Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘packing

Perfect Weather

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I am visualizing perfect weather for a week of bicycling and tent camping. It could happen.

This morning I will hope to get the property mowed at the last minute so the grass shouldn’t be too long when I return to cut it again next Friday. This afternoon I will load up my bike and gear in the car and depart for a week of vacation.

This trip may not offer much chance to catch up on sleep, but I will have ample opportunity to take a mental break from the daily grind, and I will eat and laugh heartily with some very special like-minded cycling friends. This trip is a wonderful mental vacation because I don’t need to make any major decisions. The daily meals, the route, and the camping locations are all predetermined.

I just show up and ride. Oh, maybe I will waffle over what jersey to put on each day, but that’s about as complicated as it will get. Last night, I laid out gear and clothes while trying to imagine the usual routines of the week, in attempt to prepare for everything.

I would do myself a favor to now review the choices I made and divide it in half. I don’t think there has been a year where I ever needed everything I usually pack. Last year, I tried traveling lighter than my usual. This year, I would like to improve on that.

Just hoping the days near Lake Superior won’t complicate things. That massive body of water is a very effective air conditioner and can drop the temperature dramatically if the breeze flows from the direction of the lake. Warm clothes and packing light conflict a little when it comes to my wardrobe.

Over the years, I’ve heard tales of a wide range of essential items being forgotten by participants. I would like to avoid making an unplanned purchase of a critical item, so I will be working off a cheat sheet. Oddly, it seems I have filed away my master list from the many prior years I’ve done this trip.

Making a new list. I can remember to bring everything on my list, but did I remember to put everything I want on the list? Yeah, that’s the trick.

As long as I have my bike, both wheels, my cycling shoes and helmet, tent, sleeping bag, and pad, I’m good. Other than some clothes, the rest is all non-essential. I will bring my guitar this year, though, since the weather is going to be perfect.

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Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

Fiery Sky

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The horses were heavily harassed by biting flies yesterday, which made my session of scooping manure a lively affair. The biggest hazard, beyond unpredictable flailing hooves as they fling a leg out in response to a bite, is the nasty snap of their tails. They could take an eye out with that whipping action. At the very least, it stings when they get you.

I’ve noticed they will frequently align themselves to purposely have their heads in the wash of someone else’s tail for added fly management. There is no doubt they are thicker skinned than we are. I wouldn’t be able to endure the beating.

I worked well past the dinner hour last night, after a full shift at the day-job, to create added open space in the compost area for my approaching week-long absence from home. The effort now should pay off when I return, so I won’t come home to a disaster of overflowing piles.

Manure management is one of those jobs that is made easy by frequent attention. Let it go for a day or two between scooping and it can become an exponentially more significant project.

Last night, I opened up a gate to a section of pasture that still has long grass, to allow the herd a brief session of grazing. The first thing three of them did was pee. The second thing they took turns doing was laying down and rolling around.

When I looked their direction to see they finally got around to seriously grazing, the setting sun was illuminating the clouds to create the impression of a great conflagration. Photo Op!

One last day at the day-job today before vacation. I hope to try mowing the yard tonight and maybe doing a little laundry so I can pack clean clothes for the bike trip.

If I pack warm clothes and rain gear, maybe I won’t need them. We all know that if I don’t pack those things, it would guarantee that the week would turn out cold and wet.

If we see fiery clouds in the evenings during the bike trip, I hope it will mean, “sailor’s delight.”

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Written by johnwhays

June 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Almost Gone

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Today is my last day of work before my week off to go biking and camping. That produces a natural desire to wrap up loose ends and clear my head of as many lingering issues as possible. Already, the biggest burden has been lifted. We learned yesterday that a significant meeting that had been scheduled to happen during my absence, ended up needing to be postponed. I won’t have to miss it after all.

Tonight, I hope to cram in as many ranch chores as possible before diving into the challenge of deciding what needs to be packed in preparation for tomorrow morning’s departure. Will it be hot, cold, wet, windy, or a little of each over the course of the week?TofM2016

This year’s itinerary for the Tour of Minnesota will be:

June 17th – camp in Brainerd
June 18th – bike to Walker
June 19th – bike to Park Rapids
June 20th – bike to Itasca State Park
June 21st – day off while camped in Itasca
June 22nd – bike to Bemidji State Park
June 23rd – bike to Pine River
June 24th – bike back to Brainerd

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At least I don’t have to worry about what to bring for a snack.

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Written by johnwhays

June 16, 2016 at 6:39 am

Thursday Night

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When you don’t work on Fridays, Thursday night becomes the early occasion to party like the weekend is upon you. Have some neighbors over, eat a feast, play some cards, and stay up late having loads of fun.

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I’m exhausted. And rejuvenated.

Is that even possible?

Bring on my 3-day weekend. It’s my last one before leaving on the annual week-long June bike camping trip, The Tour of Minnesota. I guess I better start thinking about preparations. Will it be a hot trip this year? Rainy? What should I pack?

I’m thinking about trying a minimalist approach this time around, so the questions take on more significance for me. In one week, I will be making a final decision about what makes the cut.

I hope the weather forecasts show some general agreement by then, and as long as I’m hoping, that they predict nothing but the smallest of chances for rain.

