The Great Summer Trip – The Times, They Are A-Changin’

Photo courtesy of me and my phone

T minus three weeks and three days. It can’t get here soon enough. I’m about to go nuts.  I’m practically climbing the walls at work, and my Give-A-Damn is busted.

The problem is, forces seem to keep conspiring against me to try to make this trip not happen.

Nearly all of it is financial.  It seems like this is the season for mechanical things to break.  Just this weekend, the entire exhaust system fell off my car in one fell swoop.  I’ll give it to Honda, they make cars that keep working well (mine is a ’93 Accord with over 175,000 miles on it, and it runs like a champ), but when stuff breaks on that car, it breaks in grand fashion.  I was driving down the road talking with my friend John, when *BAM*… the entire exhaust just fell off. No warning, no melodrama, just nice, quiet car one minute and growling denizen of automotive hell the next.  At least my American cars had the good sense to get holes rusted in the exhaust first, so that you had an audible warning of things to come.  This car just decided to drop everything from the catalytic converter to the tail pipe right in the middle of the road.  It would have been comical if it happened to someone else.

*Sigh* Another in a long line of things to get fixed.

To add to the issue, my third job hasn’t yielded quite as much additional funds as I had hoped for.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful for the ability to earn some extra money, but there’s always a little disappointment when you face the realization that what you’re going to get isn’t quite what you had hoped to get.  I’m thankful overall, though.  I wouldn’t be making the trip at all if I hadn’t been able to secure the third job.  It’s even worked out well enough that they’ve offered for me to continue working there after the summer if I’m interested.  I may take them up on it; it’s a good job, and in this economy you’d almost have to be a fool to decline.

All of this to say that I may need to revise my trip methodology a little bit.  The emphasis will be keeping daily expenses to an absolute minimum.  So instead of wandering the country in vagabond style, I’ve been considering some other options.  The front runner at this point is to still ride down to see Mom and Dad, but rather than leave on my original date and wander through the east coast states, I may instead use Mom and Dad’s place as a “home base” for a series of day trips into the surrounding areas.  I’d like to poke around Georgia a little bit, and I may also see my sisters on the North Carolina coast if work schedules permit.  I can still get in a number of 300-400 mile days, but have the benefit of returning to a home-cooked dinner and a normal bed rather than the added expense of restaurant food and camp sites.

It’ll be good.  I was disappointed at first to have to alter my original plans, but the more I think about it, the more I think that this will be a better way to go.  God works mysteriously like that.  I may be able to turn this vacation into a 3000-mile ride for little more than the cost of gas.

In the meanwhile, I took a 160-mile ride today to have lunch with my friend James.  The new seat is starting to break in better, and I think things are going to be good.  I was also thinking about something called a “Magic Seat Board” from Craig Vetter’s website.  It has to do with an addition to the seat that will allow the weight to be carried on my thighs instead of my ischiums (hip bones).  Rather than use a board like Craig did, I have a self-inflating hunter’s seat pad that I think will do the trick.  

I put it on the forward portion of my seat once, and noticed that my weight was being spread out along the underside of my thighs, leaving my hip bones essentially suspended above the seat.  It was much more comfortable than I would have ever thought.  The nice thing about this seat pad is that it has a long strap that I can loop under the seat.  Slide it under my rear end for some relief, and then push it behind me when I need to some to a stop.  The strap keeps it from flying away.  I plan on some test rides soon.

I almost have a finished solution for how to mount and power my cell phone while I’m traveling.  I’ll post it soon.


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