Bart with loaded touring bike at Buffalo NY Amtrak station

Prologue: Two Minutes and I’m Outta Here

over-the-hill-slugMy journey began on September 14, when I boarded an Amtrak train in Buffalo, New York, headed for East Glacier Park Village, Montana.

But of course preparation had begun months earlier, with researching possible routes, testing camping equipment, installing touring racks on my bike, picking out the right clothes for an autumn ride in the mountains, deciding what to take and what to leave behind, and practicing the best way to pack my gear for both convenient access and a balanced load.

My bike is an eight-year-old Surly Long Haul Trucker. This year I used new Arkel front panniers and almost new Arkel rear panniers. Both the bike and the panniers worked beautifully for this trip. The list of things I packed underwent many revisions, but this is what I carried at the beginning of the trip:

My bike-touring equipment list.

My bike-touring equipment list.

Getting all these things into the bags took great patience, but you’ll only need two minutes for this time-elapse video: