my NEW rolling backpack carry-on

I’m super happy with my new MEC 40L Rolling Continent Carry-On which fits the overhead compartment of even the crappiest Bombardier jets.

Click PLAY or watch a video on the same pack in 60L on YouTube.

My last two similar bags were both Samsonite MVS Spinners. Durability was poor, especially the wheels.

Advertisements

my plan to bikepack the Carretera Austral, Chile in 2019

During my two months in Patagonia 2018 I did a fair bit of research on a future cycle hiking trip.

I arrive Santiago Jan 11th and might rent a bike in the big city. They’d transport it to and from both trailheads.

The Carretera Austral is far more popular now than when I did it 15 years ago by bus / hitchhiking.

The Carretera Austral runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through (sparsely populated) rural Patagonia. …

This area is characterized by thick forestsfjordsglaciers, canals and steep mountains. …

Among the world’s finest road trips, the Carretera Austral – or “Southern Highway” – is a 1240km route through Chile that’s mostly about half unpaved. Winding through millennia-old forests, it visits dusty Andean hamlets and turquoise rivers spawned from landlocked glaciers. …

Cyclists should have the skills and materials to repair their own gear, and should plan on taking a solid month for the entire endeavor. According to Italian cyclist Tomas Balzk, the hardest part was not pedaling the terrain, but ingesting enough calories. …

Lonely Planet

Cyclists-on-the-Carretera-Austral

what I’m traveling with 2018

I’m on the road for a few months — needing all my hiking gear — as well as city duds for Gymnastics events.

Normally I pack heavy, often close to the maximal allowed weight and size allowances for flight. But this time I’m trying to stay close to carry-on weight and size. Sadly I’ve only got away with that twice, so far. I should have gone heavy after all. 🙄

Click this link to see what I’m carrying on this trip (in blue) and what I plan to carry on a longer future trip in 2020:

Rick travel list 2018

Hilton is getting into hostels

I’ve stayed in many hundreds of different hostels around the world. I like them much better than hotels. 

Cost in 2018 runs about $15 / night for a bunkbed. $35 / night for a private room. 

Most of the best I can recall were in New Zealand. The worst in North America.

One of the new upscale chains is called Clink. I recently tried to book at Clink London but it was booked out for weeks.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Happily we are soon to have more and better hostels. Companies like the Hilton chain are getting into the low end market.

… Private rooms are much more common than they once were and some of the properties are starting to mirror the design-led approach of boutique hotels. …

There’s even a debate about using the word hostel itself with many of those making the most noise preferring to use terms such as “hybrid,”  “open house” or poshtel instead. …

Hostels or youth hostels aren’t a new phenomenon. The movement goes back to Richard Schirrmann, a German teacher who founded the first one in 1912. …

“We see a massive demand in America and there is no supply, actually… and this is why we also, absolutely, think it’s the right time to step into the U.S. market,” Spanring said. …

The Big-Money Reinvention of the Humble Hostel

 

Best of the best for me are bunk beds … but bunk beds that are privacy pods.

The Bird and Baby, Oxford

The Eagle and Child, nicknamed The Bird and Baby, is a pub in St Giles’ Street, Oxford, England, owned by St. John’s College, Oxford. The pub had been part of an endowment belonging to University College since the 17th century. …

When I stopped in for lunch, neither  Tolkien nor  Lewis nor any of the Inklings were there. Too bad.

I asked the barkeep for a recommendation. He suggested bangers and mash.

While I was there a library was hosting an exhibit titled Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth.