Upgrading SAM is progressing very well. Her Solar Panels have been modified to make them more efficient and easier for ME to handle them while on the road. One of last Summer's problems was lack of panel input into the batteries. This has been corrected. Initial tests are encouraging.
I am also seriously considering adding a third (3rd) battery pack. So doing will add 25 # weight, but will also give 6 - 8 hours added energy for SAM's Hub Motor. During Winter months, with shorter and overcast days, additional power will be crucial to SAM & ME. SAM can easily carry the added weight...a bit of a added chore when ME must push SAM.
We have had NO response(s) to our offer to use SPIA for 3 - 4 day mini-walks/vacations. We must face reality...folks have their own priorities and while may WANT to participate with SAM & ME, are unable to do so for a variety of reasons...all valid.
We have, therefore, opened new OPTIONS.
SAM & ME made a great team for the first 1 - 2 months of our Summer 2010 walk. We can do so again. With SAM's upgrades, and our learned experiences, we are looking to options for the Winter. Primary on our list is to start again - SOON - from the Peace Arch BLAINE, Washington, with the objective to follow the Pacific Ocean Coast Road to reach Southern California by mid Winter. Then head EAST into Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma; reaching Fort Supply, Oklahoma in early Spring. Then continue (where we recently left off with Jodi and SPIA)) ...just SAM & ME...on to Key West as originally programmed.
If we take US 101 from PORT TOWNSEND, Washington all the way to ASTORIA, Oregon, through The Redwood Forests, transiting The Coast Mountain Range to Napa Valley (Wine Country) thence to STOCKTON, California and down the SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY on US 99 to BAKERSFIELD, California, then up and over the TEHACHAPIE, visit the Space Port at Mojave, across DEATH VALLEY, and on to PHOENIX, Arizona, and points East, we will avoid Winters Worst Weather(s), and walk exciting new territory.
SAM & ME have proven we are capable to walk incredible distances with and without help.
If help comes along, we will welcome and use it/whomever (and we hope it does come along). If it does not, we are prepared to go it alone.
I know I am rattling on...nothing like it was a year ago this time when I was starting to build SAM and formulating the realities of the 2,000 + mile walk we so recently completed to Fort Supply.
We now have a good idea how to go about walking long distances, SAM & ME. Truthfully, my biggest challenge is to start "cooking" appropriate foods to sustain this aging body of mine.
Anyone have some magic solution(s), I am your attentive pupil.
Discouraged??...not in the least. Jodi, bless her kind efforts for me, was a disappointment, but as one of my Secretaries - many years ago - said to me..."...after all, Mr. Maynard, it is NOT the end of the World". And, No, it is not.
I do not know how many years ( capable years) I have remaining, but by golly, each MOMENT is precious...I will never again have THIS moment. I will do my very best not to waste it.
POST SCRIPT...CAUSE: At 9 pm, I received e-mail confirmation from the CAUSE I mentioned in my Post of November 01.
I have been invited to their SEATTLE, Washington (a 170 mile drive) offices tomorrow morning at 10 am to give me a first hand look at their organization...how they help folks around the world and how WE can become a part of that help...with 100% of our donation going to the SPECIFIC item we choose...with photo/narrative confirmation from the RECIPIENTS back to us within 14 days.
On the surface, seems to be what I have been looking for...we shall see.