Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Holidays - It's almost Tour2k7!

We celebrated Xmas in Flint, MI with Andrea's family. That's Emmit in the picture, he's Andrea's sister's new puppy. We hope you all are having a fun and safe holiday season, and look forward to seeing everyone soon.

I got a mapping GPS for Christmas this year, to use on the second half of our trip. It is WASS enabled and I just loaded it with a bunch of detailed maps, so I'm doubtlessly going to be spending time outdoors soon. Maybe I'll track down a geocache or two.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The hardest part of touring.

It's not the physical pain or emotional distress. It's not the frustration of trashing your drive train on the open road, a hundred and fifty miles from nowhere. It's not the bears, raccoons, squirrels, or any other animal that steals your food. Same for the sun, rain, and cold. The most frustrating, discouraging, and menial aspect of this trip is the money-saving part. It's nice to be in the city if you have late-night oil to burn and money to blow on drinks, food, music, and endless entertainment. When you're socking all of your cash away for another five months of touring, these temptations make you feel depressed, lousy, and wishing you were living in some little snowbound cabin in the North Woods, where the California Clipper, the Maproom, Stella's, the Innertown, and the handful of good friends who all deserve proper attention at the forementioned establishments were safely out of range. I've started a disgusting coffee-drinking habit because it's the only way i can socialize on my self-imposed budget. For the first time in years I've gone for a week without resting my elbows on one of Chicago's heavily lacquered bars.

In times like these it's crucial not to lose sight of goals. Being ground to a bloody pulp by workweeks with no reward must be balanced against something tangible, so I find myself filling a notebook with lists and plans for the next few months, and looking back through our photos and my journals from the road. I'm organizing my gear, going through checklists, and reading maps at the Harold Washington Library. I'm forcing myself to stop in the middle of the day and visualize my time in the city as an island that I'll be rescued from in a matter of months, and to remember that the rescue ship with be loaded down with the bounty of freedom on the open road, and that the air will be clear and sweet like the sea, and not at all cold like Chicago winters.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting patriotic about snow.

Most of my life right now is focused on work and winter. I've returned to my job at the help desk and am attached to a computer during daylight hours. It feels good to be welcomed back and to be indoors as temperatures dip into the teens. This is a great time to ask me questions that require long written answers, or to keep my company on instant messenger.

We got our first big snow this week, officially announcing the start of winter. I'm a steadfast bicycle commuter, even when snot freezes to my scarf and I have to wear long underwear. I get smug satisfaction from harsh weather because it culls the weak from an otherwise pampered flock of urbanites. We are Chicagoans and will go to work in any weather goddammit! Bring on the black slush, ice, and frigid blasts of lake-effect snow, we will wrap ourselves in layers, stand atop snow-drifts, wade through frozen slop, and make it to the office on time.

Here are more snow pictures.

The other thing that keeps me going is the resumption of our tour in February. North Padre Island is one of the first places on the list.