Last Friday I loaded up my Surly and pedaled out to Waitsburg (20 miles north of Walla Walla) in my sneakers. Other than having a good time, my intent was to see how the Surly & Xtracycle combination performed while loaded over longer distances and hillier terrain. While I'm sure I've more than maxxed out my Surly/Xtracycle with ambitious grocery loads- I've only towed those around small and flat Walla Walla. I was pleased to find that I could still stand and rock the bike uphill, and since I enjoy climbing, that scored a lot of points. (Though I did not have a very heavy load on.) It was speedy enough to move along without growing impatient (especially since my other ride is approx. 17 lbs). It was also, unsurprisingly, a solid and stable all around and just plain enjoyable. However, I may still decide to tour without the Xtracycle to simplify things- less weight, less complex mechanical maintenance, etc. So that's the review- but if you want to know what I was really thinking about: dinner! Clint and Patty Froke were so kind to BBQ up some delicious grub for me, let me set up camp in their back yard and have a turn at milking one of the goats in the morning. They were wonderful hosts. I had a grand time.