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I just rec'd an email ad from REI a few days ago that their "20% off one item" (for members) ends April 7 but can't remember the start date. Check their website.
White Gas is mainly normal gasoline which has not been formulated for using in automobile engines. It is more filtered and generally purer than what you get out of a gasoline pump. It is called by several names in camping stores such as Coleman Fuel, Crown Camping Fuel, and MSR Fuel. It can be sold in 1 gallon cans and in 1 quart bottles or cans. The big stores such as Wal-mart will have the gallon can and sometimes the quart bottle. Camping stores often have the quart bottles or will sell you a quart out of an open gallon can at the store. Often, you can buy a quart off of someone at the campgrounds that has a gallon can with them, they are the people with the big RV rigs.
Although the canal is a wonderful trail- mtn tires are definitely a necessity. I've ridden approximately 30 miles of it and there are areas that are cobblestones. There are small sections you can ride on a road bike, but you'd have to plan ahead. If you are absolutely determined to ride it on a road bike, be prepared to walk your bike numerous times.
"Significant deprivations in other areas of their life." Living below your absolute means for a few years is a significant deprivation? Saving money is a significant deprivation? Not buying a new or luxury vehicle every other year is a significant deprivation? Buying and driving a basic car for ten years is a significant deprivation? Not buying the most expensive house in town is a significant deprivation? Not flying to the beach twice a year and staying in the most expensive hotel is a significant deprivation?
+1. If they are, then I lead a seriously deprived life. For example, my car turned 18 at the beginning of this year, and I recently bought my first TV in 10 years. I have a dumb phone and a $45/month calling/texting plan. If I go to the beach, I usually ride there. Yet for some reason I don't feel deprived.
I asked online a few posts ago about the border safety on the ST route. Basically all's I got back from the ACA folks was that it is all good, don't worry. And from other cyclists, well...people are being murdered all the time...just go and hope the border patrol can save you.
I see three main categories of people riding across the country: (1) young people between school and employment, (2) empty nesters who don't have kid responsibilities any more, some retired, some not, and (3) unemployed people between jobs.