Just ran across your rr last night, and I finished catching up a short time ago. Top notch reading. Greatly enjoy your nearly "stream of consciousness" writing style. I like the comments Joseph Campbell used to make about "The outward journey mirrors an inward journey". Its obvious you are having that beautiful yin yang of external/internal reflection, your writing makes that clear, otherwise it would just be "travel".
My life situation is significantly different than yours, but are some points that really resonate. The doing more with less stuff... currently I ride a Ninja 250 and it works for this little guy. "Use what you got". Not too bad having bought a bike basically from a yard sale for $1500.
Over the following years I learned to wrench on the bike and slowly built up a fairly comprehensive "home base" tool collection. It is really wonderful to know your bike, its systems, how things work, and when they don't, what is likely the culprit. I've sort of become a local guru for the Ninja 250 guys, and enjoy helping them learn to do their own wrenching. Love to read of your trials and travails while "learning your bike".
Over time I have done a lot of research and have built up camping gear I am comfortable with, always looking at small packing size vs. cost vs. features. Weight isn't as important on a bike compared to pure hiking but it still adds up. Some of my gear is decidedly spendy, but spreading the cost over the years of use helps me swallow the expense. Riding gear is something I have not scrimped on at all. The money I have spent on gear over the years has definitely exceeded the cost of the bike...but I consider it cheap compared to even a simple hospital visit. So far, mercifully un-needed (save for riding comfort), but its like insurance...you don't need it until you need it.
There have been times when my wife and I have been decidedly "poor", but we have found that mindset and perspective is everything. Its a subtle mind-flip to go from "impoverished" to "frugal". Poor or impoverished may be a condition, but frugal is a choice, and even if nothing else practically changes, having a sense of choice is very empowering.
You may want to read JDowns ride report - http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
he has been riding VERY frugally and doing a lot of camping. I could easily see someone as resourceful as yourself easily doing a similar trip.
So very glad you seem to be healing up well!
...and, I bet another gal rider I know who lives in Seattle was at the Furry Gathering.