2005 -- Egypt, Jordan, Greece and Turkey Bicycle Trip
Thoughts and Events Prior to Departure--
Contemplating the Moment, Dinner Party, Church, Snow, Slide Shows, Bike Testing Our Trek 520s

April 18--Contemplating the Moment

Feeling very contemplative the last few months. I always get more introspective before big trips. Each day I am very aware of how much I love my day to day life, being with Tass, giving slide programs in schools, living in our little RV out on the road. I like how the uncertainty of travel, of preparing for a big adventure, makes me much more aware of all my blessings. I think that is also one of my attractions to rock climbing, it heightens my appreciation for life, not just when I am climbing, but even when I am doing mundane tasks. It makes me more aware of each moment.

April 23--Dinner Party

Had a great evening with our friend and fellow world bicyclist, Dan Buettner,who lives in St. Paul. Dan always invites an interesting group of people together when we are in town. We had supper with Will Steger, the polar explorer, and Jon Bowermaster, a writer for National Geographic, among others. Will told some harrowing arctic tales of blizzards and lost companions. Dan is presently working on a quest to study and visit the areas of the world known for life longevity, and has most recently visited Sardinia and Japan. Dan is jammed packed with interesting tidbits and insights on the commonalties of people who are very old. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, most have a strong spiritual belief--and have been happily married.

April 24--Church

Always enjoy going to the 1st United Methodist church in downtown Minneapolis. It is a beautiful, large stone building, more like a Catholic Cathedral than a typical Methodist building. Tremendous organ which is always played with gusto! We always sit in the pew after the service and listen to the organist. The sermon today was about people who, when they learn they might die from an illness, often live fuller and richer lives (if they are not in pain). The immediacy of a possible death increases their focus on what is most important to them. Each day becomes a celebration. Each day is an event to be thankful for. I feel traveling does this for us.

April 27--Snow

It is snowing here in Fargo, North Dakota. Just left Bemidji, MN, yesterday, where it was also snowing lightly. Spent last night in a coffee shop in Fargo, doing bookwork on trip logistics, and checking info on the internet. Have started watching the temperatures in the oasis towns we will cycling through. Most were low to mid 90's daytime temperatures, upper 60's at night. Luxor was 98 degrees. Crazy to think we will be in that heat in a very short time. If you want to see the Egyptian temperatures go to www.wunderground.com/global/EG.html

We will arrive in Cairo May 6. During May 10-19 we hope to bike through the Western Desert oasis towns of Baharia, Farafra, Dakela, and Kharga, which are all listed on the weather site above. We are hoping for "cooler" spring temperatures in the mid to upper 80s or low 90s. And no hot and dusty khamsin winds.

April 30--Slide Shows

Just got home last night. Our jam-packed spring slide show tour is finished--66 presentations in 27 schools in three weeks. Wheww!! And each evening we worked like crazy organizing for our trip. Now that we are home we have a whole new set of lists to get ready.

All loaded for a test ride. For this trip we are leaving our mountain bikes at home. We will using Trek 520 touring road bikes that are lighter and faster with less rolling resistance because of their higher pressure tires.
May 3--Bike Testing Our Trek 520s

Just came down from our garage after putting the final touches on our Trek 520 road bikes. The luggage racks are all on, along with kickstands, bells, mirrors, all the touring gear we don't have on our normal road bikes.

Our first test spin is quite comical. We ride five feet, stop and adjust something, ride another five feet and stop again, and again, making adjustments. After 30 minutes we are finally riding. The bikes feel great. We spent lots of energy this winter going through all our gear and getting everything as light as possible. We haven't traveled this light since our Central America bike trip in 1991.

So then we ride back to our garage and pick up the extra water we will need to carry through the Great Western Desert of Egypt. I load up 5 gallons onto my bike--an extra 45 pounds! Suddenly my lightly packed bike becomes a tank. But it is still rideable, and we don't have any big mountains to cross while we are carrying all that water. Tass carries 3 gallons, which together is the amount we will need for just ONE DAY--four gallons per person--a total of eight gallons each day for both of us. Luckily we will be drinking the water as we ride, so even by mid-day our bikes will begin to lighten back up.

Yahoo! In just a few days we will be riding in Africa!

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