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2016 at 6:00 am

Vacation Planning

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Like this has never happened before. The faster I go, the behind-er I get. It doesn’t surprise me, but it seems so wrong. I am quickly running out of time before I leave for a week of vacation and I find myself unable to get into gear to prepare for departure. I feel like I have been afflicted by some zombie disease. My thought process is slowing to a crawl and motivation seems to be going with it.

I am thrilled at the idea of being free of the usual daily responsibilities and spending extended time with a group of very precious people, but that has not resulted in any rush of energy toward getting valuable tasks addressed in preparation. Most notably, since my vacation will involve riding a bicycle all day long for a week, this year I failed to get enough miles on the saddle to condition my butt in advance of the trip. I may finally have found a reason to test the use of a chamois cream, but my concern is less about skin hotspots and more about tenderness from prolonged pressure on the sit bones. It’s feels like a bruise until the body adjusts and builds up the equivalence of a callous in the region.

Yesterday, as I toiled away on an unexpected kitchen sink plumbing adventure, it occurred to me that I have done very little in the way of mental preparation for the annual week of bicycling and camping that kicks off in 4 days. I think that is because the trip is something I have done many times before with a common group of precious friends. I know what to expect, so I am less inclined to fret over preparations.

Unfortunately, it is feeling like I may have swung too far in the other direction and am at risk of finding myself unprepared at the last-minute. If something ends up being neglected, I’m hoping it is a chore at home that I overlooked which I can just deal with when I return. As long as I have my bike gear, the tent and sleeping bag, and a few things to wear, I’ll be ready to vacate.

Sunday, after a bit of anxious searching, Cyndie rescued me by finding where my tent and sleeping pad were stowed. The most critical elements are beginning to accumulate into a pile in the basement, so I’m probably in better shape than my foggy mind is making me feel.

The next phase involves the irritating challenge of a nagging perception that I am forgetting something. How do you figure out what you are forgetting if you don’t know whether you are forgetting anything or not?

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Written by johnwhays

June 10, 2014 at 6:00 am

Making Room

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When the weather is nasty cold outside, and hours of daylight are short, one way to deal with it is to work on indoor projects. We have a project waiting for us in our basement that is finally seeing some progress. Interestingly, that progress came as a result of the fracturing of the triangular window beside our stone chimney.

In order to raise the level of interest for a builder to travel to our home to replace the broken window, we tossed in the construction of a storage room in our basement as added incentive. It worked. The replacement window is now on order and when it comes, the builder expects to be available to work on creating a walk-in storage room with built-in shelves in the space where the entertainment center once was.

When we moved in, I did some initial demolition in that corner, taking out the shelving to open up the angled space as much as possible for temporary storage. The only parts left were studs with drywall attached to them. Cyndie masterfully stowed a roomful of stuff into the small space of that corner and then hung curtains across the front to cover the cut-out spaces once filled by a television and speakers.

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In preparation of the builder taking down the studs and putting up new walls to make a more functional storage space, I pulled off the drywall and removed all the screws from the studs. Friday night, Cyndie and I removed all the stuff that was stacked behind that wall and piled it up around the basement. It is a real optical illusion of space to see that little corner empty, but the contents now appearing to consume the entire rest of the room.

We need to rearrange things now to create a clear working space for the builder, with a path for him to bring in materials, and then we will be ready when that window shows up and our project reaches the top in his queue of work.

That done, I guess it’s time to go back outside and play in the snow! How nasty can it really be out there?

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Written by johnwhays

January 26, 2014 at 9:25 am

Forget It

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Yesterday was a day to forget. It would be nice if I could, but I have a tendency to hang on to the angst of things when they go awry. I like to bring order from chaos. It is one of the most rewarding aspects of my day-job. I can’t solve everything, but, if by the end of a day, I have achieved putting some things in order, I have a feeling of satisfaction for my contributions.

I didn’t have much luck doing that yesterday. I am wondering if it was somehow a carry-over of my not being able to bring order to the many projects going on at home, just at a time when I was leaving town. For sure, I was rattled by that discovery of a problem with the septic system.

In the morning, I woke over an hour before my alarm, and couldn’t get back to sleep. Of course, my mind was abuzz with preparations for my travel, needing to get ready for work, and get the house ready to be vacant for a couple of days, and to make sure to bring everything I would need for my trip. Also, there was a lot of work waiting for me on my desk at the day-job, so I went in early. I was thinking that I could use that early time to tackle one of the piles and get it processed before events of the day take over.

I never had that chance. Things unraveled early, and everything I seemed to try to get in order just became more chaotic. I had problems with my problems. Really, it was a total disaster. Maybe one of the most difficult days I’ve had, in terms of trying to bring order to chaos.

What can you do? I gave in. I let the chaos lay. I had somewhere to be. I had a deadline to be at the airport. It didn’t help that I stumbled upon a middle-of-the-afternoon traffic backup due to a stalled car. Really? Was this some kind of stress test I was being given over the last few days?

I sure hope it ends soon.

The good news for now is that I have arrived, safe and sound, at my destination, with Cyndie, in Arizona. I really have no idea what is in store for me today, at the introductory Epona workshop that Cyndie’s cadre of apprentices is giving. Maybe it will be a continuation of the stress test for me, but I don’t plan to frame it as such.

I am going to forget the day-job stress, and focus on the new adventure before me. Maybe the difficulties I have faced in the previous two days were just to put me in a place where I will get more from this weekend than I could possibly imagine. I’m going to aim to be open to whatever the lesson is for me here.

Written by johnwhays

May 17, 2013 at 7:00 am