(b) It may be hard to fit those panniers on a different rack with a different width.
(c) Ortlieb panniers are more expensive, but known quantities, fit most any rack, and are easy-on/easy-off.
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I find it hard to believe that Surly would sell the CC with a triple crank minus the small ring. What would be the point?The point would be to simplify their inventory. One crank fits all.
But why leave off the other ring? Cost? Insignificant. Weight? Same.
So, no offense, but I don't understand why you would try to force a tour into the wrong time of year. You will almost certainly encounter a lot of rain and cold, which is not just, you know, wet and cold, but can be kind of dangerous too, as drivers won't be able to see you as well, there's more debris on the road, you get more flat tires, and to top it all off a bunch of the camp grounds will probably closed, and you won't meet any other bike tourists like you normally would.
I would rather endure 110 degrees in (dry) Utah than 90 degrees in the (humid) east in mid-west.
The main thing when riding in the summer heat is, hydrate often and avoid riding in the heat of the day. Oh, and yes, plan for mosquitoes.