Shadow and I are planning a walk to Boone sometime in September. Boone is about 23.3 miles away and it's easy roads from the aspect of the traffic situation. They allow camping in the park at Boone, so we don't have to worry about stealth camping. It will be my first experience with an overnight walking trip. The miles are a bit long, but it will be a test of my physical condition. Maybe Shadow will get hooked on road walking trips, too.
Yesterday I used a fish scale to test how much force it takes to pull Wilson with about 30 pounds in it. It took about 3 pounds. I estimated it would take about 10 pounds to push a 50 pound load up a six percent grade. This is the most one will see on average roads.
This morning I hardly paid attention to my surroundings while I walked except to watch for traffic. I introduced road walking on a backpacking forum. I made the statement that it is different than backpacking and I was pondering why.
The gear is different if a person has a pushcart. There is no need for expensive backpacking clothes. Layers can be heavier weight as long as they accomplish the same thing. The effect of an extra five pounds in the cart is negligible. The sleeping bag can also be heavier and it can be bulky since there is so much room in the cart An extra couple pounds on a bigger tent won't make much difference.
I'm not advocating ignoring weight, but adding an extra 10 pounds overall compared to a pack for the same trip doesn't make much difference.
People I meet on the road are more willing to talk unless they are another road walker. Backpackers and road walkers generally have a schedule and everyone likes to follow it. People I meet on the road don't have a schedule (unless they are road walkers) and they are more willing to strike up a conversation. That is, once they determine you aren't homeless, and the cart shows you aren't homeless.
The weather is more predictable on the roads except in mountainous areas. It can be as bad, though. It's easy to get a forecast from www.wunderground.com.
When backpacking, the backpacker is isolated from the society that is still rushing about. The roadwalker is as if they are in another dimension. They are moving slowly, but society is still moving at its same frantic pace. I continue questioning why people work so hard for things they don't need and that have little impact on their comfort.
I'm wondering what it will be like walking with another person. There is a saying that if you want to go fast, walk alone. If you want to go far walk with someone. I think it is a native American saying, but it may be African. I haven't found this to be true with backpacking. Someone always wants to go slower than the other. It seems like two people go fewer miles a day than one person.
I've been reading Mr. Lee's Journal on www.trailjournals.com. He is walking the American Discovery trail. He walks about four days and takes a zero day. His average day is about 23 miles. The first two days after he got the pushcart, he walked 39 miles.
I've been wondering if I should start using a metronome again and what tempo I should use. Maybe I'll try it at 115 tomorrow. It's a step backwards, but that tempo may be better for a 23 mile walk. It will only make a 36 minute difference in time, and if it reduces fatigue, it's worth it. We won't be in a hurry anyway.
The new shoes feel good. That annoying lump under the ball of the foot seems to have compressed. Maybe I got used to it.
I made the map for the trip to Boone and marked it every two miles. I think I'll put it under the plastic on Wilson. I know where we are going, so we really don't need a map.
See you down the road,