Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sleepless Nights

One supposes that it will take a little time to get used to sleeping comfortably on the ground (for days on end!)  I'm therefore figuring that I will have plenty of sleep-less nights - that's nights when you sleep less than you wish you did - once we start our excellent adventure.

However, I did not expect to have a sleep-less night while comfortably ensconced in my great cushy marshmallow of a bed here at home! And yet, from about 3 in the morning until nearly 6, I lay awake for no good reason at all, randomly ticking through various things to do or to think about doing

                 should we have a little ground cloth just outside the tent door? 

          would a treated cloth work better and weigh less than that 
          old cotton cloth I have been using as a table covering?  

                                                     should I find some tiny clothes pins to carry with 
                                                     the cord, or how about using alligator clips?  
                                                     alligator clips would be great!

And so the night finally passed, and when I should have gotten up I rather got to sleep.  This is craziness, but I guess it just shows that my mind is working out the little details even when I am (supposed to be) at rest.

At one point, I got into the maps in the hall closet and found one of the US.  Roger and I had discussed putting some pins in the map to identify people and places that we wanted to try to visit, and then working out our itinerary between those points.  My mid-night perusal of the map was instructive. We don't know anyone to visit between Yellowstone and Minneapolis, but we've got to ride through that great expanse anyway.  So let's visit Mt Rushmore, and maybe the Badlands.  And wow - look at this!  It will make more sense to go through Michigan's Upper Peninsula and cross the strait to reach Traverse City than to go through Chicago at the base of the lake.  So here's the thing I guess I learned today:

c.  you don't really know what you don't know until you start researching it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First steps

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. 
                                                                   Lao Tzu

Kathy and Roger with the Silver Queen, Solvang Century

So, if the ancient Chinese philosopher is correct about the thousand-mile journey starting with one step, does that also mean a ten-thousand mile journey will begin with one step?

Ok. I'll bite. This is step one.  Commit to it. Go past thinking about beginning to plan and get into the act of doing it.  Whatever "IT" is.

In our case, we found someone to stay at our home while we are away.  That was huge.  We didn't even know we were doing it at the time but now that we are several more steps into the journey, I can see that that was probably the first one. It gave us the freedom to start really imagining being away for 5 months. Before, it was always "what do we do about the house?" And that's a pretty big deal - you don't want to leave your house sitting empty for months at a time. But if you are going to rent it, then when? And to whom? And what do you do with all your stuff? And for how long?  Just trying to think through those questions made my head spin. Answering them seemed to require a level of precision and knowledge about what we were going to do that we were no where NEAR being able to calculate. And so the gears would spin worthlessly, and we got no closer to our journey.

But now we are taking steps. We signed up for Warm Showers, and we have hosted our first touring cyclist. We are gathering maps (although we don't yet know where we will go.) Roger has been trying to figure out how to use larger tires on the Silver Queen and has even entertained the possibility of purchasing a new bike, properly fitted out for touring.  (Although that would break my heart, honestly.  It feels like a betrayal of our friend, who has carried us so many miles in safety!) We rode today with the 28 mm tires that we thought we could not fit on the bike, with racks and fenders as well.  Why did we think we could not put 28s on the bike?  We don't remember.  But now we are engaged in a trial to see how they work.

And, I'm starting my blog now.  I figure that the adventure really begins now, with the planning and engineering and thinking about routes and racks and clothes we need and how we'll eat and all that good stuff.  I can keep track of what we are thinking and doing and feeling while we get ready to ride the first mile.

Because maybe that first mile isn't so important, except to force you to frame the questions that you have to answer. Perhaps what is more important are the things you learn when you aren't expecting to, like

a.  maybe you already took the first step - you just didn't know it at the time,


b.  don't accept what you think you know without trying it again.

Because honestly, how else are you gonna' learn?