While Dorothy’s adventure began with a real tornado, the time leading up to my journey just seemed like a tornado. Many hours were spent reading, planning, purchasing, training, and in the final day before leaving, the packing. Unlike Dorothy carrying just a picnic basket, after all our research, we decided on 2 front pannier bags, 2 back pannier bags and a handle bar bag for each of our bikes. Everything we would need for the next 8 days would have to fit into these 10 compartments.
In my handlebar bag I carried the things that I could access quickly. The list of things included: camera, flashlight, tire pump, Kleenex, pencil, buff, charging cord for bike computer, hair clip/ponytail elastic, fingernail clippers, chap stick, brush, duck tape, knife, back-up flashlight, aspirin, gloves, bear spray, camera tri-pod, Trail Book(Official Guide to the C & O Canal and the Great Allegheny Passage) and map.
The back left bag carried: sleeping clothes-long underwear pants and shirt, polar fleece shirt, sweatpants, fuzzy socks, shower supplies-quick dry towel, shampoo, conditioner, soap, wash cloth, powder, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush, shower shoes, Q-tips.
The back right bag carried: 2 pair long pants, 2 pair compression shorts, 2 short sleeve shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts, 1 long sleeve undershirt, 4 pair socks, tennis shoes, undergarments, raincoat, rain pants.
Right front bag held: cook pot, spoon, lighter, fuel canister, PocketRocket backpacking stove, liquid soap, sponge, paper towels, wet wipes, tire tube, tire patches, spoke tool, journal, book, stainless insulated water canister, LG Tablet & charging cord.
The left front bag carried: food snacks such as granola bars, trail mix, meat stick, tortillas, peanut butter, potato sticks, freeze-dried apples, walnuts and tea bags.
I carried my sleeping mat and covers in a dry-bag strapped to the back rack of my bike.
Each item carried in the bags was carefully considered for its importance. It is easy to want to take “reward” items along on a journey that we knew would be strenuous, but taking items just for a few moments of comfort means extra weight to pedal and can create discomfort for the entire trip. Dear Husband packed his bags with many of the same items with his “food bag” containing our Mountain House freeze-dried meals and one of his bags carrying our tent, some tools for possible bike repairs, and a water filter pump to be sure we had drinkable water no matter where we were. We packed 7 meal packets that could be eaten for lunch or supper, and 7 selections geared for breakfast. Our plan was to eat breakfast and supper from our bags and buy lunch in a town along the way.
Now that we have completed the trip and reviewed the items packed, we are content that our packing decisions were on target. Of the approximate 40 pounds of packed items per bike, nearly all were put to use and the few that weren’t would have been needed had we been delayed by bad weather or gotten wet having to ride in the rain.