Our departure for our long-planned Trans-Asia trip approaches. We have tickets to Bangkok for January 5th, 2009. We are watching the political situation in Thailand carefully and it seems to be settling. This is more than can be said for the situation in Canada!
Today, we assembled nearly all of our gear, and strapped it onto our bikes for a short ride. We found that months of evenings spent weighing each kit item on the kitchen scales and discussing weight-utility trade-offs in excruciating detail have paid off. We now find ourselves discussing the addition of a few items to increase comfort, which is a whole lot better than having to discuss what to leave out.
Chris has tested the new GPS, a hand-held mapping unit, and learned to plot tracks as well as create elevation profiles. I am writing this blog post on our new Asus EEE computer, which weighs less than a kilogram and has no moving parts – other than the fan – and we use an adapter from its USB port to recharge batteries. We are scanning a lot of guidebooks to take with us in pdf format. Taking along a PC will be new for us; we’ve weighed the pros and cons. The upside is the ease with which we can prepare blog posts on a familiar (if tiny) keyboard, talk on Skype to our children, and transport information resources in a weight-saving format. The downside is how vulnerable we will be to its possible failure.
We have Thai and Chinese visas, and now anxiously await the return of our passports from Washington, DC. We should then have our Tajik visas and our GBAO permits for the Pamir Highway if all goes well. Laos visas can be had at the border, and Kyrgyz visas can be obtained in Urumqi, in Western China. One more week of work for Chris, one great-niece’s christening, one daughter’s nose surgery, a quiet Christmas with family, and we’ll be off.