Test from tablet

2 01 2013

So I went and bought a new tablet.  Hopefully I can get away with just this on the next trip. At least that was the plan – it’s really just a new toy 🙂

Edit: 3 January 4.5billion and 13

More on the toy later.

I forgot that people who are following the blog would get an email that it’s alive again. I was only trying to test the WordPress Android app (which seems to work pretty well, but the on screen keyboard leaves a bit to be desired). Woops. Not to worry. As John has reminded me, before I talk about future trips (which I hope there will be one) I should ‘complete’ the last trip. I’m somewhere in China or Pakistan still – a year later, I still haven’t looked at some of the photos I took in India…

It’s a bit embarrassing that I haven’t made a single post in 2012. Not so much Adventure, but plenty of work.

Almost a new way to go

10 08 2007

Well, a bit happened in the last few days – so much I haven’t even been on the net.

I spent a morning with John looking for motorbikes in Quito. As I’ve said before, this is a strange town. There is a complete absence of a second hand market in motorbikes. The few that I could find were ridiculously overpriced (not much less than new and beaten up terribly). So after an hour or so of helpful phone calls  John, I decided not to buy a cheap Chinese import (if a dealer tells you the brake master cylinder is dodgy, and the bikes are not put together well over the phone you should reconsider getting one to ride across the continent). So the bike was out.

John then took me to  a Land Rover repair guy who had a few Series 3 ´Rovers for sale. Considering these are early ’80’s cars, they were is remarkable condition. I was sorely tempted, I had even sussed out the paperwork required, and it was all possible. What a change that would be, from a bike to a car in an hour or so.

After a few minutes consideration, I decided that that is a trip I would love to do, but not this time. So it was back to a motorbike or buses. Until I met a Dutch cyclist who had just come from Ushuia. That was rather unfortunate. I started talking to him about the route, etc, and complaining that I couldn’t find the panniers, racks, etc here otherwise I might do the return leg of his journey. I got seriously keen again on the bike idea (and much to my mothers disappointment I’m sure) changed my mind again. I bought his front panniers, and his bike computer, and stole a few of his ideas re route. Meeting someone like this was a serious coincidence (I later found out that a Swiss couple going from Ushuia to Canada had passed through 2 days ago – I saw them ride past me, but didn’t stop them to talk. I also met a Belgian couple who had finished a Buenos Aires to Quito tour yesterday – perhaps there are more cyclists than I thought.)

Well, to cut a long story short (anyone who has been shopping with me will agree that it a long process) I eventually bought a new Orbea bike. I found some pannier racks after a great deal of searching. I’ve bought the best saddle and gloves I could find – hopefully this trip doesn’t destroy me.

And yesterday I rode to the equator, only 25km north. The trip has to at least start at the equator. I didn’t take all of my gear, but a fair portion of it. And I can tell you now – the hills / mountains will be all sorts of fun 🙂

And today I may or may not leave Quito. It’s 10am, I haven’t packed and I don’t really know which route I should take. Perhaps I’ll just go a short distance.

It’s a damn long way to Ushuia. 12000kms. I´ve come 25. Perhaps 6 or 7 months. To be honest, it is a little daunting. But hey, I’ve got nothing else I should be doing. This is going to be a hell of a trip 🙂

Package from Canada

30 05 2007

I got a package from Canada today. It contained my latest camping gadget – another single man tent. This one is a bit different though – it’s a hammock (from Hennesy Hammocks). I thought I’d try one out as a possible replacement for my Macpac Ultralight.

The hammock is pretty small (when packed) and probably about the same internal area… of course I set it up in the backyard after dinner! I think the best part may be saving weight and volume by not having to carry a thermarest, but the obvious downside will be needing to find trees each night I want to camp. Casting my mind back, there have been very few campsites I’ve stayed at without trees, or at least without trees within a few minutes walk. So hopefully this wont be a major problem until the Altiplano (Bolivian highlands), where, to all accounts, there are no trees. For days. Oh well, sleeping under the stars might not be so bad for a while.

I suspect that gringo travellers of any kind will cause a stir as they pass through villages in SA, but one who carries a hammock might be a bit more of a novelty.

I wonder if camping with all of this single person gear is contributing to my relationship status?

Gear gear gear gear

26 05 2007

Today I spent a pleasant hour or so in the gear shops. I would have preferred to be doing something else, but there you are.

I’m struggling to think of things to buy. I think I have nearly everything I need (except a new Goretex, pack and bike – minor stuff), and anything else will be just dead weight. But of course I do need a phrase book -so I got one from Looney Planet. I may have also spent a (err, long…) while in front of the travel books section in the book store. Now that I am almost (psychologically) ready to go, travel books, travel blogs, anything is giving me ideas and wanting me to get out there NOW! Instead of buying a book like that, I got a bilingual story book – the same story in Spanish on one page, and English translation on the opposite. Let’s see if I try and read it.

As far as gear… I’m going to try some Exofficio underwear. Heard good things, lets see how they go. And I got some boardies from MD’s in expectation of surfing again tomorrow – although the surfboard owners have already said it will be a late start due to cocktail party commitments tonight.

Trangia vs MSR Whisperlite

12 05 2007

Ok, I know this is nerdy, but I did test these guys just to see which one really is better.

I’ve had a Trangia 25 (the bigger size) for ages and ages and it’s been great for all of that time. I went and bought an MSR whisperlite shaker-jet, basically because I’ve always wanted one. I didn’t really need it. But since I’ve got it, I thought I’d find out which is better.

I weighed them both:

Wind shield: 400g
burner: 120g
grips: 55g
funky strainer/chopping board: 100g
pots (1.75L): 160g
(1.5L): 145g
lid/frying pan: 220g
All together: 1.06kg

burner: 280g
fuel pump: 65g
spares/stuff sack: 40g
and I need to get some pots (or use the trangia pots)

The whisperlite is clearly lighter, mainly because the windshield is a piece of aluminium foil, rather than the solid storm shield of the trangia.

To boil three lots of 1L of water, the trangia used 75g of ethanol, the whisperlite used 35g of unleaded petrol.

The first litre took the trangia 9.5 mins, the second and third 7.5 mins each (the burner was already warm on the second and third goes).  the MSR took about 2 mins to prime and get warm, and then boiled the first liter in another 5 minutes. the second and third liters took 4.75 and 5 mins to come to a rolling boil.

The whisperlite is clearly faster, uses less fuel, fuel is easier to obtain and  is lighter. The trangia is far more stable, has a better wind shield, is dead easy to use, is cheaper, has no moving parts, doesn’t use explosive fuel and is plenty hot enough (the burn on my finger attests to that 🙂 ). Plus I prefer the smell of methanol – I had a headache for the rest of the day after playing with unleaded. But which one is better? That depends on whether the fuel pump ever springs a leak… But I’ll be taking the new toy away with me.