Day 1 - 07/14/2015

Tampa, FL to Tsali,NC - Departure 10.48AM : Arrival 10:32PM

The first day was more about prepping, packing and driving so not much to cover. I'll use this time to list the gear and share some thoughts about the process and trip.

I started early finalizing the gear list, packing the truck and thinking through things to make sure I didn't forget anything needed. Getting the gear together was more about time vs. what to take since it is pretty straight forward about what to take and I had gotten many things together prior to the departure day. It was mainly organizing the small items like batteries, chargers, gear accessories etc... simply because I did not want to purchase things I already had.

This kept me busy and diverted my attention away from the uncertain road ahead because I was feeling a little apprehensive about many things related to taking a trip for a month or so. I did not plan much regarding where we visit or what route to take. I only had a general idea of the route beyond the first travel day. I did know that I was going to make it to Tsali campground near Bryson, NC to meet my son, Steven, which was good enough for one day. I'll worry about the next step as things progress.

The main thing I wanted to do was make sure I found anything mountain biking, kayaking and/or hiking in each place we went. Who really can plan 9500+ miles and 37 days of travel other than having a general idea of the next location and that is even relative. In retrospect, I see the value of planning a little more than I did for the sake of efficiency. Clearly, I could have accomplished more and done more biking and hiking had I slowed down a bit and focused on the nearby activities vs driving my butt off almost daily. On the next trip - already planned for September 12th - 21st I am going to do exactly this.

Each place, especially out west, has so many things to do in the outdoor related arena that it can be overwhelming. But I have been down this road before and I like it. Each day opens up the door for just about anything you would want to do. I had great days and bad but never failed to move on and know that something new is just around the corner. This is really the adventure part - not knowing the next place or what to do there. Sometimes I was amazed how I wanted to return home to comfort and 'safety' only to wake, find a cool hike or a sweet bike trail where I felt inspired once again.

Here a couple shots of the bikes and SUP from the trip + some experimenting with aperture mode.

Yeti and Stumpjumper 404 Board in mountains

Paddleboard 1404Carbon SOAP V3
Kayak1Wave SportDiesel 60
SUP Paddle1QuickbladeKanaha ACReally light and strong paddle - Fixed Length
Kayak Paddle1Advanced TechnologySamurai ClassA little heavier than I would like - well built
Mountain Bike1SpecializedStumpjumper FSR Expert26" wheels
Mountain Bike1Yeti ( Custom Build )ASR-7
Bike Helmets2GiroBasic Helmets
Bike Gloves2 Pair
Camelback1CamelbackM.U.L.EUsed for longer treks
Camelback1CamelbackClassicUsed for Shorter treks
Backpack1Granite GearBlaze AC60I love this Backpack - Ultralight and Comfortable
Backpack1Sierra DesignsDiscovery 30Ultralight / Discontinued
Tent1Big AgnesFly Creek UL1Nice tent but requires stakes
Sleeping Bag1GoliteDaze 40Oddly Golite went out of business
Sleeping Bag1Therm-a-RestSlumberjack 40My go to bag
Sleeping Pad2Therm-a-RestNeoAir XLiteNeoAir ftw - anyone want other one?
Hammock & Bug Net1ENOSinglenestWill uprade this to a Pronest - much lighter
Pillow1Therm-a-RestCompressibleThis is pretty good pillow - Stays fluffed
Knife1CRKTLiong Mah Design #5Light
Multitool1LeathermanSkeletoolHad this for years - ultralight
Stove1Jet BoilFlash Cooking System
Utensil Set1NoNameKnife,Fork and SpoonTitanium
Dehydrated Food4 MealsMountain HouseVegetarian( tamale pie )
First Aid Kit1NoNameJust a basic kit
Rain Jacket1Outdoor ResearchHelium 2Ultralight
Rain Pant1MarmotPrecipUltralight
Dry Sack - Compression2Sea-To-SummitEvent
Dry Sack2Sea-To-SummitUltraSIL Dry BagTwo Sizes
Head Lamp1
Head Lamp1
Clothing7 Days
Camera1NikonD550064Gb card
Lens1NikkorAF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Video Camera1GoProHERO 4 BlackExtended battery
Binoculars1RedfieldRebel 10x42
Cell Phone1MotorolaDroid TurboWent through 2 phones on this trip
Cooler1+ lots of beer
Bike ToolsVarious tools - enough to get the job done
Bike PartsTubes, Stans, Tires, Chains etc ...
Snorkle GearReally didn't need this stuff