07 January 2014

South America 2014: Final preparations underway!

After a relaxing couple of weeks spending the holiday with our families, the final preparations for our tour are underway.

We have a packing list with over 200 individual items on it in an excel spreadsheet! The number of items highlighted in red, signifying that we still need to obtain them, is dwindling every day. Both Santa Claus (in the US) and the three kings (in Spain) were kind enough to help us with some of the last minute items, thankfully. We're hoping to take care of the rest of the small items later today.

Packed up and  ready to go… testing out a new hi-viz at the same time.
We had a go at packing everything on the list, albeit not 100% as carefully as when we do it for the final time, and took our bikes out for a test spin. Even with the added weight of a few days of food from Alberto's parents' pantry, I still did not feel the bike was much heavier than it has been on previous, much shorter, tours. I haven't used front panniers before, though, so I imagine getting used to having weight at the front of the bike will take some time.

Alberto was carrying most of the extra stuff like the additional electronics and toiletries, but even so the bikes were pretty manageable - though it will probably take a bit of time to figure out a packing configuration that both gets the weight distribution right and is logical enough that we'll be able to find what we need quickly.

Making some on-the-road adjustments
With basically everything packed, we still had tons of empty space, which is probably not helpful to our packing process as it means we are finding it harder to be ruthless with what we take, even though we know the lighter our load the better off we'll be.

Although we had previously researched insurance options, we have started again in earnest to make sure we are finding the best possible deals. In this respect, it is a lot easier for me; as the US is my country of permanent residence now, there are actually very few companies that will ensure me for an yearlong cycle tour where I am not departing from the US. Alberto has more choice, but with it, more homework to do before he decides!

The insurance complications of long-term cycle tourists are so intricate that they merit their own dedicated post, and indeed a number of bloggers have given extremely helpful deails of their own experiences, including Travelling Two, tour.tk, and Shane Cycles.

Trying out the rig on some off-road sections
There are a couple other last minute things to sort, like making sure our banks know we'll be using our cards abroad, gathering together and photocopying our important documents, and cutting my hair short (!). But all in all, it's getting very very real!

8 comments:

  1. Send a picture of you, please Lucy
    Hope you have a nice trip!!!
    L.

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  2. Hi Lucy and Alberto! just a little note to wish all the best on this amazing adventure. Xavier and I are a bit jealous! Sounds like a once in a life adventure that you will never forget! I'll keep your site on my favorites so I can follow you.And once you get to Porto Alegre, my mum will be waiting for you!!!! Lots of love, Anna, Xavier and Lydia xxxxx

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    1. qué envidia me dais!!! Besos de la peluquera particular.

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  3. Juan Carlos AlvarezJanuary 21, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Alberto y Lucy. Soy Juan Carlos tu primer profesor de Biologia. Os escribo desde el cole con tu madre a mi lado. Os deseo un viaje lleno de experiencias,gente increible y sitios inolvidables. Estais haciendo lo correcto. Animo.
    Cuando llegueis a Bolivia no os perdais el salar de Uyuni, es un sitio muy muy especial y no podeis dejas de verlo.
    Besos y abrazos a los dos.
    Juan Carlos

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    1. Hola Juan Carlos! Nos alegra saber que no todo el mundo, en España, piensa que estamos tan locos. De momento nos estamos adaptando a las cuestas, o cuestones, de los Andes. También a la altura. El salar está en nuestros planes, y por lo visto del 90% de los ciclistas que hacen Sudamérica de Norte a Sur o viceversa. De hecho, pretendemos hacer un par de noches acampando allí, si es que conseguimos aguantar los -20 grados de por la noche!

      Si tienes algún otro consejo, o lugares que visitar, tanto de los Andes como quizá Brasil, ponte en contacto. Un fuerte abrazo y espero podamos vernos a la vuelta.

      Alberto

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