Saturday, April 09, 2011

leaning more heavily toward the ADT

The more I think about it, the more I think the American Discovery Trail is the way to go, despite the winter-related hazards. Ultimately, those hazards come down to blizzards, and the worst that would happen is that I'd have to hunker down for an indefinite period.

The southerly route that I had initially thought about walking would be more problematic, in my opinion: first, I'd have to plan the route; next, I'd have to worry about all the road hazards, just as I did while out west in 2008, when I was constantly worried about being smashed by a semi. There's also the fact that I'd need more people to help me along that route: chase cars, runners for food, water, and other supplies, etc. Finally, the cauldron of the Southwest's desert climate would represent a real danger.

The ADT, meanwhile, is both pedestrian-friendly and bike-able, which means it ought to be fairly smooth going (unless "bike-able" means mountain bikes).

As much as I would have liked to swing south and meet some of the folks I know in places like Georgia and Texas, I don't think that's going to happen. If I routinely tweet my location along the ADT, though, they might be able to come up and meet me.



Anonymous said...

This comment is a bit late, but it was a long week.

Regardless of the route you take, you will encounter long stretches of HOT days (possibly with cold nights) and mountains out here in the west. I drove US 50 across Nevada and Utah way back when, which looks like it approximates the ADT, and the temperature soared above 120º (I know, because it was 120º when I got to Grand Junction, and it was noticeably cooler than it had been for most of the day.) So you need to be prepared to cope with these conditions. That kind of heat will kill you if you aren't adequately prepared. It might well make some of the hi-tech clothing at REI worth the price, though it might be possible to find it for less $$ elsewhere. I also recommend holing up in the shade, and being prepared to make a goodly patch of your own shade, during the peak sun of the day, and walking at night when possible, over these stretches. Which stretch for 100s of miles. It is a dry heat--very dry-- which makes it a bit less miserable, but which sucks the water out of you at a great rate, so carrying adequate water will be essential.

I remember urging this on you once before, before your first walk, but I'm going to try again. REI (and no doubt other places) stock some really nice 3-wheel jobbies designed for pushing toddlers. They aren't cheap, but they look like they could be perfect for your walk. Maybe. It would allow you to load your backpack on where the toddler is intended to go, pull a thingie out to give it some protection from sun and rain, store extra stuff under the seat (like water), and push the weight instead of carry it, which I would think would be much better for your knees. The rolling action is very nice and easy, and the front wheel swivels. They seem designed to put the weight more over the back wheels, which probably helps with negotiating rougher terrain. The wheels have a diameter of at least 1 foot and are clearly designed to work off-pavement. Though they might be a bit narrow for serious mud or sand--the tires are a bit like those on a mountain bike. For flat and uphill, I think it would work very well--with a load on it, you could even lean on it as you walk, using your body weight to propel it and easing your load on your knees and feet even more. Downhill, at least a steep downhill, might take a bit of thought--maybe you could figure a way of walking with it behind you instead of in front, I don't know. It might be a bit awkward getting it up and down stairs for nights in motels, but I don't think it'd be too bad--unload the backpack, take it up, then come back for the vehicle, which weighs considerably less than your loaded backpack will, I think. And I'm sure it can be fitted into any chase vehicle that might be available for portions of your walk. It could also be something to attach a shelter to when you need a patch of shade where there is none naturally occurring.

I am so convinced the cart (I don't know what to call it--it isn't exactly a stroller) is a good idea, that as an inducement for you to at least check it out I offer to pay $250 towards the price (they ain't cheap, and I know you are cash-strapped). Let me know if you do check it out and decide to take me up on the offer. You know how to find me.


Kevin Kim said...

Thanks so much for the offer, but I'd rather be able to swing my arms. How about a rig than can be pulled, not pushed? Essentially, I'm looking for a wheeled, collapsible frame (lightweight) that could hold my backpack when I'm too tired to carry it the normal way. These would have to be large, durable wheels that could endure the pounding of rough surfaces. Does such an animal exist, or must it be custom-made?

Anonymous said...

I've never seen one. I'm sure you could get one made, but have no idea who could do it, or how you'd get hold of the strong, light-weight materials that would make it practical. Would you consider the three-wheeler with a harness that would allow you to pull it like a beast of burden? The disadvantage would be, you'd be committing to trails wheels could navigate. The upside would be you could carry more with you, in an accessible way.