We are now several days on the road and have some time to write some proper reports. Frankly I am amazed I can type this, as I was sure that the constant bumping of our bikes and bags over the very rough roads would have destroyed Lenny (Our Lenovo X300 laptop), but surprisingly it still works as always, long live the solid state harddisks. If you can actually read this, then it means it has survived all 2 weeks of Dalton Highway, one of the most infamous pieces of dirt road in the world…
But let’s go back a few weeks, back to the lowlands and share our journey with you in words and images.
I am not sure if it is me (us) or is there just no way to properly prepare for a 2.5 year trip? We had been planning since a year ago and still many things had to be done in literally the last minute. At least you can get a lot more done if you use the 8 hours we normally waste on sleeping on working and preparing
As our house was already rented out, we moved back and forth between my mom’s house and Romke & Anouks place. R&A have two wonderful kids and they were happy to assist in sorting out all the gear we received from our wonderful sponsors, this is Kira, checking out the Ortlieb and Carrera gear that Jacobsons sent us.
and this is how part of their livingroom looked during their vacation:
Thanks again, Romke & Anouk & Kira & Jelte, we would not have made it without you.
We took the train up North to say goodbye to my Mother and Sister. By the way, in The Netherlands we have a great railway system, which will get you everywhere in no time. of course people like to complain about the train service, but i think it is perfect, there are even a lot of special spaces for bicycles in every carriage, very useful to do some last minute fine-tuning:
My Mum helped us with some last things and we even managed to make a mess in her place. She was very sad; even though I have been away for many months at a time in the past, this will be the longest period away so far.
My sister lives close and we also visited her to say goodbye. We had a nice dinner at a organic Indonesian restaurant in Assen, with great food and service and we could even park our bikes inside. As with my mom, she was in tears when we waved goodbye from the train, but again somehow I was not sad, maybe we will see each other soon again.
Ivana had already said goodbye to her family in March, when she came to Amsterdam. But thanks to the wonders of skype and broadband Internet, she had been talking/videoconferencing with her mum and sister (that almost have the same names as mine) every evening for hours, while packing and sorting stuff.
Going on all these adventures is selfish in a way as we are worrying our friends and family. But I think we can repay their concerns and affection with stories and images and knowledge that we are following our hearts.
ps: we also had a nice going away slash b-day party, but i will post the images in a separate post once we find the images again
As the other cyclists were sound asleep and they would be faster, Ivana & I left before them. We were greeted by a very strong headwind, which promised not much good for the next 30 miles up to the pass. Fortunately it was still dry most of the time and further relief was brought by some friendly people on the road.
When I stopped to wait for Ivana, I met a few women, who worked at the Toolik Lake research center. They were intrigued by our trip and even more by the Solar Supra solarpanel I had on the back (which charges even when in cloudy conditions). They took some photos, to share with their class and treated us on some homemade cookies, yummm…
Just down the road I noticed two huge 4×4 vehicles coming our way. What struck me were not the many different stickers, but the Argentina- Alaska notice and I stopped them. It appeared to be the family of Hugo, which I will introduce in a separate post. we are starting to meet so many nice persons, that I am going to start a different category: 1000 Americans. Not sure if we will get to write about 1000 different people during this trip, but we will definitely meet them. For now let me just say that they gave what we needed most: a cup of coffee for Ivana and a Twix, Oreo cookies and some other treats for both of us!
No more excuses now, we had to get up to the infamous Atigun Pass in order to cross the Brooks Range and the roads started to climb into the clouds. The rain came back as well and the final hours up to the pass were quite gruesome, chilling us to the bone.
The last section was so steep that Ivana and I both had to walk for a bit. I arrived first on the pass, but as it is not a touristy road, there was no sign, no shelter & no place to hide from the storm. But luckily, a truck was parked and I could shelter behind, waiting for Ivana to appear from the mist. Ok, into the wind and downhill! Read more
Happy B-day Shaunie Shiny Shoes and PJW!
The first hour was flat but muddy, which made it hard going and slow. At least, there were not too many mosquitos while cycling, so we could leave the headnets off. Suddenly the hils were back in full force.
Dalton Highway Rule #8 for cyclists: if a hill has a name, it is mostly bad news as it will be very steep..
