As much as I adore adventures, packing has never been my strong suit.
My feeble attempts to live up to the Cub Scout motto, “be prepared,” typically shake out into me filling duffel bags with metric tons of ultra-light crap…yet somehow omitting important necessities.
Last summer I inexplicably packed a pair of corduroy pants into may panniers, but not a pair of non-bike shoes. The hastily-purchased $3 plastic flip-flops I obtained at a gas station in Yakima, Washington proceeded to become the first things I reached for every day after I got off the bike. The pants concluded the trip pristine, still rolled into a gallon-sized ziplock, never worn once during the entire 20 days.
But there’s hope that this professional perpetual student CAN learn! This time I’m trying my hardest to avoid simultaneously over-packing and under-preparing. I even made a list!
Admittedly, I didn’t LOOK at my list one single time after scratching it out on the back of a meter-long bike-shop receipt. But given that 97% of its entries amounted to spandex and cliff bars, I’m feeling at LEAST as well prepared as the US military was before Operation Iraqui Freedom.
Fortunately, my planned route to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan doesn’t ever take me too far from civilization. I’ll be able to Fargo for nuts and berries at the nearest truck stop in case the unthinkable happens and I run out of Clif bars–which would be a The Tempest-level tragedy for this carb-fueled commuter.
My main concern (aside from a Trump presidency, Lyme Disease, and chafing) is being cold. Winter was mild in Wisconsin this year, but spring has not yet solidly sprung by any definition.
Let’s observe a moment of silence for the naked flock of synthetic geese from which The North Face plucked enough microfiber feathers to fill a micro-weight puffy jacket. Let’s bow our heads in gratitude to the gentle polypropylene sheep that provide the fiber for our tights.
Let us abhor the havoc petroleum extraction wreaks on our environment, and be eternally grateful for the protection its products provide for our pereniums.
Realistically- there’s no way I prepared for everything. The question isn’t, “what if something crazy happens?” But rather, “when something crazy happens, what am I going to do?”
I’ve got PhD and a positive attitude–with the wind at my back I can cover some serious distance.
My panniers are packed, my schedule is cleared.
Tomorrow my fork points towards Fond du Lac and the adventure begins!