June 3, 2008

6/3/08 Kansas City, MO - USA

Finally booked my flight to Ulaanbaatar Mongolia. Believe it or not, even with gasoline prices skyrocketing up, the flight cost is the same as it was three months ago. Fortunate for me. Looks like my three flights will put me in the air a total of 24 hours of flying time. I leave Kansas City in the morning of September 3rd and arrive in the late evening the next day. Talk about jet lag! For those keeping track, I fly Kansas City to San Fransisco to Seoul Korea to UB.

More thunderstorms yesterday only got things wet and drove up the humidity to 100% when the sun finally came out a blazin'. Instead of going out, spent most of the day getting those last minute projects done: patch the holes in the waterproof tent bag; modify my cycling sandals (using duct tape) to cover up my heels to keep them from drying out too much; modify my MintyBoost to use three AAA batteries and use an iPod connector instead of a USB socket; repair the zip-off pants that I inadvertently melted trying to repair them the last time; and finish reinforcing the ripped crotch in my winter pants. Still to do is hem my way-too-long rain pants (something I will especially need since Mike tells me we might need this wetter-than-normal year in Canada).

I published my gear list yesterday in case any of you were thinking of taking a bike tour and were wondering what to bring. And while this is a lot less than most cyclists I've seen carry, I still probably have too many 'comfort' and 'just-in-case' items. Since I had the list in hand, I figured I'd pack everything real quick. It almost didn't fit in my panniers. If anything, I should have more room than the last trip. Could it be my clothes are bigger. Nah!! Just a few items to buy like lighters, lotion, etc.

Finally got my just-published Lonely Planet: Canada guidebook and promptly took it apart, removing all the pages I didn't need, and getting it spiral-bound at Kinko's. That way I can just rip out pages as I don't need as we cross from province to province. It was just published so it should be very up to date. Also got the newly published Lonely Planet: Mongolia guidebook too. Yippie!!

I love getting mail. This morning there was a little note from Barbara, one of the pilgrims I walked with in Spain last year on the Camino de Santiago wishing me well on my trip across Canada.

I think Mother Nature is preparing me for Canada. More thunderstorms seem to roll in every six hours or so, some with heavy rain and hail. Yippie! Ran more errands today buying those last minute items I just can't live without. [laugh] And second-guessing those things I already have. [smile]

Had dinner with my good friend Jason, a co-worker from Baptist Medical Center, unfortunately his wife Ginger couldn't make it. Jason is now getting his doctorate at KU. He and I have had fun running a few races in the past, most notably a couple of trail races. He took me to Minsky's, where else, where I also got a chance to say goodbye to a few more of my favorite waitresses, Liz & Alison. Rachel was there too but I'll see her again before I leave I'm sure. It was a good visit, and I know Jason will be here in KC when I get back many, many months from now.

Getting the Schwinn mountain bike ready to lend to Katie at Backwoods. I'd rather my stuff get used while I'm gone instead of gathering dust for the next sixteen months. Still have a few little projects to finish but mostly it's just a waiting game to see if the wheel gets here tomorrow like Phil Wood & Co. promised. If so, we'll put the complete bike together for a final test ride on Thursday before taking it apart on Friday, packing it away in my airline bags.

Three, count 'em, three days & it's off in the wild blue yonder!