We were definitely nearing the Brooks Range now. The vague shapes we had seen in the distance were coming into focus and turned out to be nice mountains. The road meandered through but was already slowly going up as well. The road looked friendly, but the many remains of exploded tired reminded of what the Information booklet had told us: Read more
Nowadays a cycle trip is so much more than just a way to go from A-B. We make photos, maintain blogs, and film. All this digital material can get lost, broken or stolen, the nightmare of a photographer/filmer & writer like me.
I do have a small external harddrive, but likely it will get broken or stolen together with the gear it was trying to back-up. If you have sensitive data (who hasn’t?) the first thing to do is to download security software to Lock folders in Windows Vista, XP, NT, ME and 98 – this will prevent stolen data/drives being abused.
But then you still lost it yourself, so you will also need an additional back-up. After searching (and testing a few that did not work very well) I found the easiest and best online back-up solution.
Michael Fisher from ElephantDrive was intrigued with our trip and offered me a free Elephant drive for a year. I love how the system works and how you can just use your online drive as if it was part of your laptop.
I have no problem making some more promotion for it as it is a great solution for everybody and I definitely think that ElephanDrive is the best there is.
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Lenovo is part of IBM computers. Their Thinkpad series is well known all over the world. When researching our optimal road warrior’s laptop, we stumbled upon a pressrelease announcing the new X300. It was light (3 pounds/1.5 kgs), had a solid state disk (so no spinning harddisk), but still managed to pack 3 USB ports, a DVD-reader/burner, a 1400x900px screen, 2gb RAM, a core duo processor, a fingerprint reader, an integrated webcam and much more under the hood (go here to see a full list of specifications). Connectivity is important and the combination of a HSDPA modem, WIFI and an Ethernet connection will be vital for us.
We noticed Lenovo also in another positive way. They are leaders in green computing:
Read more about the green program below.
When Bernie Pruissen, head of Marketing Europe, heard of our plans, he immediately supported us as lenovo is dedicated to ‘green computing’. The result: Lenny, our faithful recipient of thoughts and rants and hardworking processor of photograps and videos. This is what others say about Lenny
Beyond thin and light
Lenovo’s amazing new ThinkPad X300 ultraportable notebook is the thinnest ThinkPad ever – less than
19mm at its thinnest. It’s light too, just 1.4 kg.
But the X300 is more than ultra-thin and ultra-light. It’s
ultra-functional, too, thanks for available performance and convenience
features like these:
|Integrated DVD burner – Hard to find in an ultraportable
Extended-life batteries –
Easy connectivity –
Convenience – 3 USB ports, line in/line out, and more
components on the X300 include Solid State storage drives (with no moving parts, they consume less power and are considered less likely to break down than traditional hard drives). The X300 also offers several wireless connectivity options including integrated Wireless WAN and Wlan.
Style-wise, the X300 is closer to the size of an actual paper notebook than a ThinkPad notebook has ever been. And it offers numerous design flourishes including a glossy bottom bezel, select illuminated buttons, and – for the first time in X Series – an integrated camera option and stereo speakers.
|‘Greenest’ ThinkPad ever|
|In addition, ThinkPad X300 is the first Lenovo notebook rated EPEAT Gold
for low energy use and minimal impact on the environment. It also
meets the European Union’s Reduction of Hazardous Substances
standards. And it is Energy Star 4.0 qualified.
The X300 uses 25% less energy than previous X Series models. What else makes the ThinkPad X300 so “green”?
Why choose energy efficient products
Environmental issues are becoming important to organisations and individuals alike. Energy efficient choices can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy costs for the user, without sacrificing features, style or comfort.
Lenovo’s role in combating climate changes
Lenovo is committed to providing environmentally responsible, energy-efficient technology choices. In 2007 Lenovo joined the Board of Climate Savers Computing to support the efforts in reducing the IT CO2 emissions by 50% by 2010¹.
Move your mouse over the arrows to learn more
|This is how we do it:
Our end-to-end solution
Lenovo in partnership with our alliances offer a complete environmentally responsible solution from buying back and recycling customers’ old PCs to providing them with new energy efficient Lenovo systems that help reduce energy consumption and electricity costs.
Energy efficient products
Lenovo has a range of energy efficient EPEAT Gold systems and monitors to suit the requirements of different types of customers.
A small office network of just 2 PCs can use as little as 130 kWh or as much as 1300 kWh annually³. Consider the environmental impact and achievable cost savings by switching older generation PCs to the Lenovo Energy Star 4.0 compliant products.
By choosing to purchase more energy-efficient PCs, consumers and organisations can do their part to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change while also saving money.