Europe by Bike | Kayak | Skiis - Day 1
Day 1 - December 7th-8th, 2011
I have spent the last several weeks planning and preparing for my upcoming winter adventure in Europe. This trip is going to be an opportunity for Richard and I to hone our adventure skills in a number of disciplines, including kayaking, biking and skiing. We have been plotting for years to find a way to come together and now it is finally happen.
As part of our Spare Seat expedition that will take place in NY this coming spring, we had one of the tandem Feathercraft kayaks shipped to me in FL where I was visiting my mother. My first task upon its arrival was to open it up, and make sure all was well. There was also the issue of making sure it was treated as a used item and not as an import when I arrived in the UK. I therefore dilegently opened the two boxes weighing over 120 pounds and proceeded to pull things out and get them a wee bit dirty. Everything looked in order and was then re-packed in the appropriate bags.
Planning and packing for a multi month, multi disicipline trip is a bit of a real challenge. I needed to carry kayak gear, bike gear, cold weather clothes and moderate temperature clothes. I needed my bike helmet and shoes, walking shoes, lounging shoes, and my trusted five finger shoes. I needed to choose which parts of my ultra-light camp kit to bring and which parts would be provided by our sponsors. Needless to say, the whole packing thing was a pain, but eventually completed.
Next up was to break down my trusted Salsa Fargo and pack it up in its shipping box. Having done this several times now, I must say I am getting pretty good at it. Still, breaking down a bike to fit in a box is definitely a bit of a pain. I can see why people spend the money to get S&S couplers added to their bikes. What a joy that would be... perhaps on some future 2 wheeled steed.
The great thing about bike boxes is there is generally extra room for miscellaneous kit, and my box was no exception. I tossed in a few bits of camp kit; my Porcelain Rocket frame bags; and my two Northern Light 3 piece Greenland paddles. Wow, these paddles are so nice. I love paddling with them, and I absolutely love the fact that they break down into such a small travelling package. Broken down and tucked into their protective bags they fit perfectly in the bike box. I now use an old neo-air sleeping pad as extra padding. Just a few quick breaths and it provides one more layer of protection for the bike and the paddles.
All in all I had 4 large bags, 3 of which weighed right at the 51 pound weight limit and the 4th, the one that contained the structure of the tandem, weighed in just shy of 65 pounds. Talk about not going light... This type of packing definitely drives my ultra-light sensitivies up the wall. Having triple checked everything, there was nothing else to eliminate so I gave in and loaded up the car; off to the airport we went.
Flying British Airlines was a breeze and everything made it safely to the UK. A bit of in depth conversation with the customs official was required about the amount of gear I was carrying and the amount of time I was spending in the lovely country of Great Britain. Eventually he let me pass, and so the adventures begin.
To say I am excited, and yet nervous is an understatement. A new land, a new family, and new challenges will all conspire to test my belief in Spirit. I am ready, and definitely stoked, to begin a series of micro adventures throughout Northern and Central Europe. Richard and I have some amazing plans and I am so excited to share them with you as they occur. We will be working hard to photograph and video almost everything that we do as a way of sharing our passion for adventure and the environment with each and every one of our readers. (Note that at this time I am having some computer issues, so pictures are forthcoming once those issues are resolved)
In the coming days I will post an overview of the upcoming adventures and talk about the challenges that we will confront. We will be ranging across climates, travel mediums, and temperature -- all of which will be real tests of our abilities. Each of these micro-adventures will also help build up a key set of skills that we will need to complete some of our bigger adventures planned in the future. These include snow biking the frozen Yukon River March of 2012 and skiing/biking/kayaking across the northern territory of Canada in winter of 2013.
Epic adventures to come; new friends to make; memories of a lifetime to create! Let the fun begin now.
Set your intent and then manifest the life you envision