Aug 30, 2018, D-minus-21

Slow Boat Down the Ganges Update 7

The dehydration process, particularly the onions, is taking much longer than I envisaged. While the onions still continue to dehydrate after almost 30 hours, I decided to put the rest of the food kit together. The list, as of now, looks like so...

Beverages

  • Coffee - sachets, dairy whitener, Sugar Free
  • Tang - Mango, Lemon, Apple flavours
  • Chicken soup cubes
  • Soup powder in assorted flavours
  • Oral Rehydration Solution

Lunch / Snacks

  • Trail mix - cashew nuts, raisins and almonds
  • Energy bars - cashew nuts, raisins and almonds, bonded with chocolate
  • Eclairs
  • Dehydrated salami and sausages

Dinner

  • Rice
  • Dal
  • Dehydrated potatoes and onions
  • Dehydrated chicken, either shredded or cubes
  • Instant noodles
  • Chicken pulao

Except the dehydrated stuff, everything is in stock and ready to be packed. I am just wondering whether to powder and pulverise the instant noodles. This will reduce the volume by almost 80%. Ok, maybe not turn it into powder, but leave them as small flakes. It will not taste like noodles, more like soup, but then whatever nutrition is there in instant noodles (not much!), will still be available, will be quicker to cook, and will definitely satiate hunger.

I am sure that I will come across street vendors almost everywhere to add a bit of variety in the food, and taste on the tongue. Particularly during the day when I stop to rest a while. Indian street food is great and as I go down the river, the menu will change, bringing with it local flavours.

I am just wondering whether to carry food for the entire trip, or stock up along the way. Not by going to the market, but through the goodness of friends and family I meet along the way. I can certainly stock up in Kanpur, Varanasi and Kolkata. I have people who, I hope, will provide the necessary supplies.

Going to the market now to pick up some of the stuff that I need to pick up ... for the food kit. Need to get this out of the way. No point in leaving anything for later. I tend to procrastinate at times, but I think I know when to pull the plug and get to work.

camp stoveOne question people might have is how do I plan to cook? No, despite being a survivalist and an adventurer, I do not plan on building a lighting a camp fire every evening. My life will be much easier on this trip. All my cooking will be performed on a camping stove. I will carry four 450gm canisters of butane fuel. I doubt if I will need more than two, maybe three canisters, but always good to carry extra since these canisters cannot be shipped in case I run out.

Back to my current pet peeve about the solar generator. As I suspected earlier, Goal Zero does not seem to be an option. The tech guys are still trying to figure out what is wrong. By the time they get back and the unit is rectified, it just might be too late for me. And there is no guarantee that a similar issue might not crop up again en route.

To overcome this hurdle, I just placed an order for a 150WH, 40,800maH solar inverter. Set me back a bit, but I guess it is worth it, given my complete dependence on solar power for the duration of the journey. It is expected to be here with me in Delhi by Tuesday. Since these are powered by rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries, the unit cannot be air shipped and will have to come by road. I guess four to five days is fair.

Once it arrives, I will have to go through it and see if the cables I have are compatible. I am fairly certain I will have to find adapters to ensure everything fits where it is supposed to. A trip to Asia’s largest computer market is called for next Wednesday.

One advantage there is with this unit is that it has two AC outputs. Meaning, I do not have to look for DC to AC cables, but just plug in my regular AC power plug. From the laptop, for instance. The Goal Zero unit has a single AC output port. Also, this has three DC output ports and two USB ports. A lot of ports to simultaneously charge my gadgets. At a kilo and a half, it is way more portabe than the Goal Zero which is more than 5 kilos.

solar-generatorBut I am sure there is a reason Goal Zero is the global market leader. I just do not see a choice, given the state the Goal Zero is in. Sad. I would have been so much more confident with Goal Zero. But, better not let such negative thoughts enter my mind. Murphy will wake up and ensure that what can go wrong, will go wrong. Therefore, this is the wisest choice I have made as far as a solar generator is concerned. And I am not being sarcastic.

The clothes are ready to go into the dry bag. What am I carrying for a two month vacation? Well, here is the complete list. Three full sleeve T-shirts that I will be wearing while paddling to prevent sunburn, two track bottoms, again to prevent sunburn, three half sleeve T-shirts, two shorts, one buff and a pair of floaters. That’s it. And of course, the clothes I will be wearing while getting to Haridwar and then getting back to Delhi in at the end of the trip. I suspect I will have a couple of T-shirts that will not be used during the trip. And no, I am not carrying detergent to wash my clothes.

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