Well March sure came and went like a breeze.
Last week of course I ordered my new Adventure Riding Gear. I am super excited to start getting it in. The first of it should show up tomorrow (Jacket and Pants).
I also ordered a top box from Happy Trails. I am hoping (fingers crossed), that with this top box, I will be able to pack all the essential items I will need for my trip without having to purchase larger panniers. I see no reason that it would not work out, as I have now successfully done 2 camping trips (more on that later) with what I have.
The one draw back is I ordered some Roto Pax jugs to originally mount to the rear of the new panniers I was going to buy. Because I was going to originally purchase the 10.5 inch Panniers from Happy Trails, they would have fit perfectly and protected on the very back of them, allowing me to keep an extra gallon of gas on one side, while using the other side for a gallon of water.
This may end up being an issue now, as my only alternatives are to mount them either on the sides of the current panniers, which in turn will make my overall foot print wider, as well as if I do drop the bike, there is the possibility of it puncturing the container.
The other alternative is to mount them to my newly purchased top box. It is large enough that I could mount them either one on each side, or one on the front, and one in the back.
The overall problem with this approach is, I now have 2 gallons of liquid mounted higher on the bike, raising the center of gravity. I do not know how much an extra 16lbs will effect handling. I believe my only option is going to be to toss a bunch of weight into the top box after it is mounted, load up the bike like I am going on a trip, and ride around to see how it feels.
The top box will be primarily used for lighter items such as food, and then storage when off the bike.
I also finally got around to ordering some Freeze-Dried Foods from Healthy Harvest, a local Northwest company located in Vancouver, Wa.
I ended up ordering from them for 2 main reasons.
One, they are local. Shipping is a day.
Two, they offered what I was looking for in #2.5 cans. This is important, because if I don’t like something, I am out about ten bucks instead of forty. Also, no need to have so much during my recipe phase of testing.
I’m looking forward to diving in and trying it all out. I picked up Sausage Crumbles, Whole Powdered Egg, and White Meat Chicken Chunks.
The plans for the sausage crumble and eggs should be apparent. They will be used for breakfast items such as scrambled eggs and sausage and biscuits and gravy.
I am getting ready to make another order from them, as I have continued to expand my ideas, and have come up with some good ones that should work out great.
While I am on that subject, here is a list of items I am working on, or have worked on already to make for my trip.
Alfredo: I have hopes to make an easy throw in pot recipe. By “throw in pot” I mean, an simple recipe that involves just adding the ingredients at stages without any other prep.
Beef Burrito/Soft Taco with Spanish Rice: One of those easy, throw all the ingredients into a pot of boiling water, let stand, slop in tortilla and enjoy!
Cheese Tortellini in a meaty marinara sauce: While trying out the dehydrated tortellini to see how well it tasted (Never tried the dry stuff before), I realized that with the extra water that it takes to make it, that once it is done cooking you could easily add some Tomato powder, spices, and freeze-dried beef crumble to make a meaty marinara sauce.
Chicken and Dumplings: This has already been covered in a prior article. Originally came up with this as an analog to my Biscuits and Gravy Recipe. It’s delicious, and filling. No reason not to take this along with me!
General Tsao’s Chicken: Chicken Chunks in Sauce with Rice
Hamburger Gravy and Mashed Potatoes: Another recipe that should be easy to make. Boil a half cup of water, add to mashed potatoes and mix while bringing another cup of water to boil with the gravy ingredients.
Mac and Cheese: Same as Alfredo. Hope to have a throw in pot recipe.
Teriyaki Chicken and Rice: Same as the General Tso’s. Chicken Chunks, sauce, and rice.
So as you can see, I have 8 dinners. I will take 3 of each kind with me. That will give me 24 days worth of dinners, which is more than enough.
For breakfast items, I have come up with a few recipes, mainly based around eggs, potatoes and sausage.
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy: Yum
Mashed Potato Cakes: 2 part meal. Boil water, add to potato mix with some grated cheddar cheese, pat into patty, add a little oil to fry pan and cook. Will most likely add Sausage Crumble to the mix to bring up the protein value.
Omelet: Cheese and Sausage to compliment it!
Pancakes: Simple water and Powder mix, cook, done. Yum! Add some scrambled eggs and it’s double Yum!
Scrambled Eggs: This can be with Sausage, by themselves, or added with other things. Simple morning treat! Throw it in a tortilla for a breakfast burrito as well!
Yorkshire Pudding: I’m going to try… It’s a long shot, but it may be worth trying! I’ll have to space the pot from the flame using something such as my toaster maybe. This will be an odd one, but I will have all of the ingredients in dry form to make it. Milk, Eggs, Flour, Salt. So simple to mix, maybe not simple to try and “bake”.
That’s it for Breakfast Items. There is enough variation between them, and what can be done with them, that I think I will be fine. Again, I will take enough for my 3 weeks worth of travel.
My plan is to have everything pre-packaged and ready to go. Just pull out a meal, and go at it.
I also got to try out something else this weekend for cooking, and that was my Chicken and Dumpling recipe in the field.
Thursday, a buddy of mine asked if I wanted to go camping Friday night. Just Friday, that’s it, as we both had things to do for Sunday.
So I decided “What they heck” and packed up Thursday Night. I was in charge of food, he was in charge of “beverages”. I was totally ok with this arrangement.
He was up for trying my Chicken and Dumplings recipe, which he read about on here, and so I took along a box of Jiffy, and a packet of Soup mix.
It worked like a champ! I even tried out hand mixing the biscuit dough in a ziplock back that I had put everything in. Everything worked exactly as I hoped it would, and in about 15 minutes time, we had hot chicken soup with dumplings.
As I had previously thought, one single packet of each is enough to feed two grown men. It makes a good amount of food.
Camping itself was fun. We left his place at 5:30 on Friday evening and rode down south to Sahara Creek Campground, a DNR campground east of Elbe just a couple miles before Ashford.
We made camp just as the sun disappeared and the night time sky opened up above us with a bright moon.
I made dinner while he worked on getting the fire started (we packed our own bundles of firewood on the back of the bikes), ate, and then relaxed the rest of the evening next to the fire.
Took our nights rest, woke up to make coffee, packed up, and headed back to be home at 1pm on Saturday afternoon.
A quick, and enjoyable night out that allowed me to once again figure out how I’m going to do my bike trip.
I still need a lot of setup and take down practice. I also need some dry bags that I can trust. As it stands, the Sea to Summit ones I purchased at REI for $25 each are already worn out, and that’s from 2 weekend trips.
The ones I purchased from Walmart at $12 for a set of 3, are actually still like new. Talk about unexpected.
My buddy tells me that I can just take them back to REI though, and they will exchange or give me credit for them. I’ll try that out when I go to pick up my backpack I’ve been wanting to get. Finally got my 20% off members coupon.
Other than that, I’m looking forward to the coming weeks. Only two and a half more months until I set off.