Thanks for posting this RR from here too. I found this thread after reading your question about valve adjustment on the XRL thread several days ago. Doing a ride like yours is one of my life goals, very high on the bucket list. So, while I'm stuck here shoveling snow in the Colorado rockies with 2 kids and a wicked mortgage, I have been remembering this story a few pages at a time and secretly planning for the day I can go too. Living vicariously thru your ride, keep it coming! The writing, pictures, and the attitude that comes thru in your writing make this one of the best so far.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the high country.