I finally loaded the bike with all or nearly all my gear and went for a ride. The anxiety I felt about handling a fully loaded bike disappeared quickly. The obvious handling differences relate to slower steering as expected. The feeling is like automobile oversteer. I adjusted in a few miles. The remarkable thing was how different the overall ride felt. I was able to understand what has been said about the the flexibility of steel frames. Where the lightly loaded bike has been stiff, sending the shock of bumps to my hands, fully loaded it does not. Guess that's part of what makes it a touring bike.
I packed food, cooking supplies, maintenance and repair items and first aid items in the front panniers. Right rear holds a few civilian clothes and one very large non-cycling shoes. The need for clothes to accommodate a few days off the road and possibly chilly mornings made this part of preparation difficult and shoes were the toughest decision. One of my Nike old man mall walker shoes (sans Velcro) fit in the bottom of the rear bags as if custom made for the purpose. Two light T-shirts, one one pants, some socks and underwear comprise the basics. A mixed fiber outdoorsy long (roll-up) sleeve shirt will serve multiple purposes. Never a fashion plate, my civilian wardrobe is probably adequate. Atop the civilian clothes are campsite accessories; rope, gossamer plastic sheet, deck of cards, book, extension cord and a few other relevant items.
On the other shoe in the left rear pannier is daily clothes, toilet items, and my netbook. The clothing and microfibre towels should provide excellent support and crush protection. Both rear panniers can hold a bit more. I hope there are not too many tings I haven't thought of, though I suspect that one of the things the first tour teaches is the difference between wants and needs and how to distinguish the two.
I bungee cord a dry bag holding tent, ground cloth, sleeping bag and sleeping pad too the rear rack and will probably add a used but usable original equipment Continental touring tire.
The handlebar bag holds my rain cape, spare gloves, multi-tool, batteries, camera and other miscellaneous items. I'll carry a day supply of Lara Bars and other food items. My cell phone, wallet and such will ride there along with the maps.I didn't purchase the Ortlieb map case so I will carry the maps in waterproof zip bags along with a small notebook and pen. This, too, is going to be a catch-all and it not overfull, yet.
One of the obvious things to carry in open pannier space is spare water. I don't think I can carry too much water since temperatures are going to moderate very little until my return. Most people question my timing for the trip because of the 90 degree plus temperature. It's all about hydration and pacing. I didn't decide to do this a week ago, I've been riding in heat for years and have learned the value of water. Experience counts.
It gets more exciting each day. The remaining thing to do is be as certain as possible of "Where" and "How far." Motels are sparse in Coastal Georgia and South Carolina. It is also that way between the Outer Banks and Richmond. Then there is the return route. I will depending a lot on Google Maps and all the other online mapping options. I guess if I didn't want to face challenges I could stay home.