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I have the bike shop assemble and get ready... saving money is obviously not why I do it this way.
If money is tight then I would stick with the Bike Friday. A loaded down bike on tour is a different animal from a racing bike. You ride it differently, it feels differently. I actually like a loaded bike. Your young, a few extra pounds aren't going to make a lot of difference. I haven't tried the case as trailer. You could always store the trailer and just use panniers. Picking out a tour bike is much easier after you have done some touring.I'm beginning to think this is the best solution if money is tight and the model Bike Friday you have is suitable for racks and panniers. I've ridden a Bike Friday a modest amount (my son-in-law has one) and, while it's initial handling is different from a 700c wheel bike, you get used to it pretty quickly. After that, it's just another bike and only seems strange when you look down.
I alway ship UPS or FEDEX store to store, you get business rates that way. I haven't done in a while but it used to be cheap.
PS Any MUST see's or MUST NOT do's please feel free to let us know.
But if you go by yourself you need to be okay spending a lot of time in your own head. On the plus side, no constant negotiations on how far, or how fast, or where and what to eat, or where to stay.
All of the shops in town should be able to help you out, but as mentioned above, Hellgate Cyclery is very close to the Adventure Cycling headquarters and has great service. If looking for a shop with more product inventory, Missoula Bicycle Works is right across the river from downtown.