We arrived at the l'Hostis's house in Fontaines early this afternoon, fully ready to spend a few days doing nothing, or at the very least, nothing cycle related. We get to spend our first night and day here alone thanks to the generosity of Tara's friends!
We'd scarcely opened the door to the house before Tara was rummaging in the refrigerator and freezer for cool treats. I, on the other hand, had spotted two much anticipated packages waiting for us on the foyer table and was busily tearing into them while Tara read our welcome note and made us glasses of iced water.
For the past few weeks we've been ordering gear and shipping it to Tara's parents, looking forward to having them send us a package in Fontaines. One of the most frustrating aspects of long term cycle touring is the amount of work it takes to find/purchase/receive things you need that aren't food. Especially when the thing is lost or broken gear!
During our first month we misplaced several items due to a lack of organization. Key among them was our sporks and my pocket knife. I was particularly bummed about my pocket knife, I'd been carrying it for nearly 3 years. Absolutely everything we have has a specific place in our panniers now and we never go anywhere without running through a self-check for important items.
Outside of replacing our lost gear, we've added a few new pieces of kit to our traveling home: a silk sleeping bag liner (easier to clean than a sleeping bag) and handlebar mounted compasses with built in bells!
The other package came from a company called MobilityPass who provides 3G/GPRS data connectivity (cellular internet) worldwide. They partner with cellular providers in just about every country in the world; in exchange for ridiculous data transfer fees in excess of 10 cents per 100kb you can get online almost anywhere. I'll be using this strictly for work which is thankfully a low bandwidth affair involving email, svn, and ssh traffic.
It was really exciting to finally get our packages, THANK YOU MARK AND LISA! We're both looking forward to a few days of civilized life. Time to take a shower, do some laundry and sleep in a real bed!