Hello friends. Later today, I’ll be hopping on Amtrak’s Empire Builder train and heading east to the Midwest! I’ll be enjoying the new-to-me luxury of a sleeper car all the way to St. Paul Union Station! I’ll spend a few days there, then head to Red Wing on Friday for the night. The Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour will happen this coming weekend, May 14 and 15. It should be a good time, and if the long-range forecast holds, it will be perfect weather, sun and clouds, high in the low 60’s. Then I return to Minneapolis for a day before I get on the westbound Empire Builder to Portland, this time in lowly coach.
Last night was the last minute packing extravaganza, squeezing everything into as tight a space as possible. It always seems like too much, but everything I’m packing, I’ll use. I’m getting away with basically my Carradice Camper Longflap with an extra small shoulder bag. I don’t normally bike with a shoulder bag, but once I get off the train, much of the stuff will be sitting at my friend’s house. And unlike a bike camping tour, with Pepin I don’t need to carry everything with me the whole time. Also, originally I thought I’d camp, but I decided against it, since I didn’t want to haul out a bunch of extra gear.
This will be my Raleigh Superbe’s Pepin debut. Despite hoping to get more stuff done to it, it’s not all “there” yet, but will work fine for the trip. I wanted to get the front wheel rebuilt with a modern aluminum rim, but the shop didn’t get the rim in on time, so the wheel build will have to wait until I get back. (I have an alloy rear wheel I can throw on there too.) I did get the bike wired up for lighting, and it works fine, more on that later. There was a little bit of a scare for a bit, as the lights weren’t working, but I tried a different light and it works. It’s not as classy looking as the B+M Retrotec, but it’ll do!
As always with any trip like this, I’m stressing out a bit. But hopefully when the train pulls out of Portland Union Station, those worries will melt away. I’m looking forward to having a good time! I’ll try to report here as much as possible, but stay tuned to my flickr or instagram accounts for more up-to-date as-it-happens dispatches.