My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.



With Marillion's West Coast tour (billed as La Vuelta de Los Trios) starting tomorrow (at the Belly Up just north of San Diego), and my own small part of said tour rapidly approaching in another week, I've begun pre-packing my gear.

Much of my luggage on this trip will contain the various t-shirts we made (it's a tradition that groups of touring Marillion fans — the "Anoraks" — create their own designs; it became even more important on this tour since the band couldn't afford to bring any merchandise because of the new tax laws).  In addition to the two for myself, I also have the ones that Mike ordered, a few extras for the band and others, plus a XXL hooded sweatshirt that I intend to get autographed for a gift.  I'll also be carting around various promotional materials — postcards, buttons, and flyers — to help increase walk-up ticket sales.  Neither Portland or Seattle have an official "street team", so I'll be doing the work myself.

And, of course, I need to fit in my regular clothes, camera and video gear, toiletries, etc.  All with a goal of having one bag total (when I travel, I keep room at the top of the duffel so I can store my day-pack which I then use around town).

I had planned to do a test-run on this trip of my newest piece of luggage:  a High Sierra jumbo-sized (36-inch) drop-duffel (with a zippered lower compartment in addition to the main section up top) with wheels and telescoping handle, plus straps to wear as a backpack.  I'd purchased this monster to take to Nepal; the idea was that it would hold all of my essentials for the month or so I'll be in-country.

I packed everything into the jumbo duffel early this morning (minus a few minor items) to check for fit.  The shirts and promo items, plus my personal clothing items, all went into the bottom compartment leaving the top free for my camera bag, ditty bag, a couple of paperback books, and lots of empty space.  I thought, "Wow!  This is great" . . . until I tried to lift the thing!  It weighed a ton!  Plus, when I stood it up on end to test the rolling capability, it was so top-heavy that nothing would keep it standing up without leaning it against something.  Another strike against this thing is the fact that it's way too big to use as a carry-on (I hate checking baggage unless I'm going to be on the same flight for 15 or 20 hours).

Back to the drawing board...

I do have a lot of other luggage to choose from (whenever I get close to a major trip, it seems like what I own isn't sufficient for my needs).  It seems like none have all the features in one bag (I'm still looking for that perfect bag with the proper zippered compartments that hold my gear just right).

I took another wheeled duffel off the closet shelf — a cheapo one I'd bought at Wal-Mart for $10 or so a couple of years ago.  This one has a nice squared shape but is half as long as the High Sierra (about 18 inches) with a nice deep center compartment.  But that's it; there are no zippered compartments at either end, just a long skinny pocket across the front (useful for airline tickets but little else.

Still, I like it because it will fit in most overhead compartments on planes and you can put A LOT of stuff in it.  I've come to prefer duffels over pilot cases or hard-sided luggage because of the increased capacity.

Amazingly enough, EVERYTHING that I'd had in the 36-inch expensive drop-duffel case fit into the much cheaper and smaller Wal-Mart special.  Plus, it weighed a lot less (I could actually pick this one up without any sort of struggle) and it didn't fall over when standing on it's wheels.  We have a winner!

I may just leave the duffel packed until I leave next Tuesday morning.  Which is a major accomplishment for me as I usually spend all night before a trip trying to pack and repack.

I'm just worried about what I'll do on the Nepal trip now.  There's no way I'm going to take that jumbo duffel to lug through the streets of Kathmandu or to try and fit it onto a ramshackle bus when I go to my assignment.  (I wouldn't feel right hiring a porter to carry it for me, although they do that on the treks.)  I may just pack lightly (if I can find one the same dimensions as this Wal-Mart version but with more internal compartments, that would be ideal) and purchase things along the way.

At least with all of this packing and other preparation out of the way, I can spend much of this week just relaxing and taking life easy.  And trying to decide if I really want to buy a new camera this week, or wait until some other time (my old 2.0 megapixel digital doesn't seem adequate anymore, and with the prices of 5.0 and 7.0 mp's coming down there's no reason not to upgrade); I at least want to have a better camera for taking photos of the Himalaya.