On to preparations and packing! Retrieving my gear from the various hidey holes I stashed them in brings some surprises ("Oh, that's where I put that") but all in all I have most of the stuff that I need. I'm trying to avoid going to the Money Extraction Centre across the street from my house where equipment envy will just tempt me to unnecessarily replace some perfectly functioning but aging gear.
I made a few adjustments to my bicycle. Memories of barreling downhill on the Rogers Pass or the Coquihalla with my hands cramping while gripping brakes on drop bars have taught me a lesson. I don't know why I haven't done it sooner, but it was only after last year's end of summer ride through the Adirondacks when I experimented with chopping my drop bars and flipping them downside up that convinced me to get proper bullhorn handlebars. It has definitely improved the comfort and handling of the bike, and the superior grip on the brake lever relies more on my larger fingers for stopping power. Bring on the mountains!
I've developed a standard packing list that I tweak depending on where I'm riding. On my last long ride through the desert I packed light on clothing — everything dried so quickly after washing each night that I could live with three outfits. This time I'm starting out in the rainforest and I'm expecting it to be cold and damp until (hopefully) I'm into the Rockies, so I'll go with five, plus some extra rain gear. I'm even bringing neoprene socks I use for kayaking which I'll wear with cycling sandals on the wettest days.
Things seem to be going well, but the excitement and anxiety of going away are still wearing me out!