Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Denver is a place where you can be.

I woke up and sat with a coffee and bagel within the same five minutes. Ken's schedule required a couchsurfing host or some camping to be found. I checked my email, and had two options already. Great!

We went to the park to walk a dog and make a lunchtime visit to Jeanette who was teaching science at a summer camp. Then I was driven downtown to some outdoor gear stores to poke around and eventually make my way back by foot. My sleeping bag is not up for cold weather. Getting a better one might be a good idea. Good ones are expensive, but that's the kind that I want. I looked at options, and gained valuable insight.

Flying Tara in and dealing with hotels was a considerable financial setback. I'm not complaining; just calculating. A month more of bicycle riding, a plane ticket AND a sleeping bag might be too difficult. I'm not exactly living off of rice and beans at this point either. I'm not being fancy, but I don't want to spend my way out of staying relatively comfortable.


I walked the five miles back to Ken's and loaded up the Hoopty. I cruised three miles away to Dan's house.

Dan moved to Denver last week. Already he's hosting someone on Couchsurfing. He doesn't have furniture yet, but neither does the woods.

Denver has a robust couchsurfing community, and there are weekly gatherings at a bar. Dan and I went over to see what was what. I got a pint and a name tag, and eventually a couple tacos. Anyone related to the couchsurfing project is likely to be more interesting than the average person on the street. I met some vandwellers who just moved into a van three months ago. I tried to tell them nicely that they had to get rid of all the back seats, and find a twin mattress. Right away. We talked about resources and experiences. I was excited to meet them. As far as conversations at bars go, I'd say this was one of the better ones.

I was also clued in to possible exciting bicycle-slash-drinking activities for tomorrow night...


Nicholas Carman said...

I have always carried 20deg bags for all the cool-weather touring, especially for spring and fall. I picked up a synthetic "37deg" bag for a nice lightweight summer bag and have been less than impressed. But, what do you expect for $100 and a bit over a pound of sleeping bag, with a less than impressive synthetic insulation. Nonetheless, the synthetic is simple and durable and tends to feel less damp on a warm/humid summer night than some down bags. I just ordered a VBL from Riv; figured that for $38 bucks it was definitely worth trying to see if it was something I might like on cold nights (it also clocks in at about 6 very compressible ounces).

Another solution: sew a cotton sheet into the shape of your sleeping bag and use it as a liner (or purchase a liner, still cheaper than a bag). Adds some warmth, and helps keep your nasty body away from the sensitive nylon material, and ultimately keep your oily grime away from the insulation. Thoroughly washing and drying the bag cannot be underestimated.

I have always liked Marmot bags. Seem to be well constructed vs. an REI bag that consistently lost down filling through the seams. I have owned several for the price of one thanks to REI.

Pixy Stoneskipper said...

That bag you were using to sleep outside on the C&O trip seemed pretty good. Which one was that?

The good news is that Tara brought my better sleeping bag from my van, and I trust that one to work just fine for my current needs. That should save some money.

After leaving Denver, I have about another month of horsing around. Or as long as funds keep up, and I want to be outside.

When do you think you'll be closest to riding in the same area as me? I'll be in Missoula-ish areas in 20ish days. I'm making up those times and places, but it can't be too far off.

We can get together and talk too much about bicycles.

Pixy Stoneskipper said...

Oh - and what's up with owning "several for the price of one?" You return them, or hoot happened?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to check back. I'll be in Missoula in about 50 days (also made up times and places). Leaving NY right now...seriously. That was a Marmot 20deg someething...I've had three diff models thanks to REI. Surprisingly, Ididn't like the Ultralight one as the shell material was fragile, and allowed moisture to penetrate easily. The down was also highly sensitive, and would deflate rather significantly. I under up with the Marmot Pinnacle...15-20 deg, 750-800 down fill, shoulder/neck area baffle keeps warm air in, durable shell, still pretty darn light. The Sawtooth (lesser model) was great and durable, but ultimately I wanted a lighter bag with a less "coarse" down fill. The Helium, ultralight-expensive bag was the one with the tissue thin shell and fancy down that felt "thin". It required more delicate care than I could offer it. And no baffle, which adds lots of warmth in my experience...to save weight I assume. If you are in Seattle/WA/OR in August, my buddy Kyle from VO is biking from Seattle to SF, and would likely be happy to ride with someone for a few days. He's the one with the cool Polyvalent touring bike and occasional VO hand model, here: http://yfrog.com/z/h4mumjcj

Anonymous said...

BTW, Path Less Pedaled perps are coming your way on the Trans-Am(-ish) route. Look out for some overloaded Bromptons.