I’m not leaving for three and a half months. So why am I writing? When one undertakes a trip that necessitates so much planning, a lot of research is involved. I have read a few cycling blogs in depth. This kind of trip is by no means unheard of, but it is a little challenging to carry off. Two huge factors for me are that I am young and untethered; no wife, no house, no job (I did work and save for two years straight to shore up the old bank account), and with a little money to boot!
One thing I have not seen enough is the planning end of such an endeavor, and I intend to do my part to remedy this, no doubt betraying just how unprepared I am in the process! This has all just started. I bought a ticket to Lisbon two days ago. The planning, which I was dreading, is almost complete after three days of continuous work and research. The only thing I need to do is apply for visas. I know, kind of important. To be frank, I am a little apprehensive about Turkey and Iran in particular. Nonetheless, it is coming together quickly.
This is entirely due to my sister Amaya. I am at my Dad’s house in between jobs right now. I arrived on November 5th, intent only on rearranging my possessions before heading down to the Bay Area (California) to sell Christmas trees, my last and solidly abhorrent employment for the next year or so. Much to my surprise, my sister is an enthusiastic peruser of travel blogs, plans trips for fun, and constantly researches interesting things to see and do around the world. A miracle.
I myself am a bit of a Luddite. I like to read about interesting stuff, but as there is too much to see and learn in a lifetime, I have a bit indolently become an opportunist, allowing life to organically guide me into new experiences. In fact, I spent the whole summer living in a shack in the mountains, without cell-service, electricity, or plumbing. It was wonderful (not for planning trips). Not the greatest tactic for such an involved undertaking. Anyhow, with two atlases and a slew of electronic devices, pens, and scraps of paper, we smashed out this trip. I know, I know, there is a lot more to do yet. Needless to say though, I am very happy with our progress so far- I know (roughly) where I am going (visas provided…) and when!
I captured for your pleasure all the physical notes we have accumulated so far, rough drafts and all (not my bike in the background). The picture at the head of the article are the final drafts: a list of dates, countries, cities, mileages, inclines, and a list of visa requirements. You might notice that my itinerary is more of an outline. I know the terrain, mileages and course through major cities and towns relevant to my route, but as far as restocking supplies, finding lodging, and selecting the most ideal roads to cycle in, I will have to scour local maps. There is only so much I can/am willing to do. I also have a gear list- most of what I need I already own, but there is still a tidy purchase list. Yet another contains additional objects of research, such as how to contend with packs of wild dogs and where to restock camping fuel. I will document in detail the gear I am taking, the brands, and the weights, if I am feeling up to it.
I have been on two small tours, one this summer down the California coast, which totaled about 400 miles. The summer prior I toured in Oregon, bumping out to the coast from Silverton, riding down to Port Orford, and doubling back to complete a 500 mile loop. A whopping 900 miles in a combined total of 20 days. What is my total mileage for this upcoming trip? 15 or 16 thousand miles. I figure this will take 9 months, roughly. What’s more, I am largely ignorant of how to repair bicycles. Haha. Fortunately I have friends who I will coerce into teaching me these things. Remind me to put that on a list somewhere.