It took quit a while to gather all the supplies necessary to set of on my bike trip, so hopefully I can save you a little time here, but if nothing else, enjoy checking out the rig. It’s pretty fun just to see.
I’m almost a month into the trip, and I can’t believe how much time is already behind me, and not to mention how little distance I have covered. The 200 approximate miles I have covered so far should have taken me three and a half days according to my original estimate of 60 miles per day, But, it hasn’t been lack of stamina holding me back. It’s the large number of wonderful people and places I have come across. In the 25 nights I’ve been away from home, I have only had to road camp once, and I only stayed five nights with people I had known before starting the trip. There’s a beautiful network of people out here who are so full of awareness and care that we were family before I ever met them.
Quick update since my last post – After leaving the off-grid homestead of Craig, my mom came and payed me a visit. I took my mom out of her comfort zone by bringing her tent camping one night in a great little wildlife refuge called Paynes Prarie, where we got to sleep amongst clouds of fireflies, quite a nice experience,
but one night was just about all the natural Florida my mom wanted to deal with, so she took me out of my comfort zone the second night and we stayed in a Motel 6. I appreciated the air conditioning, but it was surely more of a reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing than anything else 🙂
Next in line was the Homestead of Song Weaver, where I not only met a few great local and traveling earth enthusiasts, but I also had the synchronistic privilege of crossing paths with a fellow traveler who I met months before as she was passing through Orlando.
After leaving Song’s place I passed through downtown Gainesville one more time to get an interview with Chris Cano, who runs a local socially conscious composting business in the downtown area.
Next, was onward and Northward to the house and garden of a friend of a friend, Wendi Bellows, who was not only kind enough to invite me in to stay with her and her wonderful kids,
but also allowed me to ride with her to the Permaculture convergence in Lake Whales, where I had a three day deeply inspirational experience with a group of 200 people who felt like lost family.
The next leg of the journey continues tomorrow as I head to an off-grid natural homestead and learning center in North Florida.
Figuring out the best combination of electronic devices was certainly the most time consuming and research intensive part of the preparation for my bicycle tour.
For my particular trip, the needs I was faced with consisted of the following:
Keeping up with a blog
Taking pictures and videos
Uploading videos to YouTube
Linking YouTube videos to my blog
Linking blog posts to Facebook
Access to electronic maps and GPS location
Hardware for solar charging
Making phone calls
A few additional things I was being cognizant of were:
Size and weight of devices
Cost and quality
After a few errors and product returns I ended up with the following hardware:
Nexus 7 tablet:
I chose a tablet over a laptop because of cost, size, and weight, and I choose the Nexus 7 over other tablets because of cost and it’s GPS capabilities, which most small sized economical tablets don’t have. $160
Panasonic HA03 handheld digital camcorder:
I choose this camcorder because it was inexpensive, it takes high quality video, 12 megapixel pictures, is waterproof up to 15 ft, has a removable SD card, and it got good reviews. $150
Straight Talk LG440 prepaid phone:
Straight Talk uses either T Mobile or ATT/Sprint service, depending on which phone you get. Make sure not to get a T Mobile phone or you will likely end up with inferior service. I only use my phone for calls and texting, no internet. $30/month
Voltaic 4 KW travel solar panel and 10,000 mAh model V39 battery:
Voltaic has amazing customer service and excellent products.
The next issue was software and figuring out how everything would work together. Here were the problems and their solutions:
P: Transferring videos from camera to tablet.
S: Use an SD card to USB adapter, followed by a female USB to micro USB adapter (which plugs into the tablet), and then download an app called Nexus media importer to transfer videos, pictures, our any other files from USB to the tablet
P: Uploading videos to blog.
S: Upload to YouTube, then retrieve the “embedded” code from YouTube video and paste it in blog post. In order to get the embedded code you must sign into YouTube from the browser instead of the app, then you must choose “request desktop site” from the menu, find the uploaded video, click “share” tab, click “embedded”, and copy/paste link to blog post.
P: Linking Posts to Facebook.
S: For whatever reason I’m not able to get the website image and post title to pop up on Facebook using the Facebook app, so if you want an automatically generated picture, post title, and website address on you Facebook posts then you may need to use the browser rather than tproducts. $160
P: Using electronic maps without internet.
S: I cached (stored) areas of the map I needed using Google Maps. You can Google how to do this.