Adventures..,similar but different

Lately I’ve been ruminating over all the similarities of the adventures I undertake. Mainly Ragbrai, Burning Man and the PCT. They are all quite similar but different, but things I gravitate to all the same.

Check the links to see what these are all about, because I could go on for days about them all. Basically Ragbrai is a weeklong bike ride across Iowa, Burning Man is well TTITD, and PCT a long distance thru hike (for me anyways).


In each of these experiences you really want to pack ALL THE THINGS, you convince yourself you need ALL THE THINGS (you really don’t). THING is you have to transport the things. You pack them on your bike, in vehicle or on your back. I’ve seen bikes weighted with more than 60 pounds of ‘gear’ on Ragbrai, but your rolling so….hills are a b***h thou. On the PCT, for your own enjoyment you will want a whole lot less, a shakedown will take care of that. Burning Man well heck if it won’t all fit in or on top of your car you upgrade to a Uhaul!



There is a level of physical and mental preparedness that is necessary for each of these endeavors. If you choose to go unprepared, which some do, you will wise up quickly pay dearly. Each one of these contain a level of danger involved that could, well, result in death. But hey, nothing like a little death and danger to make things exciting.


On both Ragbrai and the PCT there are a lot of people willing to help you out. On Ragbrai they are called Iowans; on the PCT they are called Trail Angels. I’ve heard tales of how generous trail angels are; I have experienced the generosity of Iowans. These are people who when a bunch strangers on bikes roll into town they open there hearts and homes. Iowans will let you stay in their house/camp on their front lawn, do your laundry, drive you the next town, fill you with adult beverages, then grill you dinner! One time we camped in the town square of a very small town, in the morning some local ladies brought out the best the best egg casserole and oj for breakfast, just because. At Burning man this comes in many forms, people helping put up your camp, gifting food, presents, hugs, rides, even a shoulder to lean on.


Then there is the time. Ragbrai runs a 7 days (+3 if you bag out from Des Moines), Burning Man runs a week also (unless you have early entry or stay late then it could be 10-14 days). The PCT 4-5 months, time commitment indeed. So if you a looking a adventure, I highly recommend checking your vacation time then heading out to any of these. Why not? You never know what dangerously amazing experience you might have!


Gear, oh the choices

Recently I had a lady ask me if I was scared to camp alone. Not really. That is probably the least of my fears. This isn’t my first rodeo, just my first time in this arena. Once I did a solo self-contained bike ride from Des Moines to St. Louis. There was a lot of heat, hills, solitude and stealth camping by myself.



Actually the biking that I used to do and backpacking are sorta kinda similar. When I first started biking RAGBRAI I had my road bike with on little bag on it; my overnight things were carried on a bus. Then I became a bagger added a basket/bags to my bike and started hauling my overnight stuff. So much easier to haul 40 pounds on your bike than on your back!

So I have been researching ultra light gear. There are SO many choices, SO many reviews. My wish list is below(subject to change once I read another review). Only thing I’ve settled on is a Thermarest Z-Lite pad and Black Diamond poles. Usually
I camp without a pad, I know, gasp! Just how I roll, however for a 5 months I better go with a pad. I’ve been using my ski poles to hike with up to now to see if I really liked using poles. Answer: yes. I hope to narrow down my choice of a sleeping bag and tent by July, then onto the pack! Once I have my pack it’s on!!!

In the meantime, my mother is coming for a visit. Not sure if I should even mention this whole PCT deal. She was not at all happy about my solo bike trip. Maybe I should keep it on the down low for now.

Wish List (short list)
Shoes -Brooks Cascadias
Sleeping Bag -Kelty Cosmic Down 20F
Backpack -ULA Circuit
Tent – Tarptent Double Rainbow
Headlamp – Mammut S Lite
Sierra Designs DriDown Cloud Puffy
Gaiters – Dirty Girl
*Trekking Poles Black Diamond
*Sleeping Pad -Thermarest Z Lite