be riding with my girlfriend and we intend to go 70 miles per day, for four days total.
So the complications that make my planning a little hard:
1) I'm a substantially stronger rider than she is, so what seems to make the most sense is for me to carry all the gear.
2) We both only have road bikes. I'm on a Trek 1500, which has eyelets right above the wheel dropouts, so it should be able to accommodate a rear rack, but a front rack probably isn't happening. My bike has a 20 front/24 rear spoke count, and I weigh 185. So it seems like I'd be wanting to keep the load to under 30 lbs or so in order to keep the bike happy.
3) We don't own ANY touring equipment, besides sleeping bags.
But a few things work in our favor:
1) We will pass near or by ~ 2 bike shops each day, so as long as nothing goes horribly wrong mechanical problems shouldn't be that bad.
2) Likewise, we'll probably stop at restaurants for meals, and only carry snacks.
So my main question is:
Provided we're willing to spend some money on decent gear (but not incredibly lightweight super-stuff), is there any way I'd be able to outfit my bike to carry all the usual things we'd need for the tour, provided we were camping out? Or would life be a lot easier if we did credit card touring?
If we were to go the camping option, we'd need sleeping pads and a tent, right? Does anybody have experience with a 'Bug hut' style thing? (http://www.rei.com/product/724388)
Thanks so much for any input.