Hey everyone! Seth and Abbey here from Packing It Out. In response to popular demand, here is an insight into how we live as we cross the country on two wheels as part of our Leave it Better Tour.
Wake up: two very different scenarios.
Seth’s internal alarm clock needs no batteries. He wakes up with his hair on fire every morning, ready to go, without breakfast. He makes coffee with coconut oil in it, but that’s all the fuel he needs until lunch.
Abby is more of a slow-burner. She wakes up slowly, crawling out from under her down quilt, always with a look of “why did I decide to do this again?” Abby eats a heaping bowl of granola with powdered coconut milk, no caffeine needed.
Both of us take a lot of nutritional supplements; we take two pill packets each morning meant to help out various body systems (adrenal, endocrine, bone, etc.) We also take a supplement called Ligaplex for our joints throughout the day, gotta keep good knees on the bike!
Disassemble camp. Pack up and load the panniers. We talk about the plan for the day, the route, and do lots of goofy stretches before finally getting on the bikes.
Get going on those bikes! Our average sits at about 50 miles per day, some days a little less, some days more. Factoring in speed, incline, road quality… we go about 10 miles an hour. On any given day that means at least five hours in the saddle. We’ve been making a habit of giving ourselves a break every ten miles or so, but are trying to wean ourselves off taking so many breaks as we get stronger biking legs (and sit-bones!) On these short breaks, we’ll eat a meal bar or two, mix up a hydration drink, use the bathroom, and stretch.
Depending on our route, we may need to take stops to route-find. As of late, we’ve been on some amazing bike trails which have made navigation much easier. Just follow the trail!
Sometime early afternoon we take a long lunch break. If we’ve lucked out, we find a roadside BBQ or produce stand. If we’re less lucky, we carry crackers, cheese, hummus, and plenty of meal bars to power us through the rest of the day.
During our lunch break, we reassess our plan and mileage for the day. Seth edits a couple photos and Abby does some work on Packing It Out’s social media. If we lunched somewhere like a wayside or park, we make sure to spend a few minutes cleaning up the area before we hop back on the bikes.
BIKE TO CAMP
Just like in the mornings, we bike at around 10mph and take short breaks. Before the trip, we agreed on not biking past dark, and we’ve held ourselves to that standard for safety purposes. On trails where we do not have to worry about motorized traffic, we’ll pedal a little later. We’ve been getting into camp anywhere from 3 PM to 8:00 PM.
We have camped everywhere, from tucking into the shadows under boat ramps and city parks to churchyards, established campsites, and cushy spare beds of family and friends.
Sometimes we eat out for dinner, but more often we are cooking up some dank trail food in Seth’s little titanium pot. We’ve ordered a classic fry-bake and can’t wait to start sautéing and baking our way to even more delicious backcountry meals.
Wherever we end up laying our heads, we work to leave it better in some way. If we’re in a park or campground, we make sure to clean up trash or disperse extra fire rings. If we’re at a friends house, we’ll do the dishes and Seth takes nice pictures of the family dog and kids.
Around 9:30 to 10:30, we crawl into our respective tents, get bundled up in our down quilts, and shut our eyes. Just like in the mornings, Abby and Seth differ here. The second Seth’s head hits the pillow, he starts snoring. Abby putters around, either reading a book or performing the nightly toiletry ritual of skin and teeth care before fitfully drifting off to sleep.
Then we wake up and do it again!
Thus far, we’ve cleaned our way from Cumberland Island, GA to the Twin Cities. Throughout this year’s tour we’ve been making a point to host place-based clean-ups in the large cities we visit. Most recently we hosted a clean-up in Minneapolis, MN. Abby and I met at the GearJunkie headquarters and with the help from the local community along with a number of GJ staff, we cleaned up over 209 pounds of trash from the midtown greenway.