Monday, May 16, 2011

Roaming Rally TCAT trail ride

Boy, am I looking forward to the last weekend of May. Big ride planned. Essentially, some local guys are heading up a giant project to map out a dual-sport riding trail that will cross Canada from coast-to-coast without using any paved roads. The project is called the Trans-Canada Adventure Trail, or TCAT. On the weekend of May 27-29, a large group (60 dual sport bikes) will ride the section from Richmond to Bancroft. This would normally be a 3 1/2 hour drive by car on the highway, but taking trails through the woods, gravel and logging roads, we will ride the entire weekend. We'll be camping Friday and Saturday nights, and people will head home on Sunday.

For this awesome 3-day weekend of riding, there's is much prep work to be done.

A bunch of stuff is on order for the bike: Wolfman side racks -- onto which I will mount my indesctructible and waterproof Pelican 1430 top-loading cases. I've recently installed a Pat Walsh rear luggage rack for mounting either my Givi E37 top case, or possibly the Pelican 1450 case (not sure yet).

Pelican 1430 cases.

I also bought a new tent: an Alps Mountaineering Neptune 2 from It was being sold in their Outlet Store, marked down 60% because it's been discontinued. Sleeps 2, floor space is 90" x 60" (37 sq. ft.), 46" high, weighs 6 lbs.  It was normally priced at $199 but I got it for just $89. I also bought the matching footprint ground sheet at 50% off, for just $12. The fly is not shown in this photo, but it covers the entire tent. It seems to have very positive reviews for a $200 tent.

Alps Mountaineering Neptune 2

And today was the annual Mountain Equipment Co-op Gear Swap. There are always plenty of deals to be had for those who go early... so I did... and I scored a major bargain on a sleeping bag. Well, actually, it's considered an overbag. It is meant to provide extra warmth for sleeping bags that are not rated for really cold temps. It was brand new. They guy selling it had purchased it for use on a particular camping trip but it apparently never got cold enough, so he never used it. And I got it for just $40. He told me he paid well over $100, and I just saw on the MEC website that the long version (this guy was 6' 6" tall) retails for $148. It's super compact, and weighs only a little under 900 grams (2 lbs).

"Cut wide to fit over modern mummies, and adds 5 to 10°C to the bag's rating. It provides an extra layer of insulation against the cold, and more importantly, the WINDSTOPPER® shell protects the bag from external moisture. The overbag also reduces built-up condensation from frost and the sleeper's own perspiration. The result is your sleeping bag's insulation stays drier and more effective."

I've got a brand new Michelin T63 rear tire with a new heavy duty tube mounted on my spare rear rim. And my new front tire should be here in a few days.

Also picked up 2 spare lithium-ion batteries for my GoPro 960 camera. $25 each from Best Buy. So now I have a total of 3 batteries. I've got two 8GB and a 16GB memory cards, but I'm planning to get a 32GB card later this week.


And while in New Zealand last month, I picked up this awesome backpacker's stove from Kathmandu. It's ultra compact and lightweight. Made of titanium, it burns standard propane/butane blend canisters. It, too was 50% off, costing me just under $50 CDN.

While at MEC today, I grabbed some storm-proof matches and a waterproof match case, plus a glow-in-the-dark Nalgene water bottle (1 Litre), Musquol insect repellent, and a few other little doo-dads. 

This rally ride / camping trip is still 2 weeks away but I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will be dry.