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Old 12-10-04, 05:26 PM   #1
KrisPistofferson
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Seinfeld-esque Weight Rant

I have read probably every list of touring gear that is posted on the internet in English, as I'm sure many of you have, but what is the deal with people who have well thought out and ultralight touring rigs, then they carry an extra 50 pounds worth of laptop computer/solar panels, etc.? Can't people just stop in libraries to use the computer? I'm always amazed at this when people are touring in the continental US and act like they're going to Mars, and it's always the guys who cut labels out of clothing to save micrograms, too.
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Old 12-10-04, 05:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krispistoferson
I have read probably every list of touring gear that is posted on the internet in English, as I'm sure many of you have, but what is the deal with people who have well thought out and ultralight touring rigs, then they carry an extra 50 pounds worth of laptop computer/solar panels, etc.? Can't people just stop in libraries to use the computer? I'm always amazed at this when people are touring in the continental US and act like they're going to Mars, and it's always the guys who cut labels out of clothing to save micrograms, too.
Why not take some old clothing you were going to use for rags and throw it away as it becomes dirty?
Just become accustomed to the weight and wide tire width and become a "weight weenie" I say.
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Old 12-10-04, 11:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by krispistoferson
Can't people just stop in libraries to use the computer?
Not all libraries have computers in the places adventure tourists venture. While travelling in Switzerland and Italy last summer, I spent hours and hours hunting for web-enabled computers. In one small city in Switzerland, I asked five or six times before someone directed me to the city library. One townsfolk looked at me like I was crazy, telling me, "Il n'y a pas l'internet dans les alpes" -- there is no Internet in the Alps! (There were actually two computers in the library!) Another time, a post office employee told me the nearest internet café was in a town 30 or 40 km down the road. I arrived at the café three hours later, but the only high-tech device was a juke box.

And then there were the telephone hassles. In my professional life, I evaluate the usability of technology products. I have a talent for figuring out how to operate digital watches, microwaves, and so on, but I was utterly defeated by public telephones in northern Italy. I could not place a call. (Eventually I learned that one of the many different kinds of public telephones that I encountered could not be used to dial out of the country, yet this information was missing from the multi-lingual instructions in the phone booth!)

Next time I travel abroad, I will carry a web-enabled cell phone! Damn the grams!
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Old 12-11-04, 12:15 AM   #4
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Next time I travel abroad, I will carry a web-enabled cell phone! Damn the grams!
Nothing wrong with that! I used to hitch hike with a cellphone, I guess it was a strange juxtaposition, when anybody saw me using it!
I guess my whole point was, do you really need to get on the internet that badly? I lived most of my life without it, and I would miss it if I couldn't use it, but it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world.Many people throughout history and nowadays don't have it, and they're still dancin' and grinnin' as much as ever. It's sort of like some Tom Brown Jr. style wildman going to live in the woods with a stone-age knife, a loincloth, a gourd hollowed out to carry water AND A TUBA! I know said caveman would take great pride in his tuba playing skills, but dang...
Maybe if I worked for National Geographic or something I could rationalize it, but does a person need to check e-mail often enough to lug around all that extra weight?I guess I don't ever do anything important on the internet, but does anyone? Anyway, I shouldn't talk, I have a kiddie trailer for my dog.
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Old 12-11-04, 05:05 AM   #5
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All of this depends on what level of touring one is doing... if you're going to be away for months/years carrying a computer is a very small trade off in weight for the ability to maintain a website, email, upload photos, order parts, etc. On the other hand, if I were doing a couple month tour of the States that would be overkill in my estimate... I would just carry a notebook and pencil to jot down things, thoughts and take advantage of internet cafes, libraries and the like.

You have to remember for many multi-year tourists they are using a computer for more than email and/or maintaining their website (both good enough reasons though for carrying one in my opinion). They are using their computer for maps and mapping, language translations, music & entertainment, medical knowledge, local customs and 2 biggies...

Weather & Political Climates.

I can dig the simple approach too but the analogy of foresaking technology just because folks in the past got by without it too is flawed in my mind... it's like saying, "Hey, we got by just fine without using gears or more than 3 speeds so why use more?" Personally, I'm of the school that says-Hey, if the invention fits, use it. And they next hill I go up... I'm darned glad that someone invented my 22 tooth chainring!

Personally I think a 6-10 pound box that gives me a link to the entire world, helps me understand where I'm at and where I want to go, can help me find out if that purple colored tree frog that just bit my finger is poisonous, lets me know what to expect when I cross the border into Iran or Bogata, can entertain some local people with photos or music as a gesture from me to them for feeding me or giving me a ride when I just had my 3rd flat tire of the day in monsoon season, and last... allows me to tell those who care about me that I'm ok and/or I need some parts FedExed to Terra Del Fuego ASAP is GOOD thing.
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Old 12-11-04, 05:51 AM   #6
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That answers my question.
Now what is the deal with fixed gear tourers?
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Old 12-11-04, 07:08 AM   #7
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Now what is the deal with fixed gear tourers?
Simple... they never received the memo from the head office that said, "No one really cares that you're doing this except you".


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Old 12-11-04, 07:26 PM   #8
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When my wife and I tour, there are no cell phones along, no computer. We don't bother visiting a library to check email. People know where we WERE a week ago when they get our postcards.

We have find great joy in DISCONNECTING and simply dealing with where we are now.

Saves weight, too.

Mike
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Old 12-12-04, 08:48 AM   #9
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you sound like the couple pirsig described in zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - the technophobe escapists.
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Old 12-12-04, 04:54 PM   #10
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you sound like the couple pirsig described in zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance - the technophobe escapists.
On the contrary, Pirsig's companion couple were two people not willing to deal with their problems. I think the sakariases are not only willing but eager to deal with whatever the unfamiliar throws at them--people for whom frisson trumps comfort every time. Escapists? Yes, but to, not away.

Lew
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Old 12-12-04, 05:06 PM   #11
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Well I haven't gotten to the laptop stage as most of my tours are in areas where there is access in libraries so I'm not too worried. But I have thought about this and figured when I get to that point I'm going to get a light laptop (either a Sony Vaio or my dream laptop Panasonic W2). Additionally, I have contemplated getting a cell phone for when (if!?!?) I ever do tours longer than a week and not having access to phones (say overseas).

For me there are only two reasons to stay connected:

1. To let the SO know where I am..

2. To make the SO jealous as to where I am..

Works on so many levels.
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