Back to the adventure planning

Been some changes as of late, hence the philosophical tone of the last post.  I try to stay away from dry rhetoric or reflective ramblings too much since that’s all personal and does not mean much to many other people.  However, for just a few closely-intertwined people that I know that frequent this site, hopefully it makes them think a little outside of their narrow field of vision and allows them to just sit back and ponder what was written.

Let’s get back on track with the important project of the year…the Alaska motorcycle adventure!

The immortal Steve Miller Band got it right…time keeps slipping into the future.  The days are actually passing quickly and the countdown clock shows:

In a conversation recently, I was asked just how I would like the trip to go if I could wave a magic wand and put things into place the way I’d like to experience.  My one word answer is SLOW.  Sure, I’d like it to be a pleasant, safe, and soul-discovering trip.  I want the departure date to arrive quickly, but I want the adventure itself to crawl like molasses.  Each second that passes, I want to feel like an eternity…even those many hours on the interstates where I’m dancing with the speed limits and playing chicken with those hidden state patrol officers looking for speeders.

The goal is to rocket to Canada and then slam the breaks and start watching the scenery.  In the future, I’d like to be able to remember the entire journey and count in my head the number of trees that were passed, the number of bears that I watch scamper into the wood at the approaching sound of my motorcycle, and be able to recall those that I met along the way.  I’m taking a break from life to complete some bucket list items and to live up to a previously made promise.  Savoring the experience is what I hope happens on this trip.

Recently picked up some very neat, high-quality (and unfortunately expensive) collapsible gear.  Anything made for backpacking is ultra-light, as small as possible, and will cost lots of greenbacks for the privilege of owning such equipment.  I’ll share a few of my recent pickups for anybody that may be interested in upgrading their own travel kits.

Sea to Summit X-Pot

One of the biggest things to carry along is cookware.  It’s hard to make items that are made to be used for cooking in a small form factor.  Stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium are a lot lighter than traditional steel…but they have bulkiness.  How does one make a pot smaller?  Sea to Summit figured it out…through the use of silicone of all things.  Introducing the X-Pot.

Winner of Backpacker magazine’s esteemed 2015 Editor’s Choice Award, the X-Pot is a collapsible pot that easily goes from a collapsed height of 1.5″ tall to 4.5″ tall.  The entire kit weighs under eleven ounces.  They are slowly coming out to retailers right now.  REI has them in stock for just a shade under $50, and with my REI dividends check from last year, my cost was very minimal.  If you do decide to buy this or anything at REI, make sure you are using Ebates to get your free cash back.

Available in 1.4L, 2.8L, and 4.0L sizes, it offers plenty of food cooking capacity in a easy to carry size signature.  Each comes with a lid with built in strainer, and the other X-products like the cup, mug, bowl, and plate are all designed to easily nest inside it.  Tried it out at home…very easy to use, clean, and easily fits into a narrow space in a backpack or a motorcycle pannier.  I’ll be carrying my 2.8L X-Pot, big enough to hold a very large can of stew, in a gallon size freezer bag to prevent the bears from smelling any missed morsels.

And in July 2015, they will be coming out with the X-Pan which you can read about here.  Yes, it is on my radar!

Helinox Cot One

One thing thing that has taken away the joy of camping for me is the fact that the older I get, the more I appreciate my bed at home.  Or even one inside a motel room.  Sleeping on the ground, no matter how much padding is placed or how expensive of a sleeping pad is used, just is not pleasant to me any longer.  Since the trip to Alaska will either require some camping or the requirement that I scurry around trying to find a motel room which barely mah exist along the chosen route and at the locations I plan to stop for the night, I have been on the search to find something that will make sleeping a tent comfortable.Over the winter, I have tried four different sleeping cots.  I hated every one of them.  Either too big to easily carry on a motorcycle or just lacking in comfort, each were immediately returned or sold for a little loss after just one night (and in one case, three minutes) of trying each out in the warmth of the house over the winter.  Why can’t somebody make a portable cot, that can hold lots of weight, that assembles and disassembles quickly, is somewhat comfortable, and that will fit on a motorcycle?

Somebody has.  Say hello to the Helinox Cot One.

I’ll be honest.  It’s not my bed at home in comfort.  But it sure blows away sleeping on the ground even with a very nice sleeping pad and bag.  I throw those two items on top of this cot and I can actually get some sleep.  Some people sleep on anything really well.  Not me; a tosser and turner I have become, waking up every hour or two.  This cot offers me no difference in my sleep…but it does not creak like the Luxury Lite cot nor does it stay behind at home like some of the other oversized cots.

The cost of this cot is ridiculous.  I mean EXPENSIVE.  You can buy a very beat up old car leaks fluids and blows smokes but that still runs for the price of one of these.  If you really want one, REI and other retailers have them for $299.  Or, you can join Promotive and save a LOT of money on this and all your other gear.

The way I see it, the cost of one of these equates to one night in a decent motel or lodge on the trip to the last frontier.  One night on this and not sleeping on a pillow-top mattress with bedbugs at some mom and pop pays it off and I can use this indefinitely.  This was very easy to put together quickly once you read the instructions.  And it fits in many motorcycle panniers as it is only 21″ long when folded down and in the carrying bag.

That’s it for now.

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