G E A R


Packs & Bags

Michael will be trekking with the incomparable Eagle Creek "Endless Journey" 3-in-1 travel pack, which is the finest piece of luggage he's ever even heard about. This bag was made famous by travel writer Jeff Greenwald, who in 1995 circled the globe using no air travel, with his Endless Journey in tow. (Greenwald's adventure is documented in his book The Size of the World : Once Around Without Leaving the Ground, shown below). Michael will also have an Eagle Creek Undercover Neck Pouch for passports, visas, and bribe money.

Sara is threatening to bring an actual suitcase. I thought she's done this before!?

Four-Wheel Drive Offroad Vehicle

We'll be lumbering through the Central American outback during the rainy season–so it's a good thing Sara will be bringing her 1989 Isuzu Trooper. The optional all-wheel drive and massive ground clearance make this the vehicle of choice for getting to those out-of-the-way ruins. (The Trooper is even mentioned by name in our Fodor's Travel Guide.)

Later model Trooper pictured, but at least the color's right.
 
 
Travel, Travel Essay, and Reference Books

Like all good literary travelers, we'll be taking a veritable library with us on the road. Titles include Fodor's Belize & Guatemala, Driving the Pan-American Highway to Mexico and Central America, The Rough Guide Mexico, Let's Go Mexico, and Jeff Greenwald's classic The Size of the World : Once Around Without Leaving the Ground–we'll be taking Greenwald's lead in regard to some ruins, volcanoes, and Mexican beers.

In the language department, we're using Fodor's Spanish for Travelers Books & Cassettes, and the University of Chicago Modern English-Spanish dictionary.

The Gift of Travel (the best of the Travelers' Tales series) will inspire us and provide light reading for the odd down time.

  

Computing Power

For onsite writing, web development, and Internet contact with the civilized world, we'll be relying on an Apple Macintosh PowerBook 5300c. This is a 100 megahertz PowerPC with 40 megabytes of RAM, and a 28.8 pc card modem, so it should be adequate to our needs. We'll be loading up lots of reference material (travel advisories from www.state.gov, health advisories from www.cdc.gov, etc.) because they don't make for any additional weight on the hard drive. 8^)

Weapon Systems

Taking firearms into Mexico is not only strictly prohibited, but a likely ticket to twenty years in a Mexican jail. (Thanks to the fine, and always knowledgeable, folks on rec.guns for pointing that out.) Hence, our expedition will be extremely lightly armed. Items will include an all-purpose sheath knife (military surplus, rubber grip, nylon sheath), and an array of oleoresin capsicum (red pepper) defensive aerosol sprays (various sizes, none rated at fewer than 2 million SHUs (Scovill Heat Units)). While our wits and agility will be our greatest assets in terms of keeping us safe, still one should heed the admonition of Robert A Heinlein to "keep your clothes and your weapons where you can find them in the dark."

Voice Com Gear

We'll have an Ericsson CF-388 mobile phone, with digital PCS service from Pacific Bell. This will almost certainly be completely useless. (There's no PCS coverage in central Virginia, I'm not expecting any in the highlands of Guatemala.) Probably more usefully, we'll also have a pair of Midland 75-510 1/2 watt radios (with builtin CTCSS encryption), for those rare times when we are seperated (and to make sure we're never seperated for long).

Digital Camera

After much deliberation I finally settled on the Ricoh RDC-300Z. The Ricoh has 3x digital zoom, removable flash memory, great indoor & outdoor image quality, a flash, and a Mac connection kit. It's all packed into a pretty sleek package; and I got a sweet price of $331.95 from buycomp.com (list $599).

Miscellaneous Gear

This is going to be a long and incomplete list: sunscreen, plenty of bug repellant, typhoid vaccination tablets, Swiss army knife, 15 gallon gas can, water jugs, water purification tablets, first aid kit, cases of PowerBars, blankets, full size spare tire, and juggling bags (for those long waits at customs and border crossings).

Pictured: Basic Square Beanbags from Infinite Illusions


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