Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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I think it will work. If you use a trailer instead of panniers there are a lot of issues you won't have to worry about. (Let me add, though, that I, personally, prefer panniers, and I've toured both ways.) I'd worry about the gearing. The lower gears you have available, the better. Most tourers have a triple with a pretty low granny gear. A cheap fix might be to go with a compact double with a low small gear. That way you won't have to change derailleurs and shifters.
I'd recommend you have the wheels checked by a good mechanic who will be truthful. Carrying a load puts extra stress on wheels - particularly the rear - and can lead to broken spokes, among other problems. It might be worthwhile to invest in a new, strong, high-quality rear wheel with at least 36 spokes.