Last year I planned on doing the TransAm trail in May, 2011 but that got canned due to work projects I simply could not ignore. So the trip was put off until May, 2012 which is 4.5 months from now. I thought I would put my cards on the table here and get some feedback from those who have some touring experience under their belt.
I'll be 57 next May. I weigh about 208 lbs. and stand about 5'11". I would describe my riding as infrequent at this point, especially now that it's getting into the winter months and it's dark by the time I get home from work. But I plan to pick up the pace as Spring comes around and do a couple overnight trips to break myself in to bike touring. I have never toured on a bike but have plenty of camping experience.
I plan on riding my recumbent (Slipstream) towing a Quik-Pak two-wheel trailer to hold all my gear. I'm trying to keep the weight to about 50 lbs. (including the trailer). So far I think I will be able to achieve that with some variation from how much food/water I carry day to day. I will have a Hilliberg tent, Mountain Engineering sleeping bag, Thermarest pad, Trangia cook stove, rain gear, spare parts...and essentially the basics that any tour would require.
I've decided not to do the TransAm trail and instead head northwest from DC to Ohio and pick up the Northern Tier route. I've read too many bad things about Kentucky and Missouri (mainly dog attacks and morons with pickup trucks) to want to ever see those states. It's too bad because I have driven across the northern part of the country 6 times in my life and thought it would be nice to see some new country.
I will have 10 weeks (70 days) to pull this off. I have a sister in Washington where I will arrive, pack up my gear and have it trucked back home while I return by airline. I want to do a self-supported trip that will include stealth camping to take advantage of full daylight. I figure in the beginning it will be an adjustment and therefore good to have the ability to ride long hours but at a moderate to easy pace until I get my legs so to speak.
I will be doing this alone but would welcome company along the way or if there's anyone planning something similar and would like to join me on this trip. The launch date is mid-May so I can get through the Rockies in the first half of July (Road to the Sun). Safety is a big concern so I will have a 120 dB whistle, air-horn, and pepper spray. For the bike I will be using a Cerevellum Hindsight digital rear view mirror (doubles as a bike computer but no GPS) and regular mirrors plus lights, a flag, and reflectors.
Additional electronics will be my smartphone and digital camera plus a solar charging set up which I'm currently researching.
So if anyone has some advice I welcome your thoughts