Thursday, December 13, 2012

Avoid Winters Bite!

I’m more hard core than most, however as I get older I find that the comforts of my cage are really appealing, especially in the winter months. Weeks ago I agreed to visit the in laws for christmas this year. Due to an unfortunate series of events my cage will be in the shop for the week prior to Christmas, when I planned to take my trip. This means it’s time to get my hard core gear together and man up. But not in an incredibly stupid way either. On December 21st I will be riding from Reno, NV to Bishop, CA through the Sierra’s. I plan on there being disagreeable weather. This is the outline of the prep work and route I plan on taking to get there.

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Firstly I checked the weather, but over the weeks I’ve checked it it’s changed from day to day. I figure even on a nice day it will be somewhere between 15 - 45 degrees. From this I determine my riding gear. For the ride I will be wearing the following:
Under Armor Long John pants & socks
Under Armor long sleeve shirt
Wool Socks
Work Boots
Carhartt Work Pants
Short Sleeve T-Shirt
Long Sleeve Long John Shirt
Wool Jacket
Wool cap
two pair of gloves, one insulating cotton, one wool mittens.

This allows me to strip off layers if I find that I am overheating and allows me to put on more layers in the event that it is incredibly cold.

Besides that which I have listed above I will be packing some gear which I find to be necessity.
I will break up this gear into categories for convenience. The first category is gear that I pack year round, no matter the weather or temperature and conditions. The second is gear I will pack solely for the more hostile conditions.

Always Gear:
First Aid Kit - Includes almost anything and everything I would need in the event that I crash. However it also includes lip balm, sun screen, band-aids, neosporin and aspirin. Which I find crucial on any road trip. Sometimes the little comforts can prevent huge discomforts.

Space Blanket - Another survival item that takes little to no space which I would much rather have than not have.

A change of clothes kept in a watertight bag. Typically these aren’t fancy. For me they are just another set of dry long johns, sox, and a hat. I also pack a hooded windbreaker that folds up very tightly. When I have had reason to use these I’ve been thankful they’re there. In every case so far it’s been in the middle of summer on some trip or another where I overextended myself or gotten a little off the beaten path. It’s worth noting that when you pack these don’t plan on using them much and make sure when you put them in the bag they are completely dry. Nothing is worse than mildew ruining a perfectly good set of survival clothes.

Emergency Food Kit- For me this includes a small thing of peanut butter, a tiger bar or two, a bottle of water, high-calorie drink mix and a small bag of dried fruit or nuts. Everything in this pack should be replaced every 6 months or so because while it should last until the end of time, it doesn’t necessarily.

Steel Wool
9v Battery
Flashlight (double check the batteries and it’s always good to have an extra set.)
Reflective Vest

For the rest of my gear I’ve saved some room for just a few items that I might want.
Wool blanket, Change of undergarments, a bivy sack and -15 degree sleeping bag, 10’x10’ tarp (typically in my bags no matter the weather), heavy water proof jacket and pants.

All the other fun stuff I’ll want my wife will be taking down a few days prior in her cage. It’s also important to let someone know when you’ll be leaving and when you expect to arrive and tell them to come rescue you if you haven’t checked in within 10 hours of your estimated arrival or notified them otherwise. This way in the worst scenario you will only be stranded and cold for 10-15 hours if nature plots against you. You should also let them know which route you will take to get to your destination and be ready to ride the route you planned.

During the winter this is especially important because engine problems, weather and any other situation that can keep you off the road could mean serious trouble. Especially on a lonely stretch of highway or in the back country some place.

All things considered be safe and know the conditions of the roads before you go. Pack accordingly and know when better safe than sorry and be willing to shack up a night along the way after you check in to keep from a fatal accident.

If you know any must see stops along 395 from Reno to Bishop I’d love to hear them and add them to my route. Keep in mind that snow could be an issue. In my next blog I’ll take a look at some of the places along the route that I’ve been or places I would like to see.

E-mail me at to point out anything I’ve missed or anything I need to visit on my trip.

Thank you in advance!

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